Computer Science and Digital Studies
Computer Science and Digital Studies Department Staff
Mr J Horsman – Head of Digital Sciences
Mr T Capewell- Teacher of Computer Science
Year 7/Year 8
All students at The Boulevard Academy will have the opportunity to study a blended digital technology curriculum, encompassing the technical and creative uses of modern computer technologies.
This program of study covers both Computer Science and Creative iMedia, and will equip students with the skills required to produce creative digital products across a variety of industry standard software packages. Additionally, this will aid with developing a key understanding of hardware, software, networking and algorithmic thinking skills needed to access further academic studies, and provide opportunities to join placements within the Computer Science, Games Design and Engineering sector.
Students will understand the vital role Computer Science plays within modern society relating to business and entertainment, alongside a variety of scientific fields. They will also understand the direct impact technology has had on a variety of ethical and legal areas.
The gateway year allows students the opportunity to further develop the core skills that they have acquired over the previous two years of study. In-depth work on logical thinking, problem solving, programming techniques and exam styled applications allows the students to expand on their base skills and gain an insight into the topic and level required at GCSE level.
We aim to foster an element of curiosity within this subject and allow students to develop problem solving skills in order to produce products to meet client requirements.
We aim to embed a variety of cross curricular links throughout the subject to allow students to continue expanding their wider knowledge through the medium of computer technology, including research tasks, practical activities and mathematical programming.
The KS4 curriculum at The Boulevard Academy provides complete preparation for the new OCR GCSE specifications. It is designed to help all students achieve their potential in GCSE Computer Science. Each theme of Computer Systems and Computational thinking is re-visited each year, with multiple themes overlapping to allow for retention of knowledge and embedding to the long term memory.
All students must be given the opportunity to undertake a programming task(s), either to a specification or to solve a problem (or problems), during their course of study. Students may draw on some of the content in both components when engaged in Practical Programming.
Knowledge and skills will be mapped to ensure that students are able to apply theoretical knowledge to practical activities including fitting and maintaining hardware, software development, logical problem solving, professional communication skills and verbal and written communication.
Due to the nature of the delivered course, there are many opportunities to develop cross curricular skills including numeracy skills required for algorithms and software design alongside literacy and communication skills required for report writing and evidencing of practical work.
The course ensures a full coverage of the two sections at GCSE level:
Section 1 – Computer Systems: Computer Architecture, networks and components, network protocols, system software, and the ethical and legal impacts of digital technology.
Section 2 – Computational thinking: Algorithms, programming robust and efficient programs in integrated development environments and boolean logic.
The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives and are weighted equally at 50% of the final grade.
- J277/01: Computer Systems (50%)
This component will assess :
- 1.1 Systems Architecture
- 1.2 Memory and Storage
- 1.3 Computer Networks, Connections and Protocols
- 1.4 Network Security
- 1.5 Systems Software
- 1.6 Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Environmental Impacts of Digital Technology
- J277/01: Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (50%)
This component will assess :
- 2.1 Algorithms
- 2.2 Programming Fundamentals
- 2.3 Producing Robust Programs
- 2.4 Boolean Logic
- 2.5 Programming Languages and Integrated Development Environments
SMSC in Computer Science
We will also have a strong link to career paths that qualifications in Computing can offer. Each unit has a careers mascot giving an insight into the key skills needed for a career in their given field. Our teaching staff have a wide range of programming skills that can be adapted to students’ career aspirations.
Some of these career links include:
- Software Developer
- IT Administrator
- IT Engineer
- Games Developer
- Digital Law Solicitor
Useful website links
- w3schools– https://www.w3schools.com/
- Code Academy– https://www.codecademy.com/catalog
- TeachICT– https://www.pearsonactivelearn.com/
- Code Avengers – https://www.codeavengers.com/
- YouTube (vloggers/tech-projects/online tutorials)
- Netflix (students can search for critically acclaimed technological documentaries to further their extended subject knowledge)
- KhanAcademy – https://www.khanacademy.org/
- Spotify (Listen to podcasts that discuss ethical effects and technological breakthroughs regarding Computer Science)
- BBC Bitesize – https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
Useful Mobile Apps
- SoloLearn: Learn to Code
- Programming Hub: Learn to code
- Mimo: Learn/Coding/Programing
What’s on the bookshelf?
We recommend picking up Once Upon an Algorithm by Martin Erwig! Erwig illustrates a series of concepts in computing with examples from daily life and familiar stories. Hansel and Gretel, for example, execute an algorithm to get home from the forest. The movie Groundhog Day illustrates the problem of unsolvability; Sherlock Holmes manipulates data structures when solving a crime; the magic in Harry Potter’s world is understood through types and abstraction; and Indiana Jones demonstrates the complexity of searching. Along the way, Erwig also discusses representations and different ways to organize data; “intractable” problems; language, syntax, and ambiguity; control structures, loops, and the halting problem; different forms of recursion; and rules for finding errors in algorithms.This engaging book explains computation accessibly and shows its relevance to daily life.
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