Unit 2 – Technology Systems

Summary:
Unit 2 – Technology System is the last exam-based unit. As with all the units, unit 2 has multiple learning aims, each which cover many different topics. Unit 2 covers:

  1. Understand how the components of technology systems work together;
  2. Understand how data flows between internal components of a computer and is processed to provide information;
  3. Understand different types of software;

Learning Aim 1:
The first learning aim of Unit 2 covers the concepts behind different computers and technology systems; the applications and issues with technology systems and the different features of computer hardware and devices, as well as concepts and implications of computer networks and data transfer.

The first part you need to understand are the concepts of computer and technology systems, such as that a computer is a machine that processes digital data and a technology system is a complete collection of components – hardware, software, peripherals and communication links – making up a single computer installation.

Additionally, you must understand the applications and issues with different technology systems, such as the application of technology systems that are used in different sectors – construction, finance, health and manufacturing. As well as the issues involved in the use of technology systems, such as health and safety, security measures – passwords, authentication, file permissions and levels of access, privacy and copyright.

You should also consider reasons as to why future development of a technology system is important to organisation; this could be down to a competitive advantage, reduced costs and improved performance.

For the next part, you need to understand the features, uses and implications of different hardware devices, such as the devices – PC, servers, laptops, tablets, consoles and other digital devices – and the input devices – keyboard, mouse, sensors, microphone, scanner – and the output devices – printers, speakers, force feedback devices, screens, projects and other control devices. Additionally, you should know what the features of storage devices – such as solid state, optical and magnetic media are, as well as that most modern technology devices are multifunctional and have both input and output functionality.

You also need to know how hardware components and software are able to be combined to form an automated technology system, such as self-service checkouts and production lines. Additionally, you need to understand the uses of devices that capture data for automated systems – like barcode readers, magnetic readers, and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems.

The final parts of learning aim 1 involve understanding the concepts, applications and implications of networks, such as the purpose of different types of network – Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Personal Area Network (PAN) and mobile broadband. Additionally, you need to know some of the common uses of network systems – such as resource sharing, data sharing and entertainment or communication as well as the benefit of computer networking and the need to synchronise data hold on devices forming a Personal Area Network.

Finally, you have to understand the concepts, implications and processes of data transfer, including physical methods of transferring data between devices using wireless or cabled topology as well as wireless methods of transfer including the use of Wi-Fi and different Bluetooth technologies.

Also, for the cabled methods of data transfer between devices, including the use of optical fibre, unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and coaxial. You must also know the benefits and drawbacks of these physical methods of data transfer.

As you can see above, I have included these assets as an example of the worksheets which I have completed for this learning aim. My method of selecting the specific example is by directly linking to what was explained in each of the specific learning aims. In this case the first learning aim of Unit 2 mostly relates to the different uses of technology systems.

Learning Aim 2:
The second learning aim of Unit 2 covers the understanding of the primary functions and roles of internal components in a computer, such as the motherboard – a printed circuit board which holds most the components – the central processing unit, graphics and sound hardware, heat dispersal systems – such as fans and heat sinks – as well as storage devices such as solid state, optical and magnetic hard disk drives.

Additionally, you need to understand how the internal components of a computer may affect the performance and user experience of different internal components, depending on their specification as well as how the features of memory, storage devices, central processing unit and the graphical processing unit affect the performance and user experience – such as the clock speed, caches, amount of cores, capacity, heat and power consumption.

You should also compare how mobile systems vary from other traditional platforms such as desktop computers and how their features may affect performance and the user experience; you should also understand the role of computer busses, when carrying data between the internal components.

Next, you need to understand the concepts, processes and implications of different data transmission, such as the differences between analogue and digital transmission of data, the need to convert analogue signals to digital and the reverse. As well as how data in a computer is represented unit binary notation – such as bits and bytes.

For the final part of learning aim 2, you need to understand and be able to use the binary format, as well as know the concepts of data storage. For example: how characters can be represented in binary format and converting whole numbers into binary (zero-to-10) as well as the conversion of binary numbers, up to 8 bits, to whole numbers, base 10.

You also need to know the units used to describe memory and data storage. These are bits, bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes and petabytes.

As you can see above, I have included these assets as an example of the work which I have completed for this learning aim. My method of selecting the specific example is by directly linking to what was explained in each of the specific learning aims. In this case the second learning aim of Unit 2 mostly relates to the different types of data, both Analogue and Digital.

Learning Aim 3:
The third and final learning aim of Unit 2 covers the concepts, differences and implications of software as well as the structures of programming.

For the first part, you need to understand the concepts, differences and implication of different software; this includes the advantages and disadvantages of using custom-made and off-the-self programs as well as the differences between them.

You also need to understand the concepts, structures and implications of programming, which could include the structure of a computer as well as the main characteristics of high-level programming languages, including imperative, procedural, event-driven and object-orientated as well as low-level programming languages, such as assembly language.

Next, you start with an introduction to computer programming concepts. For this part, you need to understand, use and interpret flowcharts, including the purpose of the simple processes represented in flowchart diagrams.

You must also recognise and under the terms used in computer programs, such as declaration, variables (both local and global) as well as the need to annotate code to allow for easier maintenance.

For the final part, you need to understand the concepts, function and implication of operating systems. This could include the role of an operation system, in terms of file management, resource allocation and security or the role of utility application, such as disk defragmenters, firewalls and anti-virus software.

Additionally, you must also understand what the differences are between graphical user interfaces and command-line based user-interfaces as well as the role of productivity applications such as the office suite, graphic and multimedia or web-authoring software.

Overall, this is another essential unit if you are considering a career in IT. Online systems and technology have become part of everyday work, so being able to understand and work with this technology is relevant in many roles in the industry.