This blog has been updated from the version first published in March 2021.
Vinay Thawait, Subject Advisor, Computer Science, IT and iMedia
Our redeveloped Cambridge Nationals in IT (J836) qualification (first teaching September 2022) provides some new and improved content that is engaging and attractive to students and progressively used in many industry sectors.
We introduced a unit to teach the basics of augmented reality (AR) and the creation of a model prototype product to showcase how it can be used appropriately for a defined target audience to present information.
The new qualification consists of three mandatory units. One is externally assessed, while two are internally assessed and externally moderated NEA:
Unit R050 – IT in the digital world (examined) – 48 GLH – 30%.
Unit R060 – Data manipulation using spreadsheets (NEA) – 36GLH – 30%.
Unit R070 – Using augmented reality (AR) to present information (NEA) – 36 GLH – 40%.
I feel very excited about this new, engaging content which was developed by teachers with today’s students in mind. As teaching AR content could be a new area for many, I’d like to share some information you may find useful when planning your teaching.
Our redeveloped Cambridge Nationals in IT (J836) qualification has successfully completed January 2023 and June 2023 moderation series. For 2023 only, for our new Cambridge Nationals qualifications (first teaching September 2022), we have provided an exceptional autumn 2023 submission opportunity for non-examined units.
The autumn 2023 submission opportunity was an extension of the June 2023 series, introduced to support those schools and colleges who were not able to submit their centre marks for the June 2023 series by the agreed deadline.
For students who completed the January/June 2023 OCR set assignments for our new Cambridge Nationals qualifications, this was an exceptional opportunity to submit marks and work for moderation in autumn 2023.
This submission was for autumn 2023 only and will not be offered in future years. Our website has more details.
The first examination series for unit R050 is available from January 2024. Students will be able to sit exams in the January and/or June series. The terminal rule for exams applies to our redeveloped Cambridge Nationals qualifications. This means students will have to sit the exam after they have completed both NEA units and when they finally certificate. Please read our blog post on understanding the terminal rule and exam for unit R050.
See also our Cambridge Nationals: Terminal assessment rule document, on Teach Cambridge, which includes examples and infographics.
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that allows people to superimpose digital content (images, sound, video, text) over real-life scenes or objects. There are three main types considered here:
AR provides increased engagement, interaction, and a richer user experience. The demand for AR products shows exponential growth in new mobile app development for almost all major industries, and especially in IT, architecture, gaming, retail and hospitality, entertainment, science, and education.
Professional-level skills are required for jobs as an AR app/product developer. This includes skills in using tools and techniques for different types of augmented reality software development kits (SDKs), programming language skills, 3D gaming engine or modelling skills, command over user interaction (UI) / user experience (UX), graphic designing skills, networking/communication skills and problem-solving skills. To work in this field in the future, students will benefit from developing some of these important skills now and building on them further as they progress into higher or further education.
AR has made it possible to present information so that users can see more detail in item(s) or product(s) with 2D or 3D images and can place the item(s) or product(s) digitally in their surroundings.
Students will have the opportunity to design, create, test, and review an AR model prototype, using a range of tools and techniques. The prototype will have limited functionality to showcase how the fully working AR product for a given context and audience might look like. You can think of it as a minimal viable product – just enough to demonstrate to your client or customer what the full version will look like and how it might function.
Some of you may be thinking of students creating incredibly impressive commercial AR products that big companies use to present visually rich information to their customers. This would not be a realistic assessment goal at KS4! We are preparing students to understand the fundamentals of this exciting new technology and expose them to the creative process through the development of a model prototype.
Some of the key points to consider for creating an AR model prototype:
The following is a suggestion of an example task:
AR software development kits (SDKs) are used to create the AR products for real-life contexts. We have trialled some SDKs using the model assignment for unit R070 that may be suitable for school use. Some of the SDKs are free to use with basic functions, whereas their advanced functions require a suitable education licence to be bought. Some of these SDKs could be downloaded to install on your digital devices and some only have an online version.
Please download our AR software recommendations document to get to know which software is best for your school and students.
As we continue to deliver unit R070 AR content, learn to create an AR model prototype and assess students, more SDKs may become available, while others may change to a paid-for service. We will continue to research and will update our information regularly. We’d also appreciate your feedback or concerns on the use of the AR SDKs, so we can give you the best possible information.
We have guidance and teaching and learning resources on our teacher support site, Teach Cambridge. These include a scheme of work, mapping guide, switching guide, assessment story, and CPD training to support you.
Keeping up to date can feel daunting, but by taking steps early you can be confident that you will be on top of your planning and preparation for this new and exciting IT qualification. We are here to provide you support with the delivery and assessment of our qualifications.
If you have any questions please comment below, or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tweet @OCR_ICT or call our customer support centre on 01223 553998. You can also sign up to receive email updates about resources and support, and you can stay up to date with our dedicated support area.
Vinay joined OCR in July 2014 to support the GQ reform and development of the AS and A Level Computer Science qualifications. Since then, he has been involved in the development of the reformed GCSE (9-1) Computer Science, Entry Level Computer Science and Cambridge National in IT (J836). He is currently working on the new Level 3 Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in IT: Data Analytics and the Level 3 Cambridge Advanced National (AAQ) in Computing: Application development qualification. Before joining OCR, Vinay spent more than 20 years in IT and Computer Science teaching and leadership roles, working for several schools as well as local authorities educational support team. He was the National Bid Lead for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative within Capita IT, and also the Head of Operations for an audio-visual educational software development company. Vinay has a degree, three post-graduate masters and NPQH from Warwick, Coventry, and Nottingham Universities.