General Computer Information
World Almanac for Kids - Resources for homework, reports, and projects in a fun format from a trusted source. Covers a wide range of topics, including Technology (The Rise of Technology, Technology as We Know It, Life in the Digital Age, and Mobile Applications in Everyday Life); written for students in 4th - 8th grade. If you're using this resource at home, you'll have to enter your library card barcode to begin.
Birth of the Internet VIDEO INTERACTIVE - This interactive timeline explores the development of the internet from the 1960s through the early 2000s, with text, images, and video. High school and up (National Science Foundation). See also History of the Web (World Wide Web Foundation; non-profit organization) and, for more details, A Brief History of the Internet (Internet Society; non-profit organization). For the history of computers, see Computer History Timeline and related links, below.
Code.org: Learn Code - A library of online tutorials and activities that teach computer coding. Each resource includes a brief description, and lists the device(s) required and appropriate age group. Searchable by age, topic, device, language and more; for all ages, pre-reader through grade 9 and up, in over 45 languages (Code.org; non-profit organization). Latino STEM's Online Learning includes features activities using Computer Aided Design and Scratch (2020, Latino STEM Alliance; non-profit organization). Scratch INTERACTIVE is a free program you can use to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. You can also share your creations on the website. 'Scratch is intended especially for 8- to 16-year-olds, but younger children can work on Scratch projects with their parents or older siblings, and college students use Scratch in some introductory computer science classes.' Includes tours and video tutorials (MIT Media Lab). The tutorial Scratch: Programming for Budding Computer Scientists [Link opens a PDF] provides additional instruction for older students (2007; by David J. Malan, Harvard University). All You Need is Code (ages 5+;) (European Coding Initiative, European Commission et al.) and Coding Tools for Adults and Older Teens [Archived page, some linked sites are no longer free] link to online courses and tools to help you learn how to write code (2014; Doug Baldwin, Piscataway Public Library). See also TEENZONE: Tech links.
Computational Fairy Tales - Computer science concepts as told through fairy tales. Includes over 70 stories written for a variety of audiences, from those with absolutely no programming experience to those with significant computer science backgrounds (By Jeremy Kubica, a Software Engineer at Google). Computer Science Unplugged VIDEO is 'a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.' Topics covered include data, algorithms, procedures, cryptography, and more. Each Unplugged activity is available to download in PDF format, with full instructions and worksheets; primarily for ages 5 - 12. For related materials, see CS Unplugged: Computer Science Without a Computer (University of Canterbury, NZ).
Computer History Timeline - A history of the development of computers, from 1939 to 2015, with pictures; you can browse by year or by category. There's also a related collection of online exhibits, plus This Day in Computer History, and computer advertising brochures for good historical pictures from the 1950s to the 1980s. (Computer History Museum). For more on computer history, see Computer History FAQ (San Diego Computer Museum). For more on computer history, see The National Museum of Computing (UK). For the history of the internet and World Wide Web, see Birth of the Internet and related links, above.
Computer Science: A Guide to Web Resources [NOTE: Most of these resources are freely available; however, some are available only to the University at Albany community] - For advanced students, this site offers links on a variety of online resources relating to computer science, including dictionaries, journals, programming languages, and much more (2020, State University of NY). See also Computer Science Education links.
Crash Course: Computer Science VIDEO - An online video series explaining the math and science that make computers work. (2020; produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios and hosted on YouTube, site includes advertisements)
Free Online Dictionary of Computing [NOTE: Each dictionary entry includes the date it was last revised. Some definitions have been updated recently, others have not been updated since the 1990s] [CAUTION: This site includes links to Wikipedia articles and pre-formed Google & OneLook searches] - 'A searchable dictionary of acronyms, jargon, programming languages, tools, architecture, operating systems, networking, theory, conventions, standards, mathematics, telecoms, electronics, institutions, companies, projects, products, history, in fact anything to do with computing.' (Editor: Denis Howe, Imperial College, UK; site includes advertisements)
Pew Research Internet Project - Studies on the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. High school and up. (Pew Charitable Trusts)
Useful Websites: Computers & Technology - Our selection of the best websites on computers, the internet, software, security, and home electronics. (South Plainfield Public Library)
How to Use Hardware and Software
Learning Express Library™ Computer Skills Center - Tutorials on the most popular computer software, including Microsoft Office programs, Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, and Windows (XP through 10) operating systems, as well as video courses to help beginners learn to use a computer and the internet. (From LearningExpress, LLC.) [PLEASE NOTE: To access the resources of this database, you must register for a personal account, providing your name and email address, and creating a password.]
For many additional computer tutorials and how-to sites, see our
Useful Websites: COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY page.
GCF Learn Free Online Tutorials VIDEO - Self-paced tech tutorials covering computer basics, Internet basics, e-mail skills, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), as well as Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access) versions through 2016 & Office 365, and Windows, versions 98, XP, 7, 8, & 10. (Goodwill Community Foundation)
Digital Media Tutorials - Online tutorials in reporting, video, audio, photography, web development, mashups, social media and more. (University of California; site includes advertisements).
Keyboard Skills: Dance Mat Typing INTERACTIVE - It's easier to use a computer if you know how to type. This site offers a fun way to learn touch typing. Each lesson builds on previous lessons, introducing new letters as you progress; grades 1 - 6 (British Broadcasting Corporation). Typing Club VIDEO INTERACTIVE offers free interactive typing lessons suitable for middle school and up (site includes advertisements). High school students, see also Good Typing & related links.
How to Use the Web
For many additional computer tutorials and how-to sites,
Useful Websites: COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY page.
Evaluating Websites [Link opens a PDF] - How do you know if the information you see on a website is true and up-to-date? This printable infographic provides some basic tips on how to find out (Multnomah County Library). See also Trust It or Trash It. Follow up with Practice Evaluating a Webpage INTERACTIVE, and related Digital Media Literacy topics (GCF LearnFree). MediaWise VIDEO offers fact-checking videos showing what you can do to figure what's real and what's not online (Poynter Institute; hosted on YouTube). Crash Course: Navigating Digital Information VIDEO is a related channel (site includes advertisements). Deepfakes and the New AI VIDEO explains how manipulated ('deep fake') videos work, and outlines the development of deepfake detection methods (2020, Scientific American). What's Wrong with Wikipedia? (Harvard University) gives a brief overview of some problems related to using Wikipedia. Wikipedia's own About Wikipedia page explains how the site works and its current policies and guidelines, including limited restrictions on some pages. Crash Course's video on Using Wikipedia VIDEO offers helpful advice on how you can use Wikipedia to 'help get a birds-eye view of content, better evaluate information with lateral reading, and find trustworthy primary sources' (hosted on YouTube; site includes advertisements). See also Fact Check, Fake News, and evaluating print sources.
Facebook & Social Media - See Privacy, below.
Internet Ethics - Explores privacy, big data, social media, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other issues; choose Articles or Cases from the menu to start (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University). Digital Compass NEW! INTERACTIVE teaches students the fundamentals of digital citizenship through a choose-your-own-path interactive game, designed for grades 6 - 8 (Common Sense Education).
Media Smarts Educational Games - A collection of online computer games that introduce kids to key ideas in media and digital literacy, such as marketing, privacy, online predators, fact-checking, and more; ages 5 and up (MediaSmarts, Canada). See also NetSmartz, Privacy, and Social Media, below.
NetSmartz Kids VIDEO INTERACTIVE - Videos, games, activity cards, and presentations that help you learn how to be safer online and offline (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®). Cyber Savvy Youth offers quizzes for youth on protecting yourself and your information in the online world (2019, New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs). Play Cybersecurity Circus INTERACTIVE game to test your cybersecurity smarts (Texas A&M). See Social Networking Privacy: How to be Safe, Secure and Social, below, and Computers and Technology: Protecting Yourself & Your Family for links to many additional resources. Cyberbullying: What Kids Can Do and What Teens Can Do suggests things you can do to keep yourself and the kids you know safe from bullying. See also What is Cyberbullying (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). See also Privacy and Social Media, below
Passwords: How to pick the perfect password NEW! - Explains current best practices for storing and creating passwords; see also Simple Tricks to Remember Seriously Secure Passwords NEW! (2021, PC Magazine). See also Passwords and related links.
Privacy Tips for Teens NEW! - Quick tips to help you use the internet more safely and securely; see also Always On Privacy Basics NEW!. Manage Your Privacy Settings NEW! offers direct links to update your privacy settings on popular devices & online services (including email, social media, e-commerce, music & video streaming, and much more), or to read about your platforms' privacy policies (Stay Safe Online, National CyberSecurity Alliance). See also Media Smarts, Passwords, and NetSmartz, above, and Social Media, below.
Wikipedia - See Evaluating Websites, above.