Internet Basics for ESL Students
Lesson 3
Computer problems and Peripherals

key vocabulary: scanner, modem, laser jet printer, ink jet printer, speakers, Plug and Play, UPS, driver, tape back-up


Dialogue 1

Jim gets the new computer home, turns it on, and nothing happens.
laptop with CD-drive

Pair work. Practice the conversation.

Linda: Hey Jim, that's a nice computer.
Jim: Yeah, but it doesn't work. Look, I turn on the monitor, turn on the computer, and nothing happens.
Linda: Are all the cables plugged in?
Jim: Yes, and I read the manual three times. I don't understand!
Linda: Let me look at it. Oh, here you are - you didn't plug it in.
Jim: Oh no....

listening exercise: check the appropriate box

you hear "Central Processing Unit" -
you check CPU


Dialogue 2

Pair work. Practice the conversation.

Mary: What's in these boxes?
Jim: The big one is my scanner and the little ones are my speakers and modem.
Mary: You sure bought a lot of peripherals.
Jim: Well, I still want to buy a laser jet printer.

a scanner

Reading: Adding new hardware to a computer system is getting easier. A new standard called 'plug and play' should let you connect a new part, install the software drivers and start using it without any problems. It's difficult to hurt yourself working inside your PC, but do not open the power supply or the monitor. It could kill you.

How do you pick the right printer out of the hundreds you might find at a store or in a magazine?

Laser Printers: Laser quality is the best but they are the most expensive. They also are very fast. 600 dpi (dots per inch) is becoming standard. Color printers are very expensive.
Ink jet Printers: Ink jet produces good quality color documents at a good price. They are slower than Laser Printers and most are 300 dpi.
Dot Matrix: Very inexpensive, old and useful if you want to print forms.

What kind of printer have you used? If you want to print a company report, which printer would you use? How much does an ink jet printer cost?

Dialogue 3

When problems happen.
tape back-up

Pair work. Practice the conversation.

Jim: What's the most important part of the computer?
Paul. The most important part of your computer isn't the hard disk or the monitor or the printer. The most important part is the data you use.
Jim: Why?
Paul: It's the only part of your computer that can't be replaced. If you didn't made a back-up copy of it - and something bad happens to your computer - you will never see your data again.
Jim: I should buy a back-up tape drive.
Paul: That's a very good idea.

Computer Lab. Exploring the World Wide Web

a. Boolean Search methods
b. Using search engines



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Copyright (C) 1998 by Jim Schweizer (