Mr A McGinley (PTC Technologies)
Mr E Neil
Mr M Rankin
Broad General Education
Computing Science can be described as the science of the digital world. Our S1 to S3 courses are designed to teach learners not just to use technology, but how to design and create the technologies of the future. Learners will develop their ICT skills to enhance their learning, by using a range of software and hardware as the progress through our challenging and exciting courses.
In first year each learner will visit Computing Science for one period a week. During the year learners will cover the following topics:
- Word Processing: Using Microsoft word learners will enhance their typing skills by producing well formatted documents.
- Internet Safety: In a world where we are always connected learners will discover the dangers of the internet and how to stay safe.
- Databases: Information, information, information – in this unit learners will explore how large companies such as Facebook, Amazon and IMDB store and manage information.
- Programming: Using micro:bits learners will be introduced to computer programming and computational constructs.
- Computer Systems: Learners will open up the lid of a computer and look inside to see what makes it tick.
- Animation: Learners will explore a variety of animation techniques, including stop frame. Learners will then work co-operatively to create a short animation.
Progression into second year allows learners to build upon the skills gained within first year. Learners cover the following topics:
- Website Development: Learners will establish an understanding of the basic principles involved in website design and development. They will then create a website using HTML.
- Programming: Building upon the skills gain in first year learners will develop a further understanding of computer programming and computational constructs. In this unit learners will design, build and test small programs using scratch.
- Graphics & Audio: Learners will explore how to create and manipulate graphics and audio. In this unit learners will use serif DrawPlus and Audacity.
- Game Development: In this unit learners will develop a basic understanding of how computer games are designed and developed. Learners will then use Game Maker to create their own games.
- Technology in Society: Learners will examine the impact that technology has had on our life, both good and bad. Learners will present their findings in the form of a Prezi Presentation.
- 20% Time Project: 20% time is a philosophy developed by Google. All Google developers are allowed 20% of their working time on projects that interest them. During this unit learners will have the opportunity to utilise all the skills gained in first and second year by working on a project of their own choice.
At the end of second year learners are given the opportunity to choose to continue their learning experience within Computing Science. In third year learners visit our subject three times a week. As learners reach the end of the BGE phase and prepare for the Senior Phase our S3 course is designed to promote further progression into Nationals.
- Hardware: Learners will closely examine the components inside a computer and develop and understanding how they work together to form a functioning computer.
- Website Development: Building upon the knowledge and skills gained in second year learners will enhance their understanding of HTML and the website development process.
- Security & Networks: Learners will explore the multitude of threats faced by computers on a daily basis and develop an understanding of how to protect a computer from these threats. In the second part of the unit learners will explore how computers communicate and share information.
- Databases: Learners will have the opportunity to design, build, test and maintain small databases using Microsoft Access.
- Games Development: Learners will build upon skills gained in second year and have the opportunity to make their own platform/ side-scroller game.
- Programming: Leaving the world of block based programming (Scratch) behind learners will be introduced to Python. They will apply the skills gained in first and second year to a new context, whilst building upon their understanding of computational constructs.
- Graphics: Learners will explore different aspects of graphics, including the differences between a vector and a bitmap graphic. Learners will also use serif DrawPlus to create a caricature of their favourite celebrity.
At the end of third year learners will complete a project that will bring together aspects that they have studied during the course.
Pupils can choose from the following courses:
Computing Science (National 4/5)
Cyber Security (Level 5)
Games Design and Development (Level 5)
Fifth and Sixth Year
Pupils can choose from the following courses:
Computing Science (National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher)
Cyber Security (Level 5 and Level 6)
Games Design and Development (Level 5 and Level 6)
Games Design and Development
Games Design and Development is an exciting area of the computing industry which has flourished in recent years with small games companies springing up all over Scotland. To be a part of this industry you must have enthusiasm, good communication skills and persistence.
The NPA Games Development is an excellent starting point in your career and will gain you very useful knowledge and skills. The NPA Games Development can be completed at Level 5 and Level 6; these are comparable with National 5 and Higher. Both levels consist of the same three units: Design, Media Assets & Development.
- Within this unit you will develop an understanding of underlying concepts and principles involved in computer game planning and design.
- You will learn how to recognise and compare differences between gaming platforms, environments and genres. You will be introduced to the role of the games designer, and to fundamental methods used in the planning and design stages of a computer game. You will plan and design your own computer game.
- At Level 6, you will also investigate the hardware in gaming technology and the use graphics and sound in games. You will also examine emerging technologies in gaming and analyse how this technology will affect games and users’ expectations of games.
- Within this unit you will gain an understanding of the different types of media assets required for developing a computer game, these include graphics, sound and animation. You will learn how source and produce the media assets required for your game.
- At Level 6, you will also identify current legislation relating to the acquisition of media assets and analyse its impact on the computer games industry
- In this unit you will develop and understanding of the final stages of computer game development. You will learn how to use Game Maker to assemble all the elements and produce a working game.
As you progress through the NPA Games Development course you will produce an electronic portfolio, which will be assessed against the performance criteria.
During the NPA Games Development course you will use a variety of software packages these include:
- Serif DrawPlus – for creating and editing graphics and animations
- Audacity – for creating and editing sound.
- GameMaker 8 – this is the development environment that you will use to create your game.
The world of computing science is fast paced and ever changing. It plays an increasing part in all of our lives from the home to the work place. There is hardly a career left that does not have an aspect of computer technology entwined in its practices. Our course is designed to build skills through progression of our broad general education, National and Higher courses that will prepare our learners to confidently work with technology through their chosen pathways. Our subject lends itself to many other curriculum areas and helps to prepare learners for life after school education.
- Software Design and Development
- Computer Systems
- Database Design and Development
- Web Design and Development
These courses will give you the opportunity to:
- Develop Information Systems such as websites and databases,
- Explore the hardware of networks and the potential security risks.
- Look at current developments in technology and their impact on society.
- Experience the software development process in different contexts.
- Develop computational thinking skills
Within the Technologies Faculty Computing Science is delivered throughout both the Junior and Senior Phases of our school curriculum. In the Junior Phase Computing Science is delivered as part of S1-S2 Broad General Experiences and as a course choice for S3 BGE with a Computing Science focus. As part of the Senior Phase, Computing Science is available as a course choice for levels National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher. Our courses are designed to allow all individual learners to develop and build their skills through progression from BGE to Senior Phase to enable confidence and achievement to a positive destination.
In Cyber Security pupils will learn about Data Security, Ethical Hacking and Digital Forensics at levels 5 and 6. These awards will help pupils make progress into IT security where there is a significant skills shortage worldwide. A main aim of the course is to produce and develop good investigators and innovative digital analysts to tackle and prevent cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime in Scotland, thereby keeping people safe and disrupting crime.
Using industry standard software and learning the necessary skills pupils develop the capability to understand the fundamental tools and techniques of Data Security, Ethical Hacking and Digital Forensics.
The specific aim of Data Security is to place it within the context of the real world. This includes the legal and ethical considerations, and the practical methods to protect personal and corporate data.
In Ethical Hacking the purpose is to develop an awareness of the knowledge and skills used by ethical and malicious hackers and how ethical hacking can help identify vulnerabilities and mitigate these threats. Additionally, pupils will understand the legislation and ethics of hacking.
Digital Forensics aim is to develop pupils’ knowledge of the principles and integrity of the digital forensics process. It develops learners’ practical skills in identifying evidential sources across a range of digital devices and media.
Throughout the course pupils are made aware of their responsibilities to ensure that they act safely in a legal, professional and ethical way. It also helps improve their cyber hygiene and resilience, and enable them to identify security vulnerabilities.