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Computer output devices receive information out of the computer, carrying data that has been processed by the computer to the user. Output devices provide data in different forms like audio, visual and hard copy. It is usually used for display, projection or physical reproduction. Monitors and printers are two of the most familiar output devices used with a computer.
Computer output devices are all peripheral hardware connected to a computer using cables or wireless networking.
Reasons for Having an Output Device
A computer can still function without an output device. However, without an output device, there’s no way to determine what the computer is doing. There is no indicator of errors or the need for additional input. For example, you can detach your monitor from your computer, the computer will still function, but it’s not going to be very beneficial.
Examples of Output Devices
- Monitor – This is the most common computer output device. It creates a visual display for users to view processed data. Monitors come in various sizes and resolutions.
Common Types of Monitors
- Cathode Ray Tube – use phosphorescent dots to generate the pixels that constitute displayed images.
- Flat Panel Screen – use liquid crystals or plasma to produce output. Light is passed through liquid crystals to generate the pixels.
All monitors depend on a video card that is positioned on the computer motherboard or in a special expansion slot. The video card sorts out the computer data into image details that the monitors can show.
- Printer – generates a hard copy version of processed data such as documents and photographs. The computer transmits the image data to the printer, which then physically recreates the image, usually on paper.
Types of Printers
- Ink Jet – sprays tiny dots of ink on a surface to form an image.
- Laser – utilises toner drums that roll through magnetized pigment and then transfer the pigment to a surface.
- Dot Matrix – utilises a print head to set in images on a surface, using an ink ribbon. This is commonly used from 1980 to 1990.
- Speakers – are attached to computers for the output of sound. Sound cards are required in the computer for speakers to function. Speakers range from simple, two-speaker output devices to surround-sound multi-channel units.
- Headset – is a combination of speakers and microphone. It is mostly used by gamers and is also great tool for communicating with family and friends over the internet using a VOIP software.
- Projector – is a display device that projects a computer-created image. The computer transmits the image data to its video card, which then sends the video image to the projector. It is usually used for presentations or for viewing videos.
- Plotter – generates a hard copy of a digitally depicted design. The design is sent to the plotter through a graphics card and forms the design using a pen. It is generally used with engineering applications. It basically draws an image using a series of straight lines.
Input/Output devices are not only output devices but are also used as storage and input devices. The computer transmits data to the drive, where it is saved and can be later accessed.
Examples of I/O devices are CD drives, DVD drives, USB drives, hard disk drives and floppy disk drives.
CDs and DVDs are both types of optical discs that saves data in a digital format. Data is written on the disc, using a laser writer that embeds the data into the disc’s coating.
A floppy disk is a magnetic storage device. A layer of magnetized material is placed within a proactive plastic casing. The computer embeds the data into the magnetized material, using a writing head.