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GCSE ICT - Single Award

What's it involve?

This one is governed by the Edexcel board. As of yet, I'm not exactly sure what it involves, or even when it takes place, but these details will be coming soon! The exam is based around a Case Study, which this year, will be about a school.

Until details, here's some revision...


Networks

Why network? There are a number of advantages:

  • Share software. (buy a licence).
  • Access your files from any computer in network.
  • Share printers.

Great, huh? The only trouble is the disadvantages:

  • If server goes down, everything fails.
  • If a printer dies, no computer linked to it will be able to print.
  • A broken computer can break the links in certain types of networks, causing them all to go down.

It's important to remember these factors, naturally...

What do you need?

A server. This could be a file server, a print server, or a web server (usually for email). The server can be Peer-to-peer or a client server. It’s likely to be a client server network for a school because Peer-to-peer is used for less than 10 computers.

A way of connecting computers. The two main ways are with cables or with wireless -- sending info through microwaves. The three types of connecting through cables are: Ring Network, Star Network, Bus Network. The most reliable is the Star Network.

WAN and LAN

There are two types of networks, a WAN network and a LAN network.

WAN stands for Wide Area Network while LAN stands for Local Area Network. From that it's pretty obvious that WAN in huge ones located all around the world, e.g. the T-Mobile phone company and LAN is used in small businesses that are located in one building, such as the school from the Case Study.

And that's pretty much all you need to know on networks!

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Databases

These are very nifty because they allow you to store a load of data, and sort it...

However before we go onto them, we need to know what data is...

Data

The raw facts that have been collected in Data Collection.

Example: “100” “Bitesize fish” “4.00 p.m.” and “Loch Ness” “40 pounds” are all pieces of data - not very useful as they stand.

Information

Data that has been given context and meaning. Taking the previous examples of data, by rearranging and adding some additional words, we get a piece of information:

"100 Bitesize fish were caught at 4.00 p.m. at the Loch Ness. The average weight was 40 pounds."

Knowledge

Using information to make decisions.

For example: "The population of Bitesize fish in the Loch Ness has increased by 10% for the last three years, and is expected to rise again. We need to find extra fish tanks for these extra fish.”

Shock! Horror! A forumula and we're not in Maths? It's true:

Information = Data + Context (Meaning).

Inputting Data

Before any data can be input into the computer, naturally it has to be collected. This process is called data collection and can happen in many different ways, such as questionnaires, forms, bills... The data can also be input instantly into the database, for example with online electronic forms for Internet shopping, or barcodes in shops.

But for any data to be input into the database, first you need to make the database. It's important to know the parts of a database. The 'headers' are known as fields, while each row of information on a particular item is a record.

For example:

StudentID FirstName Surname TelephoneNo DoB
1 Jenny Armitage 012345 11/04/91
2 Barney Arton 678910 23/07/91

"StudentID" is a field, while all the info about Barney is a record.

The good think about databases is you can set rules for when you input data, to try to stop errors occuring. This is known as validation. Simple ones are:

  • Auto Number - assigns each record a unique number.
  • Text - any type of character can be inputted.
  • Number - only numbers can be inputted. They can't start with 0 though.
  • Date/Time - data input in these ways.
  • Yes/No - Inserts a check box.
  • Lookup Wizard - You decide on a number of answers that appear in a drop down box.

More complex ones require you setting real rules. Take the DoB field above. In most cases, you'll know the age range, and therefore you can set maximum and minimums. < means smaller than. > means greater than. This is called range checks.

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All text copyright © 2006 to EJ Taylor. Page Template created by James Taylor. Site created: 10 April, 2006. Last revised: 2 August, 2015