Department aims

The IT & Computer Science Department aims to promote broad computer literacy, give pupils skills that they will use in computer-based projects in other subjects, provide an introduction to some principles of computer science, and give students exposure to interesting specialty applications.

Syllabus

IT is taught as a separate subject in Years 8 and 9 and across the curriculum in Year 10, and 11, and Pre-IB. There is one IT teacher who teaches all Year 8 and 9 classes. In Year 10 and pre-IB, IT is taught by the subject teachers with focus upon the use of IT in that particular subject area and in the wider working world. All lessons are taught in a fully equipped IT lab with interactive whiteboard.

Computer Science is offered as a GCSE subject choice, and in the Sixth Form as a full IB Diploma subject option at Higher and Standard levels.

Three Core areas

Each year we reinforce basic skills, and then add challenges of increasing complexity. There are three main areas of endeavour: core skills, computer science and audiovisual techniques.

Core skills projects focus on the Microsoft Office suite. Pupils gain expertise in a wide range of tasks across a number of applications, from creating slideshows in PowerPoint, to formatting spreadsheet formulae and charts in Excel, and learning how to extend these basic functions to Gantt charts and pivot tables. Students also gain experience of using Visio, Word, Publisher and Outlook. They learn efficient Google search strategies and stay current with Google Maps and Directions. They develop expertise with CD-ROM and flash drive backup techniques. Computer science projects provide an introduction to some of the techniques of software development. We use the 3D programming environment Alice to create virtual world animations. We construct web pages in hypertext markup language (HTML) with Java Script subroutines, using Notepad Plus (Year 8) or Dreamweaver (Year 9) as the editing environment. We build and program Lego robots using Lego Mindstorms kits (Year 8), and we learn about digital prototyping with Autodesk Inventor 3D mechanical design software (Year 9).

Audiovisual projects focus on the creation of still images, moving productions, and recorded broadcasts. Pupils gain experience of using programs including Adobe Photoshop, Windows Movie maker, Adobe Premier, Macromedia Flash and Fireworks, to – amongst other things - design posters, enhance images, create special web content and edit video footage. Audacity provides the environment for digital audio editing and recording. We also use some interesting specialty applications like the cinema-style scenery generator Terragen and Photomatix, which creates and processes high dynamic range (HDR) images from the pupils’ own exposure-bracketed photographs.

ib computer science

Computer Science is a rapidly evolving subject area, and as the use of computers becomes central to many areas of study and career paths, the usefulness of formal engagement with Computer Science at school is becoming more apparent.

The current syllabus for the IB Diploma Computer Science course is based around the students developing computational thinking, problem solving and algorithm development skills.

In the course of studying computer systems, networking, computers in organisations and programming skills, students are expected to develop their ability to take a problem, deconstruct and analyse it, develop a solution to the problem and design its implementation.

This process is central to the Internal Assessment project, where students have to identify a real-life problem and go through the steps necessary to produce a working solution in the form of a computer program or website.

As well as the core subjects, students study an optional component, which at St Leonards is Web Sciences, looking at the technologies and languages underpinning the World Wide Web and search engines.

Higher Level students look at a broader range of applications of web technologies and control systems.

gcse computer science

GCSE Computer Science takes a similar approach to the IB course, developing computational thinking, problem solving and algorithm development skills. These core areas are applied practically by students in an internal assessment project, which serves as the perfect preparation for pupils looking to continue their Computing studies in the Sixth Form.

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