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Macbooks and PCs and Tablets, Oh My!

Macbooks and PCs and Tablets, Oh My!

Keyword [music, technology, digital technology]

Author: Katherine LaRose

Targeted Audience: Elementary Music Distance Learning Teachers

Computers are wonderful and useful but how much do you know about using a computer and technology? I’ve discovered that many of us know only the bare minimum when it comes to our technology. Do you know what you have? Do you know the shortcuts you can use?

What IS it?!

What device or devices do you have? Do you have any experience with them? Is this your first time using this brand? No matter what, we will get through this and figure it out. There are a lot of devices out there with a lot of differences between them.

A tablet is thought of like a pad of paper. It has a front, the screen, and a back. The screen is the part you type, draw, etc on with your fingers. There are many brands and styles of tablets, some even come with special pens you can use on them. If they do not come with one, you can find one at Best Buy, Walmart, or Amazon. Tablet pens help with your writing, drawing, and other basic skills that one would use with a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.

An iPad is a type of tablet. It is very similar to many tablets that are out there and if you are using an iPad to teach, it can accomplish many things with ease. It is simply a matter of learning the new format.

A PC is a personal computer made by a company that is NOT Apple. Dell, ASUS, and many other brands make PCs that are great for your teaching needs. These are different from tablets in that they have a screen with an attached keyboard. Some laptops are 2-in-1 laptop tablets that let you adjust the keyboard to the back of the computer but they are still considered to be laptop computers in the greater sense.

A laptop is a smaller computer body than what a desktop computer is. A laptop is meant just for that, your lap. You can carry it around far easier. A PC can be a laptop and a laptop can be a PC. You know it is a laptop because all parts of the computer itself are within the body of the keyboard and attached screen.

A desktop is much larger and in separate parts. The screen, keyboard, mouse, and tower are all a part of the same machine but interchangeable. If you have a desktop at home, the tower is the part that does the thinking and looks like a large tower. The monitor is the screen that you view the computer information on in many ways, such as this blog. The tower is the most important part as that is the part that makes the computer work.

A Mac is an APPLE brand item. You might have a Mac desktop or a Macbook of some sort. As I am typing this, I am using my school provided Macbook. It is an Apple product and they tend to be smaller but also lighter than many laptops. Apple has created many variations but the Macbook has been used in my district by the arts departments for several years now with success.

Now What?

Now you need to know how to USE the technology. I will cover some basics of both a PC laptop as well as a Macbook in this blog. Be aware that I am used to using both and will give some very basic information as well as go into depth just a little about basic computer skills.

All of these devices can access the internet. Each one can use the applications on them or download more depending on what is useful and needed. PCs will have a dock at the bottom you can open and close items as well as a search bar, your files, etc. Macbooks have a movable dock that will either be on the side or the bottom. It will only have applications there while the file, finder, etc will all be at the top.


Ctrl + A will select all

Ctrl + C will copy

Ctrl + V will paste

Ctrl + X will cut the item

Ctrl + Z will undo

Home will take you back to the beginning of the current line

Ctrl + Home will take you to the beginning of the document

F2 will rename

F3 will start find

F5 will refresh

Alt + Tab will switch between open applications

Alt + F4 will close the current open program


The top right hand button on the keyboard is your power button. Found it? Great! The top bar is not going to have much you need to use other than the volume buttons, so please try not to fear. We know the rest of the keyboard for typing and such. Even if you are a one-finger-at-a-time person, that is okay. You do NOT need to be typing at 500+ words per minute, if such a person were to exist. Some important buttons will be your Shift, Control, Option, and Command. These buttons will give you the shortcuts, the cheats to getting around on your computer faster.

Keyboard shortcut – press these buttons at the same time for a shortcut

Command + A will select all

Command + C is for copy

Command + V is for paste

Command + Z will undo what you just did

Command + S will save

Command + F will open the search function in the app (if you are in one) or create a new search in the files of your computer

Command + Tab will allow you to switch to the next used app of the ones that are open on your computer

Option + Command + Esc will allow you to force quit an application, especially if it decides to stop working on you

Control + Command + Q will lock your screen

Shift + Command + Q will log you out of your account

Shift + Command + D will show or hide the dock

Option + Volume Up will open sound preferences

Option + Shift + Volume Up (or Volume Down) will adjust the volume in smaller steps

Extra Resources!

Google + Youtube are your friends! If you know even SLIGHTLY what you want, go to the internet. They will help you greatly. To search well, use phrases or questions. Use images if you want to find something similar.

Quotations – “search items only in the quotation marks”

Asterisk – “replaces an unknown word * will give you the closest phrase with the suggestions for the missing word”

Minus – removes a word (ie search John -Lennon will give you every other John search result)

Vs – will compare two items

Search tools will help you filter out the results you don’t want and narrow it down until you get what you want. Use the internet to your advantage. You aren’t alone in this and odds are you aren’t the first person to search for it online.

There are also shortcuts for just about every application. All you have to do is find them.

If you don’t see it here, that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. You can search it on your own.

Katherine LaRose

Gulf Beaches Elementary Magnet School

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