Structured Home Learning has completely revised the materials we use for the ICT component of the curriculum packs. This is such an important subject for young people to understand because it affects so many parts of their life and can offer interesting job opportunities later.
Since this subject – rather like maths – builds on a set of skills, you can select the stage which matches your child’s ability, regardless of their age. The different stages are described here so that you have the information you need to choose the best study pack for your child.
Secondary Stage 1
- Computational Thinking: Use decomposition to break a problem down into smaller parts. Describe an algorithm. Use pattern recognition. Use a flow chart to describe your problem-solving. Describe selection. Use if…then…else to navigate through a problem. Describe iteration. Use loops to navigate through a problem. Evaluate work.
- App Inventor: Design an interface with buttons, labels and text boxes. Make an event-driven program that reacts to user commands. Display text and images as output from a computer program. Describe syntax errors and other error messages. Duplicate and delete code blocks. Upload and use multimedia content. Use logical tests and the if command to control the computer. Test and evaluate a program to see whether it meets user needs.
- Data and the CPU: Explain why computers use binary code. Convert decimal numbers into binary. Convert binary numbers into decimal. Explain how counting works in decimal and binary. Explain how computers use binary numbers to store information. Explain why a computer needs to use code to communicate. Encode and decode simple messages. Show that simple programs use variables and constants. Explain that data is stored in a data structure.
- Introducing Python: Writing a program in Python. Create a program with inputs, outputs and processes. Plan a program by setting out an algorithm. Use if…else and a logical test to vary the output of a program. Use variables and change the value of a variable. Use relational and arithmetic operators.
- Information Technology: Explain the difference between manual and an automatic input device. Describe a variety of external input, output and storage devices. Explain and give examples of system and application software. Explain the relationship between user, software and hardware. Describe different types of computer network and explain their advantages and disadvantages. Describe e-safety. Understand where to get help if you need it. Stay safe online.
- Creative communication: Create and edit a basic web page. Describe HTML. Identify basic HTML tags. Describe good web design. Sketch a wireframe design for your webpage. Use images and hyperlinks on your web page.
Secondary Stage 2
- Computational Thinking: Design a route planner. Use pseudocode. Design exhaustive search algorithms. Use insertion and bubble sort algorithms. Use serial and binary search algorithms. Use search algorithms as pseudocode. Use an exhaustive algorithm and a greedy algorithm to find the fastest route.
- App Inventor: Design an interface to suit users. Make an app that records and counts events. Use arithmetic operators to change values. Initialise, set and get variables. Use the real and string data types. Find and fix run- time errors. Use conditional structures and logical tests.
- Data and the CPU: Write numbers using the binary number system. Convert between binary and decimal numbers. Add binary numbers together and count in binary. Explain the relationship between binary data and file size. Describe the storage units (eg. .kilobyte) used to describe computer memory. Convert between binary storage units such as megabyte and gigabyte. Describe how images are made up of pixels. Explain what affects the quality of a picture file. Explain how picture resolution and colour depth affects file size and quality. Describe how pixelation can affect pictures.
- Introducing Python: Do you need to make calculations in your life and future work? Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using computers and calculators.
- Information Technology: The difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. Name pieces of network hardware and explain how they are used. Explain why the internet needs protocols. Explain that data is sent out in packets over the internet. Understand that IP addresses help data get to the correct place. Describe how to do a simple search on the web. Narrow search results using advanced search tools. Explain how search engines work to rank search results. Clarify that images can stay on the web, even after removal by the poster. Stay safe on the web.
- Creative Communication: Create a basic web page. Plan and create the basic structure of a web page. Understand the difference between HTML and CSS. Identify reliable websites. Add a simple left-hand menu to a web page. Understand margins, content, padding and borders. Understand and edit divisions, elements and attributes. Insert local and external hyperlinks. Insert a hyperlink to an email. Use text and images as a hyperlink. Use data to create a graph. Save a graph as a web page. Analyse data and make a judgement.
Secondary Stage 3
- Computational Thinking: Decompose a problem. Identify variables. Use processes, inputs and outputs in computational thinking. Design, use and evaluate a computational abstraction. Understand the difference between an input variable and a set variable in computer modelling. Understand how abstractions model things in the real world.
- App Inventor: Make a game with a sprite moving on a canvas. Use a timer to control events. Use x and y co-ordinates to position objects. Use a conditional (if) structure in your code. Make random numbers. Create and use procedures. Use and explain the difference between global and local variables. Store values and get values back from storage.
- Data and the CPU: Identify that the CPU contains switches. Explain how the CPU stores data in its memory. Understand simple Boolean logic using AND, OR and NOT gates. Understand that a computer uses the fetch-decode-execute cycle to process data. Explain how the CPU uses AND, OR and NOT gates to test data. Create a simple logic test using spreadsheet software. Create a simple truth table to test data.
- Introducing Python: Store a series of names as a list variable. Append an item to a list. Use a condition-controlled and a counter-controlled loop. Explain how an index number is used to identify list elements. Find the length of a list and store this value as a variable. Use code modules written by other programmers. Make and use random numbers. Store blocks of code as procedures. Define and call a procedure with a parameter. Use local variables in procedures. Write and save data as a text file.
- Information Technology: Explain how the file size of an image is related to the resolution and colour depth. Explain how the file compression can reduce the size of image files. Describe lossy and lossless compression. Name different image file types and how to use them. Describe how compression can affect the quality of an image. Describe how a computer saves audio as a binary data. Explain how the quality of an audio sample is related to sampling rate and bit depth. Explain how text is stored as binary by using ASCII code. Explain how numbers, images, sounds and characters use the same bit patterns. Recognise the difference between a static and dynamic web page. Explain why encryption is used to protect data on the internet. Create strong passwords.
- Creative Communication: Explain how technology has changed the ways in which we live and work. Explain copyright, plagiarism and software piracy. Explain the difference between bitmap and vector images. Create a simple graphic of your own. Create a report using a template. Share, edit and add comments to a document online. Create a simple slideshow. Understand peer assessment and self-assessment. Explain the difference between quantitative and qualitative data. Create an online form.