Framework curricula for secondary schools



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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Year 9 of Education
Objectives and tasks
It is a fundamental interest to have access to information necessary for one’s work and life in time, and to be able to process and apply these information properly. The school’s responsibility is to equip students with the appropriate techniques of obtaining, processing, storing and transmitting information, and to teach them the basic legal and ethical rules of handling information. The most efficient way to achieve this is learning information technology for several years at school, and letting ICT pervading every sphere of school life.

Teaching information technology, which should not be the task of only one dedicated subject alone, must demonstrate that there exist a world made up of signs and codes beside the well-known natural and artificial (technical) environments, and this world carries all he data and information mankind uses to represent real and imaginary environments (worlds) in a practical, scientific or artistic manner. The world of signs constitutes a virtual environment pervading every sphere of social life. It is especially salient in the media (film, video, television), and increasingly dominates the interactive digital media (multimedia computer, hypermedia computer network). Our fundamental goal is to demonstrate how the rapid development of information and communication technologies alters society, and what the emerging category of information society means.

The most important fields of information technology are computer skills, which includes the use of multimedia and the internet, and library skills.

The objective of teaching this subject is to develop and maintain students’ interest in information technology, show them the tools, methodology and concepts of information technology, which together will help shaping students’ views of information technology.

Through the promotion of logical thinking and problem solving, the development of practical user knowledge, skills and abilities, and by applying modern computer technology, information technology prepares students for employment and everyday life, and also facilitates the learning of every other subject. The aim is to develop an attitude which gives the individual motivation for participating in an information society, and prevents students from feeling like a stranger in this world.

In this rapidly changing and developing area, it is vital to make students develop a need for updating their IT skills continuously.



Among the new devices, its versatility gives the computer an outstanding role. Computers offer new ways of solving problems, and - in a network configuration - new communication possibilities (e.g. web, chat, e-mail, corresponding lists, gopher, telnet, FTP).
Some of the main objectives of teaching information technology are as follows:

Develop up-to-date user’s skills: students should be able to use computers and IT devices expediently;

Develop algorithmic thinking: helping students to develop an independent and systematic way of thinking; logical thinking is important for problem solving, making and codifying algorithms;

Teach students to work independently, promotion of talents: a computer is a device which can give an instant response to students’ actions; computers make learning at an individual pace possible, stimulate precise, persistent disciplined work; allow to give special attention to gifted and struggling students;

Encourage co-operation and teamwork: solving large-scale problems with the computer demands teamwork, the distribution of tasks, communication with others, and a planned and co-ordinated approach;

Encourage creative work: writing a computer program or creating an electronic document or a database are jobs which result in a product, a new piece of work;

Make students recognise the role of information technology in society: the rapid development of information technology causes radical changes in the entire society, and only those can be comfortable in this constantly changing world who can understand the changes as well as the drivers of these changes;

Make students use IT skills on a regular basis: students should try to use IT devices for their tasks and assignments in connection with the various subjects and the events of school life (e.g. papers, essays, lectures, presentations, exercises in various subjects, bibliographies, organisation, learning);

Improve aesthetic skills: develop a need and the necessary skills for writing computer programs in a neat form.

Make students familiar with the ethical and legal rules related to information technology: students should be aware of the ethical and legal constraints of obtaining, processing and using information.
Some of the main objectives of teaching library skills are as follows:

Prepare students for facing the challenges of information society: for making use of the widening opportunities of obtaining information, accessing information, the critical selection and processing of information, and the evaluation of the process;

Develop the skills necessary for self-education based on work in the library: develop skills by exploiting the opportunities offered by the library information system;

Develop learning skills and methods of using sources in a complex and creative manner;

Develop an established user attitude by showing students how to use the school library and other libraries, the various sources available at libraries and teach them all activities related to their use;

Incorporate library skills as a tool into obtaining and processing information necessary for solving everyday problems and for progress in the various subjects and at school;

Teach the ethical rules of using sources, and make students accept the requirement of compliance with standards;

Encourage adaptation to various social roles, and the alteration of such roles, if necessary. Educate individuals who are able to make themselves useful in the various roles.

Developmental requirements
Students are required to learn and observe the rules of working with a computer, in particular the rules on how to prevent accidents. Students are required to work with the devices in a disciplined manner, following the teacher’s instructions carefully. They should be clear about the basic ergonomic requirements of a computer work station and the health and safety recommendations for such environments. They need to acquire the fundamentals of computer use, and feel comfortable in an IT environment: i.e. have the necessary skills to use computers and peripheral devices. Students need to become experienced users of information technologies and information carriers.

Students are required to present information in various formats; they need to recognise information appearing in various formats, evaluate and use the obtained information. They need to learn how to make enquiries and learn things independently. They need to develop library, archive and internet user skills, and learn how to use journals, encyclopaedias, handbooks, reference books, and various multimedia and hypermedia based teaching materials.

Students are required to work with the computer interactively, and must be able to use the major functions of operating systems and support programs. Students must, at all times, respect copyright related to programs and data.

Students are required to know how to use the network and its basic services without help. They should be able to contact others via the network, and should be able to give information on himself/herself and his/her environment via the network, in the appropriate format. They should be able to locate and access information by using network services.

Student need to be familiar with the basic document formats, and must be able to create documents on the basis of examples. They should take pride in preparing documents in a neat form which reflects the essence of the message, and present the message in various forms.

Students should be able to select the best of the known methods, tools or applications for the solution of problems.

They should be able to identify which components of the environment may be subject to algorithmisation, and describe them in various forms. They are required to plan and implement algorithms to solve a particular problem.

They need to become familiar with the various impacts of regulatory devices through application. They should be aware of the existence and growing importance of intelligent devices (hardware and software).

They should be able to search directories manually, and use simple browsers with databases. They should be able to interpret the answers provided by programs. They should recognise correlation between data.

They should be aware of the significance and role of information technology in society, and be familiar with the legal and ethical constraints of using software. They should be able to value Hungarian scientists’ contribution to the development of the world’s IT culture.

They need to be aware of the fact that the excessive use of information technologies without any specific purpose is harmful to human health and human character (e.g. computer addiction, video game addiction).

They should make enquiries in various fields to learn about the role of information technologies.

They need to be familiar with library services and are required to use them regularly. They should develop a knowledgeable user attitude through working in the library regularly, with various purposes.

They should be familiar with the communicative features, informative and aesthetic value of different document types (information carriers based on traditional and modern technologies) and sources available through mass communications and computer networks.

They should be able to select the appropriate source of information depending on their interests and studies, and use them in a creative manner.

They should be able to select the library aids (reference library, catalogues, traditional, electronic and network based bibliographies and databases) which are suitable for solving a particular academic or common problem, and should be able to find information carriers and information in them.

They should be able to select the type of library, information service or document type to complete assignments, according to the type of problem and field of knowledge.

They should be able to apply all the steps of selective research, and compile a list of references found.

They should be able to prepare a report on the method of completing an assignment in a form selected on the basis of the analysis and organisation of information obtained from various sources.

They should understand the role of various types of libraries used for self-education, higher education, professional learning and enquiries for public use, and should be able to make use of the services of these libraries.

They should be familiar with the possibilities and methods of obtaining information from library information sources, databases and computer networks based on modern technology.

They should have the appropriate grounding for using information available in library systems and on the world wide web in line with their personal interests.


Year 9
Number of teaching hours per year: 74
New activities
Introduction to information technology

Practising the use of some of the well-known peripheral devices of personal computers; making a report on the latest peripheral devices in the market; describing and interpreting their main features; describing the structure and operation of computers based on the Neumann principle; understanding that there are machines working with other principles.

Understanding the difference between analogue and digital signs; digitalisation of analogue signs; understanding the essence of sign conversion.

Calculating the amount of data in different signs and sign sequences.

Familiarity with basic logical operations, and using them in a complex manner; modelling logical operations.
Operating systems

Performing all of the discussed inventory operations without help.

Creating back-up of selected files.

Creating compressed files, expanding and modifying existing files.

Making and changing settings in the operating system.

Installing an application in the used environment without help; hardware settings, changing printer settings.

The ethics of using IT devices and software.

Defragmentation of auxiliary storage. Checking reliability.

Assigning the appropriate application to various file types.
Network communication

Using the ID and password given by the (new) institution without help.

Creating a mailbox (system supervisor) and using e-mail address.

E-mail (e-mailing with peers, students from other classes or schools).

Using a mail program: personal settings; listing by subject, sender or content; organising sent items and inbox; searching and deleting letters.

Complex search, saving web sites related to a given topic (e.g. as bookmark).


Algorithms and data

Handling elementary and complex data; selecting the suitable data type for problem solving.

Writing algorithms with precision.

Solving problems by applying simple algorithms for data collection and processing (adding up, counting, decision making, search, selection, sorting).

Implementing algorithms on the computer.
Creating documents on the PC

Preparing documents with diverse editing and formatting on the basis of an example or given instructions.

Creating templates.

Creating an electronic presentation, essay or study (a document with embedded figures, charts and diagrams on an environmental or IT topic, for example).

Saving documents, and converting documents in different formats.

Creating a home page with a web editor.

Making presentations.

Making and showing a multimedia presentation on a topic related to education (recommended topics: ethics, health education, communications, the future of information technology).


Spreadsheet applications

Identifying types of data in tables; using basic data types; practising how to present data in various ways; using simple operations, formulae and embedded functions without help.

Copying a function.

Using a spreadsheet application based on calculations in mathematics and statistics.

Using spreadsheet applications for assignments in various subjects.

Editing graphs for a specific problem.

Showing the correlation between data by means of graphs.

Selecting the appropriate graph type.

Planning a chart on the basis of the description of a problem.

Creating neat and clear tables.


Working with databases

Knowledgeable use of concepts like data, data set, data file, database; using a relational database on an elementary level.

Expectations from a database; applying concepts like data chart, record, field, link field, key field characteristics; understanding their interrelations.

Planning a simple data file in connection with daily life. Defining and creating structure, and filling it with some data.

Modifying and deleting data.

Sorting data, searching and displaying data. Retrieving and printing data.

Database protection.

Access to a database.

Demonstrating the importance of database maintenance.
Working in the library

Orientation in the library of the secondary school: layout, structure and files.

Visiting some new types of libraries (school trip) or learning about them from indirect sources.

Organising discussed documents according to the value of information they contain.

Searching for information in traditional and computerised sources.

Searching traditional and computer based catalogues and other databases by formal criteria or by subject.

Search in library catalogues and on the Internet.

Finding public information in traditional and electronic sources of information (e.g. planning the route or schedule of a school trip).

Selection of literature, making a bibliography for various topics / assignments, by using computer databases.


TOPICS

CONTENTS


Introduction to information technology

Types and features of hardware devices.

Computers based on the Neumann principle. Other computers.

Analogue and digital signs.

Sign sets and their data content.

Logical operations and gates.




Operating systems

Working with files: find files, move, copy, create new file, print, delete, rename, set parameters.

Creating back-up.

Restoring deleted files.

Compressed files and expanding files.

Operating system features.

Installing an application from installation information.

The process of registration.

Using several applications in a co-ordinated manner.



Communication on the net

The outlined configuration of the in-school network.

In-school services and the rules of computer use.

The rules of making an in-school ID. The use of the ID.

Personal e-mail address.

Using e-mail: organising and sorting messages.

Distribution lists and news groups.

FTP.


Detailed search with browsers using key words.


Algorithms and data

Elaborating algorithms in algorithm languages: algorithms for data collection and processing.

Encoding algorithms in a programming language the PC can interpret.

The steps of program writing: task identification, planning, coding, testing.

Elementary and complex data, characters, integers and real numbers, logical values, blocks.



Creating documents on the PC

The advanced functions of word and image processing applications.

Applying digital images.

Embedding objects / charts.

Editing texts: header / footer, page numbering, footnotes; columns.

Creating documents on the basis of examples or instructions.

Templates.

Creating a home page with web editor: adding text, image, link.

Editing.

The structure of network documents.

Multimedia presentations.

How to make a presentation.




Working with spreadsheets

The basic functions and concepts of spreadsheet applications.

Functions and formulae.

Types of data, presenting data in various formats, formatting, editing data.

The definition of graph, the relationship between a function and a graph.

Graph types.

Solving problems with the help of spreadsheet applications.



Working with databases

Search and retrieval.

Data files.

Maintaining databases.




Working in the library

Orientation in the library: storing discipline, files, types of libraries, library system.

Document types: hard and soft copies.

Information sources: reference library, information retrieval languages, catalogues, computer databases.

Library systems and other information systems.

Sources and tools of obtaining public information (internet, career guidance, telephone directory, timetables, catalogues, etc.)

Bibliography: hidden and suggestive bibliography.




Prerequisites of moving ahead
Students can perform elementary file operations on the PC. They can make use of the communications possibilities provided by local and global networks. They can design and edit documents themselves. They can perform spreadsheets operations and display correlation with the help of graphs. Students can solve simple logical problems. They can understand how basic algorithms work, and know how to use them. They can make a presentation with a few slides. They can find information and display information in a simple database.

They are familiar with the physical layout and conceptual structure of the secondary school library. They can find sources in the library catalogue. They are familiar with the various types of libraries. They can use traditional and computer databases to find information. They can make notes of the sources found. They are familiar with and adhere to the rules and ethical norms of using sources. They can find information in public sources.




INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Year 12
Number of teaching hours per year: 32

Objectives and tasks
Wisdom is part of daily life. Naturally, this does not mean knowing what the great philosophers taught. It refers to wisdom as something which governs our lives. However, this is enough reason for the young generation to learn about the relationship between philosophy and life.

According to the traditional approach, philosophy considers existence in the universal and all-comprising context of reality. Philosophy approaches what exists from the starting point of totality, and with the ambition to understand this totality.

In the age of globalisation, the significance of philosophy is increasing. Philosophy may facilitate one’s orientation, contribute to the development of one’s view of life, and helps selecting and using what is necessary from the abundance of information for our purposes.

The difficulty of defining the teaching material of this subjects is due to the difficulty of defining philosophy itself. There is no such thing as a single true philosophy. There are only questions of philosophy, the majority of which are permanent; and there are answers which have been very different over the various periods of human thought. According to Jaspers philosophy means being on a journey. Its raison d’etre comes from the intellectual and emotional human need to understand universe in its entirety. (This might be true even if we happen to face the impossibility of interpretation.) On the secondary level, it is possible and necessary to arouse and strengthen this need.

It is evident, that in the last year of secondary education, which is also the year of the secondary school leaving examination, a subject cannot aim at providing students with detailed and in-depth knowledge of two and a half thousand years of the development of philosophical thought -just to mention its development in Europe -, the immense diversity of problems raised by philosophers, and the unrivalled intellectual capital accumulated in the course of the recurring efforts taken to find answers to them.

An attainable objective should be much more modest than that.

Students should experience the method of reasoning specific to philosophy, which is so different from any other activities of the human intellect.

They should develop the ability to raise questions in connection with human life, and try to find answers to them independently. A need should be aroused in them to recognise the essential problems of our age as well as to respond to the emerging questions.

They should recognise the role philosophy plays in synthesising and integrating other fields of human thought, and the way it carries values.

They should recognise that philosophy is one of the pillars of the common European culture.

They should develop a sound critical acumen and an objective approach to debate, which must be free of passion. They should acquire the rules of logical reasoning and debating. They should experience what it means to respect different views and positions, what tolerance is. They should be aware that the basis of discussion is the consideration of alternatives and the acknowledgement of the freedom of choice and the constraints of freedom.

Students should realise how philosophy and science may give them assistance in their daily lives.

They should arrive at the realisation that the problems of philosophy have their roots in eternal human questions, therefore the philosophies of old times are not dusty speculations, but human problems shared by all of us.

They should realise that the questions of philosophy and the answers to them carry moral content, and it is every individual’s duty to take a position in questions of morality.

They should realise that the criterion of integrity is the harmony of one’s actions, thinking and words.

The constraints of the subject does not allow more than aiming at raising students’ interest in philosophy. Whether the foregoing are implemented may be a crucial determinant of whether graduates, who are declared mature after their successful secondary school leaving examination, will become balanced individuals with a sense of moral responsibility.

Depending on the students’ specific needs and the characteristics of the school, teachers may decide, whether they wish to use Curriculum 1, which places emphasis on cultural history, the interdisciplinary nature of philosophy, and has a chronological structure built around specific problems, or wish to follow the thematic approach of Curriculum 2, which takes traditional philosophical disciplines as a starting point.




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