Is the power cord an input?

Kids were mentioning this as an input…I mean, I guess it is because it gives power to the device. Thoughts anyone?

Mrs. Bardelli,

Great question! What did the students come up with? I would say that I would be, but understanding that a computer needs more than just an input and try to have students come up with examples of other things that have one component of a computer (Input/Output/Storage/Processing).

Hope that helps!

They did say that it gives the computers/batteries power. But I did explain to them that an input needs to give information in order to be considered as an INPUT device.


My students listed the power cord as well (right along with an AUX cord), and it provided a great discussion about input and output. It seemed to be a common answer with my seventh and eighth graders.

At the end of that discussion, I did stress the importance of input being more than something that you plug in (which seemed to be their train of thought and their understanding of input). So I spent some time walking through different kinds of input using their cellphones as examples. I started by asking, “What are some things that you do on your phones?” They came up with a list like make phone calls, listen to music, text, get on social media, watch YouTube, play games. So I walked them through the input versus output for each of those tasks. For example, texting - using the keyboard or touchscreen to enter the message and the receiver getting the message. Accessing their music via Spotify or Pandora from the Internet and how the music comes out of their speakers/headphones/earbuds as output. Placing and carrying on a phone conversation - inputting the phone number via the keyboard/keypad on the touchscreen and pressing the Dial button, speaking into the mic during the call and listening on the other end as the receiver. Swiping on the screen or tilting/rotating the phone to make characters do different things in games they play on their phones.

This discussion gave them an opportunity to see input as not only the device that gets the information into the computer (which may or may not be plugged into the phone/computer), but also the information itself that goes in. They struggle so much with fully understanding those concepts. We’ll continue to address these understandings, and see where their thinking goes!

I’m glad to see others addressing some of these same ways of thinking!

1 Like

I love this! My students are still stuck as they work on designing an app. I’m going to review the phone app and the Facetime app to see if it helps!

Thanks for the suggestions!

This is a rewrite. I had to think about this. My answer stayed the same but it is now based on the definition of input from the lesson.

Input - A device or component that allows information to be given to a computer

The power cord is a component to the computer; however, is power considered information?

The power cable brings in either 110/220 volts AC or a regulated DC voltage into the computer. While this raw voltage can not be stored in the hard drive or processed by the CPU, circuits within the computer can monitor various characteristics of this power which is turned into a digital signal that is processed or stored in the computer.

A microphone can detect sound waves, turn that into a signal that can be processed and stored by the computer. A microphone is considered an input.

It is logical that a power cable, which brings in voltage into a computer that can be processed and stored by a computer, is also considered an input.

1 Like