This unit is my first attempt to introduce students to computer systems in a thorough, formal and organised manner, and it has proved both educational and enjoyable for both myself and (I believe) my students. It uses a very simple layered model (which I call the Four Layer Model) to help students understand how hardware, software, networks and people each function as parts of complex computer systems. For my Year 9 students this was their first opportunity to really work with computer hardware (they had to reassembly old PCs) and software (they had to install Ubuntu Linux). It also gave them new insights into how the Internet works, and finally a glimpse of the complexities involved in human use of technology at the individual and group levels. Hopefully this unit has managed to demystify those little plastic and metal boxes they spend so much time staring at!

If you are planning on running this unit, be prepared to answer lots of interesting questions, and fix lots of problems. Let me know if you need any help. The files below should provide you with all of the information you need: