The Department of Computing Studies is staffed by a dynamic and forward-thinking group of teachers. It has undergone substantial change in recent years, making the transition from ICT to Computing at almost every level in order to cater for modern demands. In an evolving technological world, there is no doubt that the importance of Computing skills will continue to grow in the years to come. Shiplake prepares young people for the future by instilling the fundamental technical skills required to thrive in the modern workplace.
In line with the wider College policy of integrating technology into teaching, the Computing and ICT Department makes full use of technology to enhance learning. Techniques such as the 'flipped classroom', 'gamification' and collaborative work using Google Docs are employed regularly to create interesting and effective lessons.
All pupils in the College have their own mobile device and these are used in virtually every lesson, especially in our dedicated Sixth Form classroom, where pupils collaborate around an oval table and share ideas on a contemporary whiteboard wall.
Pupils are given the opportunity to enter national ICT competitions such as the UK Beaver Computing Challenge. a problem-solving contest focussing on computational and logical thinking. Exciting prizes such as Raspberry Pi computers are awarded to the highest achieving pupils. These credit-card sized devices have been developed with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools, and are often used in lessons.
Computing Studies teachers are encouraged to promote the subject in any way possible. A relevant example of this is a task set to Year 7 and 8 pupils to create a replica of the mobile game sensation ‘Flappy Bird’ using programming software Scratch.
A Computer Club runs on a Tuesday afternoon, which allows students to experiment with software such as the Serif Suite and expand their skills in a direction of their choice.
Key Stage 3
The schemes of work followed in Years 7-9 have recently been reviewed to encompass the necessary skills for Computing, heavily influenced by changes to the National Curriculum. Pupils cover a range of basic to intermediate topics required to assist their learning in other subjects and prepare them for studying ICT and Computing at GCSE and A Level.
This course involves using digital technology to help individuals gain an appreciation of how computers function in a range of disciplines and the opportunity to work in any environment. The course consists of four units: two examinations and two pieces of controlled assessment. The examinations are one hour written papers. The exams are focused on the use of ICT software, communication and data manipulation. To prepare for the controlled assessments, students will learn how to use a range of everyday software applications, including spreadsheets and databases.
There will be continual assessment in class through a range of practical skills, designed to enable students to practice the taught programming elements of the course. This will be supported by online resources such a presentations, animations and videos. Collaborative tools are used throughout the course, both in lessons and for prep.
The department offers two routes for Sixth Form pupils. Depending on their skills, experience and interests, pupils can opt to study Computer Science or Applied ICT.
A Level Computer Science focuses on analysis and problem solving using algorithms and routines. The major focus of the course is to learn to analyse problems through logical thinking. Programming is a small practical element of the course, although no prior experience is necessary. Other topics covered include networking, binary, hardware, software and logical methods. Due to the technical nature of the subject, it is advisable to have attained a B grade or higher in GCSE Mathematics.
We also offer Applied ICT, which offers a number of opportunities for pupils to develop practical skills using the Microsoft Office suite. Teaching follows the OCR syllabus. A broad range of ICT skills will be covered including the entire process of applying practical skills in a business context (e.g. planning, research, evaluation and project management). The skills covered in Applied ICT can be applied directly to almost any career as problem solving using databases, spreadsheets, desktop publishing and other applications is a valuable skill that will prove invaluable in many different contexts.