“Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionise the way we learn.” Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple
Students today are part of the ‘digital generation’ – they have been using computers, technology and mobile devices probably for as long as they can remember. The Computing department at Hillview aims to harness their aptitude and progress their skills in order to better prepare them for adult life and the world of work.
At Key Stage 3 our Computing delivery forms part of ‘Global Learning’ and uses scenarios, predominantly from the Humanities programme, as the basis for our computer work. Typical units in Years 7 and 8 are: creating and developing websites; financial planning using spreadsheets; and multimedia projects around a global theme. Additionally, in Year 8 we participate in the national BBC News School Report project, when we turn our girls into young student reporters and ask them to create their own digital news bulletins.
Computing is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 4, where all students are expected to follow either the GCSE course in Computing or the more skills-based OCR Nationals qualification. Either way, our aim is for all students to leave Hillview with a formally recognised Computing qualification. There is a large emphasis on the application of practical computing skills to solve a problem or design a system for an end-user and this develops the students’ project management skills, which serve them well across the curriculum. The Computing Curriculum at Key Stage Four provides a good preparation for the computing courses which are offered in the 6th Form at Hillview.
We have five dedicated computing suites at Hillview and, with over 400 computers in school for students to use, we are well-equipped, both for PC and Apple applications. We mainly use Microsoft and Serif software in our Computing but do also use other packages from time to time, while subject-specific software is also used in other areas across the curriculum. Our online Learning Environment is provided by Frog and is used widely across the school to support learning and communication.
The safety of our students is something which we take very seriously and this extends to their use of computing. We work closely with an Internet safety expert to deliver a series of e-safety sessions to our Year 7 students and to the whole school through assemblies. Such messages are reinforced during computing lessons and students run an e-mentoring service at the school, supporting their peers by e-mail and text message.
With Computing skills in ever-increasing demand from employers, the Computing provision and curriculum at Hillview gives opportunities to all of our students to become qualified, competent and confident in this crucial area of their education.