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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Click here for recommended IB Computer Science textbooks.
6.1.1 Resources that need to be managed
Worksheet: Hardware roles
To help Computer Science students understand hardware, resource allocation, and resource management, it is helpful to have them first understand the roles each component plays in a computer system. This simple worksheet covers the key resources in a computer system, with space for examples, relevant units, and a brief description of the component's role.
It is useful from early topics in GCSE Computer Courses up to the IB Computer Science HL topic Resource Management.
Download the worksheet
6.1.2 Available resources
Supercomputers and Mainframes
Supercomputers and What are Mainframes? are two short videos that clarify these oft confused terms. The presenter can be a little annoying at times, but the key information is useful.
Understanding the different types of computers helps CS students get a better understanding of the levels of resources available, as well as their effect on overall computer 'power'.
Worksheet: Computer systems and resources
This activity is designed to help students complete the objective "Evaluate the resources available in a variety of computer systems". The worksheet is a simple table covering the most common types of computer systems available, including those mentioned on the IB Computer Science syllabus. As the specifications of computers change so rapidly, this is a good introduction activity.
To help students find specifications for consumer electronics, I often recommend they use a site such as Amazon.com, which involves a lot of details in its specifications. Top 500 maintains a list of the most powerful supercomputers at any time - a scroll down the list reveals technical specs for each one.Inside Six of the Newest Top 20 Supercomputers is another great resource. What's particularly useful is its explanations of each computer's role. Inside the Titan Supercomputer is a close-up look at a machine boasting 299,000 processing cores!
Download the worksheet
6.1.3 Limitations of resources
6.1.4 Limitations of resources
Role of the Operating System
6.1.5 Managing memory, hardware, peripherals
Video: Operating Systems: Crash Course Computer Science
A thorough overview of operating systems, the reason we need them, and the types of tasks they perform. Some of the technical language is dropped in without explanation and will probably go over the heads of GCSE students at first, but it is worth sticking with because the level of detail is good.
This page contains notes on operating systems, memory management, hardware management, and user interfaces. The level of detail is perfect for GCSE courses, but also useful as an introduction to operating systems for A-Level and IB courses.
BBC Bitesize: Operating Systems
This is the better of the two BBC pages on operating systems, covering the functions of an OS in much more detail and with much clearer explanations. There are clear notes and diagrams covering CPU management, memory management, and peripheral management.
Operating system functions
This page provides a brief over of general operating system functions. The second page then goes into more detail about the different types of process management, including multi-programming, batch processing, and multi-user access.
Note: The IB syllabus does not include a section 6.1.6. This appears to be an error.
6.1.7 OS Resource management techniques
An overview of how the CPU services peripherals and other hardware using interrupts and polling. The notes show the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
6.1.8 Dedicated Operating Systems