Computing

Why is the subject important?

Computing is how computers and computer systems work, how they are designed and programmed, how to apply computational thinking and how to make best use of information technology. It aims to give students a broad education that encourages creativity and equips them with the knowledge and skills to understand and change the world. Computing brings new challenges and opportunities that should excite and empower students.

Computing incorporates techniques and methods for solving problems and advancing knowledge, and includes a distinct way of thinking and working that sets it apart from other disciplines. The role of programming in computer science is similar to that of practical work in other sciences – it provides motivation and a context within which ideas are brought to life.

The Royal Society has identified three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the others:

  • Computer science is the scientific and practical study of computation: what can be computed, how to compute it, and how computation may be applied to the solution of problems.
  • Information technology is concerned with how computers and telecommunications equipment work, and how they may be applied to the storage, retrieval, transmission and manipulation of data.
  • Digital literacy is the ability to effectively, responsibly, safely and critically navigate, evaluate and create digital artefacts using a range of digital technologies.

Each component is essential in preparing students to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Year 7

What will I be studying?

  • Digital Citizenship – This unit has been designed to ensure that learners are given sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the school network. It also allows the teacher to discuss appropriate use of the school network, and to update and remind learners of important online safety issues. Whilst completing this unit, students will also learn how to use presentation software effectively. In terms of online safety, this unit focuses on respecting others online, identifying strangers, and the effects of cyberbullying.
  • Computing Systems – It is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary. Students will 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 in more 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.
  • Modelling Data – Spreadsheets – The spreadsheet unit takes students from having very little knowledge of spreadsheets to being able to confidently model data with a spreadsheet. The unit uses engaging activities to progress learners from using basic formulas to writing their own COUNTIF statements. This unit will give learners a good set of skills that they can use in computing lessons and in other subject areas.
  • Networks – This unit begins by defining a network and addressing the benefits of networking, before covering how data is transmitted across networks using protocols. The types of hardware required are explained, as is wired and wireless data transmission. Students will develop an understanding of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘World Wide Web’, and of the key services and protocols used. Practical exercises are included throughout to help strengthen understanding.
  • Using Media – During this unit, students develop their understanding of information technology and digital literacy skills. They will use the skills learnt across the unit to create a blog post about a real-world cause that they would like to gain support for. Students will develop software formatting skills and explore concerns surrounding the use of other people’s work, including licensing and legal issues.
  • Programming essentials in Scratch part 1 – This unit is the first programming unit of KS3. The aim of this unit is to build learners’ confidence and knowledge of the key programming constructs. Importantly, this unit does not assume any previous programming experience, but it does offer students the opportunity to expand on their knowledge throughout the unit. The main programming concepts covered in this unit are sequencing, variables, selection, and count-controlled iteration.

How will I be assessed? 

Students will complete three written assessments.

Which websites should I use to support my learning?

What will I be studying? 

  • Computer systems – It is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary. Students will look at the Input-Process-Output sequence. Students will then look at some simple binary to decimal conversion and vice versa. This will be followed by some simple binary addition. Students will learn in more 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.

 

  • Advanced spreadsheet Modelling – Students are taught how to use advance functions of spreadsheets to predict differing scenarios. This helps students to create and edit spreadsheets to test different hypothesis and model different predictions. This unit builds on the work the students have done towards the end of Year 7 and moves their learning on from the basic understanding and uses of spreadsheets to using more advanced features such as VLOOKUP and conditional formatting and helps then to understanding modelling.

 

  • HTML Web design – This is the first of the multimedia units in which learners will explore the technologies that make up the internet and World Wide Web. Starting with an exploration of the building blocks of the World Wide Web, HTML, and CSS, learners will investigate how websites are catalogued and organised for effective retrieval using search engines. By the end of the unit, learners will have a functioning website.

 

  • Vector Graphics – Following the theme of multimedia from the previous website unit, this is a good follow on unit in order to help the students to understand that Vector graphics can be used to design anything from logos and icons to posters, board games, and complex illustrations. Through this unit, students will be able to better understand the processes involved in creating such graphics and will be provided with the knowledge and tools to create their own.

 

  • Networks – This unit begins by defining a network and addressing the benefits of networking, before covering how data is transmitted across networks using protocols. The types of hardware required are explained, as is wired and wireless data transmission. Students will develop an understanding of the terms ‘internet’ and ‘World Wide Web’, and of the key services and protocols used. Practical exercises are included throughout to help strengthen understanding.

How will I be assessed? 

Students will complete three written assessments

Which websites should I use to support my learning?

What will I be studying?

  • Media Graphics – This Unit of work will give students an understanding of how digital images are made up, addressing pixels, resolution and pixel depth. Students will then move on to gain an understanding of some of the key tools in Photoshop to produce a range of images using a variety of editing techniques.
  • Media Animation – Students will discover how professionals create 2D animations using the industry-standard software package, Animate. Students will understand the basics of animation and key techniques used to create an animation. In this unit, links are made throughout to computer science, computational thinking, and the world of work.
  • Cyber Security – This unit takes the students on an eye-opening journey of discovery about techniques used by cybercriminals to steal data, disrupt systems, and infiltrate networks. The students will start by considering the value of their data to organisations and what they might use it for. They will then look at social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals to try to trick users into giving away their personal data. The unit will look at the more common cybercrimes such as hacking, DDoS attacks, and malware, as well as looking at methods to protect ourselves and our networks against these attacks.
  • Introduction to Python Programming – This unit introduces learners to text-based programming with Python. The lessons form a journey that starts with simple programs involving input and output, and gradually moves on through arithmetic operations, randomness, selection, and iteration. Emphasis is placed on tackling common misconceptions and elucidating the mechanics of program execution. A range of pedagogical tools is employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples.

In 2020-21, Students in Year 9 will initially complete the Year 8 units of work before progressing to the Year 9 units as they have 2 hours per week of Computing.

How will I be assessed? 

Students will complete three written assessments.

Which websites should I use to support my learning?