ICT and computers are not the same thing.
Computers are the hardwarehardware: the physical components of a computer that is often part of an ICT system.
This is why your GCSE is not just about computers but about how, why and when people use them. It is the power of computers and communications that has allowed ICT systems to become so important. Like any piece of equipment, the important thing about it is what it lets us do.
ICT Systems are used in a number of environments, such as:
They're also used in fields such as:
ICT Systems are everyday and ordinary, yet extraordinary in how they can add extra power to what we do and want to do.
The importance of ICT systems
By using ICT systems we are:
- more productive - we can complete a greater number of tasks in the same time at reduced cost by using computers than we could prior to their invention
- able to deal with vast amounts of informationinformation: data with context or meaning and process it quickly
- able to transmit and receive information rapidly
Types of ICT system
The three main types of ICT system to be considered for GCSE are:
This type of ICT system is focused on managing datadata: Information which has been organised or presented for analysis. and informationinformation: data with context or meaning. Examples of these are a sports club membership system or a supermarket stock system.
These ICT systems mainly control machines. They use inputinput: Everything that goes into a system. The three most common inputs in industry are physical inputs, labour and capital., process and outputoutput: the term denoting either an exit or changes which exit a system and which activate/modify a process, but the output may be moving a robot arm to weld a car chassis rather than information.
The output of these ICT systems is the successful transport of data from one place to another.
Input, output and system diagrams
What comes out of an ICT system is largely dependant on what you put into the system to begin with.
ICT systems work by taking inputs (instructions and datadata: Information which has been organised or presented for analysis.), processing them and producing outputs that are stored or communicated in some way. The higher the quality and better thought-out the inputs, the more useful the outputs.
Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)
ICT systems cannot function properly if the inputs are inaccurate or faulty; they will either not be able to process the data at all, or will output data which is erroneous or useless.
GIGO is a useful term to remember in the exam - it can help explain many issues such as why validation is needed and why accurate data is valuable.
GIGO stands for Garbage In, Garbage Out