Computing

“Computing is not about computers anymore. It is about living.”

-Nicholas Negroponte

Excellent ICT facilities across the school for lessons and independent study.

A rich and varied curriculum with computer science, programming and ICT skills.

Exciting enrichment opportunities on offer including a popular robotics club.

Scripted programming language (Python) taught from Year 8-13 to develop thorough skills.

Computing is of enormous importance to the economy and is growing rapidly.

Lincoln Minster Senior School Pupils

Key Stage 3 – Computing

In Computing we follow our own programme of study which is designed to provide pupils with opportunities to develop a wide range of digital products, to gain an understanding of how computer systems work and how software if created.

As pupils progress through the Key Stage they are encouraged to become independent users of computing tools and information sources. They should gain a better understanding of how computing can help their work in other subjects and develop their ability to judge when and how to use computing devices and where they have limitations. By the end of the key stage they should become more focused, efficient and rigorous in their use of computing, and be able to carry out a range of increasingly complex tasks.

Year 7

  • Introduction to the school network.
  • Modelling – using formulae to produce results, modelling situations and producing data in graphical form.
  • Binary and control – introduction to the fundamental operations of a computer.
  • Graphics – bitmap and vector drawing techniques.
  • Computational thinking – learning to construct logical sequences of instructions to make things happen including making computer games.
  • Animation – using programming based techniques to create interactive content.
  • Databases – researching skills and data analysis.

Year 8

  • Reporting – using various tools and sources to research and collate information. Presenting the results in a manner appropriate for its target audience.
  • Computing concepts – more in depth understanding of computer hardware, software and networks.
  • Audio editing – using tools to create a ‘podcast’ style product by combining sounds from different sources.
  • Databases – further developing the work started in Year 7 but now with relational database structures, developing data interrogation techniques
  • Stop-frame animation – storyboarding and creating a small-scale animation of a real historic event.
  • Computational thinking – developing computational thinking skills while learning the basics of Python, a popular high-level programming language.

Year 9

  • Networks – a more in depth look at the technologies that support the world’s computer networks. This includes work on security risks such as viruses, Trojan horses and worms.
  • Research and video – creating a house style for a variety of documents and producing a short TV advert, all based on a common theme.
  • Computational thinking – Continuing to develop both programming and computational thinking skills using the Python programming language.
  • Animation – creating more complex animations suitable for web-based media.
  • Web design – understanding what makes a good website and developing a website.
  • Computing in the real world – looking at how commerce and industry use current and emerging technologies to manage business and engage with customers. Also how the digital divide affects society.

Key stage 3 pupils are formally assessed throughout each year via end of topic tasks.

GCSE – Computer Science

Structure of the course

The course is assessed through three units of work:-

  • Computer systems: exam (1½ hours), 40% weighting
  • Computational thinking, algorithms and programming: exam (1½ hours), 40% weighting
  • Programming project: controlled assessment, 20% weighting

Computer Systems

This examined unit covers the physical elements of computer systems; architecture, CPU, memory, storage, network components. Also covered are systems software and security plus important legal, cultural and environmental implications for the widespread use of computing.

Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

This unit covers the core theory of computing science and the application of computers; algorithms, high and low-level programming languages, translators, computational logic and data representation.

Programming project

This controlled assessment unit will allow students to tackle challenging problems applying the knowledge and skills they have learned in the other two units. They will design, develop, test and evaluate their solutions. Prior to starting this project the students will have been building and developing their programming skills using a high-level language. Our current language of choice is Python.
Computer Science is relevant to the modern and changing world. It is a practical subject where students can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. It is a creative subject that involves invention and excitement where learners will develop their problem solving and design skills.

These skills will be the best preparation for learners who want to go on to study Computer Science at AS and A Level and beyond. The qualification will also provide a good grounding for other subject areas that require computational thinking and analytical skills.

A Level – Computer Science

Course Requirements

Ideally you will have studied GCSE Computing. If not, we are happy to discuss any recommended background work prior to starting the course. In particular, some knowledge of the Python programming language will be required. You should have strong maths skills and an enthusiasm for problem solving.

Course content methodology and assessment

Computer systems: Exam – 2.5 hours, 40% of A level

  • Characteristics of processors, input, output and storage devices.
  • Software and software development.
  • How data is exchanged between different systems.
  • How data is represented and stored in different structures and the use of different algorithms.
  • Laws surrounding the use and ethical issues that can arise from the use of computers

Algorithms and programming: Exam – 2.5 hours, 40% of A level

  • What is meant by computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms

Programming and Project: Internally assessed coursework, 20% of A level

  • Analysis of the problem
  • Design of the solution
  • Implementation of the solution
  • Evaluation

Supporting Advanced Performance

The Advanced Performance Team, led by our Director of Studies, seeks to advise staff on how we – as a teaching body – can identify, monitor and experientially enhance the educational opportunities of able, gifted and talented pupils at  Lincoln Minster School.

How do we cater for AP students in Music?

The course encourages independent thinking and develops pupils’ problem solving skills.  Due to the nature of programming, there is no ‘right’ answer when producing a program to solve a particular problem.  This leads to varied approaches from pupils and encourages the most able to refine their solutions and to continue to develop beyond the initial brief of a problem.  In many senses a computer program is never ‘finished’ and the most able student will want to continue to develop their solutions, adding additional features and enhancements.

Encouraging Advanced Performance outside of lessons

Additional computing activities have included a day of robotics where the pupils were challenged to program a ‘rover’ robot to be able to navigate its own way around an alien landscape.  This was a very challenging task for the students and one that they took to with great enthusiasm.

The Computing department also runs a Game Making club which also includes opportunities to program and develop robotics with huge scope for able students to come up with their own ideas for projects and develop solutions.

Other possibilities to extend and foster a child’s interest in Computing include:

Programming

There are many free resources on the Web for any person interested in learning more about programming.  We use Python as our main programming language so two recommended resources are:

http://www.codecademy.com/

http://www.learnpython.org/

LearnPython.org is particularly useful to practice Python as there is an online Python environment which means that no software has to be installed on your home computer.

Raspberry Pi

In computing lessons we use the Raspberry Pi as a platform for our Python programming.  We also use them as the “brain” for our robots.  Again, there are a wealth of resources online to support the use of the Pi for programming and robotics.  A very good source for purchasing a Pi starter kit is the CPC website:http://cpc.farnell.com/.  Their prices are very competitive and they offer free delivery on all orders placed on line (LMS is in no way affiliated with CPC).

Beyond Lincoln Minster School

Programming is very much the focus of our course, with an emphasis on the importance of computational thinking. Computer Science is a creative subject where learners can use their problem solving skills to apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems.

Those who study A level Computing may go on to study Computing at degree level, or any related science or engineering discipline.

The course also opens up many possibilities in the world of work from careers in IT to business, data analysis and a wide range of developer roles.

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