Computer Science – Statement of Intent
The Computing department at Seaham High School aims to equip students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to prepare them for a future in a world where the use of technology is fully embodied. We aim to enthuse students to gain an understanding far deeper than the interface that they currently operate.
The national curriculum for Computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation.
- Can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems.
- Can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems.
- Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Over the next 10 years there will be 1.4 million jobs in Computing. But there will only be 400,000 qualified people available. Most Jobs require people to be computer literate as technology is advancing our society. It is our job to prepare the youth of today for our ever-changing world and job landscape. Computing is not a study of computers, but of how we see our world.
Computing teachers at Seaham High School support the Computing curriculum. The focus of the new programme of study moves towards programming and other aspects of computing. Programming has been part of the ICT national curriculum for some time but has frequently been overlooked or treated superficially. However, there is more to computing than programming. 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 and development in computing is similar to that of practical work in other sciences – it provides motivation and a context within which ideas are brought to life. We strongly believe that computing also provided cross curricular links to a wide range of other areas of study. Computing as a subject helps to open doors to careers in all walks of life, not just the computing industry.
Our simple vision is that all students enjoy and learn about the developing world we live in through the eyes of technology. We believe there are no limits to what you can achieve if you dare to try. Every failure is one more step closer to success. As Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Key Stage 3
Students will develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of computer science by having the opportunity to write programs, design webpages and produce professional digital products. Each new module begins with a discussion around how the content students will learn links to careers which they could pursue in the future.
Key skills and knowledge that our students need to learn
- To be able to design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
- To understand key algorithms that reflect computational thinking such as sorting and searching.
- To be able to program in a minimum of two programming languages to solve a variety of computational problems.
- To have an understanding simple Boolean logic [AND, OR and NOT] and some of its uses in circuits and programming.
- To understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers.
- To understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
- To understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system. To have an understanding how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits.
- To be able to complete projects using and combining multiple applications, across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users.
- To be able to create, reuse, revise and repurpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
- To be able to understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and know how to report concerns
Teaching in year 7 is designed to introduce students to their technology life at Seaham High School and build their digital skills knowledge. They will learn a wide range of skills and educational structures that they will need to be successful at GCSE with its increased demands for the ability to understand, apply, evaluate and justify their knowledge and reasoning. In year 7 students will learn about technology in the wider world and the impact that it has on their lives through the topic of E-Safety. They will gain an understanding of abstraction, computational thinking and algorithms through the topic of Kodu video game design(visual programming).Students will study the art of video game development using the visual programming game engine called KODU. Students will be required to learn visual programming skills and problem solving to create their own functional video game. Students will learn about data representation, Modelling and finance the use of spreadsheets and data analysis. Finally, they will learn about how society has developed through the use of Networks and the Internet to be able to communicate and share knowledge.
Teaching in year 8 students will be introduced to basic text based programming using Python. Students will be able to create and test small programs. Students will learn how a computer works using binary and how computing maths is vital for a computer to operate.This will involve developing an understanding on binary numbers, binary addition and binary images. Students will learn how to create a basic website using HTML.Finally students will learn computational thinking strategies such as flow charts, sorting and problem solving.
Teaching in year 9 students will learn about how user interface and design impact the technology we use and meet user needs. They need to be able to understand the process of research, design, development, feedback and evaluation. They will develop cross links with other subjects by developing an informative interface basis on ‘Health Eating’. This topic links with Food/Design technology, Personal, Social and Health Education and science. They will gain an understanding of abstraction, computational thinking and algorithms through the topic of programming using Python . Students will be able to develop graphic design skills using Photoshop, to make and enhance images. Finally students will be given the opportunity to have a taster of option subjects to help them make informed decisions about KS4 options
Students will acquire the following digital literacy skills during the core modules such as word processing, spreadsheets, Online working with Google Classroom, User Interfaces, Networks, Internet use and research, programming, Problem solving, thinking skills, animation and Email.
Key Stage 4 (Computer Science)
Key skills and knowledge that our students need to learn
- To be able to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation.
- To be able analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs
- To be able to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.
- To understand the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.
- To be able to understand the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society.
- To have the ability to apply mathematical skills relevant to Computer Science without a calculator.
Computational thinking, algorithms and programming – Theory Paper 2
- Algorithms – To be able to write and recognise both searching and sorting algorithms including Bubble Sort, Merge Sort, Insertion Sort, Linear Search and Binary Search.
- Programming techniques – Understand the three main programming concepts – Iteration, Selection and Sequence, as well as SQL, Data Types.
- Producing robust programs – To be able to write programs in pseudocode to solve problems. This will include having an understanding of the system’s life cycle and each element involved in it.
- Computational logic – Students will know how to calculate Truth Tables from the three main logic gates, AND, OR, NOT.
- Translators and facilities of languages – Students will be able to identify and understand the difference between Low and High Level Programming.
- Data representation – Students will be able to complete mathematical calculations in Binary, Hexadecimal and will be able to calculate file sizes of images and sound files using formulae.
This is a practical project used to enhance programming skills following a software development life cycle.
The areas covered are:
Computer systems – Theory Paper 1
- Systems Architecture – How a computer processes data in the form of Von Neumann Architecture.
- Memory – The different types of memory – RAM, ROM, Virtual Memory & Flash
- Storage – The typical storage devices used by computers – Optical, Magnetic and Solid State.
- Wired and wireless networks – How data is transferred across networks and the components which make up these networks.
- Network topologies, protocols and layers – The two main network topologies, protocols in networking and the different layers of sending data over a network.
- System security – Common types of attacks/viruses and prevention methods.
- System software – Common built in software used to enhance the performance of the computer system.
- Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns – Ongoing issues regarding computer systems in the world.
Why do we order modules the way we do?
Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (Component 2) is delivered first, followed by the Programming Project and lastly Computer Systems (Component 1). The programming project component incorporates and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in Component 2, encouraging learners to apply this knowledge and understanding using computational thinking. The Programming Project requires learners to use skills from Component 2 to create a solution to a set problem.
Key Stage 4 Level 2 Creative iMedia
These qualifications will assess the application of creative media skills through their practical use. They will provide learners with essential knowledge, transferable skills and tools to improve their learning in other subjects with the aims of enhancing their employability when they leave education, contributing to their personal development and future economic well-being. The qualifications will encourage independence, creativity and awareness of the digital media sector.
The Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia will equip learners with a range of creative media skills and provide opportunities to develop, in context, desirable, transferable skills such as research, planning, and review, working with others and communicating creative concepts effectively. Through the use of these skills, learners will ultimately be creating fit-for-purpose creative media products. The Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia will also challenge all learners, including high attaining learners, by introducing them to demanding material and techniques; encouraging independence and creativity and providing tasks that engage with the most taxing aspects of the National Curriculum.
The ‘hands on’ approach that will be required for both teaching and learning has strong relevance to the way young people use the technology required in creative media. It will underpin a highly valid approach to the assessment of their skills as is borne out by what teachers tell us. The qualification design, including the range of units available, will allow learners the freedom to explore the areas of creative media that interest them as well as providing good opportunities to enhance their learning in a range of curriculum areas
R081 : Pre Production skills
This unit will enable learners to understand pre-production skills used in the creative and digital media sector. It will develop their understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques that form part of the planning and creation process.
Planning is an essential part of working in the creative and digital media sector. This unit will enable learners to acquire the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to create digital media products and gain an understanding of their application.
On completion of this unit, learners will understand the purpose and uses of a range of preproduction techniques. They will be able to plan pre-production of a creative digital media product to a client brief, and will understand how to review pre-production documents
R082: Creating Digital graphics
This unit builds on unit R081 and learners will be able to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding gained in that unit and vice versa.
Digital graphics feature in many areas of our lives and play a very important part in today’s world. The digital media sector relies heavily on these visual stimulants within the products it produces, to communicate messages effectively.
The aim of this unit is for learners to understand the basics of digital graphics editing for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and why digital graphics are used and what techniques are involved in their creation. This unit will develop learners’ understanding of the client brief, time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process.
On completion of this unit, learners will understand the purpose and properties of digital graphics, and know where and how they are used. They will be able to plan the creation of digital graphics, create new digital graphics using a range of editing techniques and review a completed graphic against a specific brief.
R087: Creating Interactive multimedia products
This unit builds on units R081 and R082 and learners will be able to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding gained in those units.
Interactive multimedia products are used widely in everyday life and the creative and digital media sector. They are used in computer games, mobile phone applications, presentations and many other areas.
This unit will enable learners to understand the basics of interactive multimedia products for the creative and digital media sector. They will learn where and why interactive multimedia is used and what features are needed for a given purpose. It will enable them to interpret a client brief, and to use time frames, deadlines and preparation techniques as part of the planning and creation process when creating an interactive multimedia product.
On completion of this unit, learners will understand the purpose and properties of interactive multimedia products, be able to plan and create an interactive multimedia product to a client’s requirements and review it, identifying areas for improvement.
R084: Storytelling with a comic strip (optional unit)
This unit builds on units R081 and R082 and learners will be able to apply the skills, knowledge, and understanding gained in those units.
Comic strips are as popular today as they have ever been in their history. They have evolved from their origins in the early part of the 20th century from simple story strips to become whole genres of interest which span the world.
This unit will enable learners to understand the basics of comic strip creation. It will enable them to interpret a client brief, use planning and preparation techniques and to create their own comic strip using digital techniques.
On completion of this unit, learners will be able to explore different genres of comic strip and how they are created, plan and create a comic strip to specific requirements, and review the final comic against a specific brief.
Why do we order modules the way we do?
Year 10 R082 and R081
Year 11 R087 and R084
R081 is an examined unit which is taught in year 10 after R082. Both these units are mandatory and teach the students skills that they need to complete the optional units to a high standard. Completing R081 in year 10 allows the student an opportunity to resit R081.
Planning for SMSC + Literacy
Spiritual development. Computing provide:
- The ability to design programs, video games and interfaces for a range of target audiences / genders and denominations.
- The enjoyment of making software/interfaces to a brief which includes adults/children’s learning and healthy eating.
- Imagination and creativity included in all aspects of computing design including the creation of mood boards, design and design movements.
- All work is evaluated, self and peer assessment is encouraged to help feed into the design process.
- Target setting is encouraged to allow self-improve and give goals.
- We provided opportunities to see from the perspective of others through E-safety and accessibility issues.
- We encourage independence, thinking for yourself and problem solving, through different challenges and programming.
Moral development. Computing Provide:
- The ability to choose design ideas that apply to their own and others development. The software/interfaces/games need to be suitable for their chosen audience which would include; gender, age and accessibility issues. The development of software and interface that respectfully take into consideration accessibility issues for blind, deaf and mobility issues.
- Again peer assessment is determined through practical work review. Group presentations are encouraged and use feedback from others to further develop learning.
- Moral issues of digital waste are discussed through the impact of digital waste on 3rd world countries and out oceans.
Social development. Computing provide:
- The ability to review and assess a wide range of social and economic backgrounds and the impact of access to technology.
- The learning about how technology can support the local demographic, supporting local business, education, budgeting and the supporting the global aim of using sustainable sources.
Cultural development. Computing provide:
- The opportunity to participate in and respond positively to creative and artistic and encourage and welcome to use their own cultural heritage to influence design opportunities
- Again the learning about food to support the local demographic, supporting local business, education, budgeting and the supporting the global aim of using sustainable sources and promoting fair trade. Tolerance is encouraged through the learning of the wider world through technology.
- An opportunity to examine the cultural impact of language on technology and access to using it.
- Students are encouraged and expected to follow standard English rules for grammar and punctuation is all their work.
- Transference of skills from one subject to another is vital to produce quality work and re enforce English teaching.
- Descriptive writing and extended writing is a vital skill to complete coursework to a high standard at KS4 to achieve top grades.
- Work is marked for literacy following school policy.