Teaching Students About Whether a Scanner Is an Input or Output Device: Technological Understanding


Understanding the difference between input and output devices is crucial for students who are learning about computer hardware and peripherals. One commonly questioned device is the scanner. This article will explore the classification of scanners as input or output devices while providing teaching strategies to help students better comprehend this subject.

What is an Input Device?

Input devices are essential components of computer systems that facilitate data entry. They allow users to communicate with computers and provide commands or information. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mice, and touchscreens.

What is an Output Device?

Output devices receive processed data from a computer and display, print, or transmit it to the user. In short, output devices give feedback to users in various forms such as visual, auditory or hard copy format. Examples of output devices include monitors, speakers, and printers.

Is a Scanner an Input or Output Device?

A scanner is considered an input device. It captures images from physical documents like photographs and texts and converts them into digital information that can be further processed by a computer. The digital data can then be used for various purposes, including editing, storage, sharing, or printing when paired with an output device such as a printer.

Teaching Strategies:

Class Discussions: Initiate conversations about various everyday computer peripherals to identify whether they are input or output devices. Encourage students to describe how these devices function and classify them accordingly.

Real-life Examples: Use real-life examples like scanning newspapers or textbook pages to help students understand the purpose of a scanner and its role as an input device.

Involve Visual Aids: Utilize visual aids like charts and diagrams comparing various input and output devices to reinforce concepts in a more accessible manner.

Interactive Activities: Engage students in group activities where they must identify input and output devices within a given setup such as a computer lab or school library, explaining their reasoning.

Quizzes and Assessments: Conduct periodic quizzes and assessments to gauge students’ understanding of input and output devices, including the classification of scanners.


Teaching students about scanners being input devices is essential in helping them grasp fundamental computer concepts. By employing various teaching strategies such as class discussions, using real-life examples, incorporating visual aids, engaging in interactive activities, and conducting assessments, educators can effectively enhance students’ comprehension of input and output devices.

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