Demystifying abstract terms1 min read


One of the problems with a subject like ICT is relating seemingly abstract terms. In a recent discussion about storage & computer memory, I found some of my Key Stage 3 students had little concept of the units of file size. After a little while we established that a kilobyte was bigger than a byte, a megabyte was bigger than a kilobyte, and a gigabyte was bigger than a megabyte, but that was about as far as it went.

As a result, I decided to put together a poster to explain the largest unit of measurement we deal with at the moment, the terabyte. As our school network has 6Tb storage capacity, it’s a nice figure to do some number crunching with.

Using a handful of web-based facts such as Internet traffic in 1993, and my own calculations based on freely available information, I came up with this:

I hope to get this printed out at A1 size using my school’s large format printer and include a dramatic unveiling of the figures in a lesson dedicated to finding the answers to the questions posed. For example, using the Harry Potter point, students would have to:

  • Find out how many CDs comprise the entire Harry Potter audiobook collection (103 – available from
  • How many minutes an audio CD can hold (74 mins)
  • The minute-to-megabyte ratio of MP3 compression (using 128kbps is roughly 1Mb to 1min)
  • How many times the entire collection can fit on a 1Tb hard drive (therefore how many gigabytes in a terabyte; how many megabytes in a gigabyte)

Download the 300DPI A1 poster freely here.

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By jpgreenwood

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