Computing and IT

In a world where Information Technology is forever changing and the demands are for everyone to be IT literate are ever increasing, IT is becoming the essential subject.  It is not just about using software programs but much, much more…

“The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of. Amazing developments in communications, collaboration and efficiencies. New kinds of entertainment and social media. Access to information and the ability to give a voice people who would never have been heard.”

Bill Gates

Course description

Year 7 – Pupils move forwards from their basic IT and Computing skills developed in primary school and look at how to use software in a more professional manner. They review their basic ICT skills, prepare a presentation about themselves, produce a number of spreadsheets for Harry Potter and discuss a number of issues regarding E-Safety. They then finish off the year with some work on Logic (the background to computer programming) and create a Movie Trailer.

Year 8 – Pupils continue to develop their basic IT and Computing skills (eg file management and internet research skills).  They then work on units covering the use and design of databases; designing, creating and evaluating a website; creating interactive games using “Scratch” and expanding on their Year 7 spreadsheet skills, to include functions, conditional formatting and locking the spreadsheet by making a picture quiz.

Year 9 – Pupils end the KS3 course by looking at the history of computers and the hardware that makes all of this possible; they do some more logical thinking and program in a text based computer language called Python.  They finish the year with a GCSE style project to draw all of their skills together and prepare them for the start of the GCSE ICT and Computing courses.

Assessments

Assessment takes place in a number of ways for each unit.

  • Literacy tests – A set of keywords which are learnt for homework and tested in the next lesson
  • Written assessment – end of unit tests checking the understanding of topics
  • Project work – The work produced for each unit is marked and a score is given.

The overall assessment for each unit is a combination of these three marks.

Ways to help my child succeed

  • Test them on the key words.
  • Ask them about what they are doing in their IT and Computing lessons.
  • Prompt them to attend in school support sessions and lunchtime homework sessions in the IT Hub and IT rooms.
  • You don’t have to buy specialist equipment for home – we have plenty of computers in school that can be used at lunchtime or after school!

Useful websites

teach-ict.com
www.youtube.com
www.thinkuknow.co.uk

This is the GCSE for students who want a much more technical qualification, which is heavily mathematical and will require you to become a computer programmer.  This is for students who want to study computing in the future or want a career in computing from the technical side.  This is a much more of “Geeky” qualification.

“I literally coded Facebook in my dorm room and launched it from my dorm room. I rented a server for $85 a month, and I funded it by putting an ad on the side.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Course description

You will be studying computer science which can run in parallel with GCSE in ICT.  The GCSE ICT course covers more general ICT skills and sets you up for the future job market.  The GCSE in computer science is a more specialist course and is for people who want to go into a job in the computing world.

It is a much more “technical” qualification and will require you to be more computer literate than the compulsory course.  It also has a large amount of Maths in it.

You can use it to go on to study IT in the Sixth Form by studying for a BTEC National L3 in IT.

Exam board

OCR Computer Science (9-1) – J276

Past papers

www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/computer-science-j276-from-2016

Assessments

  • 50% of the assessment is based on a 1 hour 30 mins paper based exam entitled “Computer Systems” and covers Systems Architecture, Memory, Storage, Wired and wireless networks, Network topologies, protocols and layers, System security, System software, Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns.
  • 50% of the assessment is based on a 1 hour 30 mins paper based exam entitled “Computational thinking, algorithms and programming” and covers Algorithms, Programming techniques, Producing robust programs, Computational logic, Translators and facilities of languages and Data representation.
  • Programming coursework lasting 20 hours where you have to complete an exam board set computer programming task in an exam board approved programming language such as Python (this is compulsory however does not count towards the overall grade).

Ways to help my child succeed

  • Ask them about what they are doing in their ICT and Computing lessons.
  • Prompt them to attend in school support sessions and lunchtime homework sessions in the IT Hub and IT rooms.
  • You don’t have to buy specialist equipment for home – we have plenty of computers in school that can be used at lunchtime or after school!

Useful websites

teach-ict.com
www.python.org
www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/z34k7ty

This is the BTEC for students who want a general IT qualification, which is all about using computers and understanding the basics of how computers and networks function. This is for students who want to complete a course focussed on using computers rather than how they work.

 “Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.”

Steve Jobs

Course description

The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment, including:

  • Development of key skills that prove their aptitude in digital information technology, such as project planning, designing and creating user interfaces, creating dashboards to present and interpret data.
  • Processes that underpin effective ways of working, such as project planning, the iterative design process, cyber security, virtual teams, legal and ethical codes of conduct.
  • Knowledge that underpins effective use of skills, processes and attitudes in the sector, such as how different user interfaces meet user needs, how organisations collect and use data to make decisions, virtual workplaces, cyber security and legal and ethical issues.

Exam board

Edexcel Level 2 Tech Award in Digital Information Technology

Past papers

qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/btec-tech-awards

Assessments

  • 40% of the assessment is based on a 1 hour 30 mins paper based exam entitled “Effective Digital Working Practices” and learners will develop their understanding of what makes an effective user interface and how to effectively manage a project. They will use this understanding to plan, design and create a user interface.
  • 60% of the assessment is based on two pieces of internal assessed coursework lasting 72 hours where students broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts.

Ways to help my child succeed

  • Ask them about what they are doing in their ICT and Computing lessons.
  • Prompt them to attend in school support sessions and lunchtime homework sessions in the IT Hub and IT rooms.
  • You don’t have to buy specialist equipment for home – we have plenty of computers in school that can be used at lunchtime or after school.

Useful websites

teach-ict.com
www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/z34k7ty

We survey students at the end of each of our units of work to see what they think about the unit. This allows us to decide what to keep for next year and what needs to be altered.

Click on the links below to complete the survey for the unit you have been working on.

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9