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A selected commentary on the new GCSE specifications

Teacher and student using laptop

The following extracts are from the new GCSE Geography specifications for first teaching from September 2009. They will give you an idea of the ICT opportunities that each examining body expects to see offered to students, along with examples.

  • AQA Specifications A and B
  • Edexcel Specifications A and B
  • OCR Specifications A and B
  • WJEC Specification B

  • AQA - Specifications A and B

    AQA Logo

    See full specifications for more details. Accessible from AQA website.

    AQA - A see page 36 of the specification.
    AQA - B see pages 40 of the specification.


    In undertaking activities to develop their knowledge and understanding of geography, candidates should be given opportunities to develop and use ICT skills in a variety of contexts to:

    • collect data from primary and secondary sources using ICT sources and tools
    • present information, develop arguments and draw conclusions using ICT tools.

    Opportunities to use ICT sources and tools occur throughout the content of this specification. These can include

    • Using ICT research tools (including web pages, video clips, podcasts, software simulations and GIS to find information. For example
      • use maps and aerial photographs to explore the nature of ecotourist resorts
      • use the internet to compare opinions about new developments such as the exploitation of oil in Alaska
      • investigate the cost and benefits of different coastal defence methodologies
      • use overlays of tectonic plates and recent earthquakes on a GIS to draw conclusions about the causes of earthquakes
      • access real-time information forecasting the path of tropical storms
      • use animations to develop understanding of coastal erosion processes
      • find out about the impacts of the Three Gorges Dam.
    • Evaluating the reliability of sources and the possibility of bias and take this into account when drawing conclusions
    • Communicating and exchanging information to work collaboratively.
    • Using ICT tools safely and responsibly and employing safe working practices.
    • Use spreadsheets or databases for data analysis, for modelling or to explore patterns and solve problems. For example
      • model the possible costs of coastal protection schemes
      • produce a range of effective graphs to illustrate the results of a survey into holiday preferences.
      • analyse the relationship between the magnitude of tropical storms and resulting damage.
    • Using ICT to develop and refine work to present it in a range of contexts. For example
      • produce a leaflet or poster to communicate safety advice for people living in earthquake zones
      • develop a sequence of digital posters to present researched information to their peers about a Transnational corporation.
      • annotate photographs to show the impacts of urban problems on people.
      • produce letters or memos to communicate information effectively about the development of biofuels.
      • develop podcasts or news video reports to summarise the issues associated with the conservation of Antarctica.
      • produce a report on the impacts of wildfires.

    Syllabus B: "Candidates should use appropriate technologies including GIS to research geographical topics and present their findings."

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    Edexcel – Specifications A and B

    Edexcel Logo

    See full specifications for more details. Accessible from the Edexcel website.

     

     

    Specification A (Page 14)

    ICT Skills - Students will be assessed on their ability to:

    • collect and annotate photographs and satellite images
    • use data bases such as census and population data
    • use the internet, e.g. to investigate case studies of volcanic eruptions and floods etc.
    • extract information from video and television programmes
    • carry out data presentation and analysis techniques
    • use spreadsheets and data-handling software
    • research and present investigative work.

    Geographical Information System (GIS) skills: - Students will be assessed on their ability to:

    • capture and represent geographical information in systems such as Aegis
    • use web mapping sites such as Google Earth and Multimap.


    Specification B (Page 3/4)

    Use new technologies, including GIS, to assist geographical investigation.

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    OCR – Specifications A and B

    OCR Logo

    See full specifications for more details. Accessible from the OCR website.

     

     

    Specification A (Pages 46-47)

    "In order to play a full part in modern society, candidates need to be confident and effective users of ICT. Where appropriate, candidates should be given opportunities to use ICT in order to further their study of Geography."

    Candidates are required to:

    • Use internet, CD Roms, GIS, fax, email, video conferencing and other technologies to access a wide range of information from different sources. To experience alternative images of people, place and environment by communicating and exchanging information locally and worldwide.

      For example: Accessing news about extreme environments (Unit A671), data on a non-UK location (Unit A673) or obtaining statistics on aspects of, for example, climate for an extreme environment (Unit A673).
    • Use data handling techniques to enhance the development of enquiry skills. For example, use of a spreadsheet to collect, record, analyse and present data and information or use of GIS to manipulate, analyse and present information.

      For example: Drafting, re-drafting and presentation of Controlled Assessment. Use of a spreadsheet to input and manipulate data collected by fieldwork (Unit A672)
    • Develop understanding of physical, human and environmental processes by using games and simulations to problem solve.

      For example: Modelling of possible future scenarios for an extreme environment.

     

    Specification B (Pages 43-44)

    "In order to play a full part in modern society, candidates need to be confident and effective users of ICT. Where appropriate, candidates should be given opportunities to use ICT in order to further their study of Geography."

    The assessment of this course requires candidates to:

    • use relevant and up to date information much of which is available from a variety of web based sources, many of which candidates need to access themselves.

    • Use of CD Roms, GIS, fax, email, the internet, video conferencing and other technologies to access a wide range of information from different sources. To experience alternative images of people, place and environment by communicating and exchanging information locally and worldwide.

      Examples: Accessing news about tectonic activity and/or river flooding (Theme 3). Gain accurate statistics for an LEDC country (Theme 4a).
      Use of ‘Water Excel’ to model hydrological processes (Theme 1c). Use of SimCity to explore land use within settlements (Theme 4c).
    • Use of data handling techniques to enhance the development of enquiry skills, eg. use of spreadsheets to collect, record, analyse and present data and information, and use of GIS to manipulate, analyse and present information.

      Example: Use of a spreadsheet to input and manipulate data collected by fieldwork, for example, on urban land use, traffic or service provision. Produce graphs and use data. Compare and analyse. (Unit B562: Geographical Enquiry).
    • Develop understanding of physical, human and environmental processes by using games and simulations to problem solve.

      Examples: Modelling of hydrological processes (Theme 1). Industrial location simulation (Theme 4).

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    WJEC - Specification B

    WJEC Logo

    See full specification for more details. Accessible from the WJEC website.

    See pages 9-10 and page 42.

    Geography is an ideal subject in which students are able to demonstrate the use of ICT in a relevant and useful way, and it is desirable that the following ICT skills are integrated into the teaching and learning of the specification, where appropriate:

    • Communicating information: e.g. word processing and using a computer to draw bar graphs
    • Information processing: e.g. the use of a computer database or spreadsheet to analyse fieldwork results
    • Simulation: e.g. the use of a computer programme to simulate the effect of population growth, or the movement of people in a city
    • Remote sensing: e.g. the use of an electronic probe to measure temperature; using a live weather satellite image.

    It should be noted that these skills are not necessarily discrete, and a combination could be used within the context of one activity.

    Candidates such be able to demonstrate the following skills:

    • The use of ICT to produce or enhance geographical analysis and enquiry, e.g. data analysis and the use of spreadsheets; GIS
    • the analysis and evaluation of ICT generated data and materials, e.g. in Paper 2 – satellite photographs.

    This specification provides opportunities for candidates to use ICT to gain access to additional information sources, and assist in handling, presenting and analysing geographical evidence. The opportunities range from the classroom, where candidates can access electronic archives, search for and use appropriate websites from libraries, museums and government agencies, to the examination context where the controlled assessment tasks can be based upon, utilise and be presented through ICT.

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