Latest News


Subject Team

There are three dedicated ICT subject classrooms in the College, which have all been upgraded in the last few years. The subject is delivered by extremely enthusiastic and dedicated staff that all possess an excellent level of knowledge and skill in the subject area. The excellent staff/student relationship is evident in all of our classrooms.

Mrs K Hutchinson (HOD)
Mr S Nelson
Mrs C Wells
Mrs C McNulty

Department Aims

Everywhere that you look in today’s digital world you can see how the use of ICT has an influence in our everyday lives.

The study of an ICT based subject will help provide you with the ANALYTICAL (thinking), COMMUNICATION (writing, talking, giving presentations) and TECHNICAL skills (using a computer at a high level) that you will need when you enter the world of work.

ICT based subjects at Portadown College are all thriving. The dynamic and forward thinking department has a proud history of delivering popular and enjoyable subjects which achieve excellent results at both GCSE and A-level every year. The ICT and Digital Technology results are well above the N.I. average at both GCSE and A-level.

We actively encourage our students to take part in local and national events to broaden their knowledge and give them opportunities to experience “real” work environments. This helps our students to make informed decisions about further education and career choices and prepare them for employment. See the tab labelled “Recent Events” on the left of the screen for the latest news about our students’ activities.

There are three dedicated ICT subject classrooms in the College, which have all been upgraded in the last few years. The subject is delivered by extremely enthusiastic and dedicated staff that all possess an excellent level of knowledge and skill in the subject area. The excellent staff/student relationship is evident in all of our classrooms.

Aims

  • To deliver ICT/Digital Technology at GCSE and A-level following the related CCEA specifications.
  • To deliver Computing at GCSE following the OCR specification.
  • To deliver Business Communication Systems at GCSE following the CCEA specification.
  • To deliver Computer Science at A-level following the WJEC specification.
  • To develop in young people a knowledge and understanding of the use of ICT.
  • To enable students to develop interpersonal skills through working with others, adopting roles/responsibilities and improving negotiating skills.
  • To develop a spirit of curiosity, explanation, flexibility and resilience.
  • To develop skills of critical thinking.
  • To encourage students to find, select, group, sort, evaluate, record and adapt in a range of contexts.
  • To provide students with opportunities to analyse, design, implement and document ICT systems for use by others.
  • To encourage students to solve problems through the use of ICT and associated principles and techniques.
  • To provide students with a broad and balanced view of the range of applications and information systems and an understanding of their capabilities and limitations.
  • To develop young people’s competency to manage information relating to digital skills and knowledge.

ICT

The subject profile offered by the ICT department has broadened over the last few years to meet the ever-changing dynamic world that we live in.  Digital skills are highly sought after in the job market and it is essential that students entering the world of work are fully equipped with the necessary skills set.

GCSE

CCEA GCSE Business Communication Systems, CCEA GCSE Digital Technology Multimedia and CCEA GCSE Digital Technology Programming are all offered in the department from September 2017.  Students are only permitted to study one out of the three GCSE subjects offered within the department.

A-Level

Progression to A-level is a very popular route with many students deciding to continue their studies. A-level Digital Technology can be chosen as an AS subject and can then be continued at A2 level.  A-level Computer Science is an option for those students who chose the Programming strand at GCSE level.

Resources

For any information regarding both the GCSE and A-level Digital Technology specifications you can access the CCEA Digital Technology Microsite by clicking on the following link: http://ccea.org.uk/digitaltechnology

For any information regarding GCSE Business Communication Systems you can access the CCEA microsite by clicking on the following link: http://ccea.org.uk/business_comm_systems/

Other useful links

GCSE

GCSE  Business Communication Systems

Examination Board: CCEA

What is Business Communication Systems about?

This subject provides students with the opportunity to explore the links between the business and digital world in one qualification. Digital technologies play a pivotal role in business and economic activities and this exciting new qualification provides a perfect blend.

By choosing this qualification students will develop their business knowledge and skills set in a range of software applications which will provide them with a sound basis on which to build their future career.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The course is broken down into three units:

Course breakdown Assessment Weighting
Unit 1:Software Applications for Business

In this unit, students will learn about relevant functions in software applications and develop their skills in using them in business contexts.   Students will use a range of applications including; word processing; spreadsheets; database; presentation; web development; email and internet.

External computer based examination

2 hours

40%
Unit 2:The Business Environment

In this unit, students gain a broad introduction to the business world. They learn about recruitment, selection, training and marketing as well as the implications of digital technology for business. Students consider different roles, including stakeholders and customers, as well as how best to communicate a message.

External written examination

1 hour

35%
Unit 3:Developing Digital Solutions

A practical unit where students use the skills they have developed in the previous units to plan and develop a digital solution for a business.

Controlled Assessment 25%

What can I do with a GCSE qualification in Business Communication Systems?

Students will gain a qualification which will provide them with opportunities to acquire transferable digital skills in a range of software applications which are useful in many careers. .

Students will also acquire other skills valued in further and higher education, as well as in the workplace; these include research, investigation, analysis, communication skills, problem solving and working with others.

Students can further their studies in this subject area at A-level by choosing to study CCEA A-level in Digital Technology and/or Business Studies.

The information age is here to stay and when you as a student leave the College you will play a very different part in our global society. By the time you reach the world of work or university, it is essential that you are competent in the use of I.C.T.

By choosing to study a GCSE in Business Communication Systems, you will have made a conscientious decision as to how you are shaping your future.

You can download the specification by going to the CCEA BCS microsite please click here

 

GCSE Digital Technology Multimedia (formerly ICT)

Examination Board: CCEA

What is Digital Technology Multimedia about?

The influence of ICT is rapidly expanding and changing the way people live, learn and work. This exciting new qualification reflects the needs of our changing economy, and as such is designed to boost the digital skills workforce of the 21st century.

 

By studying this skills-based course you will develop your aptitude in applications such as website and database development. In addition to these skills you will also develop a sound knowledge and understanding of ICT in a range of contexts.

 

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The course is broken down into three units:

 

Course breakdown Assessment Weighting
Unit 1:Digital Technology

In this unit, students will explore a range of different technologies and some of the topics that will be covered are; Digital Data; Computer Hardware; Network Topologies; Spreadsheet applications; Cyperspace; Cloud Technology and Digital applications.

External written examination

1 hour

30%
Unit 2:Digital Authoring Concepts

In this unit, students gain an understanding of the concepts in the development of digital systems. Topics include; HTML; database development; multimedia design and testing.

External written examination

1 ½ hours

40%
Unit 3:Digital Authoring Practice

A practical unit where students are given are the opportunity to design, develop and test digital multimedia systems. Students will create an interactive website and a database system.

Controlled Assessment 30%

What can I do with a GCSE qualification in Digital Technology Multimedia?

Students will gain a qualification which will provide them with opportunities to acquire transferable skills in a range of development environments which can be applied to almost any occupation. Students will also acquire other skills valued in further and higher education, as well as in the workplace; these include research, investigation, analysis, communication skills, problem solving and working with others.

To continue this subject at A Level, students are required to obtain a minimum of grade ‘B’

By choosing to study a GCSE in Digital Technology Multimedia, you will have made a conscientious decision as to how you are shaping your future.

You can download the specification by going to the CCEA DTM microsite, please click here

GCSE Digital Technology Programming

Examination Board: CCEA

 

What is Digital Technology Programming about?

Students will get an insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, including computer programming which many students find fascinating. This new qualification is relevant to the modern, changing world of computing, and as such is designed to boost computing skills essential for 21st century.

Software controls every computer system function in the world. The ability to write computer programs in languages that are used widely in the industry is one of the most valuable skills to have in the world today. This course will give students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The course is broken down into three units:

 

Course breakdown Assessment Weighting
Unit 1:Digital Technology

In this unit, students will explore a range of different technologies and some of the topics that will be covered are; Digital Data; Computer Hardware; Network Topologies; Spreadsheet applications; Cyperspace; Cloud Technology and Digital applications.

External written examination

1 hour

30%
Unit 2:Digital Development Concepts

In this unit, students gain an understanding of the concepts in the development of digital systems. Topics include; Data representation; algortihms; programming constructs; simple error and handling techniques and contemporary trends in software development.

External written examination

1 ½ hours

40%
Unit 3:Digital Development Practice

A practical unit where students are given are the opportunity to design, develop and test coded solutions using a programming language.

Controlled Assessment 30%

 

What can I do with a GCSE qualification in Digital Technology Programming?

Students will gain a qualification which will provide them with opportunities to acquire transferable skills in a range of development environments which can be applied to almost any occupation.

Students will also acquire other skills valued in further and higher education, as well as in the workplace; these include research, investigation, analysis, communication skills, problem solving and working with others.

Students who achieve a minimum of a grade ‘B’ in this subject can further their studies by choosing either the WJEC A Level in Computer Science or CCEA A Level in Digital Technology.

By choosing to study a GCSE in Digital Technology Programming, you will have made a conscientious decision as to how you are shaping your future.

You can download the specification by going to the CCEA DTP microsite, please click here

A Level

A Level Digital Technology

Examination Board: CCEA

Digital Technology opens up an incredible world of opportunities for work, not only within the technology industry but also in supporting roles within other industries.

CCEA has developed a short video and Q&A resource to tell the story about our new innovative A Level Digital Technology. The revised qualification replaces A Level ICT and will develop strong digital skills to prepare today’s learners for careers in tomorrow’s digital world. Click here to watch the video.

What is A-level Digital Technology about?

Students will develop a wide range of ICT skills together with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of ICT. During this course, students develop the capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically as they look at ICT in a range of contexts to solve problems and develop an understanding of the effect of ICT on individuals,  organisations and society.  Students will cover exciting units such as information systems and applications, structured ICT tasks and ICT projects, and are encouraged to become discerning users of ICT.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The CCEA revised GCE ICT specification comprises two levels: AS and A2. The AS can be taken as a ‘stand-alone’ qualification without progression to A2. However, to obtain the Advanced GCE qualification, candidates must complete both the AS and A2 levels.

 

AS Content Assessment AS Weighting
Unit 1
Approaches to Systems Development
External Examination

 

50% of AS

(20% of A Level)

Unit 2
Fundamentals of Digital Technology
External Examination

 

50% of AS

(20% of A Level)

A2 Content Assessment A2 Weighting
Unit 1
Information Systems
External Examination

 

40% of A Level
Unit 2
Application Development
Internal Assessment

Portfolio of evidence

 

20% of A Level

 

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

Students should have studied either GCSE Full Course ICT or GCSE Computing and achieved a Grade B.  Entry to this course may also be considered from those with a strong performance at GCSE at the discretion of the Head of Department/SLT.

A Digital Technology qualification can lead to a wide range of careers including project management, multimedia designer, software design, games design, computer programming, graphic design, system analyst and business analyst.

Students cannot study A-level Digital Technology and Computer Science.

 

The old saying ‘Time is Money’ has been replaced by ‘Information is Money’. Development in the various information and communication industries will carry on, giving many opportunities directly and indirectly to your age group. By studying A-level ICT, you will benefit from better understanding of how information can be collected, stored, controlled, communicated and manipulated by the use of technology.

Having a good level of competence using ICT is a very useful skill. The advanced skills you will develop at A Level will be valuable in gaining many types of employment (see the Careers section for more details).

What our students think

A Year 14 student who progressed through the College from Year 11: “I chose A-level ICT because I realized that the skills gained in the subject would be useful in any career in the future. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed studying ICT at A-level and the coursework element really interests me. It’s great how the coursework is worth such a large percentage of your overall mark. It allows you to divide up all the work over the entire year rather than leaving it all to the one exam in June.”

A Year 14 student who completed their GCSEs in another school: “I thoroughly enjoyed studying GCSE ICT at my previous school and decided to continue the subject at Portadown College. The way in which ICT is delivered in both schools is very similar which helped me to easily settle into the subject. I have thoroughly enjoyed the subject and plan to use the skills and knowledge I have developed at A-level when I pursue a career in Finance at university.”

A Level Computer Science

Examination Board:  EDUQAS WJEC (TBC)

What is A Level Computer Science about?

Computer technology is progressing at an ever increasing pace in both the business and personal worlds. This course will appeal to students who want to develop their programming knowledge and who enjoy working out solutions to problems. The emphasis on programming, mathematics and algorithms which underpins each component mirrors the ubiquity of programming in computer science, encouraging learners to think like programmers.

This new and exciting course offered by the College offers a contemporary approach to Computer Science from both the theoretical and practical perspectives.  The course will encourage students to think creatively and innovatively in producing their solutions and to consider relationship between different aspects of computer science and its impact on today’s global society.

The course will allow students to develop an understanding of and ability to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems including writing programs to do so.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

AS Content Assessment AS Weighting
Unit 1
Fundamentals of Computer Science
Written Examination
2 hours
25% of qualification
(62.5% of AS qualification
Unit 2
Computer Architecture, Data, Communication and Applications
On-Screen examination(Consists of a series of set  tasks completed on-screen by candidates)
2 hours
15% of qualification

(37.5% of AS qualification)

A2 Content Assessment A2 Weighting
Unit 13
Programming and System Development
Written Examination

2 hours

20% of qualification
Unit 4
Computer Architecture, Data, Communication and Applications
Written Examination

2 hours

20% of qualification
Unit 5
Programmed Solution to a Problem
Internal Non-Exam Assessment 20% of qualification

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

Students should have studied GCSE Computer Science and achieved a Grade B.  Entry to this course may also be considered from those who achieved an A grade in Further Maths or Physics at GCSE level at the discretion of the Head of Department/SLT.  Those who do not have a GCSE in Computer Science must have programming experience, preferably in python.

Career opportunities in the Computer Science field include networking, game development, software engineering, agile business analyst, technical architect, test engineering and computer networking.

Students cannot study A Level Digital Technology and Computer Science.

 

Department News / Events

CCEA has developed a short video and Q&A resource to tell the story about our new innovative A Level Digital Technology. The revised qualification replaces A Level ICT and will develop strong digital skills to prepare today’s learners for careers in tomorrow’s digital world. Click here to watch the video.

View Latest News on our Twitter Feed:

https://twitter.com/pc_ict

Congratulations to Taylor Davis and Megan Fiddes on achieving an  A* in A-level ICT.

Mrs Hutchinson, Mr Nelson, Mrs Wells and Mrs McNulty would like to wish all our 2017 leavers much success as they embark on the next step of their career.

Educational Visits / Trips

Year 13 Computing Students attend Kainos Codeshow

On Wednesday 22.02.17, Portadown College was 1 of only 5 schools in the southern region to attend the second of three planned Kainos CodeShows for the academic year 2016/17 at SRC Armagh.

Kainos CodeShow is an initiative aimed at improving the digital skills of students aged 15 – 18 years old and to raise awareness of the exciting career opportunities that exist in the technology sector. The CodeShow was delivered by a team of technical experts from Kainos and provided our students with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of coding using the latest technologies and tools.

The CodeShow initiative is delivered as part of Kainos’ Tech Outreach programme, which is designed to inspire and educate young people, increase their digital skills and improve their future career prospects.

Gail Toal, Business Development Manager, Bank of Ireland UK said: “We’re delighted to have joined forces with Kainos to launch this great initiative. The CodeShows will provide students with a highly engaging, and hands-on introduction into the world of coding that we hope will ignite their interest in science and technology”.

“Students will have the opportunity to learn and develop other important skills such as confidence, curiosity and discussion, all of which strengthen learning, boost students’ interest in different subjects and set them up for life after school”.

“A forward thinking knowledge based economy requires graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) related careers and we’re keen to play our part in unlocking the potential of local students who might not otherwise consider a STEM related career.”

Gemma Crothers, Tech Outreach manager at Kainos said: “We’re really excited to be taking Kainos CodeShow to regional areas across Northern Ireland. Our developers and mentors have worked hard to create an exciting and engaging programme. Partnering with Bank of Ireland UK to deliver the CodeShows was a natural fit due to our joint commitment to education and giving back through the Tech Outreach and Make Money Matter programmes.”[1]

Leon Cai, Robert Cornett, Tom Cunningham, Lauren McKinney and Ryan Porter who all study A-level Computer Science thoroughly enjoyed the CodeShow.

See what happens at a CodeShow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aogKNuzmQ5w 

[1] https://www.kainos.com/bank-ireland-uk-kainos-announce-partnership-launch-school-codeshows/

Digital Youth Programme comes to PC

Year 11 ICT and computing students immersed themselves into a digital world on Monday 20.03.17 by participating in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s Digital Youth programme. The innovative programme that was recently launched by the council is aimed at encouraging and cultivating a digital enterprise culture in the region.

‘Digital Youth’ will improve students’ knowledge and understanding of digital technology and widen their career prospects beyond traditional sectors. The programme began with two very inspiring talks from local Digital Ambassadors Andrew Gough from GCD Technologies and Neal Myers from O2.  Andrew is a former past student of the college.

Next up was experimenting with new tech!  Students got the opportunity to experiment with a Virtual Reality headset, Lego Robot and a leap motion sensor.

After break students worked in their teams of 7, with each team having to come up with their own idea for a product which was linked to the area of an “Internet of things”.  There were various roles within each team for example; Group Leader, Finance, Sales and Marketing.  A short business plan was created by each team and the programme finished off with a keynote presentation whereby the teams delivered the business proposals to a panel of judges.  The successful team will now go on to the next stages.

Watch this space to see how the team progress in June…

  

Kainos Summer Code Camp

One of our students successfully obtained a place on the recent Kainos Code Camp. Kainos Code Camp is for Future IT stars (year 11-14) from across Northern Ireland. It was hosted last summer in the state-of-the-art e3 campus of Belfast Metropolitan College (Belfast Met), Kainos Code Camp is run in partnership with Belfast Met and Belfast City Council. As well as giving participants a fantastic grounding in app creation, Kainos CodeCamp will give budding young developers a real sense of what it’s like to work in the software industry. This annual event is free for students to apply to and gives them a chance to create their own Android app and gain rare experience in this field. Click on the following link to read how one of our current Year 14 students found the experience.

Code-Camp Article – Nathan Rutherford, Summer 2014

Sentinus Apply IT Roadshow

Year 11 ICT/Computing students recently participated in the Sentinus Apply IT Roadshow that visited Portadown College on 11th December, 2014. The programme for the workshop has been designed to encourage students to consider a career in Software Development and has been developed in response to the current skills shortage in the IT sector.

During the course of the workshop students had the opportunity to develop their own APPs using Google app Inventor and download them onto Tablets. It also provided students with the opportunity to develop expertise in designing their own software and the skill of problem-solving on a structured basis.

Kainos CodeCamp

Eleven year 13 students attended a Kainos Code Camp at the Civic Centre on 02/05/14. Other schools from the Craigavon Area Learning Community also participated; Lismore Comprehensive, Lurgan College and SRC. The one day camp started off by Seamus from Kainos giving an inspirational talk about the different careers in the IT industry. Several workshops followed looking at iOS, logical thinking, app development and css/java/web development. The code camp finished off with the opportunity for students to explore a new emerging technology #leapmotion. Everyone thoroughly involved the day! This is the first time that Kainos has held their Code Camp outside of Belfast.

BringItOn

Twenty year 12 students attended the #bringitonevent at SWC Dungannon on 03/02/14. These careers events focused exclusively on today’s dynamic ICT industry and were a great opportunity for pupils and teachers to interact directly with people who work for local companies. Guest speakers from the Civil service spoke to our students. All those who attended enjoyed the event!

All Year 11 ICT students also received a careers presentation from INTEL in the Summer term 2014.

BringItOn are returning on 18.05.15 to speak to all year 11 ICT and Computing students.

CEIAG Links

CEIAG/STEM

ICT is a STEM subject!

The future economy of Northern Ireland relies on people with STEM qualifications. The number of computing jobs in Northern Ireland continues to grow offering secure, rewarding and stimulating roles for students with an interest in STEM subjects well into the future.

A survey carried out in 2011 by a recruitment firm says Belfast is one of the best cities in the UK to get a job in the ICT sector and the main reason is that there is a serious shortage of suitably qualified people.

There are around 700 ICT companies in N.I., including at least 100 international investors.

ICT is a practical skills-based qualification that is extremely useful in today’s workplace. The ICT industry is constantly growing and there are jobs opening everywhere you look. There is always something new to pick up or learn or something new that has just come out that everyone needs to have and you can easily be part of this growing movement.

In Northern Ireland the IT industry is expected to grow at over three times the rate of overall employment growth in Northern Ireland until 2021. ICT skills are needed to be part of our dynamic and fast paced industry. It is a very useful skill for many professions.

Some examples of typical jobs in ICT are;

  • Administrative Support
  • Systems Development
  • Game Design
  • Multimedia Design
  • Business Information Management
  • Network Manager/Technician
  • Web Design
  • Teacher
  • Database Administrator
  • Project Manager
  • Graphics Designer/Software Development
  • Client Services Management

Furthering your studies after GCSE and A-level.

There is an abundance of I.T. related courses available out there right now which you may never have considered before. Watch this space…details of courses will appear shortly!

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17159422

BringItOn

Interested in a career in IT, BringITOn provide some useful information please click here