Capabilities and Limitations of ICT by linxiaoqin


									                                  Topic 1 Role of ICT
                           Capabilities and Limitations of ICT
ICT has become an integral part of almost all commercial and other enterprises:
        Very fast processing (essential in banking)
        Vast storage capacity
        Rapid search and combination of data in many ways.
        Instant response
        Accurate results
        Rapid communication between individuals and organisations
        Improves a company image.

   1. Why does ICT improve a company’s image?                                       (3)

All of these provide organisations and individuals with rapid access to high quality
information that they can use in planning and decision making. Twenty years ago, it might
well take a fortnight to make an enquiry and get an answer. Now it can be done in a few

   2. What is meant by high quality information?                                    (3)

ICT is very effective in allowing instant feedback on levels on commodities, e.g.
         Funds in bank accounts
         Availability of seats in aeroplanes
         Stock levels in a chain of supermarkets
         Keeping track of books borrowed from a library.

The diagram below shows the instant feedback available from an on-line booking system. In
this example there is one seat left on the flight. It is booked instantly by a customer. Shortly
after (it could be a fraction of a second later), a request for the seat comes for another
customer. The computer has filled the seat and the customer is told that the flight is fully

        booked. Then the computer can allocate our second customer a seat on the next flight. There
        is a slight possibility that the two requests come in at exactly the same time. This is unlikely,
        but there are mechanisms to prevent double-booking.

                     Request                                          Request

                                                                  No seat
                         Seat                                     available on
                         available                                this flight

Customer orders an
airline ticket                            Airline’s mainframe              Customer orders an airline
                                                                           ticket shortly after.

        In a library, the system can provide information on:
         Borrowers names and addresses
         What books they have
         Which are overdue
         Location in other libraries of books that readers order.

        The computer can also:
         Issue overdue notices
         Provide information for borrower enquiries.
         Provide the necessary information for auditing, planning, and purchasing.
         Provide better security.
         Save staff time by releasing them from repetitive paper based tasks.

        Watch the video Miles of Aisles

           3. Explain how a supermarket might use its ICT resources to ensure that stocks are kept
              up. (5)

ICT systems also have drawbacks:
 Introduction of ICT systems can lead to a lot of extra work, especially if the system is
   none-too-reliable (as in the early days), and manual back up records have to be kept.
 Employees find themselves redundant
 New or redesigned accommodation.
 Faults in the software can lead to chaos, which can bring the organisation to a halt. This is
   often a problem in bespoke or specialist software written for the particular organisation
   by a software house.
 Inadequate hardware can cause communication logjams.
 Failure of a computer system means a catastrophic loss of investment, i.e., it’s a damned
   waste of money!

Major failures of ICT hardware and software have damaged the public image of the
organisations and led to not a few scandals.

4. A company has just paid a large sum of money to pay a software house to provide it
   with a custom-made database. The database does not work. The software house
   refuses to pay back the money, and the matter goes back to the company’s lawyers.
   Suggest what points the lawyers might bring up in the legal action that follows.

Recap: Read Heathcote Ch 2. Use the space below to sum up in whatever way you like the
capabilities of ICT.

                          Capabilities of ICT

                           Limitations of ICT

                                    Homework I

 1. Replacing a manual system by a computerised system can have unwelcome
    consequences. Suggest three different examples of which at least one should be
    social and one should be economic.                                             (5)

 2. Travelling sales representatives working in the UK can make extensive use of
    company credit cards to pay for goods and services. All charges and information
    relating to each transaction are sent directly to the company.
    (a) List four items of data which are captured each time the card is used.        (4)
    (b) Explain which one data item would be a key field for the database.            (2)
    (c) Other than for payment, suggest one other use for the information derived from
        the data.                                                                     (2)

  3. Describe the difference between data, information, and knowledge giving examples of
     each. Describe how data can be of poor quality.                                (7)

                                                                         Total = 20 marks

                                     Working with ICT
The arrival of ICT on a wide scale has been a quiet revolution. Only thirty years ago, there
were no “Hole-in-the wall” machines outside banks. To get cash, you had to queue in the
bank and write out a cheque, then the bank clerk would dole out the money. Long distance
telephone calls had to be connected manually by the operator. There were no computer
games (but it could be argued that people did much more practical things).

When ICT was first introduced, there was a lot of worry about thousands of people being
made redundant:
 Those doing routine work such as filing in offices
 Assembly line workers

In reality more jobs have been created by computers:
 Call centres depend on extensive databases
 Printing and publishing companies have burgeoned
 Many people make their living in software and maintenance of computer systems. The
    rapidly evolving nature of ICT systems ensures that equipment that is two years old is past
    its sell by date, and that which is ten years old is positively antediluvian!

   5. How has ICT altered the pattern of employment?                               (4)

The nature of work has changed:
 Accountants use spreadsheets
 Secretaries use word processing packages that save the need to retype pages of script if
   text needs modification.
 Engineers can produce much more accurate drawings with CAD packages rather than
   manual techniques.
 Maintenance of records takes up less time and space. A company’s records can be
   accommodated in a couple of drawers rather than a room full of filing cabinets (and the
   data accessed in a fraction of the time).
 Expert systems are databases of knowledge and expertise of prominent people in their
   field. For example, a doctor can access the database for help in diagnosing an unusual

   6. Write down three ways in which the nature of work has changed due to ICT, giving an
      example of each one.                                     (6)

With the help of ICT, people do not have to work in the office at all. They can do their work
at a terminal at home, and submit their work to the office through a telephone line. This is
called teleworking. It has advantages:
 Easier to concentrate at home than in a noisy office (?)
 No commuting is needed.
 Greater flexibility to do work around home and family commitments.
 Cost savings by employers.
 Teams of teleworkers can be made in different locations
 Recruitment can be from a much wider geographical area.
 People can work outside standard office hours.

There is a downside:
 There can be difficulties in management of a workforce that’s not in the office.
 There can be a lack of a corporate identity and ethos
 Employees can feel isolated and miss out on the social life of an office.
 Employees might not be able to get help when they need it.
 Work can encroach on family life, or children can be a distraction.
 Workers can be open to exploitation, and unions cannot easily operate to help an
   employee in trouble.

   7. Explain two advantages and two disadvantages of teleworking.                (4)

Some companies have moved much of their operations from expensive offices in London to
cheaper parts of the country. Some organisations can do a lot of their routine work with
employees who live abroad. London Underground has its daily data processing done in India.
BT are now using employees in India for directory enquiries.

   8. Explain the advantages that a company might gain by moving its call-centres abroad.

The shape of businesses is changing:
 More people are going into business by themselves
 Larger organisations are becoming less hierarchical, with employees working more in
   groups needing less supervision.
 The use of problem-solving skills, ability to use initiative and familiarity with ICT is
   increasingly important in recruitment.
 Many people now use the Internet for contacting companies and doing business with

9. Discuss how business has changed under the impact of ICT.   (10)

Recap: Read Heathcote Chapters 2 and 3. Sum up what you have learned in whatever way is
most meaningful to you.

                         ICT in Business

                         ICT in

                                  Social Impact of ICT
ICT has become increasingly used in education:
 Datalogging experiments
 Computer modelling
 Interactive learning
 Presentations using PowerPoint
 Word-processing to produce student notes, and worksheets with a much more professional
 Students increasingly use word-processors in essay writing and projects.
 Multimedia and Internet resources are used widely for research.

   10. List two advantages and two disadvantages of using ICT in education. (4)

Banks have always been leaders in the use of ICT:
 Telephone and Internet banking
 Cash-point machines
 Debit cards have made cheque writing an infrequent event.
 Magnetic Ink Character Recognition speeds up the clearing of cheques.
 Credit cards used to make telephone and Internet purchases.
 Salaries and bills are paid automatically by direct debit.
 Smart cards.

Many people shop on the Internet. You can make purchases at any time from any point in the
world. Some organisations will deliver to your door. However there are drawbacks:
 Goods are delivered by couriers and that can take a long time. It is often quicker to go to
   a shop and take the goods away with you.
 You cannot inspect or ask about the goods before you buy.
 Many people are concerned about security of credit card details.
 Orders can be lost, even though the money transaction has not.
 Fraudulent trading is made easier.

   11. List two advantages and two disadvantages of using the Internet to shop. (4)

As a society, we have become very dependent on the use of computers. Although the benefits
are many, there are some drawbacks:
 Some people become obsessed and this can damage their social relationships.
 There is a substantial proportion of the population that still do not have access to ICT, and
    there are worries about an information underclass.
 People feel threatened by the burgeoning of computers
 Information has been misused by a variety of individuals and groups who disseminate
    loathsome material on the Internet, such as extremist propaganda or pornography, or use
    the information for criminal activity.
 Some people spread malicious programs such as viruses, Trojan Horses, and worms that
    make a damned nuisance of themselves in people’s computers, wiping out vital files.
 The millennium bug was a very real threat, with fears of major computer failures. In the
    event, Saturday 1st January 2000 was not accompanied by the total breakdown of all our
    modern systems. This was due to government and business foresight in tackling this

   12. What kinds of threats are there to computer systems?                (7)

Computer failures can be embarrassing and cause inconvenience. Software bugs can corrupt
databases. People’s accounts can be wiped out. People cannot withdraw cash. However in
vital situations, they can be dangerous:
 Computer failures in fly-by-wire aircraft will make the machine adopt the flying qualities
    of a house-brick, and it will fall out of the sky with the pilot able to do nothing about it.
 Air traffic controllers have had to go back to little bits of paper when their computers have
 A computer failure in an intensive care ward is likely to put the life of the patient at risk.

It is worth remembering as well that all these computers work because they are looked after.
Massive disruption can result from failure of computers, whether as a result of power failure,
or corrupted software, or failures in hardware. If ever there were another war in the
developed world, the computers would be the first targets.

   13. Give two situations in which a computer failure could be dangerous. Explain your
      answer.                                                                  (4)

Information and the Professional
As well as technical knowledge and skills, the kind of personal qualities shown by an ICT
professional would be summarised as:
 Communication Skills, the ability to explain what you are doing to a range of people
    from the highest level to the most non-technical
 Initiative, taking risks or going beyond the call of duty. This is highly regarded by many
    employers (or not if it all goes pear-shaped).
 Management Skills, of schedules, resources, and people.
 Design Skills, creative and critical thinking are as important as technical knowledge.
 Problem Solving Ability, especially with customer support, after-sales, or in

Many professionals work in teams, with each person allocated a part of the problem to work
on. Clearly each member must pull his or her weight.

ICT professionals have a professional body, the British Computer Society whose role is to
maintain standards throughout the profession. Membership entry is by examination. The
BCS has produced a comprehensive set of standards of training and development of those
working in ICT called the Industry Structure Model. It can be used to:
 Compose customised job descriptions from standardised roles.
 Establish training needs for individuals and organisations
 Provide training to recognised standards.
 Assess competence
 Plot career development
 Establish staffing needs
 Identify skills shortages.

    14. Write a job advertisement for an ICT administrator for your company.            (10)

Recap: Read Heathcote Chapters 4 and 5. Sum up the Social Impact of ICT in whatever way
is most meaningful to you.

                                      Impact of ICT on

                                      Homework II
   1. Describe five ways in which information technology can aid pupils studying subjects
      other computing and ICT. Give an example of each.                               (10)

   2. Describe three examples of how computers can help doctors in the care of their patients,
      other than the use of databases in their surgeries.                              (6)

   3. Some manufacturers are deciding to retire their robots and rehire people. Write down a
      case for supporting this action, and consider the arguments against.              (9)

                                                                             Total = 25 marks


            Classwork HWK 1   HWK 2   Test   Total   %

              65       20      25     20     130 100

Teacher Comment

                                    Topic Review
Dates:                                         Role of ICT
Key Points from this topic:

How I managed in this topic:

Points I found difficult:

Questions I want to ask:

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