Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Learning to Fly

These are the skills and habits which outstanding students of Computer Science develop. Do as many of these as possible to become completely independent in the subject and to develop the skills and knowledge needed to attain 8/9 at GCSE and A* at A Level. Remember that just doing what your teacher tells you - in your lessons and beyond - is not enough to develop your full potential in the subject.

In your lessons

●       Asking specific questions and asking for help.

●       Thinking critically and computationally about your own work and finding ways to improve it.

●       Listening to other students and the teacher, but often challenging and arguing with them!

●       Thinking about ways in which new knowledge you encounter in the lesson fits in with what you already know. 

●       Taking notes to aid your memory

●       Be prepared to try new approaches to problem solving (Think laterally)

●       Accept programs will not work on first attempt (90% of the time!)



Between your lessons

●       Looking back over your notes and activities from the last lesson.

●       Reviewing the work of a lesson - making sure you know what you have or haven’t                        understood.

●       Writing down questions from your reading about concepts and ideas you don’t understand          to bring to your next lesson.

●       Making notes of any questions to ask your teachers or look up.

●       Going to see your teacher to ask for clarification and guidance.

●       Starting or joining a Group Chat on this subject

●       Posting questions or queries to One Note and/or the Group Chat

●       Practice programming concepts/techniques covered in class


Beyond your lessons

●       Start or Join a group chat about computing

●       Discussing and arguing about what you have done on group chats.

●       Try to practice programming. Programming is like learning a musical instrument, the                  more you practice the better you become. Exercises are on Moodle or there are lots of              free courses you can subscribe to. E.g. Coursera, Code Academy, Hour of Code (Beyond an          hour of code), iTunesU.

●       Reading and watching information about developments in digital technology. This can be            done by subscribing to on line information services such as BBC Click, TechCrunch, MIT                Watching high quality film and TV and writing a critical reaction.

●       Keeping a blog or vlog about your experiences with technology

●       Playing stimulating video games. Experience a variety of different game genres. Write a            brief critical evaluation of the game, its purpose, goals, gameplay, graphics etc.

●       Listening to podcasts from BBC, Tech Websites.

●       Developing a sense of the big picture – Technology is developing all the time and you need          to be aware of the latest developments

●       Taking a free self-paced course which you can access anytime and complete one lesson a            week, on such sites as Coursera, code academy, hour of code.

●         Subscribing to MOOCs (Massive Open Online courses). These are free and supplied by                  many Universities and exam boards. You can use these to supplement your notes. Such as            Harvard University Introduction to computer science:


●       Keeping a vocabulary log to keep track of new words/terms you encounter or an app you            use

 Of course we recognise that our students have busy lives and that this level of engagement is not always possible all the time - but this is what you should aim for if you want to reach the highest level in the subject. You don’t need to do ALL of these things to improve - just doing one or two of them will have an impact. Decide on two or three to focus on to improve your skills.