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Online Learning Tutorials: Basic
Computer Essentials

Written by: Holly Cook

In today's world, virtually everyone needs to know how to use a computer and how to type on a computer keyboard. Most jobs involve some type of computer, so you'll need to know how to use one when it's time for you to earn some money. Some careers, such as web or software developers have much more involvement with computers, so if you think you want to go into a career like this, you'll need lots of specialized education and training, possibly working toward a certificate or a degree. Learning computer essentials such as touch typing and mouse operation will help you begin to get acquainted with computers.

One of the most important aspects of using a computer is knowing how to type with the touch-type method. This means that your fingers rest on the keys and each finger has certain keys that it will reach to as you enter words and numbers into the computer. If you practice your touch-typing skills, you'll get faster and faster. Some people who have been typing a long time and who have practiced can type more than 120 words per minute. Once you learn the basics of touch-typing, you can improve your skills by playing typing games and by taking timed typing quizzes.

Using a computer will often involve using a computer mouse, too. Your mouse is the tool you will use to move the computer cursor around the screen. The mouse has to rest on a flat surface near the computer. It has buttons that you use to select items that you see on your computer screen. The mouse usually has a scrolling wheel that you can use to move around your computer screen, too. You can use the mouse to open programs, select text or files, drag and drop items you've selected, hover over items, and scroll to see different parts of a document or a web page. Some mice also have extra buttons that give you more options that you can program them to do. Laptops have a different type of device instead of a mouse, called a touch pad. Using a mouse or touch pad can feel a little tricky at first, but if you practice with it, you'll learn how to use it quickly.

Using a computer also involves making safe decisions about how and when you use it. Safety is especially important when you use a computer to navigate the Internet. You should always have a parents or other adult's permission before you connect to the Internet, and make sure you only visit safe websites that are appropriate for kids. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe when you're browsing the Internet, tell an adult right away. Never share personal information about you or your family with anyone on the Internet or on websites. This includes your full name, your address, your phone number, photos, and anything else that is personal in nature. Once you post or upload something to the Internet, the information stays there. Even if you later delete something, there are saved versions of websites that will have captured and saved your information. So, the best thing is to never post or upload anything that you don't want to be available on the Internet forever. If you ever have questions or concerns about sharing something on the Internet, ask an adult for help first. Play a few games to learn as much as possible about Internet safety. After learning a little about Internet safety, take a quiz or two to see if you can pass these tests.


Mouse Exercises

Safe and Smart Internet Use

USCI Online Learning Tutorials: Basic Computer Essentials

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