Computer Technology


Computer Technology (Engineering) offers students an opportunity to explore IT skills through the study of PC hardware, software and net
working.  

We call this course affectionately the “ICE” course because it was the original Ministry course code and provided the impetus for a popular extra-curricular program called the “ICE Group” that meets on Wednesdays after school.  Students learn about the many layers of modern computing and determine if they want to explore IT careers; online security, cloud computing, PC repairs, networking, electronics, e-commerce, coding and so on.

 

Students learn about hardware by disassembling desktop computers or laptops and use documentation to reverse engineer the process to rebuild the PC.   During this process students explore upgrade and performance issues while learning to diagnose common PC problems using legacy BIOS or UEFI.   The study of software starts next where students learn to install and configure computer systems; backup software, virtual machines, dual booting (run Windows and Linux on the same PC), install operating systems, run utility software (ex. Powershell/DOS, ping, ipconfig) and install drivers.  

 

Students will learn to use application software (ex. spreadsheets), operating system software (ex. Windows, Linux (Ubuntu)) and programming software (ex. Python).   Students learn quickly that software drives hardware and connects nicely to the next area of study which involves “interfacing” or physical computing.  Interfacing or “physical computing” involves writing code on a PC to drive Lego robots (ex. NXT), Arduino microcontrollers and IoT (Internet of Things) devices like home security systems.   It involves getting familiar with PC electronics, soldering, Ohms law and other “under the hood” IT experiences.

 

The last unit of study involves the study of computer networking where students learn about different types of networks (ex. peer-to-peer, client-server) and what makes the connectivity work.   They learn how hubs, switches and routers make the connections possible using wired (ex. Cat5e Ethernet) and wireless protocols.  Students learn to crimp Cat5e Ethernet cables and build test networks to enable file and printer sharing.   Our Grade 12 students (TEJ4E) will build and install a Windows server and enable services to share internet, files and access share folders.

New directions for computer technology include network security, PC electronics, physical computing (ex. DIY, IoT) and robotics.   St Stephen provides a robust introduction to IT and numerous students have gone on the explore post-secondary study in IT after discovering they enjoyed computer technology and engineering applications.  IT is a fast moving industry and people who thrive in this area are committed to life-long learning and embrace change.