That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 1 - ICT and Society

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Mobile phone imageSoftware Guides

This section aims to help you use the pieces of software you will need in your exam more successfully.

It focuses on:

Neither of these are aimed at creating completely professional looking publications, because you really don't need to do so (and, in fact, I think they probably give less marks for overly professional looking work with all sorts of fancy features).

Of course, you need to be able to produce something solid enough though...

Page Plus - Desk Top Publishing:

The guides here are for Page Plus X2, a piece of reasonably complex desk top publishing software. Note that this is not the most recent version of the software. The free trials you can download from the Page Plus site will be more recent versions - so take care as some things may work differently.

PDF iconGuide to creating a newsletter page - a one page help sheet which will take you through how to produce the basic newsletter page from Block 5. This uses the help sheets below as well as the resources which are on the Block 5 page

PDF iconNewsletter design - the same design is on the Block 5 page

Guidance sheets:

PDF iconMaster Pages and Margins help sheet

PDF iconText Boxes help sheet

PDF iconImporting and Formatting Text help sheet

PDF iconImages help sheet

You can do most of these things in MS Publisher as well of course.

Some more advanced techniques:

These might be worth a try if you have time - or if you need to be able to produce a newsletter!

PDF iconUsing simple shaped text frames - a circle for example

PDF iconA three column layout for a page - newsletters often use columns. This is dead easy

PDF iconA watermarked image - I used the biggest Open University logo I could find

Dreamweaver - Web Design:

Dreamweaver is professional web design software. This means it has lots of capability to do a great job with really quite complex websites - which is actually going far beyond what you need to be able to do.

PDF iconOrder of work for the webpage - a one page list of tasks in a sensible order

PDF iconWebpage design - this requires the text and image files that you'll find on the Block Seven page

Guidance sheets:

PDF iconPage Properties help guide

PDF iconPage Layout using Divs help guide

A word about Divs. Divs are easy. All they are is a Division or a Divider to split the page into sections. They organise your page. You can then dump text in to these sections and it stays nicely organised.

Divs are one of the key ways that the modern web works. This site, for example, is built largely using Divs to organise stuff. Look at the code if you don't believe me!

Divs also let you format different sections of the page in different ways. This becomes even easier to do if you use CSS, which comes in under the Advanced Formatting section.

PDF iconWebpage Content guide

PDF iconFormatting Basics guide

PDF iconAdvanced Formatting using CSS Rules guide - this is the most complex bit, but using CSS gives you so many advantages

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. Don't worry so much about what that means, you can just think of it as a way of applying some styles (or some formatting) to a section of text in a really easy way. You just set up the style, using the CSS bit in Dreamweaver, and then you can apply the style wherever you want on the page. Pips.

PDF iconMainbox Content guide

PDF iconSidebar Content guide

This uses a CSS style to create a Div (and area of the page) which sits inside the mainbox Div. This is one of the things about Divs (which are just sections, remember) - you can put a Div inside another Div to organise your sections nice and easily. You just need to create the Div, paste in the text and then apply the CSS rule for sidebar you created in the advanced formatting bit up there. Fandabidozi.

Some more advanced techniques

PDF iconUsing an image map - this shows you how to make sections of an image into 'hot spots', linking them to other pages or documents.

PDF iconVertical navigation - that's a navigation bar down the side, just like on this page. In fact, using basically the same method as on this page. Cool.

PDF iconUsing tables in a web page - but only to display information, probably numbers. A skill that you should always try to use on one of your pages.

PDF iconLine spacing and other tips - including things like aligning images successfully. A bunch of useful tipettes.

PDF iconChanging link colours - more use of CSS styling to change link colours in different parts of a page

PDF iconUsing a pull quote - a nice little skill to demonstrate on a page

PDF iconRollover image madness - if (and only if) you can think of a logical use of the skill...

You should probably look at That Blue Square Blog for all the really good other A Level stuff.