KS3 Information technology
Information technology is the aspect of computing which deals with how the hardware side of things works, as well as how to use specific software packages to achieve given goals. Sometimes this requires students to understand the underlying hardware models which are used to abstract away the details. Understanding how a computer works, and what the various hardware components do, can be crucial in working out, exactly what your system is capable of doing. As more and more devices become connected to each other and to servers on the internet, knowing the underlying basics of how this communication occurs becomes an ever greater necessity.
At other times it is necessary for students to be able to demonstrate clear skills in certain circumstances, in order for them to succeed in producing an appropriate digital artifacts.
The ability to produce high quality graphical imagery is a key skill when trying to make digital designs for the 21st Century. Also, the need for students to be able to use a wide range of office packages still remains
Links and Resources
Students will need to be given various aspects of both Secondary Storage Devices and what is expected of them in terms of creating the Top Trumps themselves. As background to the task the teacher needs to start by explaining the three main types of secondary storage magnetic, optical and solid state. There are numerous videos around which will explain how each of them work. After brief discussions about each type and how their durability might be compared, then it is time to get students to research various criteria that may be compared. There are tables within the resources to allow this to happen in a controlled way. Either by using the blank template provided in the resource or using an online Top Trump creator the students are asked to produce 8 top trump cards containing the following information: Medium, capacity, speed, portability, price per Gb and reliability / durability. Students are also asked to include an image of their chosen storage device. The student version of the comparison table can be used to measure both reliability and portability. Once the cards are completed then a 3 way game of top trumps can be played between three teams.
Resources which centres around a series of lessons that facilitate students producing a large Mind Map of ideas and facts about computing hardware. The Mind Map itself is created using a free online tool called MindMup.com, but any other suitable software or even just pencil and paper methods could also be used. There are a variety of topics and activities for each detailed in the presentation, along with some example material. These could be expanded upon or cut down depending on the ability of the groups concerned. Other aspects of computers could be added as well in order to create a much more detailed map.
A scheme of work which although aimed at the upper end of Key Stage 2, is also suitable for delivery at the bottom end of Key Stage 3. The scheme contains a whole host of unplugged and plugged activities surrounding networks and communications, including the difference between the internet and the world wide web, understanding how data travels across the internet, protocols associated with data transfer, packet switching, understanding IP addresses, binary numbering (and how this is applied to IP addresses), searching the internet, and how search engines work. Each of these lesson plans comes with detailed explanations of the underlying ideas and with suggestions to how these might be taught, there are also copious links to ways in which progress could be tracked and progress demonstrated, along with other links to relevant material.