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Teaching suggestions

Teaching suggestions for

Chapters 1 to 8

There are a number of places in the theory section

where further research and discussion would
develop a wider understanding of the topic. For
example, there are places where it would be highly
beneficial to visit relevant companies, have a class
discussion, link the concepts covered in different
chapters or to explore further examples not covered
in detail in the book. Some of these are given below
as teaching suggestions.

Chapter 1: Types and components

of computer systems
Computer systems: Find some examples of
microchips to show students what they look like.
This will help them understand the concepts.
Mainframe computers: Try to visit a company
that uses mainframe computers, so that students can
get some idea of how they differ to what they are
used to at home and/or school.

Chapter 2: Input and output devices

Output devices: Encourage students to find out
where these devices are used. It would be beneficial
for them to write down their own views on the
suitability of each device for each application looked
at. It may be necessary to visit local companies or
offices to find the full range.
Sensors: consider the applications discussed in
Section 7.1. Try to find two or three actual examples
where these devices are used and let students
investigate how they work.
When students have worked through this chapter,
identify a number of applications that use
input/output devices and discuss the reasons why
those devices were chosen (i.e. their advantages and

Chapter 3: Storage devices and

Try to allow students to see as many of these storage
devices and associated media as possible. It would be
useful (under supervision) to allow students to see

how these devices work by locating equipment that

no longer works and can be dissected for analysis.
Given that this is a field in which new devices are
continually being produced, students should
consider other devices which are still under
development and discuss what applications they may
be considered for in the future. This information can
be found on the internet and could form a miniproject. Students could then display their work at
the end of term by producing posters etc.

Chapter 4: Computer networks

Networks: In exams, students are often asked to
identify networks, draw network topologies and
discuss the relative merits of different network
structures. Suggest that students tabulate and compare
the differences between all four types of networks
ring, bus, star and tree discussed in this chapter.
WiFi and Bluetooth: Since this technology
changes almost by the day, it is advisable to
constantly keep up to date with advancements in
WiFi and Bluetooth applications.
Wireless connectivity: This exercise could form
the basis for a useful discussion:
1 Find out which devices can use wireless
2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of
having wireless connectivity for each of the
devices in 1?
3 Read the section on WiFi and Bluetooth and
tabulate the differences and similarities of the
three technologies.
Bridges and routers: Compare the function of
bridges and routers to make sure students
understand the fundamental differences between the
two devices.
The internet: Check out the URLs for a number of
websites and make sure that they fit the definition given
in this section. (Some will have several paths and/or
filenames if they are large, fairly complex websites).
Network devices: At the end of this section, use a
table to identify the differences between all these
network devices. Use the introduction (Section 4.1) to
ensure students understand the role of all the hardware
devices used in the different types of networks.

Network security: Link this section into the topics
being discussed in Chapter 6 security covers many
different topics which cant be taught in isolation.

Chapter 5: Data types

Types of data: Consider questions like the following
to ensure students are able to recognise the different
types of data:
1 What data types are shown in the following
examples: 1245, 9.85, computer, car_4,
23/09/2010, 24 Harbour Road, 12AB, April, 0,
100%, 24 February 2009, Y or N (2 options to
a question)?
2 Give examples of the following data types from
everyday life: text, date, Boolean, real numbers,
integers and alphanumeric.
Data structures: To allow students to get used to the
idea of files try carrying out the following exercise.
Create a file of car sales (either as a paper exercise or
use a database) containing ten vehicles; decide on
what field is the primary key (key field), what data you
would store in each record (one record per vehicle)
and the type of data you would have in each field.
Data structures, Exercise 5a: Here are the answers
to Exercise 5a.

Example 1

salary, telephone number
name of employee, department
employee number
employee number
date joined
A3046, A5211, B4142, B5041, A6121

Example 2

relational database
customer number
date format
Barcode/CD borrowed
CD title
CD artist
Year released

numeric (integer)
numeric (integer)

Number copies
Customer number
Customer name
Telephone number

numeric (integer)
numeric (integer)

Chapter 6: The effects of using ICT

Viruses and hacking/the effects of ICT on society:
There were many discussions in Sections 6.3 and 6.4
regarding online shopping/banking and the internet.
Ask students to write a critique on what they have
read, pulling together all the benefits and drawbacks
and then drawing conclusions based on the impact of
internet shopping and banking and on the increased
use of microprocessor-controlled devices in the
home. This could include doing research on devices
in industry and commerce.
Internet developments: Because of the rapid
way the internet changes, students are advised to
constantly review what web-based developments are
taking place.
Also in this section, brand names are used to help
explain how certain websites function. Remind
students, however, that brand names will gain no
credit if used in examination answers.

Chapter 7: The ways in which ICT

is used
Satellite and mobile network communications:
Ask students to review the notes in this book on
mobile phones and emails and write an essay
comparing the advantages and disadvantages of
both methods as a form of communication.
Modelling applications, Exercise 7a: Here are
the answers to Exercise 7a. This exercise could
provide a good basis for a class discussion.
Pilot training

Cost of building the real

thing is too expensive


Take too long to get results

back from real thing

bridge loading

Easier/safer to make
changes to a model

reactor model

Some situations are too

dangerous to humans


It is almost impossible to
do the tasks for real



Producing a monthly payroll

Processing bank cheques at the end of the month


Using an ATM to obtain cash

Booking seats for a train journey

Monitoring a patient in an intensive care unit

Manual stock taking system done at the end of each day

Welding of a car body using a robot

A satellite navigation system

Producing and updating a dictionary or encyclopedia

Printing out mobile phone bills at the end of the month

Getting prices of items at an EPOS terminal in a supermarket

Modelling applications: Consider how to carry out

the following simulations:
population growth supermarket queues
financial models
weather predictions
building a new sky scraper
Batch processing applications: Ask students to find
out how the bank cheque clearing process works and
show the input, processing and output as in the
examples in Section 7.9, and to produce a diagram
that summarises the processing that is done.
Online booking systems: Suggest to students that
they find a number of flight and holiday companies on
the internet and study their input screens. This will
help them to understand what processing is done and
will also help with examination-type questions that ask
them to design a web page/input screen.
Answers to Exercise 7b:
Expert systems monitoring: Go through a
number of other monitoring examples using the two
applications discussed in Section 7.14 as the basis for
discussion. These could stimulate valuable discussion:
a burglar alarm system
a laboratory experiment
a weather station
Expert systems control: Go through other
control applications using the same principles
applied in this section. The suggested applications
nuclear reactors
traffic lights system
a central heating system

Chapter 8: Systems analysis and

You will come across many different approaches to
and interpretations of this topic; the approach used
in this book closely follows the existing CIE ICT
syllabus. But you are advised to do further research,
and also consult chapters 9 to 16 of this book to
ensure a good understanding of the basics.
Analysis stage: Consider two or three
applications, for example:
a car dealer changing over from a manual paper
based customer records/car sales system to a
computer filing system
a library using computer technology to keep track
of books out on loan.
Discuss the most appropriate fact finding method
for each application. Use the information in Table
8.1 to help students make the correct decision.
Development and testing: Discuss the following
questions to confirm students understanding of
designing databases.
1 Consider the following eight pieces of data and
decide whether each data item is normal, extreme
or abnormal for the month in the example
described above:
2 Describe what validation routines could be used
to check the date if it was input on the screen as




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Teaching notes for Chapters

9 to 16


Describe how it would be possible to avoid errors
altogether when inputting the date in the form
shown above.
3 Write test data for the following fields in a
database (the data should try and cover all
possible types of data). The database will store the
following information:
name of resort
average daily temperature
number of hours of sunshine per day.
Describe the validation routines that should be
written into the database interface to check the
above inputs.

Activity 9a: Supply all students with your school

email address. When they email you, reply
individually, asking them to send you a document
explaining how email and the traditional postal
system differ.
A number of activities are suitable for peer
marking and for paired, group or class discussion.
These include:
Activity 10i
Activity 10k
Activity 11a
Activity 11b
Activity 12c