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Revision notes, activities, lesson plans, teaching ideas, and other resources for GCSE, A-Level, and IB Computer Science teachers and students.

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3.1 Networks

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3.1.1 Network fundamentals

Networks

Computer Networks: Crash Course Computer Science

This 12 minute video gives a rapid overview of computer networks. Despite its short running time, a lot of topics are covered, including MAC addresses, ethernet cables, and networking hardware. Some of the concepts (e.g. collisions) may not be relevant to all Computer Science courses, but their explanations are often linked to other related concepts (for example, collisions is linked to bandwidth which in turn is linked to switches).


Updated: 2018-01-25
How does the Internet work?

Video: How does the internet work? - James May's Q&A

This video with James May takes a while to get going, but about half way through it starts to put concepts together and make it clear how the Internet works. Everything is explained clearly and in easy to understand language.


Updated: 2018-01-25

3.1.2 Network standards

3.1.3 Network layers (OSI model)

3.1.4 and 3.1.5 VPNs

3.1.6 and 3.1.7 Protocols and Data Packets

Network error detection

Parity and Checksums activity

The card flip 'magic' game is a great idea from Computer Science Unplugged. The teacher sets up a grid of black/white cards and asks students to turn over one card without the teacher seeing. Using parity rules, the teacher is able to 'magically' determine which card the students turned over. This is a really fun game which demonstrates how simple techniques like odd/even partity can be used to solve significant problems.

The Computer Science Unplugged page has a range of support material: instructions for teachers, videos of the activity being performed, and a PDF download with extension activities and details about check digits in ISBNs.


Updated: 2015-05-02

3.1.8 Transmission speeds

3.1.9 Compression

Image, audio, and text compression

Image, audio, and text compression

This very comprehensive page from the Computer Science Field Guide has extensive but clear notes on lossless and lossy compression. The page is well written and designed for a high school audience, with easy to understand examples, video, and even interactive sections. There are also extension "Extra for Experts" sections. The page covers image compression, audio compression, and text compression.


Updated: 2015-04-16
Text and image compression

Compression

A short Computerphile video which explains basic compression techniques and how they can be applied to text files and image files. The video also addresses the differences between lossy and lossless compression.


Updated: 2015-05-27

3.1.10 Network transmission media

3.1.11 Packet Switching

Life of a network packet

Video: There and Back Again: A Packet's Tale. How Does the Internet Work?

A really accessible overview of packet switching, using the example of accessing a web page. The steps are broken down and explained with real life examples, as a web page hosted in the US is fetched by a computer in the UK.


Updated: 2018-01-25

3.1.12, 3.1.13, 3.1.14 Wireless networking

3.1.15 and 3.1.16 Network security