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Computing



Members of the Department

Mr Ian Parker (Head of Department)

Miss Anna-Lise Keenan

Mrs Geraldine Mulholland Joel Mulhern (ICT Technician)


 

Aims


Computing is changing the ways in which we learn, communicate, enjoy leisure time, and live our lives. Our aim within the Computing department is to equip students with the knowledge and digital skills to enable them to participate in today's technology driven society.   The Computing department is fortunate to be very well resourced in terms of facilities, hardware and software. We have four PC suites with between 24 and 32 computers in each, while also having access to an Apple Mac room and a large number of ChromeBooks. The rooms are fully equipped with printers and interactive whiteboards, but only some of the rooms have more advanced equipment such as 3D printers. All rooms are fully air conditioned to provide a safe and comfortable environment. Two of the ICT rooms have networked whiteboards where the teacher can use their iPad or laptop to promote teaching and learning.   The school achieved the NAACE ICT Mark in February 2014.


 

NEW SOFTWARE AND EQUIPMENT


We've recently purchased new hardware to upgrade our suites to use Dell OptiPlex 3050’s and use other specialised software for teaching: 

  • Python IDLE

  • Google Apps for Education

  • BBC Microbit’s

  • Visual Studio

 

This equipment is used from Year 8 to Year 14 by computing students. We also take part in cross-curricular events and structure our course content to pull on knowledge gained from other subjects.


 

Key Stage 3


YEAR 8 Computer Programming – 13 Weeks

Since September 2016, Year 8 students follow a programming module using the BBC Micro:bits. This is taught as part of a 13 week, 1 hour a week, rotational subject between Computing, Technology & Design and Home Economics. Teaching children at an early age the fundamentals of computing helps provide them with the programming skills and the computational thinking skills they will need to function in the 21st century workforce. The BBC Micro:bit will introduce children to the joy of computing without the need of any prior knowledge. 


YEAR 8 ICT


This course runs the full year and focuses more on the practical skills needed in everyday life. This course is continually being updated as technology changes and the skills required also change. In year 8 students cover:

  • Microsoft Office Packages – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access

  • Scratch

  • Logo

  • E Safety


YEAR 9 COMPUTER PROGRAMMING – 13 WEEKS


This is taught as part of a 13 week, 1 hour a week, rotational subject between Computing, Technology & Design and Home Economics. Pupils will begin to develop a more advanced level of programming than the previous year. Year 9 focuses on the use of Python to introduce command line programming in a user friendly language.

Year 9 focuses on:

  • Variables

  • Loops

  • If statements and Boolean Logic

During this course there is a diverse range of tasks that can range from as simple as generating probabilities or as difficult as encryption algorithms or language translation programs


YEAR 10 ICT


This course runs the full year and focuses more on the practical skills needed in everyday life. This course is continually being updated as technology changes and the skills required also change while also giving samples of GCSE Digital Technology. In year 10 students cover:

  • Microsoft Office Packages – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access

  • C# Programming in Visual Studio

  • Photoshop

  • Binary, Hexadecimal and two’s complement number systems

  • Boolean Logic

 


 

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)


In Year 11 and 12, students study the CCEA GCSE Digital Technology (Programming Pathway) course. The course provides an extremely good range of both theory lessons and practical experience for students and is a very good foundation for anyone who wants to choose Software Systems Development (SSD) or Digital Technology at A-Level. One of the key resources for the ICT department is the schools Virtual Learning Environment – Google Classroom. This provides students with access to all class notes, revision notes, podcasts and discussions associated with the course, in school or anywhere they can access the internet. A heavy focus is placed on programming from Year 11 even though it is not needed until Year 12 to ensure our pupils are as prepared as possible.


Uptake of SSD & Digital Technology in sixth form continues to grow as more and more students realise the career opportunities involved with these subjects. 


 

Key Stage 5 (GCE)


St Dominic’s currently offer three A-Level options within the Computing Department.

OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Introductory Diploma in ICT (2012 Suite)

This A level is fully controlled assessment and made up of 6 units that can combine to gain pupils either a: Distinction, Merit or Pass. A Distinction is the equivalent of an A* at A-Level but is not accepted by universities in the Republic of Ireland.


Out of 50 possible units, two are mandatory and the remaining 4 are chosen by the centre.


We cover;

·     Unit 1 (Mandatory) – Communication and employability skills for IT

·     Unit 2 (Mandatory) – Information Systems

·     Unit 6 – Ecommerce

·     Unit 12 – Website Production

·     Unit 23 – Database Design

·     Unit 27 – Digital Graphics

 

CCEA Digital Technology


This A level is focused on computing theory and procedures from business. This A-level is easily accessible to those who have not completed the GCSE in Digital Technology however it is helpful.


AS Unit 1:  Approaches to Systems Development


In this unit, students develop knowledge and understanding of the various approaches to the development of complex systems, the key stages in the development process and the outputs produced at each stage. The content of this unit underpins the learning that will take place in each of the three subsequent units. This unit is assessed through a 1 hour 30 minute written examination that includes both short and extended questions.


AS Unit 2: Fundamentals of Digital Technology


In this unit, students develop knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of any system, such as data representation, computer architecture, software and the user interface. Along with Unit AS 1, the content of this unit will provide a foundation for progression to A2. This unit is assessed through a 1 hour 30 minute written examination that includes both short and extended questions.


A2 Unit 1: Information Systems


In this unit, students develop knowledge and understanding of information systems. It acts as an extension to Unit AS 2: Fundamentals of Digital Technology, for students progressing from AS level. This unit is assessed through a 2 hour 30 minute written examination that includes both short and extended questions.


A2 Unit 2: Application Development


In this unit, students have the opportunity to become involved in a real-world situation detailed in a case study. They apply their skills, knowledge and understanding of digital technology to solve a problem for a specified client. CCEA provide a new case study each year.

Students apply their practical skills to produce a solution and associated detailed documentation for the client. They can adopt a range of approaches, but the teacher should guide them in selecting an approach suitable to their particular knowledge and skills.

This unit may be taught alongside Unit A2 1: Information Systems, allowing students to work over an extended period.


The case study encourages students to demonstrate their skills in:

·     analysing the problem;

·     designing an appropriate solution to the real-world problem;

·     developing the solution;

·     testing the solution;

·     evaluating the solution; and

·     developing user support documentation.

 

CCEA Software Systems Development


This A level is focused on advanced programming theory as well as practical object oriented programming which is extremely suitable for pupils looking to study computing at university. This A-level is only accessible to those who have completed the GCSE in Digital Technology and achieved high marks in their practical and theory units in Year 12.


AS Unit 1: Introduction to Object Oriented Development


This unit provides students with a thorough understanding of object oriented systems. Students adopt an object oriented approach to problem solving. Object concepts are defined and implemented. The unit enables students to develop object oriented skills. It helps students to appreciate the benefits of developing applications in this type of environment. This unit is externally assessed through a two hour question paper.


AS Unit 2: Event Driven Programming


This unit provides students with an opportunity to implement and develop object oriented technologies in an event driven environment. Students are able to state requirements and design, implement, test and evaluate their application. This unit is internally assessed.


A2 Unit 1: Systems Approaches and Database Concepts


This unit provides students with a thorough understanding of the reasons for systems development. It also provides them with an understanding of fundamental systems analysis and design concepts. It provides a detailed study of design methodologies. The unit introduces students to project management concepts and testing strategies that assist the systems development process.


The unit introduces important database concepts enabling the student to understand relational database systems, implemented through Structured Query Language (SQL). This unit is externally assessed through a two hour question paper with a pre-release case study. CCEA will publish the A2 1 pre-release case study in March each year for use in that examination series.


A2 Unit 2: Implementing Solutions


This unit provides students with an opportunity to design and implement a solution to a given problem using the knowledge and skills acquired in the preceding units. The students implement an agreed design using an appropriate software tool. The unit allows them to experience the elements of the systems development process. We require students to build their solutions using an RDMS through an event driven programming environment. This unit is internally assessed with a pre-release case study. Students must use the pre-release case study throughout.


 

Career Opportunities

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