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GCSE Computing Practical Investigation

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by kingtutter, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Hello everyone,
    Don't know if anyone has time to help.
    We are currently looking into running the OCR Computing course and was wondering if anyone could enlighten me as to what is involved in the practical investigation, and what evidence the students would be expected to produce.
    I understand the principal behind what the students are being asked to do, but it doesn't seem to make sense as a whole.
    Some examples of questions unclear to me:
    20 hours teaching time recommended - is this for the entire Unit (e.g. the required teaching, the research and the controlled part of the task) or is it just for the students to complete the controlled assessment part of the task with teaching and research allocated other time.
    For the students research - are they aware of what the task will be beforehand or does the teacher direct them in order that they will be able to do the correct research in order to perfrom the task.
    What evidence are the students expected to produce?
    Please forgive me if I'm being a bit stupid, and obviously when the time comes a course will probably clear up many of these things, but I can normally get my head around these things and it's got me a little confused.
    Many thanks if anyone will help my muddled brain.

  2. Hello there,

    The initial plan was for this to be a proper investigation into some topic - say OSS vs proprietary, Windows vs Linux, Cloud vs Desktop computing, etc.. The QCA/QCDA decided this was too woolly and insisted it had a more practical element. The exam board has produced 2 tasks to choose from and intends to add more each year, only retiring those they feel are out of date (rather giving a defined shelf-life for each one). This year there is a choice of web form validation with Javascript and low level programming with the Little Man Computer. The tasks involve explaining what is already there (e.g. partially completed web form / simple assembly language program), fixing errors, extending the code and writing your own solution to a similar but different problem. Planning, testing and evaluation are all assessed, as are technical understanding and the efficiency of the solutions.

    The 20 hours is recommended for the assessment part of this, and can be broken up (e.g. teach how to do x, complete 4 hours of CA. Teach how to do y, complete 4 hours of CA) - but I felt it would be cheating if I teach students how to complete a specific task before giving them that specific task to do. Instead we've looked at assembly language programming, completed a variety of tasks (non of which is the same as the CA task but I made sure I covered some of the right kinds of techniques) and they now have their 20 hours to work through.

    They're due to finish around the end of term and I'm aiming to have it all marked within the first week. At that point I'll have a better idea of how it's all working, but having done an interim print ouf of what they've done they're actually exceeding the level that the exam board has set. I've emailed someone at OCR for clarification on one or two points and always had a timely, clear and helpful response.

  3. Wow, that was quick. Thanks a lot - the light is a little dim but its getting brighter!
    I would previously have used the LMC to teach some of the concepts required for the theory. Given that this particular task involves investigating and using the LMC, would it be right to assume that I should use another resource or would it be right to assume that as long as I did not step into the specifics of the given task (the little programs given) that it should be okay to let the students tinker with the LMC beforehand. This being a practical 'investigation' I would have thought the former but think it might take students a while to familiarise themselves with the LMC - or is that the point.
    Looks like the task they are set is more akin to the programming task but in a different area, and the evidence they need to provide would be similar.
    Still not clear on some elements of the report - maybe I will be able to get some sample material from OCR - just waiting for a reply.
    Thanks a lot!

  4. What LMC simulator do you recommend to use?
  5. Slightly handicapped by the programs author not knowing the difference :))

  6. If anyone wants I'll rewrite it :)

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