The digital age has seen the web, interactive whiteboards, virtual learning environments, video conferencing, blogs, wikis, podcasts, video and mobile devices have a transformative impact on both learning and teaching. Using technology draws on and enhances pupils’ digital skills, and has opened up subject areas previously unavailable to many pupils.
The new national curriculum for computing has been developed to equip young people in England with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives. Through the new programs of study for computing, students will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs, they will develop their ideas using technology, and create a range of digital content.
The Royal Society has identified three distinct strands within computing, each of which is complementary to the others with each component being essential in preparing pupils to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
- 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 artifacts using a range of digital technologies.
The creation of digital artifacts will be integral to much of the learning of computing. Digital artifacts can take many forms, including digital images, computer programs, spreadsheets, 3D animations and this booklet.
The computing curriculum brings new teaching opportunities to sit alongside those familiar from the ICT program of study. There is an increased emphasis on computer science; not only on how to use technology, but on how to make it and how it works. Planning needs to bring together the three strands of computing (CS, IT and DL) and there are many opportunities to have exciting and creative lessons whilst exploring computational theory (Naace 2006 – 2014).
At Ercall Wood we cater for all these needs by developing a curriculum that allows students to explore computing, practice skills and develop ideas about how to use computers and ICT to enhance their social, economic, cultural and moral wellbeing. Through computational thinking students start to think like a computer scientist. Understanding how computers work and being able to use them creatively gives pupils the power to shape the world around them.
What will I learn?
Key Stage 3: Year 7 students are introduced to Computer Science through the visual modular programming languages of Scratch and Kodu. Digital Literacy is catered for through a research and presentation project on internet safety that includes online research, safe use of ICT, mind mapping, presentation software, audio editing and video production. Mathematics, data organisation and business knowledge are covered in the use of spreadsheets.
Year 8 students learn more about how computers work with binary and Boolean logic forming the foundation of the study that then steps through computer hardware and peripherals into the basics of computer programming notation using flow charts. Programming skills are further developed using Kodu and Scratch. Computational theory is introduced to help students understand how the 1’s and 0’s are used within the computer to represent images and data and how data is stored, processed and filtered to present information to the user.
Key Stage 4: All students are completing the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) qualification. ECDL information: http://www.bcs.org/category/17636
The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) is the internationally recognised qualification for computer users. ECDL improves learners’ understanding of computers and promotes efficient use of software. The course opens up a variety of opportunities through the broad range of skills it provides. The qualification is widely recognised by employers as proof of ability and competence when working with IT.
We have option groups in both Year 10 and 11 who are studying the WJEC GCSE in Computer Science. GCSE information: http://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/computer-science/computer-science-gcse/
WJEC’s GCSE Computer Science specification offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the way computers work, and to create and review computer programs for real-life purposes based on their own interests. It encourages them to create their own games, applications and other systems, rather than simply use those designed by others.
Assessment is divided into three units:
- Understanding Computer Science (45%) – 90 minute examination to assess understanding of the theory content of the specification.
- Solving Problems Using Computers (30%) – 2 hour external assessment to assess the practical application of knowledge and understanding through a series of on-screen tasks.
- Developing Computing Solutions (25%) – internally assessed and externally moderated 15 hour controlled assessment to develop a piece of work using programming software following a task brief issued by WJEC.
How will I learn?
Computer Science (ICT) will be taught 1 x 100 minute lessons every 2 weeks at both Key Stages for all year groups. Year 10 and Year 11 Computer Science option students receive an additional three x 100 minute lessons every 2 weeks.
Students are set according to results in primary school and on general performance in Secondary School.
The department is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to computing facilities. In order to improve their success and allow them the opportunity to extend their knowledge through practice, every night after school we hold a one hour supervised open session. The schemes of work have been structured to improve motivation and extend pupil skills and knowledge. Staff members are on hand to assist students who need extra assistance.
Scratch information: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Kodu information: http://www.kodugamelab.com/
Code Academy: https://www.codecademy.com/
Code Avengers: https://www.codeavengers.com/