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Computer Studies

Head of Computer Studies Mrs B Edwards
Second in Department Mr C Hammond
Curriculum Support Mrs J Metson

 

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What do students learn in Computer Studies?

Computer Studies concentrates in fostering interest and raising confidence in the use of computing. Students will develop an appreciation of the range and power of computer applications and solve problems using computing. Their studies include systems analysis, algorythm design and programming concepts. Students will also be prepared to understand the computing needs of the modern world and to be able to communicate ideas and handle information effectively. Students will be exposed to a broad range of computer applications, so as to provide an understanding of the power and versatility of the computer and the benefits of its use, but also its limitations and potential disadvantages. Computer Studies is a life skill subject as the skills learnt in this subject can also be used in other areas of study and in everyday life.

The students learn to use a variety of software packages and should be capable of working independently with a computer to gain access to, manipulate, interrogate information and present their findings in a format suitable for use and audience. We introduce the students to large and small databases, including Internet-based datasets and those found of CD-ROM’s. We show students how computer models can help to predict the future and help them to solve problems with unknown variables. Students explore how to set up models and learn how to enter rules and instruction sets and we explore ways in which information can be communicated to others. In particular, students begin to appreciate how this information can be used to influence others. Students learn how to use Spreadsheet Modelling, Database, Web Design, Animations, Programming, Video and Digital Imaging packages.

Finally, students study how computers are used to control and monitor their environments and begin to appreciate just how precise the instructions have to be. An opportunity to write computer programmes will be available those who have opted for Computer Studies as one of their chosen subjects at Key Stage 4.

Staff

Mrs B Edwards – Head of Computer Studies

After finishing college with a diploma in Computer Science, Mrs Edwards worked as a computer programmer for two years. She then won a full scholarship from British American Tobacco to study a Computer Science honours degree at the University of Leeds. After her degree, she spent many years working in various multi-national companies in brand management, marketing and database development. She has helped telecommunications companies to market new products and to integrate legacy databases with their current customer databases. Mrs Edwards went into teaching as she sees the importance of preparing the younger generation with good computer skills in the workplace. Mrs Edwards is an advanced scuba diver and can cook a mean curry.

Mr C Hammond – Teacher of Computer Studies, Second in Department

After nearly 20 years working in the Computer industry and most recently working as a Network/System Administrator at a preparatory school, Mr Hammond decided to change career and move into teaching. As well as gaining a First Class Honours Degree in Computing from Anglia Ruskin, he also received the British Computer Society Award and the Cisco Systems Award for outstanding work as a third year student. Mr Hammond joined the Computer Studies department at Chelmer Valley High School in September 2012. He enjoys family life with his wife and two young daughters and has been a huge Chelsea FC fan since he was 12.

Key Stage Three

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Students learn the basic software skills necessary to utilise the full power of the computer as a learning and creative tool. Year 7, 8 and 9 students will receive a 1 hour lesson of Computer Studies per week. They will also be introduced to computing principles and algorithm.

In Year 9, students will be have the opportunity to have tasters on the modules which will be covered at GCSE level. This will help them decide if they wish to pursue this subject at Key Stage 4 and allow the subject teachers to advise them on their strengths and suitability to the courses offered.

Tests are used to check skills/understanding and progress in selected assessment modules.

Below are the topics covered in each year.

 

Year 7

Getting Started

Students start the year discovering the IT facilities and online learning tools available on the school network. They learn about good practices in file management and how these will help them be more organised electronically. Students will learn how to access CVHS learning tools from home, including email, Office 365 and Show My Homework. Students practise their organisational skills by using appropriate folder structures and using sensible and appropriate file and folder names.

Baseline Test

Students take a 1 hour online test to establish a starting Step.

Computer hardware and Networking

Students learn about the components inside a computer and how they all fit together. Students learn about how computers are connected to each other through ‘networking’, the role played by operating systems and network topologies.

Spreadsheet modelling

Students learn how simple spreadsheet models are built by first investigating rules and then by seeing how rules can govern the behaviour of simple models. Students learn the wonders of using formulae and basic functions using Microsoft Excel which allows their system to be updated automatically when values change. They will also learn how to present data graphically using chart tools.

Scratch

This logic and sequencing unit introduces students to many of the concepts of computer programming. Students will plan, make and evaluate a simple maths game. Students who have learnt this module at primary school will be challenged to develop more advanced programming.

Scratch program is free to download at home – please see the link in the Software section.

Data Handling

Students learn basic data handling using Microsoft Access. They will design and create a database to add, edit and delete data from a set of records. Students will learn how to search the data using queries. They will finish off the module by generating a simple report, a useful tool in Microsoft Access.

Year 8

Students begin to work on extended projects and learn how to produce work according to project briefs using various software.  They continue to learn other parts of computer technology and computing principles.

Control technology

Students learn that control technology is used to

  • operate systems e.g. traffic lights, pedestrian crossing

  • control actions e.g. a robot’s movement

  • simulate real-life systems e.g. lighthouses, big wheel in a theme park

They will learn that computers follow instructions or sequences programmed into them. A flowchart can be used to help design a sequence. Actions can be ordered, reordered or removed if no longer necessary.

Students will learn how to program with flowcharts using Flowol 4. They will learn to focus on the logic of the solution without getting distracted by the complexity of a written programming language. In this unit, students will create flow diagrams to program the actions of real world scenarios, such as a Zebra Crossing and a fairground ride.

Data Handling Stage 2

Students will further develop their data handling skills, extending their capability from Year 7. Students will use Access to manipulate a data set and produce queries, reports and forms to present and manage the data.

Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Students will learn how simulate the concept an operating system for a mobile phone and how HCI concept is used to make a system user friendly. They will create buttons to link interface elements together into a fully navigable system. They will be expected to design their own icons to represent common phone features, such as a browser, Wifi/Bluetooth and mapping.

HTML

Students will learn how to develop a website to promote a new children’s television show using html. Students will understand the concept of this coding language, how it is structured and how to present content on screen. They will be able to modify code and debug, to ensure it displays as expected. They will learn about a range of tags to develop their website and they will be expected to extend their learning out of lessons and find more tags to use, beyond what they have learnt in lessons.

Extending HTML: CSS

Students will learn to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control global elements of their website design. In doing so, students will deepen their knowledge of HTML, including extending their navigational structure.

 

Year 9

Spreadsheet Modelling

Students continue to develop their spreadsheet skills by constructing a model on various financial/sales scenario e.g. CD shop stock system. They develop further the use of formulae and functions for more complex scenario. They will develop a spreadsheet where values change automatically when stocks are reduced alerting the need to order more stock, helping a smoother operation of their CD shop. Different scenarios will be used to suit abilities and interest of students.

Students will learn how to use advanced features to enhance their spreadsheet modelling skills. Skills covered will include IF Statement, Vlookup and importing CSV files.

Programming using Small Basic

Students will learn text-based computer programming in this module, using Microsoft Small basic. Microsoft Small Basic puts the "fun" back into computer programming. With a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases the students into the world of programming. Students will learn how to create a Maths calculator, measurement converters and simple games.

Binary conversion

Binary Conversion— Data in a computer is stored in binary. Using binary strings, we can represent pretty much anything we want using just 1s and 0s. In this module, the students will learn how to convert decimals to binary and vice versa.

Creating Graphics

Students will learn a range of graphics skills. This will include both vector objects and bitmap editing/creation. In doing so, students will learn the benefits and limitations of each drawing style and how they can be combined to great effect.

Database Management Stage 3

A final look of data handling at Key Stage 3, deepen the understanding on how data is managed and manipulated on a computer. Students will learn how to appreciate that intelligence on customer behaviour patterns cannot be performed without a good database system behind it. They may also learn how to link two tables together, creating a relational database and making it interactive.

Web design: Living in a Digital World

Students carry out in depth research into the evolution of technology, analysing how technology affects us all on a daily basis. The benefits and risks of technology are studied to appreciate that whilst we like technology, occasionally and without care, it can harm us. Whilst learning this interesting topic, the students will present their work in a website.

Progression to Key Stage 4

The focus towards the end of the year is to prepare students for Year 10, so the emphasis is on teaching skills that will be needed for the GCSE qualification.

We provide sample lessons to help students settle into the concept of taking computing or ICT as a qualification.

Key Stage Four

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COMPUTER STUDIES IS NO LONGER COMPULSORY AT KEY STAGE 4.

STUDENTS NEED TO SIGN UP FOR ONE OF THE COMPUTER STUDIES COURSES AT GCSE IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE A QUALIFICATION IN THIS SUBJECT.

There are two pathways : GCSE Computer Science and GCSE ICT. More information on the requirements of each course is available to the Year 9 students and parents nearer to the time of Preference process and Open Evening for the new Year 10.

In order to give access to all students to an essential qualification and life skill, we are offering two different GCSE qualifications. It is our aim that one of these qualifications will suit each student at Chelmer Valley High School.  We know the importance of having an ICT/Computing qualification on your CV and we hope you will have a good discussion with your parents on the importance of this life skill for your future learning and career development.  Many students may not be so confident using computer software at Key Stage 3. You will be very surprised how you can gain confidence over a short period when you are spending five lessons fortnightly.

When choosing a career, having a computer qualification is hugely beneficial to you, whatever you chose to do.  Computing technology is constantly evolving - so be part of something special in years to come by choosing one of the exciting courses we are offering to you.  The courses we have chosen provide a good foundation for those who aspire to be a computer scientist, computer programmer, apps developer, website designer, animator, graphic designer or game developer.  Additionally, secondary skills such as logical thinking, planning, designing, testing and evaluating will also be developed.

Both qualifications are by Edexcel.

Edexcel website link for GCSE Computer Science 

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/computer-science-2016.html

 

 

 Edexcel website link for GCSE ICT http://qualifications.pearson.com/content/demo/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/ict-2010.html

Below is a summary of each qualification.

GCSE Computer Science (by invitation only)

This course is rigorous and demanding. With 80% written exam, this course is suitable for students :

  • with a strong mathematical background
  • have shown abilities in using ICT software independently and confidently at Key Stage 3
  • Interested to learn programming, principles of computer science, develop computational thinking
  • Who wish to learn how to design algorithms to solve problems. 

    For those who are considering A-Level Computing or Maths/Engineering based further education.

“Computing is no longer a marginal skill for experts and geeks—it is essential knowledge for competitive, innovative high-tech businesses” - Ian Livingston, Life President, Eidos.

 

GCSE ICT (open to all students)

This course is suitable for students who are looking for thorough coverage of valuable ICT skills.

Whether it is part of Microsoft Office, digital tools or other design programs, this course covers a very wide spectrum of activities to fully utilise these programs and allow you to show off your creative potential.

A great all-round ICT course.

“ICT in education is the key to unlocking the skills and knowledge of our future generations of young people. It is the tool for learning for the 21st century.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Stage Five

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Why study Computer Studies at post-16?

At Chelmer we offer the Cambridge Technical Certificate in IT Level 3 course.  It is delivered in a work-related context to allow learners to develop an understanding of the IT sector.  We believe having an IT/Computing qualification is important in the 21st century for whatever route you wish to take after Sixth Form College.

Cambridge Technicals IT is a vocational qualification at Level 3, designed with the workplace in mind it provides a high-quality alternative to A Levels, with a great range of modules to choose from.  UCAS points for this course are the same as the UCAS points for A-Level Computer Science.  As there are many modules to choose from Cambridge Technicals IT is more accessible and suits all types of learners, including those students who have not opted Computer Studies at Key Stage 4.

What does the course involve?

It is a two-year course - Unit 1 Fundamentals of IT, Unit 2 Global Information and Unit 3 Cyber Security are all exam modules.  Additionally you will need to complete two coursework modules.

 

This course offers some foundation of computational thinking with regards to giving some understanding on the use of it to improve Information Technology.  As the Cyber Security industry is expanding at a rapid rate Unit 3 Cyber Security gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding on the range of threats, vulnerabilities and risks that impact on both individuals and organisations.  You will learn about the solutions to prevent or deal with cyber security incidents and the legislations surrounding cyber security.

We believe the units delivered are current and much needed to increase employability.  This qualification also allows the department to be flexible with the choice of coursework modules to suit a particular intake.

 

Unit 1: Fundamentals of IT provides some guidance on the personal attributes and interpersonal skills expected by employers.  The aim is to help students to be ready for work.

Unit 2: Global Information gives a greater understanding of how organisations use information sources both internally and externally and the legislations/regulations governing information.

For the two coursework modules the qualification allows us to choose modules that suit the interests of students in a particular intake group.  Therefore each year these two coursework modules can be different.  Unit 8 Project Management has been popular as project management skills are useful life skills to have.

For those students who were strong in Python programming, Unit 14 Software Engineering allows you to learn Visual Basic to create a GUI (graphical user interface) product.

We are aware that some students may not necessarily wish to pursue IT for work but see the importance of this subject on their CV.  In which case you may prefer coursework modules such as Smarter Planet, Social Media & Digital Marketing or Internet of Things.

 

* We strongly advise students who are considering undertaking a Computing university degree to opt for A Level Maths in addition to this course.

 

For more details about each module and UCAS points, please click this link.

KS5-NOV17-UPDATE.pdf

 

 

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Enrichment

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Enrichment Opportunities in Computer Studies

In Computer Studies, we aim to provide additional opportunities beyond the curriculum to students who have shown high interest in this subject.

Some examples of the enrichment opportunities we offered in the past were school visits to Essex University for a Robot Day, a day out to Anglia Ruskin to learn AppInventor software and learning how to code in html sessions run by a website designer.

We plan to invite external speakers who work in the IT industry to share their experience on how computer software is being used in the real world and in the work place.

Who do I see for further details?

Mrs B Edwards

Mr C Hammond

Homework

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Homework

It is the school and department policy that the student completes the homework set by the class teacher. Homework is used to prepare students for the subsequent lesson or in some cases, to assess the delivery and understanding of a particular topic. Your support in making sure your child has completed their homework on time is crucial.

Software Learning

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We wish to develop the joy of learning computer skills independently. It can be very fulfilling when you work on the computer, you cannot do it, you persevere, find out how to do it using video tutorials and make it work. Of course, when you have used up all your resources and still have not fixed it, the Computer Studies teacher will find a way to guide you. However, your first port of call should not be asking the teacher but try to figure it yourself.

Useful links to learn computer applications:

 

Touch typing

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/

 

Microsoft Word 2010

https://www.gcflearnfree.org/word2013/

 

Microsoft Excel 2010

https://www.gcflearnfree.org/excel2013/

 

Microsoft Powerpoint 2010

https://www.gcflearnfree.org/powerpoint2013/

 

Microsoft Publisher 2010

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/publisher2010

 

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/articles/first_website_pt1.html

 

Adobe Flash CS5

http://animation.about.com/od/flashanimationtutorials/Flash_Animation_Tutorials_

StepbyStep_Lessons.htm

 

Scratch

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/blahdeblah/104408

 

 

 

Free Downloads

Free Downloads

Free downloads for your software learning at home:

Audacity – sound clips editing software

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

 

Scratch

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/114944906/

 

Python programming language

https://www.python.org/downloads/

 

FREE Microsoft OFFICE Suite

All students at Chelmer can obtain two FREE Microsoft Office suite software licenses for your home computers. We want to ensure that your child is able to complete homework using these software.

First, go to https://www.rmunify.com/

Your child must login using the school network login.

Then click the button “Download Office now” and follow instructions.

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