Mr D. Hodgson – Subject Lead Computing
“From phones to cars to medicine, technology touches every part of our lives. If you can create technology, you can change the world.”
– Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President, Google
Compelling Learning in Computer Science
Computing skills and understanding are more vital now than ever. Traditional industries, markets and workplaces are being totally transformed. New products, technologies and applications develop and become part of our lives with such breath-taking rapidity that the national curriculum for Computing provides the foundation for pupils understanding how this world is developing around them.
We aim to design and deliver compelling learning experiences to enthuse and equip our young people with the crucial computing skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century and to inspire them with the incredible possibilities opened up by technology.
Computing goes beyond knowing simply how to use a computer but understanding how computer systems work, designed and programmed, understanding the hardware and software, the Internet and the rapidly expanding world of digital communications.
Computing incorporates techniques and methods for solving problems and advancing knowledge, including a distinct way of thinking and working. It allows pupils to tackle problems, to break them down into solvable chunks and to devise algorithms to solve them. This aligns perfectly with our school vision for creativity.
Through specialist teaching, use of relevant and emerging tools, services and resources, guided discovery and collaborative learning approaches, pupils will develop computational thinking skills enabling them to become resilient problem solvers; ones who are creative and able to apply their skills and understanding effectively and responsibly.
Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the opportunity to learn and use a range of digital media to create relevant resources. From making blogs and apps in Year 7 to using professional graphics packages in Year 8 to video editing in Year 9. Pupils are encouraged to use the resources outside of the subject to help with their studies across school. Underpinning all of Years 7-9 are the concepts of computational thinking. Computational thinking means problem solving. Knowing how to solve problems will help pupils not only in their Computer Science lessons but throughout their school and home life. Key stage 3 provides pupils with an understanding and technical proficiency in the areas relevant to both our GCSE options choices.
As qualification are in a period of reform, rather than itemise the specific units and assessment weightings we believe it is more useful to provide the following overview. Therefore, regardless of qualification, pupils will aim to develop:
- The knowledge and understanding to use all aspects of computational thinking including decomposition, abstraction, pattern recognition and algorithmic thinking.
- A knowledge and understanding of existing & future hardware, networks and software.
- A knowledge and understanding of the current & future use as well as the positive and negative impact of ICT in relation to their own and other’s identity and privacy, communications, leisure, work, commerce, education and health.
- The ability to analyse real-life problems to identify how technology is or could be used and identifying solutions and success criteria
- Researching; selecting and using appropriate resources, keeping records, and showing awareness of copyright and relevant legal matters
- Design; publication and system design showing accurate software selection and the ability to incorporate feedback
- Implementation; producing solutions and presenting ideas to explain development work
- Self and peer evaluation
In order to unlock the potential of our pupils we offer both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 daily, lunch-time sessions for using computers. These are for pupils to complete homework/personal study or tackle any of our current challenges.
The challenges could be completing badges on the industry recognised iDEA award or embarking on HM Government’s Cyber Discovery. Completion of these can gain recognition that pupils include in their Record of Achievement.
In addition, we run clubs, annual competitions, events and trips throughout the year. Previous years have seen pupils participate in coding activities with MoSI, getting hands-on with Raspberry Pi, had opportunities to create and submit games concepts for the BAFTA Young Games Designer competition, programmed drones and undertaken STEM challenges, developed animations, seen and found out more about emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality at EON, Manchester, worked with experts and mentors from IBM and Manchester University at their ThinkIT event and web development and careers advise from UK Fast.