Glossary of terms


Analogy Similarity:Expression or an expression involving explicit or implied comparison of things basically unlike but with some striking similarities (Merriam Websters’s Collegiate  Thesaurus).


A computer mainly used in schools produced by Acorn Computers. For the six months ending in June 1997 Acorn’s turnover dropped by £2.3m to £14.2m.  Acorn Computers Ltd was purchased on Tuesday 1st June 1999 by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.



Advisory Unit Computers in Education. The Advisory Unit is an independent organisation offering IT services and educational software to schools.

BBC Micro  

An early personal computer developed principally for schools by the BBC. The BBC Micro was launched to coincide with a computer literacy drive by the BBC. The machine had possibly one of the best versions of BASIC out of all of the computers at the time and also had good expansion capabilities including networking.


British Education Communications and Technology Agency formerly the National Council for Educational Technology. <


An abbreviation of Compact Disc ROM (Read Only Memory). Data is written in 2048 byte blocks. Data held in pits and grooves on the disc and read by a laser beam.

Cognitive psychology

The study of human memory, learning, knowledge presentation and skill acquisition.


A term to describe early CD-ROM titles (US) which were considered to be of educational value at home as well as school presenting educational material in an entertaining manner. Also meaning a product which failed to achieve either objectives.


Attract attention, employ occupy (person, powers, thought). Emotional involvement or commitment (Oxford Illustrated Dictionary).


An acronym for graphical user interface.


Human-computer interaction is a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena in the interactive relationship.


Integrated Learning System. A computer program that provides interactive learning resources which track student’s progress, gives feedback of sections completed, marks attained for tests and records student’s data for analysis by a supervisor.


The creation of possibilities of individuals learning from other systems. Isomorphism is demonstrated in NLP therapeutic situations when individuals are encouraged to connect the stories they tell about events in their lives to their behaviour.


Information Technology or Informatics can be defined as the science of processing information by machine. This is a narrow definition, but includes the following elements, which define the variety of IT applications in Primary Schools over the years. These are programming, Computer-Assisted Learning, Simulations, Multimedia Software and Information Retrieval.  IT is also considered to be synonymous with basic IT skills.


Information and Communications Technology, “something that supports education goals”. Broad categories of the applications of ICT used in education include:

  • General tools, applied for specific uses in education, e.g. word processing, presentation, spreadsheet

  • Communications software; e-mail, video conferencing, Internet browsers.  resources, especially Internet/Web based, whether of a general or specific educational nature.

  • Computer-assisted instruction e.g. drill and practice, integrated learning systems (ILS). These are ‘systems across computer networks that deliver computer-assisted instruction, and which record and report student achievement’.

  • Computer-based assessment tools, still in early development.  Examination boards are working on computer-based examinations.

  • Management tools; classroom procedures, students’ progress, deficiency analysis etc financial, personnel and educational resources; presentation of results externally to parents, governors, inspectorate, general public; communication with parents and students.


Of, relating to, or being a two-way electronic communication

system (as a telephone, cable television, or a computer) that involves a user’s orders (as for information or merchandise) or responses (as to a poll)  (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)


A world-wide computer network, which is formed from many local area networks (LANs). It has no central point and uses whatever network connections it can find to transmit its own data packets.


Junior, Mixed and Infants School, a common form of primary school organisation with an infants departments and with children staying on until 11 before going to Secondary school instead of moving to a Middle school first.


To treat or operate with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skilful manner (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).


Occurs when the user presses any mouse button. Often used with the corresponding MouseDown event to define what occurs when a mouse button is pressed and released.


“A figure of speech by which a thing is spoken of as being that which it only resembles, as when a ferocious man is called a tiger” (Chambers’ Twentieth Century Dictionary ).

“A figure of speech in which a term is transferred from the object it ordinarily designates to an object it may designate only by implicit comparison or analogy, as in the phrase ‘evening of life.'” (American Heritage Dictionary).


Metonymy is the evocation of the whole by a connection. It consists in using for the name of a thing or a relationship an attribute, a suggested sense, or something closely related, such as effect for cause the imputed relationship being that of contiguity’ Wilden, Anthony (1987): The Rules Are No Game: The Strategy of Communication. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul


The use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way. Long touted as the future revolution in computing, multimedia applications were, until the mid-90s, uncommon due to the expensive hardware required. With increases in performance and decreases in price, however, multimedia is now commonplace. Nearly all PCs are capable of displaying video, though the resolution available depends on the power of the computer’s video adapter and CPU.  ( Internet dictionary definition).


National Council for Educational Technology.

New Media

There are two fundamental points that distinguish “new” media from media that preceded it, much of which still exists:

1. how it is transmitted and accessible ‹ both the new emphasis on the integration of text, pictures, video, sound; and the increasing use of the internet as the vehicle;

2. interactivity — this is both a defining feature of “new” media and likely to be the most significant area for “future new” media development.

Encompassing, the integration of computers, computer networking, and multimedia.

(Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission)


The human concern for physical orientations, objects, substances and seeing.


Portable Document Format. Adobe software which ensures that documents in PDF preserve the exact look and content of the originals, complete with fonts and graphics, and can be printed, distributed by e-mail, and shared and stored on the Web, an intranet, a file system, or a CD-ROM for other users to view on all platforms.


A term used to describe a filmstrip sent to schools with an audio accompanying broadcast on national radio. The system was developed by BBC School Radio. The practice has now ceased and a complete archive of the output is available at the Institute of Education, London.


Software that can be used for a nominal fee to the author.


The title of a series of music programmes broadcast for 5 to 7 year old children under the Time and Tune School Radio Series.

Usability Engineering

A study of the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users can achieve specified goals in particular environments.


Visual Display Unit. An early name for a computer screen.


The World Wide Web is a collection of documents with web pages that can contain text, pictures, audio and video and other elements like virtual reality. The World Wide Consortium has taken on the responsibility for evolving the various international protocols and standards associated with the Web. It is an international industry-supported consortium, jointly hosted by three institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Computer Science — MIT/LCS (America); the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control — INRIA (Europe); and Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (Asia). All three hosts work together to form the “W3C Team”, providing a neutral leadership in the evolution of the Web.