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Here is a table that contains the hardware that I will need to create my system, and the hardware that will enable it to be used:

Hardware Device

To be used for…

Type of Device

Bad Points

(disadvantages)

Good Points (advantages)

Final Choice

Printer

This will be used to print out daily, weekly, monthly, and annual reports

Laser Printer

* The price of the printer itself is very high

* The “refill” is also expensive for this type of printer (toner)

* Long Lifespan

* Its prints lot faster then standard printers.

* Also prints in colour

I am going to use a Laser Printer because of several reasons, the main points being that is fast at printing and the running charges are low, although the printer itself is expensive, its lifespan is long, so its makes it efficient.

Ink Jet

* When the paper has been printed on, it becomes soggy and tends to crumple.

* The ink is not fast drying, so it can smudge easily.

* Printing times are much slower then a laser printer.

* The quality is much greater then a laser printer.

* Prints black/ white and colour.

* The printer itself is cheep and the ink is fairly priced as well.

Keyboard

To input information in the reports, and updates. To edit data on the computer.

Standard Keyboard

* Different sizes available, this may be a problem for the user, as they may find it hard to type with.

* Standard Keyboards are low in cost.

I will use a standard keyboard because it is easy to use, and it is the standard style keyboard in UK.

Monitor

To view the report on the computer and to allow the visual view of the data.

Flat Screen (TFT)

* Fairly Expensive

* Takes up less Space on the desk.

* Less strain on the eyes.

Flat Screen option because its more ideal, even though it’s expensive, it provides better vision and is safer to use, also it increases the desk space.

CRT Screen

* The size of the screen is very large.

* Can cause strain to the eyes.

* Reasonably cheap

Storage

To save the reports and Excel project during the implement and design stage of the project.

Hard disk

* Not Portable

* Can be expensive.

* Large amount of space (depending on size)

* Fast Access

* Can install Windows XP interface on.

I will use the Hard disk to use to install the Windows interface and the Microsoft Excel programmed. The spreadsheet will be saved on to the hard disk but for Buck-up I will also use CD-ROM’s. I originally thought I will use Floppy-disks but because of their slow access I have decided to use a Re-writeable CD.

Floppy Disk

* Not a lot of space, only 1.44MB.

* Not very fast to access, the data read and write speeds are very slow.

* Portable

* Cheap, the discs cost as little as 5p each

* The floppy discs can be re-written on.

CD-ROM

* Using a CD- Rom drive it enables me to Read a disc only.

* Not able to write on a CD.

* It can read a large amount of data

* The CD’s are portable

* Fast Access, the read speeds are above 48x.

RAM

To run Excel the computer requires Random Access Memory, so it can create temporary files which allow the programs to run smoothly.

DDR (double data rate)

SD (Synchronous Dynamic)

* Expensive

* Does not work as efficiently as DDR.

* Half the processing power of DDR rams.

* Expensive

* Fast access

* Cheaper then SD ram

* There are no advantages of SD ram over DDR.

I will Use DDR Ram because it beats SD ram in terms of specifications and in performance.

There are no advantages of SD ram, as DDR is now cheaper.

Mouse

A mouse will be needed to navigate around the system, and to operate the system.

Ball Mouse

* Using a ball decreases accuracy.

* Dirt and dust can cause the mouse to move rigidly and unsmooth.

* Works using old technology, (serial port). The latest mouse’s work using USB, these are more responsive and accurate,

* They are cheap to buy.

* Lifespan is not bad for the price that is paid.

The ball mouse seems like a bad choice because there are several disadvantages, I am planing to use wireless mouse because it removes the clutter of cables, and the latest ones are accurate because based on Optical technology.

Description of Software

Excel is a Microsoft product, so it works together with the various other software packages, such as Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint. Excel is the ideal software to use for formulas and has very few restrictions. The new updated Excel allows the user to edit the data in a cell by simply clicking the cell and typing, this is a new feature that was not available in previous copies of Excel. The copy that I may be using is the latest, Microsoft Excel 2003. Excel can also add verification and validation tools and functions, which could be very important for my project idea because the grades and personal information of students could be on the system, and minor errors could cause a lot of hassle and time to find and fix. The graph functions on this software makes it superior to other software packages with the same style such as “lotus”, their software has limited functions, and the User Interface is bad, because it is not easy to navigate and find what you may be looking for. Excel also has multimedia, and media tools, this means you can change the colour, font, style, etc to personalize the spreadsheet.

Information Requirements

In this section I am going to comment on all the information I am going to need, why I need it, and where I can possibly get it from, I have set the information out in a table to make it easier to read and understand…

Information Needed

Where I can get it from

How I could get it

Where the user can get it from

How the user could get it

What calculations will be done with the information

On screen or on paper & when?

Head of Year (for each student)

I can get the data from the registers

Ask the head of school for the permission to have access to the registers.

The user will be able to view this data by asking their form tutors, for the help.

By looking at notice boards and asking their form tutors.

N/A

This data will be available to view on paper and screen, but only an “administrator” will be able to access the data.

Year Group of the student.

I can get the information from the database, and registers.

I can calculate it from the information from when that pupil joined the school.

The user can find out the child’s year group from the records the school already keeps

The user could get the records by asking the Head of School.

N/A

It will be on paper every week for the weekly reports.

Student ID

I can get the Students ID from the school registers.

I can get it by the school records or/ and the registers.

The users can get it from the documents and spreadsheet once the system is set up, and fully developed.

The user can go to the records, or he/she can ask their tutor.

N/A

This will be printed on to paper because it can be handed out to the right students (that require their details)

There is a lot more data that is required but it will be too much to explain here, so I have only added a few examples of the information I will require, the more detailed version including all the information I will require will be included later on in the project. Here is a spider diagram to show how the information is found, and entered. It will also show the various sources where the data can come from…

The spider diagram above shows how data will be used to create the data base. It shows the various sources where the data required can come from. A example of how this works, is the section in the data base for students data, information can be gathered from Records, Staff and the head teacher.

Evaluate Data Collection Methods

Here are a few methods of how I can collect the information, how it will be used and why it is appropriate…

* Head of Year

This information is available by the Head of school but an easier way would be just seeing which year the child is in and taking the student list and matching the result’s in a excel spreadsheet, this method is much faster, and results can be updated regularly.

* Year Group of the student.

I will get this data from calculations from the time they started in the school. For verification there will be a member of staff or receptionist checking and making sure that the data is sensible and even correct. Then the child will be informed of what year group we think he/she is in and they will verify the data is correct.

* Student ID

I can get these from the school registers, but copying them out can take a very long time therefore it can cause human errors because of the manual input process. I am going to use the database where all the ID’s have been validated and inputted, so it saves me time, and is completely accurate.

Flow Diagram

Excel Spreadsheet

Data entry Methods

I will enter the majority of the data and information in to the system using a keyboard, because it allows me to type in to the system. Currently the schools technology is up to date, so I don’t recommend that they waste money on technology that is not required. The schools most recent purchase was a Lexmark Print Scanner, this reads the answer sheets and automatically marks the test using previous valid results, or it will make a copy of the test in the system for it to understand at a later stage. To input my data I will require a keyboard, but to create the system I will require a mouse to enable me to navigate around the system.

Checking for errors

I will have to check for sensible data, and it is being entered correctly by manually validating the data and by setting up boundaries on the system, for inputting data. I will use formulae on Excel; this automatically does the calculations required, after the formulae are entered. Only small data will be entered in to the system because it decreases the room for error. The data and information will be verified by several users that will test the system and just check to see if the system is working properly and all the calculations are realistic and accurate.

Output Requirements

The information will be displayed on a monitor. The monitor will display the graphs, information, registers, and all the information. I am planning to make it so it is viewed on a computer because it can be interactive, and there are a lot of advantages. There are some things such as profit schemes, these will be viewable on the screen in a graph format, but a printed copy can be available, so it can be analyzed else where. Also reports and other information may be needed to be printed out on a regular basis, so a printer is required.

Backup & Security Methods

To keep my information safe I will make several backup copies, because it is very important, and one copy is not sufficient enough as it may be lost, stolen or damaged. The overall project will be too large for floppy discs, so this is not an ideal medium storage device. I am going to make copies on to a cd-r using a cd-writer. There are going to be back up copies on cd-r and on my hard disc drive at home and school, and even my pen drive. Burning the data on to a cd-r depends on the speed of the writer as they vary in speed from 1x to 52x speeds. It should only take five minutes (max) because the project will be around 30MB as there is going to be media and many sheets per Excel file. Once the information is updated I will make regular copies on to a cd rw disc so it can be updated regularly.