The most basic computer configuration usually includes a computer case, a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. Apart from these, many different types of devices can be connected to the additional ports of a computer. These additional devices are called peripherals. The following paragraphs explain the most important ones that may be used in the daily work of an ECEC centre.
Printer : a printer is used to print documents, photos and anything else that appears on your screen. There are many types of printers, including inkjet, laser and photo printers. When working at the ECEC centre, children's self-made photos and collages can be printed easily and quickly and the children can take the results of their media work home with them.
Picture 11: a printer
Scanner : With a scanner, a physical image or document can be copied and stored on the computer as a digital (computer-readable) image. Many scanners are part of an all-in-one device which can scan and copy documents, but are also available as separate flatbed or hand-held scanners. A scanner in the ECEC centre can be used, for example, to digitalise the children’s hand-painted pictures on the computer which can then be used in digital documentations or collages.
Picture 12: a scanner
Speakers/Headphones : speakers and headphones are output devices and send information from the computer to the user. In this case, they allow you to listen to sound and music. Depending on the model, they can be connected to the audio port or the USB port. Some monitors also have built-in speakers. Tablets and smartphones have built-in speakers. The speakers can be used, for example, to play free online radio plays or to listen to environmental and animal sounds from an online sound database.
Microphones : a microphone is a type of input device that receives information from the user. Microphones record sound or are used to talk to someone else over the Internet. Many laptops and tablets have built-in microphones. In ECEC centres, a microphone can be used for creative work with children, for example, to record a special radio play with the children. It can also be used to record the language level of a child and evaluate it later together with their parents.
Digital camera : With a digital camera you can take pictures and videos in a digital format. If you connect the camera to the USB port on your computer, you can transfer images from the camera to your computer. In the ECEC centre, for example, photos can be collected or processed in photo editing programmes and then printed out.
Tablets and smartphones : Today all tablets and smartphones are equipped with a USB cable so that the devices can be connected to the computer. This allows photos, videos and audio recordings to be transferred for further processing or backup.
1. What are the peripheral devices of a computer?
2. Can you name some types of printers?
3. Which device can you use to digitalise hand-painted pictures on a computer?
4. How can you connect a smartphone to a computer?