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BTEC First Diploma in Information and
Creative Technology
Learning aims
A. Understand how the components of technology
systems work together.
B. Understand how data flows between internal
components of a computer and is processed to
provide information.
C. Understand different types of software.
 Lesson Aim:
 Investigate different types of computer software
 Investigate programming concepts
Computer software
 Software brings technology systems to life so that
you can use them as a tool for work, gaming and
much more.
 Different types of computer software have different
 E.g. an operating system is software used to connect
applications to hardware.
 Modern operating systems include Windows, Linux
and OS X, all of which use the mouse to help control
the computer.
Computer software
 When the first IBM PC was designed, the most
popular operating system for this computer was
 Activity – do an internet search on CP/M, QDOS
and MS-DOS and answer the following questions:
 Why did the first IBM PC use MS-DOS and not
 What part did QDOS have in this?
 Software is any program that can run on a computer containing
a microprocessor.
 When the program runs, it directs the operation of the
technology system by controlling the processing and peripheral
 There are two main categories of software:
 Off-the shelf – instantly available, well-tested and bug-free!
Usually cheaper than custom made software with good
support available from books and the internet. E.g. MS Office
suite, Adobe Photoshop
 Custom made - specially written for a client to meet a specific
need, also called bespoke. Can take weeks or months to write
but should deliver exactly what the customer specified. Some
organisations commission custom-made software to solve a
specific problem, such as carrying out financial transactions or
a robot control program for a production line.
Operating Systems
 The role of the operating system is to link the hardware
with the user and any program running on the computer.
The OS has many functions:
 Managing files – by copying, renaming and deleting them,
and using folders.
 Managing hardware – by loading programs, allocating
them resources and using drivers to link to specialist
hardware such as a video card.
 Allocating resources – by sending keyboard / mouse
inputs to programs, as well as accessing other resources
such as printing and the hard disk.
 Handling security issues – such as restore points (to return
system files and settings back to an earlier state), backups
and access to files when multiple users share a PC.
Operating Systems
Utility Applications
 Operating systems may include utility applications,
which are small programs designed to improve
system performance. Examples include:
 Disk defragmenters – should make hard disks run
faster. Deleting a file makes a gap on the hard drive,
which can be reused when another file is saved. If the
new file is too big for the gap it fragments to another
gap. Eventually, loading files makes the read-write
head move to several places, slowing the drive down.
Defragmentation rewrites files, bringing them together
to make the hard disk run faster.
Utility Applications
 Examples include:
 Software firewalls – these stop unwanted traffic from
the internet entering the computer.
 Anti-virus software – this tries to prevent malware
from entering a computer. It also scans the computer
and connected devices to check that no malware has
gained access.
User Interface
 There are two common ways users can interface with computer
operating systems and other applications, either using a GUI or
a command line interface (CLI).
 Accessibility and ease of use are much better with a GUI than
with a CLI because:
 The mouse is easy to use for controlling the computer.
 A GUI can be configured to magnify the screen, speak
documents to you or recognise your voice commands.
 A GUI has drop down menus which list all the available choice
– the user just has to click on the one they want.
 There is often a search box where you can type in the name of a
document or a key word within a document that you need to
find. The operating system will find the file for you which
saves you manually having to search through folders and files.
 A GUI uses icons to click on, so you can easily start an action
with a mouse.
Mobile devices
 Mobile devices have operating systems that are
optimised for user interface, accessibility and ease of
use. The user interface is usually a touch screen with
voice recognition, which the operating system needs
to control and make easy to use.
 Accessibility on mobile devices can be further
enhanced with onscreen readers and magnifiers to
enlarge parts of the screen and make it easier to read.
 Modern mobile phone operating systems include
Android, Blackberry, iPhone OS, Symbian or
Windows Mobile.
Computer Software
Productivity Applications
 These are software programs written to improve the
efficiency and effectiveness of everyday tasks:
 Home office programs include word processor, spreadsheet,
database and presentation software, which can be
purchased individually or as a suite.
 Graphics software is used to make and edit pictures.
 CAD software is used to design components and buildings.
 Multimedia software is used to combine sound and images
into cartoons or videos.
 Web-authoring software is used to create, edit and upload
web pages.
Software applications
and their uses
Software application
Word processor
CAD package
Software applications
and their uses
Software application
Word processor
Business letters, reports, course work
Cash flow forecast, what-if analysis, charts
Storing records of staff, stock, customers
Creating presentation slides and rolling displays
Creating logos and editing photos
CAD package
Producing accurate drawings and floor plans
Making animations
Creating websites
Software installation
and upgrades
 There are some factors you need to consider before
installing or upgrading an operating system or
productivity application to ensure it will work.
 You should make sure that any application you wish
to install is compatible with your operating systems.
 Consider the following list of software installation
Hardware technology systems
Accessibility features
Cost of the software
Security features
 Explain what you need to consider in relation to
these factors when deciding to install software.
Software installation
This is the computer specification, particularly the CPU, video system, amount of RAM
and free disk space. If any of these are not good enough for the new software, the
installation will fail.
If these are important to the user, they should be checked to ensure they are included
in the software before it is installed.
Cost of the
An organisation needs to check the full cost of the software before installation. The full
cost will be the cost of the licences needed for all the computers plus the cost of setting
the software up, training staff and paying for any support and maintenance.
This is important, especially when new software will be run on older hardware. Slow
software adversely affects the user experience and reduces productivity.
Security features
These are important in a new operating system and include firewalls, malware
management and setting user permissions. An organisation needs to understand the
security features, so they can be set up to best protect the system and support the users.
1. Give 4 functions of a computer operating system.
2. What do GUI and CLI stand for? Explain the
differences between them.
3. What type of program is a disk defragmenter? What
does it do?
4. Convert the number 65 to binary
5. Convert the binary number 0101010 to denary
Programming Concepts
 Professional programmers use specialised skills and
creativity to write programs.
 There is a hierarchical structure for software in a
computer system. This enables different types of
programs to work together to control the computer
Hierarchical Structure
Programs are
compiled into
machine code
Machine code is executed
by the CPU to control the
hardware and display the
user interface
Application Software
 This is the end result of programming. When an
application is running, the user interface is what you
see and interact with by typing or using buttons.
 Application software packages are created by
programming with a high-level programming
language, and are used to solve problems and to
 Explain what the following are:
High-level programming language
Low-level programming language
Machine code
User interface
Hardware – explain what the hardware does in
relation to machine code
1. Describe the hierarchical structure of software in a
2. What are the differences between high and lowlevel programming languages?
3. What is the relationship between a low-level
programming language and machine code?
Past Paper
 Results of last week’s test?
Key Terms
 Solid state
 Dynamic RAM /
 Static RAM / SRAM
 Flash memory
 Battery life
 System on a chip (SoC)
 Chip
 Analogue data
 Digital data
 Encrypt
 Bit
 Byte
 Word
 Binary format