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Introducing ICT systems
Introducing ICT systems

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2 Exploring systems

2.1 Introduction

There are many types of system – not just ICT systems. For example, we all have a nervous system and, as you are studying T175, you are in a higher education system. Our homes have plumbing systems and electrical systems.

Activity 1 (exploratory)

What systems do you come across in your daily life? Write down two or three examples under each of the two headings below:

Systems in your home Systems outside the home


Your examples of systems might be very different from mine, but here's my list:

  • In my home there are systems such as the stereo system, my (not very efficient) personal filing system, the central heating system.

  • Systems outside the home include: an appointments system to see the doctor, a library system for borrowing books and other media, a booking system for a concert or the theatre.

    In the workplace there are systems such as the telephone system, the payroll system, the budgeting system, the internal mail system and, of course, the computer systems.

As you can see from my list, and probably from your own, the word 'system' can be used in a number of ways. At first glance, there may not be much in common between a nervous system and an education system or an ICT system, but they are all called 'systems' so it is likely that they share some features. One important aspect of a system is connectedness. A plumbing system, for example, involves components such as pipes, taps and valves, which are all physically connected in some way. The components are put together to perform a certain function, in this case to supply water to a building.

Systems do not always involve physical things; the components may be activities or even ideas. Putting on a concert, for example, involves activities such as hiring a hall, holding rehearsals and selling tickets. These activities can be viewed as a system for putting on a concert because they are put together in order to carry out that function.