Technical Requirements and Prerequisite Skills for Learners Technical Requirements and Prerequisite Skills for Learners

What computer skills do my students and I need?

You and your students should know how to use a:

  • Mouse (click and scroll)
  • Keyboard (type, backspace, and use shift key)
  • Web browser (open a browser, navigate a basic website, click buttons and links)
  • It is better if your students know how to use a microphone, but it is not necessary.

If you use a tablet, you will need to know how to use its keyboard, where volume control is located, how to use a scrollbar, and how to open a browser to a website.

What kind of hardware and software is needed to use USA Learns?

You and your students will need a computer or tablet with:

  • A fast Internet connection
  • A sound card
  • A video card
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Javascript must be enabled
  • For laptops or computers: A Web browser with the Flash plug-in installed.
  • For Tablets: a “Flash gaming browser” app installed (search the AppStore or PlayStore on the device for “Gaming browser” or “Flash browser”)
  • It is best if students have a headset with a microphone connected to the computer, but it is not required.

Why can’t I use this site in my school’s computer lab?

USA Learns was designed as a distance learning website for use on home broadband or cable connections where only a single user connects to the site.

The USA Learns website includes many videos, animations and audio files. All of this media requires a large amount of bandwidth to function successfully. Most if not all home networks and even fast wireless networks can handle one or two devices connecting to the website.

School networks, on the other hand, are shared with many people connecting to the Internet at the same time. That and because there are many different hardware and connectivity variables, multiple users accessing the site simultaneously from a computer lab quickly “clogs up” a school’s network. The resulting impact on the students’ connection would be videos and animations that crash, freeze, or do not perform optimally.

If you find that your network can connect multiple devices, great! If not, try smaller groups or contact your network coordinator to see if the lab or classroom bandwidth allotment can be increased.

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