Turning it on
Unfortunately, there's no single place to find the power switch! There
may be a button on the front of the computer ('The Box'), or there may
be a large switch on back of the right side of the box, or one on the
back. Many Macintosh computers have a button on the keyboard to turn
computer on. You may also need to turn on the monitor. Most, but not
all monitors have a power button on the front. (Others have the switch
on the side or the back).
As well, sometimes, a computer isn't really
may be just sleeping. If that's the case, pressing the spacebar on the
keyboard should wake it up-- and it should come back to life within a
If you've turned your computer on, it will have
'boot up'. This will take a moment or two-- it's not ready if your
cursor is an hourglass, but when you have an arrow, and you can click
on things on the screen ('The Desktop' in computer-talk), it's ready to
Turning it off
When you're done, don't just turn it off. If you do, your work may not
get saved, and needed files may be damaged. And it will take longer to
restart next time, since it will check its files, looking for problems.
When you're done:Click on the Start
, then click on Shut Down
computer will whirrrr
for a moment, then either automatically turn itself off, or show a
screen saying that it is OK to Shut Down now. (If you see that, turn
power switch off).
Using the mouse
Before we get started, practise moving the mouse. Notice how the cursor
on screen moves as you move your hand. While Mac mice have only one
button, most PC mice have two buttons (or even three buttons). In that
case, theleft mouse button
is the only one we're
going to use. Get
in the habit of holding the mouse with your index finger resting on
that button, so that you can easily click it-- one time to select,
to actually do something.
Microsoft Windows gets its name because the screen gets covered with windows
screen space filled with a running program. You can have
multiple programs running at the same time, and some programs can fill
multiple windows of space, so it can get confusing, especially since
windows can cover and sometimes hide other windows.
Open a windows by double-clicking on the My
Computer icon in the top-left corner of your
- notice that you can move the window around by dragging
the dark blue Title Bar along the top of the window.
- notice that there's a little rectangle
Computer on the bottom of the screen-- on the Taskbar.
- you can make the window larger or smaller by
dragging the margins-- easiest is to use the bottom left-hand corner
this. Move the window, then double-click on My Computer
open a second window. Move it partly cover the first one.
- note that if part of a window is showing, you
bring it to the front by clicking anywhere in it.
- notice the three little buttons (or icons) in
top right-hand corner of any window:
The __ icon minimizes the
window-- but its name is still
showing on the Taskbar along the bottom. Click on that button on the
Taskbar to bring it back.
- The square icon maximizes
window-- it fills the entire screen. You can still get to other running
windows by clicking their name on the Taskbar. Up in the top-right
corner, you'll see a new icon with two, overlapping squares. This restores
the window to its previous size.
- The × icon closes the window,
the program. (If necessary, you'll be reminded to save your work).
- If there's too much to fit in the window,
see scroll barsalong the right-side and possibly
the bottom of
the window. Moving the little 'elevator' (officially called the
up and down shows more of the hidden stuff. (Alternatively, press the Page
Up or Page Down keys). If the left-edge
of your work has
disappeared, move the bottom scroll bar thumb all the way to the left.
The size of the thumb indicates how much of the contents is visible--
the smaller the thumb, the more stuff there is.
Close down one
of the My Computer windows-- leave
the other open.
Drives, folders, and files
is your tool to look at
folders, and files on your computer-- letting you, for example, find
saved work to continue working on it, print it, copy it, etc.
(Depending on your version
and how it's been set up, you may have a fancier version of this...
don't worry; it will work the same way).
Your computer has a Floppy Disk drive (Drive A:) for reading and
writing disks that you can take home or move from computer to computer.
A hard disk drive (Drive C:) is inside the computer's case, and holds
most of the programs run on the computer. You can also save work there,
but then you can't easily access it from another computer. A CD-ROM
drive (often, but not always Drive D:) runs programs on CD-- games,
encyclopedias, etc. It can be used to install programs onto Drive C:
can also play standard audio CDs.
You may have other drives showing as well--
drives, network drives, etc. There are also icons for the Control Panel
and other things we'll ignore.
Double-click on the hard drive (C:) icon. A
will open up with a lot more icons.
Some look like file folders, and they're
as (surprise!) folders.Others, with various icons,
files saved on that hard drive. If you double-click on one of the
folders, yet another window will open up, showing the contents-- more
files, and perhaps other folders.
Folders are a way to organize your work, making
easier for you and the computer to find what you're looking for. Get in
the habit of creating folders that represent a logical (to you)
organization scheme... we'll see how in a moment.
Playing with windows is mildly fun, but to get any work done, you need
to start up a program. Learn the name of the programs you're most
- Microsoft Works
- Claris Works or Apple Works (most often on
- Microsoft Word
- Word Perfect
- Netscape Navigator or Netscape Communicator
- Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Netvista (and then you'll typically start up
Common Educational Programs
- StoryBook Weaver
- lots and lots of others!
Once again, you start programs up in one of a variety of ways.
- There may be an icon (a little picture) on
desktop (the computer screen), with the name of the program you want
underneath. If that's the case, double-clickon it
to start the
program. (That means click twice fairly quickly. Click-click!) Some
people find double-clicking difficult-- you can click once, whichselectsthe
press the Enter or Return
key on the keyboard.
- If you don't see an icon on the desktop,
the Start buttonto open the Start Menu.You
several icons at the top of the Start Menu-- if what you want is there,
click on it to select. Otherwise, click on the icon labelled Programs.
a long list of icons-- the ones with little pictures of folders
are submenus, with more icons inside them. Be
eventually, you'll find the icon you need to start your program. Click
Many programs-- especially encyclopedias, games, and some educational
programs need to be run from a CD-ROM disk. In many cases, simply
inserting the disk into the drive will start up the program (Windows
95/98/NT), or will open a window on screen, showing the icon for the
program (Mac). If that's the case, double-click the icon to start the
Opening a saved document on a floppy disk
You may have a document file on a diskette-- perhaps a file you saved,
or something that a colleague sent to you. After putting the disk in
floppy disk drive (hold the labelled end with the label facing up), you
can open the program to view it or change it:
Double click on the My Computer
in the upper-left of the screen). Double-click on the icon reading: 3½
(A:) to look at the contents of the disk. If you see
for your file, double-click on it to open it. It should
automatically load into the proper program. Note that Windows computers
generally cannot read diskettes from Mac computers..
Opening your file in an application
In the bad old days, each computer program worked its own way. Now,
most work in similar fashion for common tasks like opening, saving, and
printing files. For example, if you've already opened your application
(for example, a word processor), and you want to open a
- Click on the File menu (the
near the top-left of the screen). A menu will drop down.
the word Open. (Or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+O). You'll
a Dialogue Box (a standard way for the
get more information from you-- in this case, the name and location of
your file). You should see something like this:
If you see the name of your file--great!
often, you won't. If it's on a floppy diskette, click on the
down-triangle (or down-arrow) (in this picture, next to the
Intro), near the top-centre of the window.
A list of drives will drop
down, allowing you to
choose, for example, the 3½ Floppy (A:)Click
on the drive
you want. With luck your filename will appear. You may need to move to
a different folder on your drive. If the folder name appears in the
main window, double-click to open it (or click once then click on the Open
button). If it's not visible, click the down-triangle then pick the
hard-drive (C:) above the open folder-- this will show other folders on
the drive, allowing you to navigate where you want.
If it doesn't, you may need to click on the
to the right of Files of type: A list of file
types will drop down... try picking some other file type-- or, if
possible, All Files (*.*), to see everything in
that drive or
When your file is open, you can work on it some
Save your files often while you're working on them-- that way, in case
of disaster, you cut your loses. Don't wait until you're finished to
save. In particular, save before you print.
The first time you save, you need to give your
name, and tell your computer where to save it. Click on the word File
near the top-left corner (on the menu bar). Then
on the word Save or Save As... (Or
(we'll see the difference between the two in a moment). You'll see a
dialogue box almost identical to the one for opening a file.Again, you
can navigate to a different drive or a folder. This time, type in a
for your file. Note the following:
- Your name can consist of multiple words, and
words and numbers, upper and lower case. However--
- You can't use several characters such as *,
?, : as
part of your file name
- Don't end your file name with a period.
- If you are running old, Windows 3.1 or DOS
programs, you can only use up to 8 letters, with no spaces.
- Don't make your file names too long. Try and
it to a few words at most.
If you need to, you can make a new folder to store your file. In the
Save window (dialogue box) cllick on the icon resembling (to my eye) a
file folder with a water drop hitting its right-hand corner. A
new folder icon will appear, with letters (highlighted in blue) sayingNew
Folder. Type your preferred name to change it and press
double-click the folder icon to open it, allowing you to save your file
When you're done, click on the Save
press the Enter key. If you change your mind, you can click on the Cancel
button, or press the Esc (for Escape)
Save vs Save As
The first time you save, both of these menu items work identically.
After that, they work differently. From then on, choosing Save
will quickly save your file without asking any questions. Choosing Save
As, however, will again show the Save dialogue box, asking
the file's name and location. Most times, you don't need this-- but
sometimes it's handy-- to save a copy to a new location-- getting a
stored on your hard drive onto a floppy disk to take home, for example,
or to save it with a new name-- letting you start work on one student's
report card, change the student name, then save it with the new
student's name, for example.
We often need paper copies of our work. To print your file, click on theFile
menu, then choose Print. (Or use the Ctrl+P
shortcut) (I'll bet you could have figured this out!)
Again, the computer needs to ask a few
you'll see the Print dialogue box:
If you have more than one printer installed
a computer fax-modem), you can choose it from the top drop-down arrow
list. You can also specify how many copies you want, and whether you
want to print the whole document or just selected pages. Note
to print just page 3, you need to tell it to print From 3 To 3.
A handy option in many programs is Print Preview-- this lets you see a
miniature view of how your pages will print. Get in the habit of using
this-- it will save a lot of wasted paper and effort, especially
printing from the Internet. (You'll be surprised how many Internet
print out blank or turn out to be 40 page long documents).
Cut, Copy, Paste, and Undo: The Clipboard
One of the handiest ways that computers can make your work easier is by
using the clipboard. The clipboard is actually a metaphor-- it's not a
physical part of the computer. Instead, it refers to the use of the
computer's memory to store some of your work so you can use it again in
The clipboard always works with the following
- Select the part of your
work that you want
to use (how you do this will vary from program to program)
- Choose Cut or
Copy from the Edit
menu (or use the toolbar icons or keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl+X
cut or Ctrl+C to copy). If you choose Cut,
will disappear. If you choose Copy it won't look
- Move to the place where you want to re-use
selection. This could be a different place in the same document, in
another document using the same program, or in a totally different
- Choose Paste from the Edit
use the keyboard shortcut:Ctrl+V). Your selected
You can use this:
- To copy names and addresses from a list to a
- To re-use comments from one child's report
- To add pictures to a word-processed document
- Lots and lots of other ways. The moral is
should never have to enter anything more than once.
Windows includes a simple word processor: WordPad. It lacks spell
check, columns, and other basic features, but it's free and it's
included in every copy of Windows. You'll find it by clicking on the Start
Button, then on the Programs icon, then
on the word Accessories,and
finally clicking on WordPad.
- Type a few words.
- Select them by waving your mouse over them,
holding down the (left) mouse button. Note that your selection will
appear as white text on a black background.
- Press a key-- notice that your selection
disappears! This is normal-- don't panic. Click on Edit
to get them back. (Or press the Ctrl+Z keyboard
- Copy the selection to the
clipboard using Edit/Copy
- Click after the selection to get your cursor
erasing your selection.
- Press Enter a few times
to move down a few
- Paste using Edit/Paste
Press Enter. Paste again. Press Enter. Paste again.
Notice that you can paste the same thing multiple times-- but if you
copy something else to the clipboard, your original selection is no
longer remembered. The clipboard only holds one thing at a time.
Leave WordPad running, and open the Paint
Windows also includes a free, but low-powered paint program. You'll
open it the same way as WordPad: Click Start/Programs/Accessories/Paint.
Play with colours along the bottom and the tools
the side, and make a picture. Don't worry about making great art-- for
now, just get something drawn quickly. (You can always spend more time
playing later-- there's lots you can do with the simple paint program).
When you've got something drawn, we're going to select it, copy it, and
paste it into your word processor:
You've just made an illustrated document.Your students can use this in
story writing, or you can use it to embellish your handouts.
- Choose the Selection rectangle
dotted-line rectangle on the top-right of the tools (on the left-side
the Paint window).
- Select part of your picture by holding the
button down and dragging it from the top-left to lower-right... the
selected part of your picture will have dotted lines around it.
- Copy to the clipboard,
or Ctrl+C (just like in your word processor)
- Switch to WordPad by clicking on its name on
- Press Enter to go to a new line
- Paste your picture, using Edit/Paste
- notice that the picture's colours are
because it's selected-- just click somewhere else and the colours will
Congratulations! You're ready to start using
skills. Have fun!
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