ICT Terminology

App: App is short for software application. Apps are applications for smartphones, tablets, or mobile devices. Apps are small pieces of software designed for one specific purpose such a calculator, maps, interactive book, etc. Generally, apps are less complicated and easier to use than the feature heavy applications you run on your computer.

Android: Google’s smartphone and tablet operating system. Unlike Apple’s iOS operating system (used on the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) they are many different manufacturers who produce Google Android compatible devices.


Blog: Blog is a combination of the words “web” and “log”. Blogging is an easy way to start the equivalent of a class website. Teachers and students can post articles and open the blog up to comments from students, teachers, or anyone around the world. Unlike a website, you don’t need to know any fancy web programming skills. I would suggest viewing this great little video (link) that explains Blogs in plain and simple English. Two examples of popular blogging sites are WordPress and Blogger.

Cloud: Applications in the cloud are not installed on computer, instead they are running on a server somewhere on the Internet. The advantage is that you can access your information anywhere. You are not tied to one computer. Sounds insecure? Not really! Most people already used cloud based services but may not be aware of it.. A good example is webmail (such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo) which can be accessed from any Internet enabled computer. Other cloud based applications that can keep your files or notes “in the cloud” are Dropbox or Evernote.

Common Core Basic Education: While not ICT related, Common Core Basic Education is a term often encountered in the Quebec Adult Education System. Common Core Basic Education is often abbreviated as “CCBE” and “FBC” (Formation de Base Commune) is the French system. CCBE is for adult learners who have less than eight years of schooling. Common Core Basic Education subject areas include “Languages”, “Mathematics, Science and Technology”, “Social Sciences”, “Working Life”, and “Personal Development”.

ESL and FSL: ESL is an acronym used for English Second Language, while FSL is an an acronym for French Second Language. ESL courses are taught in the Quebec French language system, while FSL courses are taught in the Quebec English language system.


FGA: While not ICT related, FGA is an acronym used in the Quebec Adult Education system for Formation Générale des Adultes. The term is translated in English as General Adult Education. General Adult Education (FGA) is for students wishing to obtain their Seconday School Diploma or obtain prerequisites for CEGEP or Vocational Training. Vocational Training in the Quebec Adult Education is known as FP, Formation Professionnelle. My mandate is with the RECIT FGA so I’ll only be covering ICT related to FGA classes.

Facebook: Facebook (www.facebook.com) is a social networking website. In a nutshell, Facebook allows you to log-in and see what your “friends” are doing each day. Your friends could be people that you work with, old classmates, family members, new acquaintances, and so on. Upon signing up for Facebook, each member is given a space called a “Wall” where they can publicly post digital pictures or status updates about their daily lives. If you are “friends” with a person, you are able to browse their pictures, see their status updates, and write comments on their “Wall”. At first mostly popular with teenagers, Facebook has grown to be popular with people of all ages. It is worth noting that Facebook is blocked in most school boards.

ICT: ICT is an acronym for Information and Communication Technologies. The term ICT can encompass many technologies, but I generally like to say that in the classroom it’s usually related to anything to do with computers, electronic devices, or the Internet.


Interactive Whiteboard: Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)  are interactive displays that are connected up to a computer and used in our classrooms. Generally they are touch or pen sensitive. Popular brands are SMARTBoard or Promethean boards.


MP3 Files: MP3 is a type of file on a computer that contains audio. MP3 files are a popular format for digital music files. In general, musical MP3s are comparable in sound quality to a compact disc. MP3s are a versatile sound format, as many software applications or Web 2.0 sites will allow your students to use MP3 files when given the option to import digital music files. MP3s are also popular as they are small in file size (i.e – don’t take a lot of room on the hard drive) and are easy to download. However, if you or your students are using commercial music files in projects, make sure you have the rights to use the music!

pdf_terminology1PDF: Adobe PDF files are an industry standard file format that enables users to easily open and print electronic documents.  One advantage of PDF documents is that they do not allow their contents to be further modified.  This ensures that the document content stays exactly as the original author intended it.  PDF files are often used on the for product manuals, bank statements, educational resources, and so on.  To view PDF files, you need to install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.  It is available at this link.

Podcast: A podcast is a pre-recorded audio broadcast that is downloaded from the Internet. Podcasts can then be played back on portable digital music players or a home computer. People can subscribe to regular Podcast broadcasts which will contain audio content similar to a traditional radio show. The great thing about Podcasts (is that like the web) they open up the potential for a mass audience with amateur produced recordings. Many teachers encourage their own students to create Podcasts in the classroom. Last but not least, the name “podcasting” may sound like it’s tied to Apple’s iPods products, but you do not need an iPod to listen to them. Here’s an example of CBC Radio (http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting) Podcasts.

RSS: RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. If you look on the right hand side of my Blog, you’ll see a “Subscribe to Blog via RSS” link with a little orange logo. The best way to describe RSS would be to compare it to a news ticker that you would see on the bottom of your TV set on CNN. However, by using a RSS Reader (i.e – Google Reader) you can subscribe to various “RSS feeds” on certain websites and blogs and therefore get to customize which sources your “news” is gathered from. Here’s a great little video that explains RSS in plain and simple English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU


Smartphone: A phone that is internet enabled and can run apps. Usually is a touch screen, and other features such as GPS, wifi, and music/video.



Social Networking: Social Networking is a website where members communicate with other members through the use of video, text, or pictures, e.g. – Facebook or Twitter.

Streaming Video: In the “old days” of the Internet, one would have to download video files in their entirety before being able to play them. This was often a problem if the video was long and took a significant time to download. Eventually sites started “streaming” videos so that they started playing as they were downloading, such as YouTube. No more waiting. Here’s another way to explain this concept – think of building a bridge. In the “old” way of downloading videos, the bridge had to be built completely before you could cross it. With streaming videos, you can begin crossing the bridge as it is being constructed.

Texting: If you ever notice your students tapping away at their cell phones, they are sending short text messages to each other’s cell phones. It’s somewhat like on-line chatting, but on a cell phone. It is often referred to as texting. Modern cell phones usually have an on-screen virtual keyboard or mini-slideout keyboard. Some people take shortcuts when sending text message as it doesn’t take as long to type. For example the acronym “g2g” would stand for “Got to go”. Another example would be “ttyl!” which stands for “Talk to you later!”

Tablet: In a nutshell, a tablet is somewhat like a huge smart phone (ability to run apps) with the ability to run over 3G or Wifi networks. Unlike smartphones, they typically do not make or receive telephone calls. Apple’s iPad is a tablet computer, but there are many other tablet devices on the market, including those using Google’s Android operating system.

Tweet: A twitter message of messages of 140 characters or less, posted on Twitter.



Twitter: A social networking website where members can post messages of 140 character or less, called Tweets. No permission is needed to “follow” members’ Twitter message, aka – Twitter feeds. Unfortunately, Twitter is blocked in most school boards or districts but can be an invaluable resource of sharing or obtaining relevant information.


Web 2.0: Web 2.0 applications are very popular as you do not have to download or install any software to run a Web 2.0 application on your computer. You simply type in a web address and you’re ready to go! This is great for teachers as you do not need to get special permission from your IT department to install web applications on your school’s computers. Web applications are also “platform independent” which means they will work on all types of computers, whether you have a Mac, Windows, or Linux PC. Examples of sites on my Blog that are web applications would be Google Maps or Picnik.

Wiki: A Wiki is soft of like a “communal website” that can be modified by many users. Since a Wiki is collaborative, teachers have started using them with their classes instead of a typical (static) class website. What’s the difference? Standard everyday websites can be thought of as billboards. A billboard displays static content for people to see but they cannot interact with it. Wikis (if made public) are open spaces where anyone can contribute. If you are relatively comfortable with ICT and want to know more about how Wikis can be used in the classroom, please visit Wikispaces for Educators.

Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a free, on-line encyclopedia which features content written exclusively by its user community. In order to strive for a high degree of accuracy, multiple members of the Wikipedia community often discuss and contribute to the same encyclopedia entries. The English version of Wikipedia can be found at (http://en.wikipedia.com) while the French version of Wikipedia can be found at (http://fr.wikipedia.org)

YouTube: YouTube (www.youtube.com) is a website that allows anyone with a free YouTube account to upload digital video clips for people to see. There are thousands of searchable videos available on all subjects. YouTube is very popular as you do not need to install any fancy software to view videos. Even though YouTube contains pedagogically relevant material, YouTube is often blocked by most school board IT departments.

3 Responses to ICT Terminology

  1. Cool site, love the info.

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