The hardware topic deals with a computer system consisting of input devices, output devices, a central processing unit and storage. ITGS students are required to understand the meaning of the terms and concepts listed here and, where appropriate, briefly describe how they work.

The increasing tendency to develop hardware in modular units raises a range of social impacts and ethical issues such as the use of non-renewable natural resources, the global transportation of manufactured components and their eventual disposal by individuals, organizations and governments. Students are expected to discuss possible solutions and evaluate their effectiveness.

Possible scenario

A computer user is planning to upgrade their current computer system to a newer model and must use their knowledge to:
  • understand the specifications of the proposed new system
  • evaluate other physical considerations that may influence the choice of the physical environment of the proposed new system, such as ergonomics and other health-related issues
  • suggest upgrades to the computer system to take advantage of improvements in components, such as processing speed
  • describe how the proper disposal of the old computer system can take place and whether the choice of computer may be affected by the manufacturer’s policies on disposal.

The computer system

InsideITGS 3.1 Hardware - Computer System
  • Types of computers: personal digital assistant (PDA), laptop, desktop computer
  • MAC address
  • Motherboard
  • Central processing unit (CPU), microprocessor, clock speed: for example, megahertz (MHz), gigahertz (GHz), terahertz (THz)
  • Primary storage: read-only memory (ROM), random-access memory (RAM)
  • Secondary storage: optical, magnetic, flash memory: for example, USB (universal serial bus) flash drive
  • Bit, byte, kilobyte (KB), megabyte (MB), gigabyte (GB), terabyte (TB), petabyte (PB), exabyte (EB), zettabyte (ZB), yottabyte (YB)
  • Character encoding: ASCII (Unicode and American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
  • Ports
  • Firewire

Input and output devices

InsideITGS 3.1 Hardware - Input & Output
  • Keyboards, mice, touch pads
  • Optical mark recognition (OMR), optical character recognition (OCR), magnetic ink character recognition (MICR), radio frequency identification (RFID), radio tag, bar code scanners, magnetic stripe readers
  • Microphones
  • Smart card readers
  • Webcams, digital cameras, digital video cameras
  • Sensors, probes, real-time data collection
  • Composite devices: for example, game controllers
  • Touch-sensitive devices: for example, pads
  • Printers, monitors, speakers, projectors
  • CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory), DVD (digital versatile/video disk) readers and burners

February 2011 - Beijing BISS International School (Julie Lindsay) Hardware Assessment

Assessment Tasks
  • Create a wiki page AND add this as a blog post on the Ning "Recommendations for Dr Zilber" for hardware she should purchase. Make sure you explain a laptop and a desktop and justify your choices
  • Discuss the IT in the News Hardware topic, "Solid State Disks are Doomed" Use the IT in the News template and write a blog post on the Ning. Respond to one other student's blog post.
  • Class Quiz - Fun quiz taken in class
  • Individual Class Presentation - Environmental impact of hardware - E-Waste
    • Research the environmental as well as social and ethical impact of hardware and obsolescence on society and the environment
    • Create a short presentation that contains these items:
      • A review of what happens to old hardware: why, who, where
      • Discussion about the impact on countries and people around the world of e-Waste
      • TWO current stories to do with e-Waste and environmental impact
    • Extra resources: Teach ICT e-Waste, Teach ICT Environment and ICT News

WAB Resources

Student generated quiz (based on Chapter 3 of Beekman)
Also try the online Beekman Quiz - go here and then select the Online Study Guide from the left side menu