Computer types
OS & interfaces
Legal Aspects
Data Checks
System Cycle
Data capture
Database design
Expert Systems

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GCSE ICT revision - 5.3 Index Page

Applications of ICT:

  1. Electronic communications - Internet, www, electronic mail, fax, electronic conferencing, portable telephones
  2. Process control - robotics in manufacture, production line control
  3. Billing - electricity/gas, mail order
  4. Crime - electronic fraud, police systems, tagging, security systems
  5. Retailing sales - stock control, purchasing, payroll
  6. School Management Systems - registration, records, reports
  7. Booking Systems - travel, theatre, cinema
  8. Money and Banking - Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), cash machines, cheque clearing, home banking, personal finance systems
  9. Medical applications - General Practitionersí information systems, hospital and pharmacy records, monitoring, expert systems in medicine
  10. Libraries - records of books and borrowers, issue of books
  11. Assistance for people with disabilities - communication and control devices
  12. Expert Systems/IKBS - medical diagnosis, mineral

5.3.1 Computer Technology

  • Types of hardware
  • Relationship of hardware and software to a variety of applications
  • Types of software
  • Interface software features

Candidates should be able to:

  1. identify the fundamental differences between microprocessor technology and mainframe technology;
  2. describe a range of applications at home and in everyday life where microprocessor technology is used;
  3. describe a range of applications in the workplace where either microprocessor technology is used or where mainframe technology is used;
  4. identify a range of data collection methods additional to those listed in 5.1.2 i.e. OMR, OCR, MICR, bar-code reader, touch screens, graphics tablet, voice input;
  5. identify common uses of different data collection methods e.g. MICR in banking, Bar-code reader in supermarket stock control;
  6. describe the comparative advantages and disadvantages of using the range of different data collection methods above and 5.1.2;
  7. identify a range of storage devices or media additional to those listed in 5.1.3 i.e. DVD, CD-R, CD-RW and Zip drives;
  8. describe situations when each of the devices/media above may be used;
  9. describe the comparative advantages and disadvantages of using storage media identified above and 5.1.3;
  10. identify the difference between RAM and ROM, describing their uses;
  11. describe voice output, sound, video, animation and how they are used in multimedia systems, identifying typical applications where their use is particularly beneficial;
  12. identify different types of software (operating systems, user interfaces, utilities, applications software, programming languages);
  13. identify the main features of a graphical user interface;
  14. identify the main difference between a graphical user interface (GUI) and command line interface, explaining their relative benefits and drawbacks.

5.3.2 Legal, Economic and Political Issues Relating to the Use of ICT

Candidates should be able to:

  1. describe the main aspects of the Data Protection Act and any subsequent amendments;
  2. describe the purpose of the Computer Misuse Act and any subsequent amendments;
  3. describe a range of methods for preventing unauthorised access to computer systems;
  4. describe what is meant by data encryption and identify when it is used;
  5. describe the changes to the way businesses work due to the introduction of ICT e.g. automated production lines with less workers and more standard products, automated stock control ensuring stock is kept at correct levels, shopping on the Internet reducing necessity for premises etc;
  6. discuss the changes caused by increased use of IT in industry such as size of business/workforce, type of workforce, siting of offices/manufacturing plant;
  7. discuss the changes in employment due to the introduction of computers and the increasing use of network technology such as teleworking, flexible hours, job satisfaction, ease of tasks, training, re-training, work monitoring.

5.3.3 Information Systems and Applications

Candidates should be able to:

  1. describe the difference between data which is backed up and data which is archived;
  2. describe verification methods: double entry and visual checks;
  3. describe a range of validation checks and their suitability in certain circumstances: including range checks, invalid character checks, member lists, check digits;
  4. define batch processing, real-time processing and on-line processing identifying the circumstances when it is necessary to adopt each different method of processing;
  5. identify the main stages of the systems cycle: investigation and analysis, design, development and testing of a working system, implementation, monitoring, maintenance;
  6. describe the main components of the control-feedback loop of a closed system: input, process, output, feedback, identifying a typical application using physical variables such as controlling a greenhouse environment or using documents as feedback such as utility billing systems;
  7. identify a range of systems investigation methods such as questionnaires, data capture forms, interviews, observations, suggesting situations when each might be appropriate;
  8. discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different systems investigation methods;
  9. identify the main issues governing design of suitable data capture forms;
  10. identify the main issues governing the design of screens and reports;
  11. identify the main issues governing the design of files: data types, selection of fields, coding of data, validation rules;
  12. describe different systems implementation strategies: direct, phased, pilot or parallel running;
  13. describe the purpose of IKBS/expert systems and how they are used for diagnostic work and decision making;
  14. describe the steps necessary to create an IKBS/expert system;
  15. describe the steps necessary when mail merging;
  16. describe the advantages and disadvantages of the use of mail merge.

5.3.4 Networks

Candidates should be able to:

  1. describe different methods of communication such as satellite, cable, radio, optical;
  2. describe different network topologies, identifying briefly the relative advantages of each such as star, ring, bus;
  3. define the terms Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN);
  4. describe the difference between LANs and WANs, identifying their main characteristics;
  5. describe the characteristics and purpose of common network environments, such as intranets and the Internet;
  6. discuss the problems of confidentiality of data, including problems surrounding common network environments;
  7. identify the need for encryption and authentication techniques when using common network environments like the Internet.

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