The IT and Computer Science Courses offered at Markham equip students with the IT skills they need not only for their academic studies but also provides them with skills that will give them an advantage in their lives beyond school.
In Early Years, our youngest students learn to use the computer by producing their first IT projects in “Kid Pix” and programming the Bee-Bot, a robot that teaches directional language and control.
In Lower School, pupils familiarise themselves with the basic use of productivity software (word processing, multi-media presentations and spreadsheet programs). As they develop their computer skills, they become more effective in their research by using search engines. Finally, in preparation for Middle School, our pupils begin working with graphic design, video-making and three-dimensional design using “SketchUp”, a program that boosts student creativity.
Older Markham IT students (Middle School to Sixth Form) are introduced to a broad range of computer applications, study algorithms and problem-solving techniques and are introduced to formal programming in suitable languages. They are exposed to a variety of common applications including word processing, databases, graphics programs, spreadsheets and presentation software.
All Early Years classes are equipped with Smart Boards.
In the Lower School there are two computer labs with 28 computers in each lab and all class rooms in the Lower School are equipped with Smart Boards.
In San Antonio, the IT Department has two fully furnished teaching labs equipped with high specification computers in each lab. There are also laser printers including a colour laser and scanning equipment available for the students’ use.
‘Moodle’ has been used as a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) for several years to host resources for Upper School courses and to provide other facilities such as on-line testing. We are currently exploring the use of ‘Google Classroom’ and other LMS (Learning Management Software) alternatives.
Students in S2 and above continuing on to study Computer Science, S3 to Sixth Form, are required to bring their own laptops.
Middle School (P6 to S2)
This course is a mandatory class for all Primary 6 and Secondary 1 students. In S2 it becomes an optional subject; however, more than half of the promotion choose to continue on to study IT. In S2 students study Adobe Flash for web graphics and then create advanced web sites to incorporate their graphics in HTML. Students also use SketchUp to create accurate 3D Building designs for the school campus and they learn advanced skills in Excel.
Upper School (S3 & S4):
The IGCSE Computer Science programming based course (currently using the Python coding language) is a two-year IGCSE course offered as an option to Upper School pupils. Students will develop algorithmic and logical thinking skills through programming, learn to code and will complete a mini project in Python. There are two written papers in the final examination, one on theory and one on programming and algorithmic skills. This course covers all the main theoretical areas of computer science such as hardware, software and applications and provides a good basis for the Computer Science courses available in the Sixth Form. Details regarding this course can be found here: http://www.cie.org.uk/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-igcse-computer-science-0478/
The IB Computer Science course is currently an IB option at both Higher and Standard levels within the Science group. This course requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate. Students will learn how computer scientists work and communicate during the successful development and implementation of IT solutions by learning to identify problems, design, build and test proposed solutions, as well as liaise with clients to evaluate the successful outcome of each solution. This course aims to encourage a student’s computational thinking and his/her ability to:
- Think procedurally, logically, concurrently, abstractly, recursively and ahead of time
- Utilise an experimental and inquiry-based approach to problem solving
- Develop and clearly express algorithms
- Appreciate theoretical and practical limitations affecting problem solution
This comprehensive Java programming based course equips students with a high level of knowledge that will serve them well in further studies of Computer Science and many other courses at university level. Details about the course can be seen here: http://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/sciences/computer-science/
After School Activities
These after-school activities are aimed to foster further interest in IT. Currently in the US there is a Coding Club where any student can learn Python, Flash PHP SWIFT, etc. This year there is a new Virtual Reality Club using the School’s high-end VR equipment.