Basic Project: Building an Office Desktop Mini PC

Basic Project
Building an Office Desktop Mini PC (40 marks)


The Project Brief
Your task is to build a mini Desktop PC for use in
an office.
The PC is to be used for tasks like word processing letters, accessing databases and editing spreadsheets so it does not require any of
its components to be particularly powerful.

You have been given a budget of £500 to purchase the following hardware and software.

  •  a mini desktop case
  • Ÿ all the necessary components to fit inside the case
  • Ÿ a 15” flat screen monitor
  • Ÿ a keyboard and mouse
  • Ÿ stereo speakers
  • Ÿ an operating system
  • Ÿ applications software (word processor, spreadsheet and database)
  • The Report

    Your task is to search for all the required hardware and software and write up a
    report on your choices.
    Your report should include the following pages:
    1. A cover page which includes a title, your name and your class.
    2. An index page listing all the hardware and software you are going to
    3. A page for each of your purchases. Each page should include a heading, a
    picture, the price and a brief description of each purchase.
    4. A page listing the price of each device and a total for your purchases.
    5. A bibliography listing the websites you used during the project.

  • Teaching_Notes_for_Building_a_Computer
Categorised as Computing

Heads Tails Heads – probability problem


  1. Write a problem to simulate the tossing of a sequence of successive coin tosses.
  1. Search the suitably generated sequence to find a particular pattern, e.g., HTH. Report where this sequence was found – after how many flips in the generated sequence. Allow the user to enter the pattern to look for via the UI (User Interface).
  1. Modify your program to repeat steps 1 and 2 a variable number of times; allow the user to specify this value in the UI. Each repeat should use the same search pattern, but a new sequence of source coin tosses.
  1. Modify your program to keep track of where the pattern was found in each generated sequence. Report the overall average number of coin tosses required to the find the search pattern across all of the repeats.
  1. If your program is correct, you will find that the average number of tosses necessary to find the search pattern HTH is 10, however, HTT it is 8. Why is this (this is another conditional probability problem)?

Poundland Pedagogy

We were asked to go to Poundland with £10 to spend on getting items that would help us teach a Computing lesson. My colleague and I chose to teach the fundementals of OOP and objects usin a selection of toys that we bought – eg some rubber balls, plastic cars, dinosaurs etc.

Here is the outline of teh mini lessonw e gave to our peers:


OOP – Classes, Sub Classes, Inheritance, Properties & Methods

STARTER Get toys out on the table

“What are all these items?” Answer – hopefully “Toys”

These items are all part of the Class of “Toys”

They have similar properties – you can play with them – what else??

What groups can you see here? Get toys and group them by type – eg cars, animals, soft toys

These can be called sub classes which inherit characteristics from the parent class

Pick up two cars.

These are both in the class “Car”

Eg Yellow car and blue car

“These are instances of Car – they are objects or the class Car”

We could name them “YellowCar” and “BlueCar” – or Car1 and Car2


Each car has properties – pieces of information about each car – eg

  • Color
  • Size
  • Number of Doors etc

Can you think of any others?

Properties are essentially static – you can’t easily change them – just read the value

Can you think of some properties of any of the other groups of classes?

E.g. Dinosaurs –

  • Size
  • Number of legs
  • Has it got spikes?


Challenge can you think of a property for the Toys superclass? (eg suitable age, material made of, needs batteries?)

Properties of the parent class are automatically “inherited” by the sub classes

So if the Toy parent class has a property of “suitable age” then the Cars classes will inherit it, so it will also have that property.



Methods are the actions that an object can perform

Eg A car can drive or stop

A Dinosaur can attack

A ball can bounce or be thrown

Using a flipped classroom approach for OCR A level Computing

flipped-classroom-bloomsFROM CAS

Using a flipped classroom approach  come up with a delivery and assessment strategy to go with from September. We’re also busy making all the flipped classroom videos for every spec point for OCR H446/H046.

The videos are freely available on YouTube:

Please use them as you wish. They’re not all there yet, but they will be! New ones every day. The playlists will be useful.

These do go hand in hand with other resources we are making at

Sorry, some of it is subscription because we’re spending hours making this stuff when we could be in the sunshine! Seems only fair. Videos will always be free though and will be updated all the time to match new exam board guidance, past papers etc.

We hope some of you might find this useful.

Of course we are happy to take any feedback.

Mr C Sargent, Head of Computing Archway School – Stroud (Lead School NoE)

Categorised as News

My first impressions of BETT

According to the press BETT is the world’s leading learning technology event and has been bringing innovation and inspiration to the education sector for over 30 years. I had heard other Computing teachers raving about this event so as I had a bit of free time I ventured to the exCel centre in London on my own to see what all the fuss was about.

What Went Well

It was a very vibrant & friendly atmosphere and  it was nice when I visited that there were a few school children there too, the real reason for the technology!

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There were some great speakers – obviously Sir Ken Robinson, who was the main draw for the Friday afternoon – but others such as the Google Education speakers, talking about the reasons MOOC’s dont work but Shared Private Courses do. My favourite was watching a cerified Raspberry PI Educator give a talk to just one or two of us on how he used a “box of junk bits” in his after school Raspberry Pi club to get his pupils at the girls’ school  to make their own inventions.

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Plus he kindly gave me some of the bits so that I could have a go at making my own hand-buzzer game at home too! I loved coming away with inspiration to try things like that at home or in class.

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I also liked seeing other aspects of educational technoology – such as the SEN range of equipment and the textiles technology for example, although I’m still not convinced that the time for the 3D printer has really come (everything is so *small*!)

Even Better If

I had someone to go with – although I did meet one of my tutors there. Mostly so I would have someone to discuss the whole crazy circus of it all.

I also felt uncomfortable at the depressing amount of money spent by companies on marketing their products – most of which had come from schools I would guess. I’m sure the cost of putting on a show like that was well into the millions. Which could have been spent on teacher’s salaries perhaps? Or am I just being naive?

Tips for next time

  • Go with someone else but be prepared to split up if different things interest you
  • Scour the program beforehand a know approximately who will be there and things you will want to look for
  • See more talks and demonstrations – thats where the intersting cutting-edge topics are being discussed (I saw a thought provoking one about BYOD to school)
  • And remember – its not all about freebies!
Categorised as News Tagged