Unit A – Using Computers Safely
This is a theoretical unit covering the necessary basic knowledge to use computers safely, effectively and responsibly. Pupils begin by looking at file management and security. The unit then moves on to e-safety (cyber-bullying, phishing etc.), and online profiles to give pupils a better understanding and awareness of using social media. The functionality and operation of email and search engines and how to use them effectively are covered, and a final lesson includes a multiple choice test on the contents of the unit and basic computer use.
Unit B – Understanding computers
This is a theoretical unit covering the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary. Pupils will revise some of the theory on input and output covered in previous learning and continue to look at the Input-Process-Output sequence and the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle through practical activities. Pupils will then look at some simple binary to decimal conversion and vice versa, and learn how text characters are represented using the ASCII code. This will be followed by some simple binary addition. Pupils will learn more in depth how storage devices represent data using binary patterns and physically save these patterns. Finally, they will look at a brief history of communication devices, how new technologies and applications are emerging and the pace of change.
Unit C – Games programming in Scratch
In this unit pupils will be introduced to the Scratch programming environment and begin by reverse-engineering some existing games. They will then progress to planning and developing their own games, learning to incorporate variables, procedures (using the Broadcast function), lists and operators. They should be able to create a fully working game with lives, scoring and some randomisation of objects. Finally, they will learn to test and debug their programs.
Unit D – Graphics
The unit is an introduction to graphics and graphic file types. The unit explores how bitmap and vector images are represented and stored by the computer. There is also opportunity for pupils to practise skills in design, photo-editing and image manipulation using a suitable graphics package. The pupils’ final posters are put into an assessment portfolio.
Unit A – An Introduction to Python
This unit is an introduction to Python, a powerful but easy-to-use high-level programming language. Although Python is an object-oriented language, at this level the object-oriented features of the language are barely in evidence and do not need to be discussed. The focus is on getting pupils to understand the process of developing programs, the importance of writing correct syntax, being able to formulate algorithms for simple programs and debugging their programs. The pupils’ final programs are put into a learning portfolio with evidence of correct running, for assessment purposes.
Unit B – Sound Manipulation in Audacity
In this unit pupils will learn how sound is digitized and stored on computers. Students will learn basic sound editing techniques and how to add sound effects and mix tracks. Ways of creating different sound effects (the job of a “foley artist”) are described. Pupils will undertake a creative project to analyse, plan, record and edit a short sound file. This could take the form of a radio advertisement or short podcast.
Unit C – First Steps in Small Basic
This unit is an introduction to programming in a textual language designed to make programming easy and approachable for beginners. It starts by introducing Turtle graphics, leading to the use of variables and For…EndFor loops. Simple programs using the Text window are used to introduce input, output and selection. Pupils will get used to these programming statements while having fun producing coloured graphics and making a simple screensaver. They will learn the importance of writing statements accurately, documenting their programs and finding out for themselves in a very visual way how different program statements work.
Unit D – Computer crime & Cyber security
This unit covers some of the legal safeguards regarding computer use, including overviews of the Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection Act and Copyright Law and their implications for computer use. Phishing scams and other email frauds, hacking, “data harvesting” and identity theft are discussed together with ways of protecting online identity and privacy. Health and Safety Law and environmental issues such as the safe disposal of old computers are also discussed.