Making friends with CAT Theory

CAT is a living subject – you are surrounded by examples of computer technology all the time. The technology changes rapidly and you can keep up-to-date by simply being curious.

The theory component of CAT should not be boring “book learning”. Almost without exception, you should be able to see examples of and experience the technology that you are learning about. Learning about open source software? Load an old PC with Ubuntu and OpenOffice and explore the differences between that set-up and the Microsoft operating system and office suite you are used to using. Learning about URL shortening? Register with (for free) and shorten the URL’s for you PAT research questions.

Almost all of your theory should fit into one of the two diagrams below, and if you are answering a question, start by detailing where it fits into the diagrams:

CAT Theory diagram
The “Information Processing Cycle”

For example, if a question requires you to explain what a mouse is:

  • describe its place in the first diagram and start with the obvious facts: a mouse is a hardware device used for input
  • and continue by describing in terms of the second diagram how the input from the mouse, such as a right-click, is processed the result is output on the screen, a right-click menu

I cannot stress enough the importance of learning terminology. Make a list of acronyms and learn them off-by-heart – make a set of flash-cards and ask you friends and family to help you!

As in almost any subject, knowing a little about the history of computers important in understanding where we are now.

By MisterFoxOnline

CAT Educator

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