Acceptable Use Agreement/Policy (AUA or AUP)

A form that is signed by an individual, and when appropriate, legal guardian/parent, that

acknowledges responsible behavior and use for the technology provided by the district,

including the legal implications of the use of the Internet.

Adaptive Devices

Devices that help people with visual impairments, hearing losses, severe speech

impairments, physical disabilities and/or severe learning disabilities cope with demands

that are placed upon them from their environment. (See also Assistive Technology)

Assistive Technology

Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the

shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the

functional capabilities of children with disabilities. (Federal Register, August 19, 1991, p.

41272.) (See also Adaptive Devices)

Alternative Keyboard

A self-contained word processing device with full-size keyboard and memory that allows

editing, printing or direct transfer to a computer for storage and manipulation (brand

names, e.g., AlphaSmart, Dream Writer).


A contraction of binary digit. It is the smallest unit of storage in a computer. The bit is

represented by a zero (0) or one (1) for information; instructions and data may be

represented by sets of bits. Compare byte.


A marker that allows a user to identify a site on the Internet to allow rapid access. Also,

a marker that allows a user to mark a place in a word processing document.

Boolean (also Boolean Operator)

A system of logic that, when applied to searches, modifies search terms with the

“operators” AND, OR and NOT. Boolean operators allow you to broaden or narrow the

range of your search.


An application that allows people to scan and interact with a network. Netscape and

Internet Explorer are examples of browsers.


A set of bits, typically eight, that comprises the smallest accessible unit in computer

memory. It is the equivalent of one letter or one digit from 0 to 9.

CD (Compact Disc - Player/Reader)

A device attached to a computer that provides access to information such as

encyclopedias, dictionaries, databases or music. These are devices that allow users to

store or write to a CD.

CD-ROM (Compact Disc – Read Only Memory)

A CD-ROM format used to store large amounts of information. A flat round disc that is

used to store digital data. The disc is read by a laser. You can only read information on a

CD. You cannot record information on a CD.


To press and release a mouse or trackball button once while the cursor is stationary.



Clip Art

Graphics that can be cut and pasted electronically into documents. Clip art can be

photographs, diagrams, maps, illustration or cartoons.


A special file or memory area (buffer) where data is stored temporarily before being

copied to another location. In Microsoft Windows and the Apple Macintosh operating

systems, the Clipboard can be used to copy data from one application to another. The

Macintosh uses two types of clipboards. The one it calls the Clipboard can hold only one

item at a time and is flushed when you turn the computer off. The other, called the

Scrapbook, can hold several items at once and retains its contents from one working

session to another.

Copyright guidelines

Intellectual Property Rights (copyright) are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and

Federal law. These protect the individual who produces creative works from the theft of

their work by others. Within the U.S. (not necessarily a part of any international

copyright agreements), Fair Use Guidelines provide limited privileges to educators.

Legal citation: There are a number of additional sites that have

helpful information on this topic, including:

CPU (Central Processing Unit)

The CPU is the brains of the computer. Sometimes referred to simply as the processor or

central processor, the CPU is where most calculations take place. In terms of computing

power, the CPU is the most important element of a computer system.


Used in computer graphics, cropping is a method used to cut off the sides of an image to

make it the proper size or to remove unwanted parts. Most graphics applications allow

you to crop images with a clip feature.


1) removes highlighted item and places a copy of it on the clipboard.

2) A process of replacing a video picture with another instantaneously, or making an

abrupt change of image or sound.


A collection of data arranged into categories. These can then be manipulated by the user

to create reports.


Removing a character, word, line, paragraph or other specified amount of text from a


Digital Camera

A hardware product that captures an image and sends it to a computer.

Digital Photo

An image that is stored in bits and bytes on a computer. It can be manipulated and

displayed on a computer screen.


A term used when referring to a compact disc or laser disc on which information is stored



Media that stores computer information. There are two basic types: hard disks (or drives)

and floppy disks.


A file created by a program.


To hold down a mouse button while moving the mouse. It is a way to move objects,

resize borders and objects or select text in blocks.


Any device that reads and writes information, such as a hard drive, floppy drive, CD

ROM drive or tape drive.

Drawing Tools/Program

Software used to create any type of drawing, from a simple line sketch to a magnificent

full-color poster. Drawing programs are used by graphic artists and designers.

E-mail (Electronic Mail)

The electronic transmission of letters, documents, messages and memos from one

computer to another over a network.

Electronic Card Catalog

A computer-based version of the traditional library card catalog. A patron uses a

computer to type in or select pre-determined search strategies to access items in a

library’s holdings.

Encryption Software

Encryption software puts data into a secret code so it is unreadable, except by authorized

users. The most common form is public encryption, which is a way of encrypting

messages in which each user has a public key and a private key. Messages are sent

encrypted with the receiver’s public key; the receiver decrypts them using the private

key. Using this method, the private key never has to be revealed to anyone other than the


Enter Key/Return Key

A key located at the right end of the third row from the bottom on a keyboard. Pressing

the Enter key performs a typed or highlighted command. In word processing, the Enter

key starts a new paragraph.

Erase Disk

On the Macintosh, the term for formatting or initializing a disk.


Science of body positioning to reduce physical, mental and emotional stress on the



The most commonly used technology for networking computers.

Fair Use Guidelines

Support for educators and educational institutions within compliance of U.S. Intellectual

Property Rights laws (copyright), Fair Use is an agreement between industry (copyright

holders), education and the government allowing limited use without purchase of





A device or program that separates data or signals in accordance to specific criteria.

Currently, educational institutions are required to have some form of filter between

students and the Internet. Compare to firewall.


A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network.

Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both,

and are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private

networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving

the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those

that do not meet the specified security criteria. There are several types of firewall

techniques: packet filters, application gateways, circuit-level gateways and proxy



Industry standard. A “bus” (device) that can move large amounts of data between

computers and peripheral devices. Manufacturers of multimedia devices use this

technology because it speeds up the movement of multimedia data and large files, and

enables the connection of digital devices (e.g., digital camcorders, digital video tapes and

music systems) directly to a personal computer.

Floppy Disk Drive

A device used to write and read data to a floppy disk and transfer the information to the

computer’s memory.

Floppy Disk

A 3.5 inch removable disk that’s flexible (although it’s protected by a hard plastic case).

Also called a diskette. Compare disk.

Flow chart

A flow chart is a graphical representation of a computer program or order of operations.

The process of flow charting includes defining the project, determining the steps in the

project, creating a graphical representation, and testing assumptions about the project (or



In graphical user interfaces such as Windows and the Macintosh environment, a folder is

an object that can contain multiple documents. Folders are used to organize information.


A single style of typeface and size (e.g., Times New Roman, 12pt).


1) (noun) The layout, presentation or arrangement of data on a screen or paper.

2) (verb) The process whereby a disk is made ready for storing data by organizing the

surface into tracks and sectors. Synonymous with initialization. Compare Erase


FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

A method of transferring files between computers connected to the Internet.

GPS (Global Positioning System)

A system of satellites that transmit continually, which make it possible to identify each

location through a receiving unit, by triangulation.



Graphic Calculator

A calculator that allows the user to program in a formula to present data visually in graph

or chart form.

Graphic Organizer

Software that visually organizes the thought or creative process. Also known as

storyboard software, these combine both icons (graphics) and text to give structure and

logic to a project or presentation.

GUI (Graphical User Interface)

A program interface that takes advantage of the computer’s graphics capabilities to make

the program easier to use.


Attempts to gain unauthorized entry into a computer system or network.

Hard Drive

The primary storage device for your computer. Also called hard disk. It is where

applications, utilities and files are stored.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

A programming language for creating pages on the World Wide Web.

Hyperlink, Hypermedia, Hyperstack

Hyper – multi-dimensional. Media – text, graphics, sound, animation and video.

Hypermedia was originally coined to describe how different forms of information can be

linked in a non-linear fashion. Users move from one group of information to another by

clicking on text or graphics on a computer screen. These “hyperlinks” allow users to

individualize the way they move through and process the information being presented to



The process whereby a disk is made ready for storing data by organizing the surface into

tracks and sectors. Synonymous with formatting. Compare Erase Disk.

Input Device

A machine through which data and instructions are entered into the computer’s main

memory. A mouse, a graphics tablet, and detachable keyboards are examples of input


Intelligent Agents

Programs, used extensively on the Web, that perform tasks such as retrieving and

delivering information and automating repetitive tasks. Agents are designed to make

computing easier. Currently they are used as Web browsers, news retrieval mechanisms

and shopping assistants. By specifying certain parameters, agents will “search” the

Internet and return the results directly back to the user’s PC. Some intelligent agents are

also used as tools to track Web behavior; they can even “watch” as the user surfs the ‘Net

and record how often he/she visits a certain site. Later, they can be used to automatically

download the user’s favorite sites, letting the user know when a favorite site has been

updated, and even tailoring specific pages to suit the user’s tastes.


Refers to an application or system that provides information in response to the user’s





A global communications network that is a collaborative effort among educational

institutions, government agencies, various commercial and nonprofit organizations, and

individual users. The Internet allows three primary functions: communications (e-mail

and news), retrieval of information and transferring files (FTP).


The term used for the implementation of Internet technologies (communications

protocol/mail/file transfer/Web browsing/user interfaces/terminal emulation) within an

organization, to enhance the organization’s operation, efficiency, and development by

providing all organizational resources to each employee's desktop with minimal cost and

time. Intranets connect the different types of computers on a network, thus providing for

open standards which allows flexibility.


The main input device for computers. Keyboards are derived from the typewriter but

have additional keys that enhance their function.

Keyword Searching

A keyword is a predefined word or set of words that identifies a specific record or

document. A keyword search uses these keywords to locate information in a database or

on the Internet.

LAN (Local Area Network)

Programs, storage and graphic devices at multiple computer workstations over relatively

small geographic areas for rapid communication. Compare WAN.


A list of commands or options from which choices are made. Most applications now

have a menu-driven component.


In word processing, when information from a table or database is inserted into a

document. In a spreadsheet, the combining of more than one cell to create a single cell.


A screen used to display the data received from a processor, or data transmitted to the

processor. A computer monitor does not have facilities to receive broadcast signals or

process sound. A video monitor can receive broadcast signals and process sound.


A pointing device for moving the cursor on the screen.


The rules of etiquette on the Internet.


A collection of computers that are linked together for the purpose of sharing information.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

OCR involves reading text from paper and translating the images into a form that the

computer can manipulate (for example, into ASCII codes). An OCR system enables the

scanning of a book or a magazine article, feeding it directly into an electronic computer

file, and then editing the file using a word processor.


A common term used to refer to being connected to the Internet.

Output Device

A peripheral through which information from the computer is communicated to the

outside world; for example, a display screen, printer or speakers.


A code word of letters and/or numbers that allows a user to gain access to a secured

system or piece of information. Compare to PIN.


A command that inserts text or graphics from the clipboard to the document at the

location of the cursor. Requires that an item first be placed on the clipboard using Copy

or Cut commands.


A device that can communicate directly with a computer, such as printers, scanners,

cameras, CD-ROMs and laserdisc players.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)

A pocket-sized personal computer. PDAs usually can store phone numbers,

appointments, and to-do lists. Some PDAs have a small keyboard, others have only a

special pen that is used for input and output. A PDA can also have a wireless fax

modem. Files can be created on a PDA which are later entered into a larger computer.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)

A privileged code that allows a user to gain access to a secured system or piece of

information. May be assigned by the system operator or selected by the user. Compare


Point and Click

A method of interacting with a computer using the mouse. The user moves a cursor on

the screen based on the corresponding movement of the mouse. When the mouse is over

the desired graphic or text on the computer screen, the mouse button is pressed or

“clicked” to start a desired action.


An interface on a computer used to connect a device. Personal computers have various

types of ports. Internally, there are several ports for connecting disk drives, display

screens and keyboards. Externally, personal computers have ports for connecting

modems, printers, mice and other peripheral devices.


The selecting of one thing over another. In computer terms, it is a section of the

operating system or software application that can be set as a “default.”

Presentation Device

One of several devices that can be connected to a computer to display information to an

audience. The most common devices are video projection units and video converters for

television monitors.


Probe: A variety of devices that can be connected to a computer or graphing calculator to

collect data.

Probeware: The software that allows the probe or probes to interface with the computer

or calculator.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

Memory used to run the operating system and applications in a computer. The more

RAM a computer has, the more applications it can run simultaneously. The operating

system and other software are stored on the computer’s hard disk, but they run in RAM.

Data stored in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off.

Remote Control

A wireless device used to control a piece of electronic equipment such as a television,

tape or CD player, stereo or video camera.

ROM (Read Only Memory)

System memory not available to user, but used by the operating system. This memory is

programmed only once by the manufacturer and cannot be changed.


A device for converting text or graphics displayed on a sheet of paper into a digital image

you can display on your computer screen and use with certain applications.

Scientific Probe/Science Probe

See probe/probeware

Search Engines

A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the

documents where the keywords were found. Although search engine is really a general

class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Alta Vista

and Excite that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web and

USENET newsgroups. Typically, a search engine works by sending out a spider to fetch

as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, reads these

documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each

search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only

meaningful results are returned for each query.


One-by-one. Serial data transfer refers to transmitting data one bit at a time. The

opposite of serial is parallel, in which several bits are transmitted concurrently.


A computer that provides shared, centralized resources (such as files, e-mail, databases,

modems and printers) to other computers on the network.


An electronic imitation. SimCity is a game in which a simulation of a real city is created

on a computer.


The instructions that tell a computer what to do.


To place, separate or arrange according to common characteristics.


Unsolicited, unwanted junk e-mail with wide distribution.

Spell Check

A feature built into many applications that allows the user to check for spelling errors or

look for synonyms.



Spreadsheets applications (sometimes referred to simply as spreadsheets) are computer

programs that let you create and manipulate spreadsheets electronically. In a spreadsheet

application, each value sits in a cell. Data can be defined in each cell and how different

cells depend on one another. The relationships between cells are called formulas, and the

names of the cells are called labels.

Streaming (Web Streaming)

Playing audio or video immediately as it is downloaded from the Internet, rather than

storing it in a file on the receiving computer first. Streaming is accomplished by way of

Web browser plug-ins, which decompress and play the file in real time; a fast computer

and fast connection are necessary.

TCP-IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)

The suite of communications “rules” used to connect hosts on the Internet.


The letters or words of a written work.

Text Support Software

Materials available from a textbook publisher that support, supplement or replace print

content for students. These may be on-line, in disk or CD-ROM format.

Text Wrap

A feature supported by many word processors that enables you to surround a picture or

diagram with text. The text wraps around the graphic. Text wrap is also called text flow.


A command within many applications that reverses the most recent thing you did in the


URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

The global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. The first

part of the address indicates what protocol to use, and the second part specifies the IP

address or the domain name where the resource is located.

USB (Universal Serial Bus)

A personal computer bus which can support up to 127 peripheral devices in a daisy chain

configuration, and has a total bandwidth of l.5 megabytes per second. It uses inexpensive

cable, which can be up to 5 meters long.


An analog video tape player and recorder which is usually connected to a television

monitor to record or play tapes. One-half inch (1/2”) video tape is the most commonly

used format


A visual recording of information.


Conducting a conference between two or more participants at different sites by using

computer networks to transmit audio and video data. For example, a point-to-point (two

person) videoconferencing system works much like a video telephone. Each participant

has a video camera, microphone and speakers mounted on his/her computer. As the two

participants speak to one another, their voices are carried over the network and delivered

to the other’s speakers and whatever images appear in front of the video camera appear in

a window on the other participant’s monitor. Multipoint videoconferencing allows three

or more participants to sit in a virtual conference room and communicate as if they were

sitting right next to each other.


A variety of software packages that allows students to create a model of a real world

system. These models are often three-dimensional in nature.


A program that infects and replicates itself in computer files, spreading from computer to

computer. Some viruses can be relatively harmless, simply displaying a message on the

screen. Other viruses can be extremely damaging, crashing the hard drive so all data is


WAN (Wide Area Network)

A network that spans geographically separated areas, usually by using models and

dedicated, high-speed telephone lines. Compare LAN.

Web Page

One page of a document on the World Wide Web. A Web page is usually a file written

in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), stored on a server. A Web page usually has

links to other Web pages. Each Web page has its own address called a Uniform Resource

Locator (URL) in the form:

Web Site

A site (location) on the World Wide Web. Each Web site contains a home page, which is

the first document users see when they enter the site. The site might also contain

additional documents and files. Each site is owned and managed by an individual,

company or organization.


A Microsoft term for pre-designed elements of a software package. Will “ask questions”

and assist in the design of a document. For example, a “letter wizard,” within a word

processing application, would lead the user through the steps of producing different

types of correspondence. (May also refer to an outstanding programmer or a system

administrator.) Compare to Assistant in Macintosh.

Word Processor

Software that allows you to enter, edit and format text. Some software will allow the use

of graphics.

Web or WWW (World Wide Web)

A global hypertext network that is part of the Internet. It is normally viewed through a

browser that provides a Graphical User Interface.

Note: Many of these definitions were found at