Strand 1: Introduction to computing

Sub-strand 1: Generation of computers and parts of a computer and other gadgets

The first generation of computers existed between the years 1940 and 1956. Their main piece of technology was vacuum tubes which made them very big in size and can take up the space of a room. They were very slow and perform a task at a time. The second generation of computers came to exist from 1956 to 1963. Their piece of technology was transistors and not vacuum tubes because transistors were smaller in size than the vacuum tubes. They were easy to build and faster in terms of speed. 1964 to 1971 is when the third generation of computers existed. Main technology in the third generation computers was integrated circuits (IC).with the idea of making them more faster and smaller in size. From 1971 till now, forth generation of computers are still existing.They use microprocessor popularly known as central processing unit (CPU) to process data. The fifth generation has emerged which uses artificial intelligence (AI).

Types of computers

Computers are categorized into four main types based on their speed and ability to perform tasks more accurately. These types are Supercomputers, Mainframe computers, Minicomputers and Microcomputers. All these types of computers use microprocessor to process data. For more details, click here.

Components of a computer system

The computer system consists of three main components, hardware, software and liveware.


These are the components of the computer that can be seen and touched. The main hardware components of the computer are the monitor, mouse, keyboard and system unit. The monitor is an output device that displays videos, texts and images. The mouse is an input device used for clicking and scrolling. It basically has three buttons which are left button, right button and scroll button. The keyboard is also a physical part of the computer that has keys for typing and the system unit is the container that contains other internal hardware components such as the RAM, motherboard, fan, power supply etc.


They are a set of instructions that instruct or tell the computer what to do and at what time. There are two types of software. These are; System software and Application software. Examples of system software are Microsoft Windows and Macintosh Operating System. Examples of application software are Google Chrome, Facebook, Mozilla Firefox, Twitter, etc.


Liveware is simply the user of the computer. The computer cannot operate itself but can be operated by the computer user and that is what makes the computer user part of the components of the computer.

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Identification of mouse buttons and how to use them.

The computer mouse basically has three buttons. The left button, right button and a scroll wheel.

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The left mouse button is used for selecting an item and it is also used to drag and drop an item on the computer. To select an image or any other thing, put the mouse pointer on the item and press the left button once. To select a text or group of texts, put the mouse pointer at the beginning of the text, hold the left button down and move the pointer over the text or group of texts. To drag and drop a folder on the desktop, put the mouse pointer on the folder, press and hold down the left mouse button and move the folder to the new location. When the folder reaches its new location then you can leave the button.

The right mouse button is the button at the right side of the mouse. It is used to bring up options on a particular item. To bring up options on a folder on the desktop, right-click on it. Right click means pressing and releasing of the right mouse button once. Right clicking on the desktop will also pop up options or actions that can be taken.

Scroll wheel is the wheel between the left button and the right button. It is simply used to scroll items up or down. This wheel is very important when you are going through a long list of items in a folder or texts in a document.

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