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Introduction to GCSE computer science

CP210 Face to face course

For teachers new to GCSE Computer Science, This course aims to raise confidence, allowing teachers to access deep subject knowledge enhancement through the Computer Science Accelerator programme

Key stage 3 Key stage 4
Face to face course 2 days

  • Liverpool 27 February—16 March 2020
  • Bingley 2 March—26 March 2020
  • Ipswich 3 March—16 March 2020
  • Stoke-on-Trent 18 March—30 March 2020
  • Orpington 30 March—27 April 2020
  • Rickmansworth 27 April—7 May 2020
  • Tarporley 15 May—16 June 2020
  • Dereham 2 June—16 June 2020
  • Darlington 22 June—6 July 2020
  • Portsmouth 22 June—2 July 2020
  • Bury St Edmunds 7 July—8 July 2020

For teachers new to GCSE Computer Science, the subject can seem challenging. This course aims to raise confidence, allowing teachers to access deep subject knowledge enhancement through the Computer Science Accelerator professional development programme. Whether you’re already teaching computing in lower secondary school, or are entirely new to the subject, this course is an accessible step on the ladder to becoming a computer science specialist teacher.

You’ll learn the core subject knowledge that unlocks understanding of the whole computer science GCSE curriculum, and the key terminology used.

From structured English to an understanding of the formalism of pseudocode and flowcharts, you’ll discover how the key building blocks of algorithms underpin computing and the level to which they need to be understood for GCSE success. You’ll experience unplugged approaches to algorithms, supporting classroom learning away from the computer. Crucially, you’ll develop a firm grasp of how algorithms are expressed through computer programs to manage data input, processing and output, and will gain hands-on experience of block-based programming transitioning to a textual language.

You’ll also discover the essentials of computer systems, looking inside the box to improve your understanding of how they work. You’ll also learn how, and why, they are joined together in networks; the risks of doing so and the measures that can protect computers and their users.

By the end of the course you’ll have a solid plan for developing your subject knowledge to the level needed for GCSE teaching, and the confidence to carry it out.

Who is it for?

Teachers without a specialist background in computer science who may already be teaching computing at KS3, or who may be entirely new to the subject.

This course forms part of the Computer Science Accelerator programme, a 40 hour+ programme of subject knowledge enhancement. The programme is suitable for existing computer science teachers wanting to improve their knowledge or those upskilling from other subjects to teach GCSE Computer Science. Generous bursaries are available to help you access the CPD you need.

Course content

01 | Introduction to algorithms from the instructions you might give to make the perfect cup of tea, to the steps needed to sort a list alphabetically, this session will introduce algorithms. You’ll discover the three key constructs that comprise all algorithms at this level, and how to describe algorithms using flowcharts and pseudocode as required by the GCSE examination.

02 | essentials of computer programming computers do not understand English as humans do. To get a computer to carry out the instructions contained in an algorithm, a computer program must be written. In this session you’ll find out how the basics are expressed in a simple block-based language, as well as the text-based language Python.

03 | what is data? Data is all around us, in written and electronic formats. Computers handle data in the form of binary – one’s and zero’s which can represent the dates, alphabetical characters, image and so on that are important to us humans. You’ll carry out basic data handling operations through simple programs, changing inputted data into different outputted data.

04 | introduction to computer hardware devices such as keyboards, monitors, cameras and printers attach to computers to create useful systems. Here you’ll learn about the breadth of hardware devices in the modern era.

05 | computer systems terms like ‘8 bit’, ‘500 gigabyte drive’ or ‘megabit broadband’ are in common usage – this session explains these terms and more . You’ll understand how computers store, process and transmit data and the essential roles of the central processing unit and computer memory.

06 | networked computer systems in the modern era almost all computers are part of a network. You’ll learn the essentials of how, and why, computers are networked locally, or globally through the internet, and internet services such as email and the worldwide web.

07 | cybersecurity networks bring risks as well as benefits. This session will demystify some internet dangers such as phishing, viruses and DDoS attacks.

How will you learn?

  • Hands-on experiential learning with the collaborative support of your peers, including the first principles of programming.
  • Expert advice and instruction on the GCSE curriculum and the expectations of a computer science teacher, from experienced classroom practitioners.
  • Time to reflect on your own needs, and to develop a plan to enhance your subject knowledge through online and face-to-face courses in the Computer Science Accelerator programme.

How long is the course?

This course is a split across two-days each involving 5 hours of learning. There is a mandatory gap task of 2-4 hours duration.

You will be able to:

  • Develop confidence in the core knowledge that underpins the computer science GCSE, including algorithms, data, computer systems and networks
  • Gain experience in programming, and identify how to build programming knowledge to GCSE level
  • Develop a personalised plan to fully benefit from the CS Accelerator subject knowledge enhancement programme from the National Centre for Computing Education.

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