Computer Science

Staff:

 

Mrs K Brown

Mr C Meechan

Mr C Roderick

Computing Science shapes the world that we live in through the development of innovative software that enhances our lives. In an ever-changing digital world, most industries rely on their staff having the skills necessary to create digital solutions, collaborate and make use of digital technologies. Through learning Computing Science pupils will have the opportunity to develop their computational thinking and digital literacy skills to ensure they are prepared to work in a digital environment.

Our Courses

Broad General Education

In S1 pupils will undertake a common ICT course for one period a week. This will develop their digital literacy skills to ensure that they can make appropriate use of digital technologies during their time at James Gillespie’s High School. This involves developing their skills in using Office 365, keeping safe online and participating in cross-curricular projects.

 

In S2 pupils will undertake a distinct Computing course for one period a week to continue developing their digital literacy skills as well as introducing some computational thinking skills. Pupils will begin developing their programming skills using Python, Kodu and Scratch. They begin designing and creating information systems such as a website and a database to display information in a meaningful context. Finally, pupils will investigate how computers work and the components that allow a computer to function.

National Computing Science

Entry Requirements: Evidence of satisfactory progress in achieving the Level 4 Computing Science Experiences and Outcomes during the BGE phase.

 

In S3 and S4 pupils will be expected to deepen their understanding of the concepts covered during the BGE phase and continue developing practical skills to allow them to achieve a National 4 or 5 qualification.

 

During this course pupils will complete work on the following topics:

 

  • Computer Systems – Understanding how computers function and how they store information.
  • Website Design & Development – Understanding how to design and create a website using HTML (content), CSS (layout) and JavaScript(interactivity).
  • Database Design & Development – Understanding how to design and create a database to store structured information. Pupils will be expected to make use of SQL to interact with the data stored in the database.
  • Software Design & Development – Understanding how to design and create a variety of programs using Python.

 

National 4 pupils will be assessed by completing two unit tests during the course and by completing an Added Value Unit at the end of S4.

 

National 5 pupils will be assessed by complete a piece of coursework (30%) at the end of S4 to assess their knowledge and skills across the Website, Database and Software topics followed by an external exam (70%).

Higher Computing

Entry Requirements: A minimum of a C pass at National 5 for returning pupils. Pupils who are new to this subject must provide evidence of appropriate academic ability.

 

During the Higher course, pupils will be expected to develop their knowledge and skills of the concepts covered across the four topics from National 5 as well as understanding new concepts that are introduced.

 

  • Computer Systems – Developing their understanding of how data is represented and how computers function. Pupils will also investigate security risks and prevention techniques.
  • Website Design & Development – Developing their understanding of the design and creation of websites to a more advanced level. Websites created at Higher level have a more sophisticated layout and increased interactivity using JavaScript.
  • Database Design & Development – Developing their understanding of the design and creation of databases to store structured information. Pupils will be exposed to more advanced SQL operations that will allow them to interact with the information stored in a more sophisticated manner.
  • Software Design & Development – Developing their understanding of programming to design and create modular software. Pupils will be expected to create modular programs that interact with separate text files as well as using more advanced data structures and algorithms.

 

Higher pupils will be assessed by complete a piece of coursework (30%) at the end of the course to assess their knowledge and skills across the Website, Database and Software topics followed by an external exam (70%).

Advanced Higher Computing Science

Entry Requirements: A minimum of a C pass at Higher.

 

During the Advanced Higher course, pupils will be expected to develop their knowledge and skills of the concepts covered across the four topics from National 5 & Higher as well as understanding new concepts that are introduced.

 

  • Computer Systems – Developing their understanding of a computer’s ability to store data using advanced methods and investigating the fetch-execute cycle in more detail.
  • Website Design & Development – Developing their understanding of the design and creation of responsive websites. Pupils will be exposed to server-side processing of information using PHP as well as using CSS to create responsive websites.
  • Database Design & Development – Developing their understanding of the design and creation of databases to store structured information. Pupils will develop an understanding of more advanced design techniques and will use advanced SQL to create and interact with the database.
  • Software Design & Development – Developing their understanding of programming to design and create software following the object-orientated methodologies. Pupils will develop an understanding of more advanced design techniques, data structures and algorithms. The software created in the Advance Higher course should also be able to create and interact with databases using SQL.

 

Advance Higher pupils will be assessed by completing a project (50%) throughout the year followed by an external exam (50%).

 

The project that the pupils complete allows them to design, implement, test, and evaluate a digital solution to a complex problem by demonstrating advanced skills. The project can be selected from a pre-generated list or, if the pupils have an appropriate idea that fulfils the requirements of the assessment, the pupils can choose their topic. The project can be based on the creation of a website, database or software.

NPA Computer Games Development

The NPA Computer Games Development course (levels 4, 5 and 6) introduces pupils to the computer games industry by allowing them to design and create a computer game. The computer games industry is growing at an alarming rate and is estimated to become a £300 billion industry by 2025. Scotland currently has multiple strong and growing game development companies who have created popular games such as GTA and Bloons. Pupils will have the opportunity to explore the different stages and creative roles involved with developing a video game. The course consists of three main topics.

 

  • Design – Pupils will investigate a variety of existing computer games to explore the design decisions that have been taken for those games. They will then complete a design document that will be the basis for their own video game.
  • Media Assets – Pupils will investigate existing media assets and the legislation that protects against infringements. They will then create a variety of media assets (graphics, sound, text) that they will use in their video game.
  • Development – Pupils will create their video game using an appropriate game development software (such as Game Maker) before testing and evaluating their game.

 

Computer Games Development pupils will be assessed throughout the course by completing their classwork to provide evidence of them achieving the set outcomes for each topic.

NPA Cyber Security

The NPA Cyber Security course (levels 4, 5, 6) introduces pupils to the cyber security industry which ensures that companies and individuals can safely use the internet. Companies and governments from around the world are investing a huge amount of time and money into cyber security. There is currently a global shortage of cyber security experts due to our ever-growing reliance on technology. The course consists of three main topics.

 

  • Data Security – Pupils will be introduced to the concepts of personal and corporate data security, including aspects of legal and ethical obligations. They will investigate examples of real-world data breaches and examine the damage caused by them.
  • Digital Forensics – Pupils will be introduced to the methodologies that will allow them to carry out a digital forensics examination. They will analyse, reconstruct and interpret data to understand its relevance in an investigation.
  • Ethical Hacking – Pupils will be introduced to the current legislation regarding computer hacking and learn to distinguish between ethical and malicious hacking. They will have the opportunity to learn some basic ethical hacking techniques to perform on a controlled vulnerable system.

 

Cyber Security pupils will be assessed throughout the course by completing classwork, coursework and tests to provide evidence of them achieving the set outcomes for each topic.