Using computers safely, effectively and responsibly: Pupils will cover some of the legal safeguards regarding computer use, including overviews of the Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection Act and Copyright Law and their implications for computer use. Phishing scams and other email frauds, hacking, “data harvesting” and identity theft are discussed together with ways of protecting online identity and privacy. Health and Safety Law and environmental issues such as the safe disposal of old computers are also discussed.
Games programming in Scratch: Pupils will be introduced to the Scratch programming environment and begin by reverse-engineering some existing games. They will then progress to planning and developing their own games, learning to incorporate variables, procedures (using the Broadcast function), lists and operators. They should be able to create a fully working game with lives, scoring and some randomisation of objects. Finally they will learn to test and debug their programs.
Control system with Flowol: This is a practical unit covering the principles of producing control and monitoring solutions using a flowchart-based interface (Flowol 4 or earlier). Pupils will start by producing systems that use simple loops and basic outputs, and then move on to look at systems that have multiple inputs and outputs. They will refine their solutions using subroutines and variables.
Spring: Year 7
HTML and website development: Pupils will learn the basics of HTML and CSS, and how to create a responsive design which adapts to any size of screen for viewing on, say, a mobile phone or a PC. They will learn how to create text styles and add content, including text and graphics, in a specified position on a page, as well as navigation links to other pages on their website and to external websites. The basics of good design are covered and, with the help of worksheets, pupils will develop their own templates in a text editor such as Notepad. They will decide on a topic for their own websites, document their designs and collect suitable text and images. They will then use HTML templates to create their websites, including a web form. Pupils can view the data collected by the web form into a simulated database. This also helps to stimulate discussion on the privacy of data.
Understanding computers: It is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary. Pupils will revise some of the theory on input and output covered in previous learning and continue to look at the Input-Process-Output sequence and the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle through practical activities. Pupils will then look at some simple binary to decimal conversion and vice versa, and learn how text characters are represented using the ASCII code. This will be followed by some simple binary addition. Pupils will learn more in depth how storage devices represent data using binary patterns and physically save these patterns. Finally, they will look at a brief history of communication devices, how new technologies and applications are emerging and the pace of change.
Summer Year 7
First steps in small Basic: Students will also be introduced to programming in a textual language designed to make programming easy and approachable for beginners. It starts by introducing Turtle graphics, leading to the use of variables and For…EndFor loops. Simple programs using the Text window are used to introduce input, output and selection. Pupils will get use to these programming statements while having fun producing coloured graphics and making a simple screensaver. They will learn the importance of writing statements accurately, documenting their programs and finding out for themselves in a very visual way how different program statements work.
Introduction to Python: This is an introduction to Python, a powerful but easy-to-use high-level programming language. The focus is on getting pupils to understand the process of developing programs, the importance of writing correct syntax, being able to formulate algorithms for simple programs and debugging their programs. Pupils’ final programs will be put into a learning portfolio with evidence of correct running, for assessment purposes.
Autumn: Year 8
Graphics: Students will have the opportunity to explore how bitmap and vector images are represented and stored by the computer. There will also practise skills in design, photo-editing and image manipulation using a suitable graphics package.
Modelling in Small Basic: This unit covers the topic of Modelling, using a programming language designed to make programming easy and approachable for beginners. After covering the rudiments of Small Basic and its programming environment, pupils start to write small programs which will eventually become subroutines in their Lemonade Stand model. The pupils will discuss some of the different areas in which models are used, from climate change to business enterprises, and the limitations of their own model. It will cover the concepts of selection and iteration, giving practice in each of these, before covering subroutines and modular programming.
Spring: Year 8
Networks: This is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles and architecture of local and wide area networks. Pupils will learn that the World Wide Web is part of the Internet, and how web addresses are constructed and stored as IP addresses. Client-server, peer-to-peer networks and the concept of cloud computing are all described. Ways of keeping data secure and simple encryption techniques are also covered.
This unit will form very good preparation on the topic of networks at GCSE level.
App development in AppShed: Pupils will build their own apps using a web-based app builder. It will give them all the tools and resources to build a working web app which can be used on any HTML5 compatible device. In the unit they will evaluate existing apps, mock up their own designs and build, test and evaluate their own apps. By the end of this unit they will have an understanding of a good user interface, know the difference between web apps and native apps, and be able to find and create resources such as icons and backgrounds.
Summer: Year 8
Python Next Step: This unit will build on pupils prior experience in Python. Pupils then use for loops and compare their use with while loops, before moving on to arrays (lists), which are introduced as a new data structure and are used in conjunction with for loops. Procedures and functions with parameters are covered to help pupils understand the concept and benefits of modular programming. This unit is designed to take pupils right up to a point where a GCSE in Computing can pick up from and should provide ample experience of programming in order to confirm any decision to pursue Computing as a GCSE option.
The qualification will build on the knowledge, understanding and skills established through the
Computer Science elements of the Key Stage 3 programme of study. The content has been designed
not only to allow for a solid basis of understanding but to engage learners and get them thinking about real world application.
Computer Systems 1: This component will introduce learners to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software. It is expected that learners will become familiar with the impact of Computer Science in a global context. Through the study of the ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with Computer Science. It is expected that learners will draw on this underpinning content when completing the Programming Project component (03 or 04).
Computational Thinking, algorithms and programming: This component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Component 01, encouraging learners to apply this knowledge and understanding using computational thinking. Learners will be introduced to algorithms and programming, learning about programming techniques, how to produce robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of computing languages and data representation. Learners will become familiar with computing related mathematics.
Programming Project: Computational thinking is in essence the ability to
model problems in a manner that makes them amenable to computational solutions; it is not simply
instructions and actions. Computational thinkers are able to see algorithms, processes and data and know how to then implement them in their chosen language. In Component 03/04 learners must think computationally to solve a task and while doing so create a report detailing the creation of their solution, explaining what they did and why they did it.
GCSE Information and Communication Technology
Unit 1: Living in a Digital World
In this unit students explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. They learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts (learning and earning, leisure, shopping and money management, health and wellbeing and on the move). They develop awareness of the risks that are inherent in using ICT and the features of safe, secure and responsible practice. The digital world is a rapidly changing one, with developments in both the technology and the way in which it is used. The content of this unit is specified using generic categories, avoiding the use of specific terms that will date. Students should be encouraged to keep up-to-date with emerging technology as part of their learning experience. Technology updates will be provided on the Edexcel website.
- This unit represents 40% of the total assessment weighting of the GCSE in ICT qualification and 20% of the total assessment weighting of the GCSE in ICT (Double Award) qualification.
- It is assessed through a 1 hour 30 minute examination paper set and marked by Edexcel.
Unit 2: Using Digital Tools
This is a practical unit. 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. They learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice.
This unit represents 60% of the total assessment weighting of the GCSE in ICT qualification and 30% of the total assessment weighting of the GCSE in ICT (Double Award) qualification.
- It is internally assessed under controlled conditions.
- Students must complete a controlled assessment task.
Unit R081 Pre-production skills: This unit will enable learners to understand pre-production skills used in the creative and digital media sector. It will develop their understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques that form part of the planning and creation process.
Planning is an essential part of working in the creative and digital media sector. This unit will enable
learners to acquire the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to create digital media products and
gain an understanding of their application. On completion of this unit, learners will understand the purpose and uses of a range of pre-production techniques. They will be able to plan pre-production of a creative digital media product to a client brief, and will understand how to review pre-production documents.
R082: Creating digital graphics: This unit builds on unit R081 and learners will be able to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding gained in that unit and vice versa. Digital graphics feature in many areas of our lives and play a very important part in today’s world. The digital media sector relies heavily on these visual stimulants within the products it produces, to communicate messages effectively. The aim of this unit is for learners to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and why digital graphics are used and what techniques are involved in their creation. This unit will develop learners’ understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.
R085: Creating a multipage website: The aim of this unit is for learners to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and why digital graphics are used and what techniques are involved in their creation. This unit will develop learners’ understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.
R086: Creating a digital animation: This unit enables learners to understand the basics of digital animation for the creative and digital media sector. Learners will be able to plan a digital animation to a client brief, use animation software to create the animation and be able to store, export and review the final product.