The exciting new focus for the department is Computer Science. In year 7 students have two lessons a fortnight. As a faculty our first priority for students is to ensure safe use of equipment and the internet. Therefore the first term involves researching into the safe use of computing devices (including Smart phones) and the internet.
The second term investigates fundamental areas of computer hardware and binary code. Following this, in term four we explore and learn how computers “think” in the Computational Thinking unit. The skills gained in this unit include algorithms in the form of pseudo code and flowcharts. The logical thinking developed in this unit is a valuable skill that can be transferred to other subjects, e.g. Mathematics and the Sciences. Students go on to learn how to create spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and use formulae and functions within the software.
Following these units the natural progression for students is learning how to program using Python programming language and Scratch. The skills learned here are essential to support the subject transition into Year 8.
In year 8 students have three lessons a fortnight.
In the first term we reinforce the importance of E-safety by revisiting the key issues touched on last year. This is then combined with learning Databases, where students create a Social Networking database to understand the impact databases can have on privacy.
Web Development and Networks and the next topics to be covered. In web development we look at the fundamentals of HTML and CSS forms. We then move on to Networks, which is a theoretic unit covering the basic principles and architecture of local and wide area networks (LAN and WAN).
This is followed by learning about the pioneers in Computer Science: Alan Turing, Sir Tim Berners Lee, George Babbage and George Boole. As an individual research activity, students are asked to compete a biography of Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace.
Students then move on to Algorithms and coding using Python. This builds on logical thinking and problem solving.
The final topic is Flash animation, which allows students to be creative as well as preparing them for the GCSE.