In this section pupils need to know the basic categories of resource that are available on most, if not all, computer systems. Many GCSE Computer Science pupils will already know these, but sound processor, graphics processor, and cache are three that may not have been studied previously.
Covers all aspects of primary and secondary storage devices, including interactive lesson activities, notes, and a revision quiz. Well illustrated, this page also details the relative advantages and disadvantages of each storage medium.
Although targetted at the IGCSE ICT syllabus, this site still has a lot of useful information for other courses. Their section on storage covers different types of storage media and storage devices, including optical, magnetic, and solid state systems. They also have a section on backing up data.
Teach-ICT is a popular site which covers the basic topics of computer science - in this case, with notes on secondary storage devices and comparisons in terms of capacity, speed, portability, durability, and reliability. It also has a small section on online storage (cloud computing)
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.
In this section pupils must the typical specifications of different device classes. These devices range from smart phones and sub-laptops (netbooks) to high end servers and mainframes.
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'.
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!
These two specification points are very closely related: pupils must be able to identify potential limitations of a computer system's resource and be able to describe the problems that arise as a result of this.
Role of the Operating System
In this section you must understand the operating system's general role in managing a computer's resources: secondary storage, primary storage (memory), and processor time. In section 6.1.7 you will learn about the techniques the OS uses in more detail.
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.
Note: The IB syllabus does not include a section 6.1.6. This appears to be an error.
In this section you must understand how an operating system manages the allocation of storage, (on disk and in memory), how the OS assigns memory to running programs, and how it allocates processor time to programs.
General purpose operating systems and dedicated operating systems are covered in this section, including the differences between them and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The operating system presents an abstract view of many concepts in a computer system, including drive letters, virtual memory, and even virtual machines such as the Java VM.