Computing

“Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn” — Steve Jobs

Introduction

Computing and computer technology are part of just about everything that touches our lives from the cars we drive, the movies we watch, to the ways in which businesses and governments deal with us. Understanding the many different dimensions of computing is part of the skills needed for an educated person in the 21st century to interact with the world at large. Whether you want to be a scientist, develop the latest application, or just know what it really  means  when  someone  says  “the  computer  made  a  mistake”,  studying computing will provide you with valuable knowledge.

What we cover in Years 7-9

(OCR GCSE Computing J275.) We follow a varied scheme of work that seeks to embed the principles of Computer Science. Pupils will look specifically at algorithms, Data Representation, computer hardware, communications, networks and a range of programming languages all with the framework of promoting digital literacy ensuring that all pupils are well equipped to produce coursework or ultimately thrive in the world of work.

Lessons are structured to give pupils both the opportunity to work independently on a number of different projects and the chance to developed their skills at working collaboratively using a range of Google apps for education.

What we cover in Years 10-11

(AQA Computer Science 7615, 7517.) GCSE Computing is a rich and interesting course that really starts to delve into the world of computing. The focus is on how computers work and the underlining fundamentals that make everything possible. This course does require pupils to have strong mathematical skills and the ability to logically approach problems. More specifically, pupils will cover topics including; Fundamentals of computer systems, software, representation of data, computer communications and networks and programming

The course is assessed in three ways:

  1. A written exam worth 40% of the total marks
  2. Controlled assessment
    1. A practical investigation worth 20% of the total marks.
    2. A programming project worth 20% of the total marks.

A Level Curriculum

A Level Computing seeks to dramatically expand on the content of the GCSE course. Whilst the general topic headings are similar, the breadth and depth of knowledge is far greater.  The complexity and nature of the content is also more mathematical and scientific, suiting those students who have a real interest in STEM subjects. At AS Level students will study units including:

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Software development
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking

The AS Level is assessed via two examinations each carrying a 50% weighting. One is an onscreen programming examination, based on pre-released material and the second is a standard theory examination.

If pupils continue to A2 Level they will also have to study additional units on:

  • Fundamentals of databases
  • Big Data
  • Fundamentals of functional programming
  • Systematic approach to problem solving

Assessment is via two examinations. One is an onscreen programming based examination and one is standard theory examination. Each carries 40% of the total marks. Additionally pupils must complete a large programming based project. Pupils are free to suggest their own project which can be linked to a personal interest and providing it is suitably complex and offers enough scope then they are free to continue.

Digital Learning

Our digital strategy is making information available 24/7. Pupils can access their work from anywhere and at any time. The classroom is now a very big place which is open to information from around the world. The ability to share and collaborate with classmates makes learning fun and speeds up progress. We embrace technology such as Google Classroom and Edmodo to allow learning to take place at any time and on a range of devices.

Enrichment

The computing department runs a number of enrichment activities:

Programming club: Pupils have the opportunity to come along and try a range of different programming languages. Resources and encouragement are provided but self-study is also encouraged.

Robotics club: This is a popular club that gives student to chance to build and program their own robots using a Lego Mindstorms.  We also enter local and national robot competitions with our work.

Scratch Club: Students come together to build and play their own games in Scratch. Sharing and collaboration is common with great results being observed.

Where might the subject lead?

Qualifications in Computing can lead an individual in many directions, not always in directions you may think. Computing courses equip you with the ability to solve problems and look at the world in a different way. These skills are very useful in a wide range careers including science, engineering, business, healthcare or every the world of technology.  Computing will open many doors and close none, a true facilitating subject.