Computer Science

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It is very difficult to imagine your personal, social or work life without the support and assistance of technology.  A research study predicted that 90% of all jobs will require at least basic digital skills by 2020 (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-859_en.htm). Therefore having an ICT related qualification within your portfolio is likely to help and support you during the next stage of your career.

The Computer Science Department vision is to ensure that by the time students leave the academy in Year 11 they will have had the opportunity to experience a broad range of technologies/ICT devices and software allowing them to be confident, capable and discerning in their use of ICT. It is expected that these skills and capabilities will be put to good use in either further education or the workplace allowing them to become independent learners. The statement below describes how the department will achieve this vision:

ICT is valued by the students and staff in the academy. This is illustrated through constant investment to update the technology and the wide range of mobile devices available for the students. It is demonstrated by the students with their respect for the ICT equipment and the extensive use they make of it during their own time. Students have access to the computers before school, at lunch times and after school via Mrs Watson in the Learning Resource Centre and the ICT rooms.  All students have the opportunity to have Internet access, an Academy e-mail and the use of Google Classroom.

Within the St Lawrence Academy, ICT is the umbrella term to cover learning in information technology, computing and digital literacy. ICT is used in discrete lessons to try and empower the users. On many occasions ICT can be used as scaffolding to bypass potential numeracy and literacy challenges. This illustrates to the student THAT THEY CAN ACHIEVE. Increasing engagement and motivation will usually lead to improved attainment over the long term. ICT can motivate and enthuse students whilst being fun. This can be achieved by developing techniques to control software and make educational games. The screen shots below illustrate the work undertaken in year 7 as students use macros in a presentation software application to make interactive quizzes for younger students to play during open days.

In computing, students also make various games in graphic and text based applications including Scratch 1.4 and Python 3.4.0. Both these are free applications which can be downloaded from the Internet.

You can download Scratch 1.4 at https://scratch.mit.edu/scratch_1.4/ and Python 3.4.0/ at https://www.python.org/download/releases/3.4.0/.  The games the students make are demonstrated and played during open days.

Computer Science skills relate to the ability to understand coding concepts and develop programming strategies to solve problems for a specific purpose.

Computer Science in year 7

  • Students will use animation software to describe the functions of various internal components of a computer including processor, motherboard, hard drive and graphics card
  • Students will have the opportunity to solve simple algorithms by putting the instructions to make common tasks such as tea, coffee and pizza in the correct order
  • Students will discover that a processor is made up of many logic gates. Students will develop their knowledge of logic gates through an interactive program and have the opportunity to complete various truth tables
  • Students will discover that computers process all data in a code called binary. Students will be given the opportunity to understand how letters are converted to binary so that the computer can understand the instruction
  • Students will be given the opportunity to develop their knowledge of programming concepts and strategy through the making of various applications in Scratch or Python.

Computer Science in year 8

  • Students will complete a number a Scratch based projects these will include
  • Developing a helicopter type game with a scrolling screen
  • Developing a space invader type game with levels that become progressively harder
  • Developing a virtual pet that will need nurturing
  • Developing a mobile phone simulation
  • Developing text based programming through Python. This is supported by 14 short videos explaining what each programming concept is used for. The students are encouraged to take copies of these short videos to practice their programming techniques from home

WAYS IN WHICH PARENTS CAN HELP:

  • Parents can help by allowing their child to download the free software such as Scratch and Python allowing students the opportunity to produce work from home
  • By uploading positive comments to Makewaves on their child’s work
  • By allowing their child to undertake the filming and photography at major academy events and upload the edited footage to Makewaves

KS4 (Year 10 and Year 11)

GCSE Computing (OCR)

Component 01 relates to computer architecture. Topics include memory, storage, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, protocols, system security, systems software and

moral, legal, cultural and environmental concerns. This unit is assessed by 1 hour 30 minute exam that accounts for 50% of the GCSE.

Component 02 relates to computational thinking. Topics include algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic, translators and facilities of languages and data representation. This unit is assessed by 1 hour 30 minute exam that accounts for 50% of the GCSE.

Component 03 is a coursework project which requires students to develop programming techniques, test and evaluate the programme before drawing conclusions.