Issue 22, Autumn 2010
The McMillan Magazine Online

                                   An A - Z of digital terms


A new term and another brand new section! An A - Z of digital terms is here to help teachers get to grips with the new and growing lexis emerging from the ever-expanding world of digital technology. This term we begin with the letters A to E.


Please email us and let us know of any more terms you come across and we'll include and credit your suggestion.  We'll send a set of readers to anyone whose suggestion we publish.


A is for ...


An avatar is a computer generated character. It can be custom designed to represent the online user or can have a unique character of its own. Avatars are often used in web community blogs or in multiplayer role-playing games to represent each player. They can be useful in the classroom for generating extra writing and listening practice. Sites we’ve tried out include (see the tutorials in our TT Blog section) and ImTranslater ( though there are many other sites around. Here are some more recommendations:


If you try any of these out (or any others) and find any of them particularly classroom friendly,  please write to us and let us know. We’ll publish your suggestion in our Digitips secion.


B is for ...


The word Blog refers to a Web Log which is a list of journal entries on a webpage, otherwise known as an online diary. The use of blogs has not only spread rapidly but has also changed. They no longer contain confidential journal entries but are now places where people can share opinions, ideas or leave comments. Blogs often contain photos, videos or audio clips and links to other websites or blogs. Typically, they are updated regularly.


Blog may also used as a verb, eg 'He blogs everyday' and people who write postings on a blog are known as Bloggers.


Two of the most popular sites for creating blogs are Blogger and Word Press. Click here to read an article about setting up and managing blogs.


C is for ...


Cloud computing
Cloud computing refers to services offered over the Internet. The ‘cloud’ represents the universal and intangible nature of the Internet and is often used a metaphor for the Internet network. An Internet connection is required to be able to use cloud computing services. Since these services are connected online it is possible to share information with other online users. An example of one cloud computing service is Google Docs – documents which are generated, saved and shared online therefore making downloading word processing programmes or other software redundant.

A cookie is information sent to your computer by a Web server that records your actions on a website. When you visit a website, after being sent a cookie, the site will load pages according to the information stored in that cookie. For example, some sites remember your username and password so you don’t have to key in the information each time you enter the site.


D is for ...

Dialogue box
A dialogue box is a window that pops up on your computer with options that the user can choose from. Once selection has been made, the user is usually required to click on OK to confirm choice or Cancel to reject the choice. 


When you digitze something you covert it into digital format. For example, paper books are converted into digital books or e-books, VHS videos into VCRs, and audio tapes into CDs.  To convert from analogue to digital you might use an analogue-to-digital converter, known as a DAC.


E is for ...

An eBook (digital book) is short for electronic book that is the electronic version of a conventional printed book which can be read on a personal computer or hand-held device such as an i-pad.


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