Welcome to Free Enterprise, Lesson 2

Free Enterprise, Lesson 2



  • Students will be able to explain how computers increase business productivity.
  • Students will be able to identify ways in which computers are used in business


  • To help students understand what manual tools the computer replaces and to appreciate the power they will have in hand at the end of the course when proficiency in the use of computer tools has been learned.


    Focus: Define new terms
    1. Productivity tool
    2. Application software
    3. Word processor
    4. Spreadsheet
    5. Database
    6. Graphics package

    Teacher Presentation:

    "Computers as Productivity Tools in the Business Environment" (See Teacher Notes Below)

    Guided Practice/Discussion:

    Discuss with students how they have seen computers used in everyday life--in stores, in hotels, in manufacturing, in places of business.

    Independent Practice:

    Teacher prepared case study of some business in the local community. (A good one to do would be the local newspaper.) The students analyze to determine which productivity tools are (or could be) used by this company. Follow this activity with a discussion of the student's ideas.

    Teacher Notes


    Businesses must be able to receive and convey information quickly and accurately, and computers make this possible. Computers have transformed the way we do business. Both large and small businesses have the same goal--to run efficiently and productively and profitibly. Computers increase business productivity because they can process data in a fraction of the time it would take to perform the same job manually thus helping to reduce costs.

    Productivity Tools

    Application software programs perform specific tasks for solving an organization's information needs, or help an individual with personal or educational tasks. They can be developed within a company or purchased from a vendor outside the company. This lesson will present four basic productivity tools: The word processor, database manager, spreadsheet and graphics package.

    1. Word Processor (replaces the traditional typewriter)

      Allows the user to manage documents including text such as letters, memos, and reports. Errors are corrected easily. Text can be manipulated easily--inserted, deleted, moved, copied and enhanced

    2. Database Manager (organized like the traditional filing cabinet)

      Allows the recording, updating, and storing of information in one central location where each department has access to it as opposed to the old method where each department kept its own files. Drawers were stuffed with the same data repeatedly in each department.

    3. Spreadsheet (replaces the traditional calculator)

      Allows accountants and other people who's jobs involve financial calculations to record and make calculations on data and get a printout of the spreadsheet. The great advantage is that once the mathematical formulas are keyed, the data can be changed and the solution will be recalculated instantaneously.

    4. Graphics Packages

      Allow the user to electronically create bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts and presentations. The parts of the graphs can be labeled using text. These graphics can be used in presentations to summarize complex information in a visual rather than text form.

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