From ICT to Computer Studies

Last year at Saint Maur, the Technology Department decided that, starting in the 2012 – 2013 school year, we would offer the IGCSE Computer Studies course to grades 9 and 10 instead of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) course – the course we were offering at the time.

In the ICT course, students learn to manipulate a typical office suite (i.e. word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, web design and database software.) We were finding, however, that students taking the course at Saint Maur already possessed half, if not all of these skills. We needed to find a more challenging technology curriculum for grades 9 and 10.

In addition to this, we’ve noticed a real interest in computer programming from the students who frequent the Mac Lab everyday and computer programming simply can’t be learnt through the ICT course.

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The Computer Studies course is quite different to ICT in that it doesn’t prescribe a particular type of software that needs to be mastered. Rather, it places emphasis on the Systems Design Cycle (some times referred to as simply the Design Cycle) and leaves it up to the individual classrooms to decide the software or programming languages they will learn.

This year, we will be teaching Computer Studies through a number of software development projects using the Java-based Greenfoot development environment. (If you are interested in finding out more about Greenfoot, start by visiting the official website at www.greenfoot.org.) We are all very excited here in the Technology Department at the prospect of students developing their own games and simulations.

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3 thoughts on “From ICT to Computer Studies

  1. Hey Jamie,

    Interesting stuff. I am now presently teaching MYP Tech so the design cycle is of great concern to me all of a sudden. So much so that I made this SlideShare to support students and make sure I was getting it as well: http://slideshare.net/seansensei/the-design-cycle-disk-introduction

    I was also looking you up to ask about the St. Maur Web 2.0 PD. I may already be too late but do you think it might be something that would be worth looking into?

    BTW, I couldn’t find you on Twitter, have I lost a key “follower”?

    Hope to hear back soon.

    Keep up the great work.

    Sean

  2. Hey Sean,

    That’s really weird. I don’t know how I stopped following you on Twitter. I was actually thinking recently about how quiet you had become all of a sudden on Twitter – not knowing, of course, that I wasn’t following you. Anyway, the situation’s now repaired!

    Yes, the upcoming PD at Saint Maur should be a good one. Chris Toy, the guest host, will be demonstrating/presenting various applications of the iPad in the classroom. I’ll be there of course. It would be good if you came along!

    Jamie

  3. Would love to hear how the programming part of this course goes. We want to get into computational thinking at YIS and I think we’ll start with Scratch. It’s definitely not my area of expertise, so would love to chat with you to hear how it goes with you!

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