Tuesday, 9 February 2010

E-World: Wifi? Worm in a trojan? ICT terms you want to know but are afraid to ask!

The purpose of this post is not to familiarise you with all computer terminology (for this, there are lots of online dictionaries available), but rather to highlight some of the most common problematic words, and to provide you with some fun activities to test yourself.

First and foremost, what do we call the study of computers? A lot of Latin speakers use 'informatics', an obvious translation from their own language. While the word actually exists in the English language, it is not a common term used to describe the study of computers. We would normally use computing, computer science, information technology, computer studies, or ICT.

The 'C' in ICT is often mistakenly translated as 'computer'. ICT /ˌaɪsiːˈtiː/ is actually an abbreviation for information and communication technology, and is a subject that deals with computers, electronics, and telecommunications.

Then, we have the buzzword of the decade, wifi. This is not pronounced /'wi:fi:/, but rather /ˈwaɪ faɪ/. While, originally, wifi wasn't supposed to mean anything at all, it is now thought of as an acronym for wireless fidelity, much like hifi for high fidelity.

So, have you got a laptop or a notebook? These days, they are used to mean the same thing, although notebooks are theoretically lighter and thinner than the original laptops. Netbooks are even smaller and lighter (about half the size of notebooks) and are designed primarily for internet access and wireless communication.

Web browsers (shortened to browsers) and search engines also cause confusion sometimes. Browsers are programs that allow you to go from one website or one web page to another on the Internet. Examples of browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

A search engine, on the other hand, is basically a website that you use to search for information available on other websites. Examples of search engines are Google, Yahoo, Altavista, Ask, and Bing.

Finally, you've heard of them, but can you tell the difference between a virus, a worm, and a trojan?

A virus is normally an executable file, which means it may exist on your computer but cannot infect it unless you run (open) the program. Most viruses are spread unknowingly by sending them as attachments in emails. Like human viruses, a virus can be mildly annoying, e.g. changing your desktop, or it could erase all the information on your hard drives.

Worms, however, are far worse than viruses in the sense that they have the capability of multiplying, and travelling without human action. They use information in your computer; for example, they could duplicate themselves and use your address book to send hundreds or thousands of worms to everyone listed.

A Trojan Horse (or trojan) is the "least" harmful of the three. It cannot replicate itself nor does it infect other files. It normally masquerades as a legitimate program, but when opened, can cause such damage as destroying all your files.

For you to familiarise yourself with some of these terms, you can now do some, if not all, of the following activities.

The first activity is a word search. The words are at the bottom of the page. Try to do the puzzle without looking at the words first. If you still can't find them all, you can look at the keys here.

Do you remember all the words? Have a go at this crossword puzzle. The keys are here.

Now, you're ready for this following activity!

Click on the image below to start the labelling game.

Chiew's blog: Games for Education, 游戏学英语


  1. My apologies to those who had tried to play the labelling game before - I'd forgotten to flag it as public! It should be allright now. :-P

  2. Johanna Stirling9 February 2010 at 22:05

    Just wanted to say how useful this is Chiew, thanks. I'm also going to check out Purpose Games - looks great. Can you tell me why you put the Wordsearch and crossword on Slideshare? Just wondering?

    I teach loads of CLIL teachers so I'm going to pass your site on - it'll really help and inspire them.


  3. Thanks for the comment, Johanna. Where are you based, might I ask?
    I used to use Scribd, but got fed up with the changes they made, so I switched. Normally, I upload the same files to Scribd, too, so you can download from there too if you prefer. At time of writing, however, thay haven't been done yet. Will try to do it later.
    Why did you ask that question anyway? Perhaps there's something I ought to know...?

  4. thanks for the post chiew, very useful

  5. Glad you like it, Saro. Maybe I'll do a part 2, hehe. :-P

  6. Really great game, and very useful post to share with students and teachers-in-training!



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