GCSE ICT - Edexcel

GCSE ICT - Edexcel
Unit 1 – Technology Update Issue 4
(Spring 2013)
This Technology Update (TU) clarifies
what digital technology students are
expected to learn about in Unit 1 - Living
in a Digital World. It is updated annually
to take account of emerging technologies.
All updates relate directly to the content of
the Unit 1 specification and this document
should be used in conjunction with the
An updated TU will be published in May each
year on the Edexcel website.
This issue will be valid for the June 2014 Unit 1
Unit 1 - Technology Update Issue 4 (Spring 2013)
Topic 1 Personal digital devices
Mobile phones
Smartphones provide significantly greater functionality than
basic phones and can be used for activities such as email, social
networking, surfing the web and running mobile applications.
•Specialist phones
Specialist phones are designed for a very specific target market, e.g.
elderly people, people who are partially sighted and those operating
in challenging environments.
Phone peripherals
• Headsets (hands free)
• Removable storage
Personal computers
Desktops include ‘All in one’.
As tablets and smartphones develop they begin to share features.
Differentiating between netbooks and smartbooks is currently
difficult. For now we have decided to treat them as one type of
personal computer.
Computer peripherals
•Pointing devices, e.g. mouse, stylus,
touchpad, nipple
• Graphic tablets
• Removable storage
Removable storage includes all devices not built into the PC, e.g. USB
flash drives, memory cards, and USB hard drives.
• Electronic whiteboards
Cameras and camcorders
• Digital (stills) camera
• Digital camcorders
Camera peripherals
• Removable storage
Students should know the difference between high definition (HD)
and standard definition (SD).
Unit 1 - Technology Update Issue 4 (Spring 2013)
Games consoles
• Hand-held consoles
• Consoles
Games peripherals
• Game controllers
• Removable storage
• 3D – using glasses/parallax
Parallax 3D is a barrier placed in front of an image to give a sense of
depth. 3D is also used in TV.
Home entertainment systems
• Televisions (including 3D TV)
• DVD players/recorders
• Blu-ray players
• Personal video recorders (PVR)
• Set-top boxes (STB)
• Media stations
• Sound systems (HiFi)
Some devices may fall into multiple categories, e.g. a Sky+ box is both
a STB and a PVR.
Media stations are devices that provide video/audio to a television, e.g.
Apple TV. This could be by streaming from a remote source or from
local storage.
Personal media players
• Personal audio players
• Personal video players
• E-book readers
Personal media peripherals
• Speakers/headsets
Navigation aids
• In-car sat navs
•Specialist sat navs, e.g. for walkers
An in-car sat nav could be a separate unit or integrated into the dash.
and cyclists
Features of digital devices
•Methods of charging (wireless/USB
Wireless or ‘inductive’ charging allows short-distance wireless energy
transfer between two devices.
Sensors (such as accelerometers) are often found in personal digital
devices. Data from them is used by the device’s software to enhance
the user experience.
•NFC (Near Field Communication)
e.g. contactless payment debit cards and smartphone NFC chips.
Unit 1 - Technology Update Issue 4 (Spring 2013)
Topic 2 Connectivity
Digital communications – device to device
Wired connections:
• USB, USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Firewire and Thunderbolt are high speed data ports.
Wired multimedia connections:
• Digital audio (e.g. SPDIF)
•HDMI (High Definition Multimedia
HDMI transfers uncompressed digital data. Typically, it is used for
connecting high definition video and audio devices.
A switch will allow multiple inputs to be output to one (or more)
device. A splitter will allow one input to be output to multiple devices.
Wireless connections:
• WiFi (Wireless Ethernet), WiFi Direct
WiFi Direct is a way of allowing two devices to easily communicate/
transfer data.
•Mobile phone networks
Newer technologies (such as HSPA and 4G) greatly improve the speed
at which mobile phone networks provide online access.
• Mobile phone bands (Dual, Tri, Quad)
• Landline phone network
Equipment needed to create a home network
• Wireless base station/adapter
• Powerline networks
In many cases one device fulfils multiple functions. Types of modem
include ADSL, cable (fibre optic) and wireless broadband (3G).
A powerline network uses existing power wiring as a framework to
carry data. (e.g. HomePlug Power Alliance)
Digital communications – broadcast
• Radio (AM/FM/digital/internet)
Users can access radio and TV in different ways. Each method has its
advantages and disadvantages.
• TV (analogue/digital/internet)
Digital signals can be transmitted by cable, satellite or radio
Topic 3 Operating online
Data protection
• IP filtering
IP filtering prevents data from entering a network. One use of IP
filtering is to prevent access from certain locations.
e.g. An Acceptable Use Policy sets out the expectations of users when
accessing a website or service.
Unit 1 - Technology Update Issue 4 (Spring 2013)
Topic 4 Online goods and services
News and other information services
• Viral videos
A video could be said to have gone ‘viral’ when it has been shared
online by many people.
RSS is a method of subscribing to online content.
Software as a service
• Cloud computing
Online data storage and hosted applications are often combined to
provide a ‘cloud computing’ facility.
Impact on organisations and individuals
• QR codes (Quick Response)
QR codes provide a way to link to online services using a camera and
QR reader.
This QR code links to Pearson Edexcel’s GCSE ICT website!
• Geo-tagging
The addition of location data to files (e.g. images), usually set by builtin GPS. The data can be used for searching, filtering or for display
Banking and other financial services
• Chip authentication devices
e.g. PINsentry
Unit 1 - Technology Update Issue 4 (Spring 2013)
Topic 5 Online communities
Social spaces
• Blogging
• Microblogging
• Social networks
e.g. weblogging, photoblogging and vlogging
• Chat/Video chat
e.g. MSN, Skype
e.g. Twitter or Facebook’s ‘status update’
Social networks (e.g. Facebook/Google+/Twitter) form connections
between users’ profiles through their personal information. They often
use Blogging / Microblogging / Chat features
Work spaces
• Web conferencing
User-generated reference sites and social bookmarking
• Forums/message boards
• Wikis
Massively Multiplayer Online [Communities] (MMOs)
• Virtual worlds
• Gaming communities
e.g. Second Life
e.g. MMORPGs
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