Information Technology

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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 ICT 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, RealSmart (a type of virtual learning platform) and Makewaves (a safe social networking site) which gives students the opportunity of improving their attainment in all subjects 24/7.

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.

The difference between the three related subjects:

Information Technology skills relate to the ability to obtain and manipulate data for a specific audience in office applications including word processing, presentation, spreadsheets and database software.

Digital Media skills relate to the ability to obtain and manipulate graphics, sound and video footage for a specific audience using various graphics and video editing software.

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

Information Technology in year 7

Students will develop their IT skills within discrete ICT lessons but will have the opportunity to develop and enhance them in a variety of curriculum areas. The topics covered include:

  • Introduction to the academy network
  • Using word processing, graphic and presentation software to produce post cards which will be uploaded to Makewaves for peer assessment.
  • Using PowerPoint to develop macro driven quiz’s on the topics of English, Maths and a subject of the student’s choice
  • Using Makewaves to upload blogs, profiles and stories
  • Using desktop publishing software to produce information for various E-Safety booklets
  • Using Spreadsheet software to produce rating and graphs for various superheroes
  • Using databases to solve various mysteries

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.

Digital media in year 7

  • Student will develop animation skills through the use of Pivot and Crazy Talk
  • Student will developed the ability to manipulate graphics for a specific audience through Photoshop
  • Students will complete three long projects on different topics using video editing software, comic life and Photoshop

WAYS IN WHICH PARENTS CAN HELP

  • Parents can help by allowing their child to download the free software such as Scratch and Pivot so specifics skills can be developed from home
  • By uploading positive comments to Makewaves on their child’s work
  • By encouraging students to learn to type with a least two fingers and use the ICT facilities at dinner and after school
  • By allowing their child to undertake the filming and photography at major academy events and upload the edited footage to Makewaves

Information Technology in year 8

  • Databases – Students will develop the skills to produce a database and input forms. Students will then develop the skills to search the database using simple and complex queries. Some students will be encouraged to produce a macro driven front end for their database making it more user friendly. The students will be required to produce a mail merge for some of the databases they have made
  • Publisher – Students will undertake a major project to promote a pop band. In this project they will have the opportunity to create a logo, album cover, website, advert, magazine cover, newsletter and audio advert
  • Spreadsheets -Students will develop the skills to produce a macro driven spreadsheet that uses combo boxes, simple and complex if statements to make various quizzes for a specific audience
  • Comic Strip – Students will undertake a major project on the history and genre of comics. After a substantial amount of research they will make the characters and back grounds for a multi-page comic strip

Computing 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

Year 9

In year 9 students have a choice of ICT options. These courses are taught over a three year period with students sitting the final exams in 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 40% 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 40% of the GCSE.

Component 03 is a coursework project which requires students to develop programming techniques, test and evaluate the programme before drawing conclusions. This project carries a 20% weighting towards the GCSE.

GCSE ICT (Edexcel)

Unit 1: Living in a Digital World is assessed through a 1 hour 30 minute exam that tests students’ knowledge of ICT related concepts and accounts for 40% of the GCSE.

Unit 2: Using Digital Tools is assessed through coursework under controlled assessment conditions. Students are required to demonstrate their ICT skills through spreadsheets, web publishing, desktop publishing, graphic design and the use of relational databases. The controlled assessment accounts for 40% of the GCSE.

Creative iMedia Level 1/2 Award (OCR)

Unit R081: Pre-production skills.  This unit will enable students to understand pre-production skills and techniques used in the sector, as well as gain the knowledge and skills to create digital media products and explore their application. This unit accounts for 25% of the overall award.

Unit R082: Creating digital graphics. The aim of this unit is for students to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. This unit is undertaken as a controlled assessment and accounts for 25% of the overall award.

Unit R091: Designing a game concept. This unit will enable students to understand the capabilities and limitations of a range of gaming platforms. Students will be able to identify core features of digital games and gain the knowledge to create a games design concept proposal that can be presented to a client.  This unit is undertaken as a controlled assessment and accounts for 25% of the overall award

Students will complete one more controlled assessment. The one selected from the OCR range will depend upon the skills and interests of the cohort.

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