ICT - both desktop and mobile - is becoming totally integrated within education at Queen’s College and is embedded across all subjects in the curriculum. Every department has integrated computer modules and apps into their schemes of work and the School’s wireless network is extensive. There are 330 connected computers on site giving instant access to the Internet, e-mail and other resources. The majority of the computers are Intel based PCs and laptops however pupils are increasingly using mobile devices and tablets such as iPads and Netbooks and even mobile phone technology both in and out of the classroom.
This specification has been designed for students who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment where knowledge of Computing would be beneficial. Students can study Computing and go on to a career in Medicine, Law, Business, Politics or any type of Science.
This course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for further study.
Students following this specification do not need to have any prior knowledge of Computing or ICT, but due to the high mathematical content of this course a high pass grade in GCSE mathematics is a prerequisite. There is a clear distinction between this specification and the GCE ICT and GCE Applied ICT specifications. It has been written to avoid any overlap of subject content.
The course is not about learning to use tools or just training in a programming language. Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. Thinking computationally is an important life skill. Thinking computationally means using abstraction and decomposition. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to compute it. Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world.
Computing/Computer Science is about designing new algorithms to solve new problems. In this sense Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes. Many great challenges lie in the future for Computer Scientists to solve.
In addition to using computers across the curriculum, all pupils receive tuition in Years 7, 8 and 9 to become more familiar with the hardware and software used throughout the school. Year 7 primarily concentrate on improving their skills in using both Microsoft Office and Google apps. They also learn to use a flow charting program which leads on to learning some basic coding skills.
In Year 8 training is given on the use of Excel, culminating in a project that combines spreadsheet skills and word processing. The pupils also use Publisher to create a poster, brochure and calendar and Word Art, photo editor, paint and PowerPoint to create a presentation.
Databases are introduced in Year 9 where pupils also have the opportunity to experiment with multimedia equipment where they learn to edit music and video-ending by producing a short video about their life at school.