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An introduction to algorithms, programming and data in GCSE computer science

CP228 Face to face course

Create some simple block-based computer programs and discover how to implement them in the text based language Python.

Key stage 3 Key stage 4
Face to face course 1 day

  • Remote delivered CPD 16 April—17 April 2020
  • Remote delivered CPD 20 April—21 April 2020

Overview

Take your first steps towards teaching GCSE computer science and establish a foundational knowledge base of concepts, terminology and classroom practice. Find out how algorithms are designed and how programs are written to provide clear instructions to machines. Learn about the binary system and how it's used by computers to store and process data, plus how to convert to and from the familiar denary system of numbers zero to nine.

Create some simple block-based computer programs and discover how to implement them in the text based language Python. Use your knowledge to write programs that can handle user input and manipulate variable values before outputting simple messages to the screen.

Who is it for?

This course is for prospective teachers of GCSE computer science who may be new to the subject, or who may teach computing in earlier years.

Prior knowledge

No prior experience or knowledge of computer science is expected before attending this course. It is advised that you become familiar with the National Curriculum in Computing before participating, as well as the GCSE specification you are likely to teach.

  • Course units

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 – ones and zeros that can represent the dates, alphabetical characters, images 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.

  • How will you learn?

You’ll engage with active learning in groups including direct instruction, hands-on activities and challenge-based learning. Examination practice with guidance will be linked to the specific requirements of the main awarding bodies. The course will model teaching approaches that can be taken back to the classroom.

  • How long is the course?

This is a one-day course which consists of five hours of teaching time.

Recommended next steps

This foundation course helps novice computer science teachers access the GCSE CS Accelerator programme. It is strongly recommended that its counterpart course an introduction to computer systems, networking and security in GCSE computer science is also attended before progressing further into the programme.

You will:

  • Learn about algorithms, how they are usually represented, and some of their most common applications
  • Understand how human-language algorithms are translated through computer programs into binary, to be executed by a computer
  • Recognise and use the basic building blocks of programming: sequence, selection and repetition
  • Understand how binary, denary and hexadecimal are used to represent numbers, and why this is important for computer science
  • Develop basic programming skills using block-based and text-based languages
  • Develop confidence in subject knowledge, ready to progress further towards becoming a GCSE computer science teacher.

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