Create a generation of young people able to work at the forefront of technological change.
Curriculum Rationale: ICT
Powerful knowledge in ICT – Why do we teach these concepts?
It is difficult to find any significant aspect of modern life or employment which has not been touched by new technologies. As these are consistently evolving, we teach transferrable skills which uses the context of current software to develop a life-long understanding of computational and communication concepts. Computer technology plays an increasing part of young people’s social lives and safe and responsible use of ICT is a key component of our curriculum. The course explores how technology has and is evolving, how we communicate differently and how it has affected society around the world. By understanding how ICT has evolved, students will be able to contemplate how it will continue to develop and be better prepared to adapt alongside it.
In addition, we have deliberately included modules which develop pupils' ability to think like computer scientists. Pupils will gain a range of 'computational thinking' tools, including the ability to look for abstraction, algorithmic solutions, patterns and ways of decomposing problems – as well as a desire to find efficient and elegant solutions.
Curriculum Features - How do we embed the learning?
Our focus has been a switch away from skills to understanding. The aim of this curriculum is to developing an understanding of ideas and principles, rather than just training students to use particular software, which is likely to be out of date by the time they leave school! By creating “digital natives” students will be capable of acquiring future tech skills for themselves and staying up to date with rapid changes.
The curriculum spirals around the broad themes of using computers safely and responsibly, the development of computing, digital literacy, digital creativity, programming, data systems and communications & networks. Within each theme, students are initially introduced to the concepts using more easily accessible software and features before revisiting the theme more than once and building increasing levels of mastery. In the programming theme for example, Year 7 students learn the basics of games programming using Scratch. In Years 8 and 9, these same concepts are revisited but this time via increasingly advanced features of Python. The point is not to have mastered either piece of software but to have developed a good understanding of the principals of programming which could be applied to any programming software. Mastery (of ICT and computational principals) is achieved by regularly revisiting taught concepts.
Curriculum Enrichment – How do we link with other subjects and offer experiences?
Computing traditionally has deep links with Mathematics, Science, Design Technology and Business but new technologies are constantly evolving, particularly within the areas of App design, social media and e-commerce. Examples of how ICT link to other subjects include:
“Games Masters!” (Scratch in Y7, Python in Y8 &9) has links with Design Technology, (particularly project planning, story boarding), Art (design elements) Drama (scripts and roles) English (creative writing) and Maths (sequencing instructions and logical thinking)
“Faking It” (Y8) and “Mythbusters” (Y8) – these modules look at digital image manipulation and reliability and validity of information and links with CBV (body image, celebrity shaming, self-esteem, social influencers, body dysmorphia) and with English (fake news, persuasive writing and descriptive writing)
What Skills will I get with ICT?
By studying ICT students will be able to develop e-safety awareness including learning how to be safe when using electronic equipment such as mobile phones in addition to how to be safe when on social media. They will also learn how to promote their own (and others’) health and safety when in a computer environment. Students will explore computer hardware and investigate their functions in conjunction with learning how to the main computer hardware are useful and in which scenarios might they be utilised.
It is also compulsory that they will further develop problem-solving, logical-thinking, creativity, planning and evaluative skills. Additionally, they will also gain great experience in interpreting client briefs and use them to create end-products suiting client requirements; a key skill needed in the ICT world especially when end-product creation is required.
What General Progression Can I do with ICT?
There is no doubt that the world now revolves around technology and computers and ICT helps to facilitate this phenomenon!
There are a variety of progression routes that can be sought after studying this course. Following year 11, students could progress to 6th form or college where they could take A ‘Level ICT along with other qualifying A ‘Level courses (depending on the University or College requirements) and then progress to taking a professional ICT course or an Undergraduate degree which could further lead to a post-graduate qualification (Masters and/or PhD degree).
After gaining the desired qualification(s), there are many different sectors in the computing and ICT industry and students would usually specialise in a particular area. These include but are not limited to, Computer Programming and Software Engineering, IT support, IT security, Systems Analysis and design, Networks, Database Administration, Web and Multimedia. Notably, some areas of this industry are also related to engineering, such as electrical and electronics work.
In terms of future jobs, almost all companies and industries use Computing and Information Technology, so the range of firms that students could work for is quite vast and diverse. These could include: large technology companies, finance and commerce companies, local government and the Civil Service, the National Health Service (NHS), games development companies, web design and development agencies, aerospace companies, manufacturing and engineering firms and education. Some popular careers for people with qualifications in ICT are: