What is an input device

Students are debating what is an input device. Are the power and volume buttons on an iPhone input devices or just buttons like on and off switches. Going farther if the keyboard is a input device is each key itself a separate device or just a “button” on one larger device?

Another question is whether headphones are an input device because the plug that you put into the computer. The jack has to somehow know that it is headphones vs something else and the jack has to decide whether to play sound through the headphones versus the speakers.

Great questions, @jessicakachur. Through Unit 1, students learn that computers process information following the input > processing > storage > output model outlined in Lessons 5-7. If so, I’d ask them to consider whether pressing the power or volume button causes the computer to do something with that information in order to create a change to what the user experiences (which they both do).

I think the question about the individual keys of the keyboard can be reframed: is a piano one instrument, or 88 smaller instruments put together? Sure you can play a single note but in order to get a complete piece, the musician needs all keys to make all the sounds they want. This one is starting to remind me of philosophy class, though :slight_smile:

Good point on the headphones; however, the way they are intended to be used is that they produce sound when told to by the computer. I get the point about the computer choosing where to play the sound, but anything designed to play audio is primarily an output device.

Hope that helps!
–Michael K.

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