Information Technology (IT)

Information Technology (IT)
What is Information Technology?

Information Technology is the study of the various interrelated physical and non-physical technologies used for the capturing of data, the processing of data into useful information and the management, presentation and dissemination of data. Information Technology studies the activities that deal with the solution of problems through logical and computational thinking. It includes the physical and non-physical components for the electronic transmission, access, and manipulation of data and information.

What is covered in IT?
The table below provides the six topics and sub-topics to be covered in Information Technology in Grades 10 – 12:

Topic Area Sub-Topics
Solution Development Algorithms and Problem-Solving
Introduction to Solution Development
Application Development
Software Engineering Principles
Communication Technologies Networks
Systems Technologies Introduction to Computers
Computer Management
Internet Technologies Internet
World Wide Web
Internet Services
Data and Information Management Data Representation
Data Management
Database Design
Social Implications Legal issues
Ethical issues
Social issues
Environmental issues
Health issues
Computers and society

In Information Technology a learner will:
• use appropriate techniques and procedures to plan solutions and devise algorithms to solve problems using suitable techniques and tools;
• understand and use appropriate communication technologies for information dissemination;
• appreciate and comprehend the various systems technologies used in the developing of a computer-based system;
• understand that all ICT systems are built upon software engineering principles;
• understand and use Internet Technologies for various tasks;
• comprehend and apply the concepts of data and information management to understand how a knowledge-driven society functions; and
• understand the social implications of ICTs and how to use ICT technologies responsibly.

What does computer programming involve?
Most people use programmes on computers that have been developed by other people.  Every day people use Microsoft Word to create documents, or Excel to create spread sheets, or an e-mail programme to send and receive messages. These are very handy for everyday tasks. To gain an understanding of how these programmes were developed, and to develop logical problem-analysing and problem-solving skills, the skill of computer programming can be learned.

Computer programming (as taught at school) involves:
• analysing problems into their smallest components,
• designing a solution for each part of a problem and combining them into a complete solution,
• coding that solution in a computer language,
• testing that the solution works under most normal circumstances. 

These valuable skills (that are not available in any other school subject) teach logical thought processes that can be applied throughout one’s life. 
Computer programming is not an easily-learned skill.  It requires hours of practice, sitting at a computer, experimenting with different options to understand how they work.  It is challenging, but produces great rewards - the euphoria of getting a programme to work (after hours of toil) is a wonderful experience!
The hardest part of computer programming at school is learning one or more computer programming languages. There are many, many programming languages.  Each language requires that its particular syntax is learned and can be applied.  Once one programming language is well understood, it is easier to learn other programming languages, because many of the structures in the different languages are similar (conditional statements, loops, etc). 
Commonly used programming languages at South African schools these days are Java and Delphi.  Delphi is a good programming language to learn at school level as a first language for the following reasons:

• It can be taught in a way that entrenches a sound understanding of basic programming syntax and structures, which empowers learners to be creative and inventive. This manner of teaching is better than simply learning programming skills.
• It is free, and it is easily obtained by anyone with access to the Internet.
• Delphi has built-in features that help learners quickly identify common programming mistakes.
• Delphi provides learners with valuable employment skills.
• An Object Oriented Programming (OOP) approach is followed which enables students to pick up any other OOP Programming language.

Who should choose IT as a subject?
Learners with enthusiasm, enquiring minds, some logical thought processes, and the maturity to spend hours at a computer fine-tuning their programming skills should consider taking the subject.

The subject IT is not for the lazy learner!  There is an enormous amount of work to be covered, and to become proficient, many hours of hard work are required.  The rewards are directly in proportion to the effort expended!  For those wanting extension, there is infinite scope beyond school level, in terms of books, and information on the Internet.

Information Technology specifically forms the basis for studies in computer science, information systems, engineering and the business sciences.
• Bio-informatics
• Business Information Systems
• Computer engineering
• Computer science
• Financial Information Systems
• Geographical Information Systems
• Informatics
• Information systems
• Information Technology
• System developer
• Telecommunications engineer

IT involves the integration of theory and practice:
• Computer or software architect
• Data communication and network specialist
• Hardware and software support technician
• Technology manager
• Programmer

Date: Monday, 23 May 2016 14:19