Purpose of study
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.
The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content.
Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
The curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
· can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
· can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
· can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
· are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology
Pupils will be taught to:
· understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions;
· create and debug simple programs to accomplish specific goals;
· solve problems by breaking them down into smaller parts;
· use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs;
· use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs;
· work with variables, and different forms of input and output;
design, use and evaluate computational models of the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems;
understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, ones for sorting and searching]; compare the use of alternative algorithms for the same problem;
· use programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems;
make appropriate use of data structures [for example, lists, tables or arrays]; design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions;
understand simple Boolean logic [for example, AND, OR and NOT] and some of its uses in circuits and programming; understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers [for example, binary addition, and conversion between binary and decimal];
understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems;
understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits;
· use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content;
· recognise common uses of information technology beyond school;
· understand computer networks, including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration;
· use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content;
· select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information;
· use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; recognise acceptable/ unacceptable behaviour; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.
Language and communication
develop language skills eg in systematic writing and in presenting their own ideas;
use the appropriate technical vocabulary;
read non-fiction and extract information from sources such as reference books or online sources.
Values and attitudes
work with others, listening to their ideas and expertise and treating these with respect eg co-operating and collaborating when using a computer as part of a group to ensure that all contribute;
acknowledge the ownership of ideas and recognise the value of information held on IT systems eg recognising how much work has gone into producing a computer file, and how easily careless access can destroy it;
be aware of the security of their own and other people's information in electronic form eg recognising that they should ask before reading or copying from others' work;
recognise the importance of printed output eg keeping examples of graphics work safe so that source files may be easily identified when work is developed at a later date;
be creative and persistent eg when assembling a computer file from a large amount of source material;
consider the origin and quality of information and its fitness for purpose;
evaluate critically their own and others' uses of ICT;
recognise the strengths and limitations of ICT and its uses;
develop knowledge and understanding of important ideas, processes and skills and relate these to everyday experiences;
learn about ways of thinking and of finding out about and communicating ideas.
Features of progression
To ensure students make progress in IT, teaching will promote opportunities for students, as they move through school
from using single forms of information to combining different types of information, matching the form of presentation to the audience and what is being communicated;
from personal use of information technology to using technology to meet the needs of, and communicate with, others;
from using information technology to replicate and enrich what could be done without information technology to using information technology for purposes that could not have been envisaged without it such as exploring 'what if' situations and modelling new ones;
from using everyday language to describe work with information technology to increasingly precise use of technical vocabulary and ways of recording;
From personal use of information technology in a few areas to understanding a wider range of uses of information technology and the consequences of its use for themselves, their work and others;
from using information technology to address a single task to addressing more complex issues;
from initial exploration of ideas and patterns to more systematic use of information technology for analysis, design, modelling etc.