Information and Communication Technology

Combining different types of information

Using different types of information to solve a problem

Before the age of computing, if you wanted to present some information to an audience your options were fairly limited.

You could combine words and pictures in a printed page such as a newspaper or book, but printing was expensive. Printing pictures was more expensive, and printing in colour even more expensive.

You could make a film, but filmmaking was expensive and you needed projection equipment in order to show it.

You could produce a slide show, but they were photographic slides, which were expensive, and needed a projector.

In short, presenting anything more than a few typed sheets was out of the reach of most individuals and many small businesses.

The introduction of personal computers and user-friendly software changed all that. Nowadays just about anyone can throw together web pages, or a newsletter, or a video. The problem is that people do just throw the thing together. Having the technology to produce a presentation does not automatically mean that the presentation will be fit for purpose, even with the latest wizards and templates to follow.

This page looks at some of the ways in which different types of information can be combined and presented to a target audience.

Printed products

Combining different types of information on paper

At IGCSE level, printed items are likely to be posters, leaflets, newsletters, greetings cards, advertising flyers and similar small items. They will probably be based on an A4 page, although that might mean two A5 pages side by side.

Appropriate software for producing printed items is: word processing / desktop publishing, and art and graphics packages.

You are allowed to use any software in the practical examination, so you should check what will be available and ensure that you are able to use it.

Any photographs or clipart you need will be supplied as part of the examination resource files. You may however need to produce some graphic material yourself, using simple drawing or shape tools. You may also have to alter some of the supplied images, and justify the changes.


Many of the software packages that you might use come with collections of clipart, page templates, backgrounds, etc. There is nothing to stop you using this material if it is appropriate to the task that you have been asked to perform. But be careful, searching through a clipart collection takes time and you may lose more than you gain if it slows you down.


Combining different types of information in printed products

and getting marks in the examination

Printed products can only present two types of information, text and images, but there are lots of ways of dealing with each type.

Text. For the IGCSE practical examination you may have to use: plain text, fancy text / word art, text in boxes / frames, headings and sub-headings. You will need to be able to wrap text around images, superimpose text on images, and use a piece of text as an object which you can manipulate.

Images. These include charts and graphs, photographs and clipart, shapes and backgrounds. You need to be able to caption, label, position, and manipulate an image.

In general, if you can use an art and graphics package plus a word processor or desktop publisher, you should be able to cope with any IGCSE practical activity.


Getting a good examination grade.

First, read the question. The question will have a context, probably one that has been used for the rest of the examination as well. You need to answer the question in that context.

Second, do what the question asks, not what you wish it had asked because you'd practiced that.

Third, don't just throw everything together, there are marks for design aspects.

An example. Suppose that the context is a beauty salon and you are asked to produce an A4 advertising flyer. The question will almost certainly supply lots of information about the beauty salon, e.g. the name, address, telephone, opening hours, treatments offered, etc. It will probably give other specific information such as a 20% off sale on Wednesdays if a customer brings the flyer.

Previous questions may have given other information, such as a logo or the manager's name. There may also be some images or text files supplied e.g. showing beauty treatment equipment or explaining what each treatment does.

You job is to decide what needs to go on the flyer. Simply copying and pasting a text file and then adding all the available images won't get you many marks.

In this case, the information given in the question is likely to be essential and will be worth marks. A logo would also make sense and probably be worth marks, and so would a shape or a piece of word art to emphasise the 20% off sale.

However detailed information about each treatment would be unlikely to get any marks and might even lose them by making the flyer unfit for purpose.

On the other hand, if the question was to produce a newsletter for regular customers, details of a new treatment would be appropriate while a big star shape and 20% off might be thought less useful.

Design marks. The mark scheme will contain marks for design aspects. These are easy to get, and very easy to miss out on. The marking points will vary between each examination but some common ideas are:

Digital products

Combining different types of information on-screen

At IGCSE level, digital items are likely to be web pages or Multimedia presentations. Web pages will probably be based on an A4 page, while slides for a presentation may require you to print them several to a sheet.

Appropriate software for producing digital items is: web authoring, presentation, and art and graphics packages.

You are allowed to use any software in the practical examination, so you should check what will be available and ensure that you are able to use it.


Any photographs or clipart you need will be supplied as part of the examination resource files. You may however need to produce some graphic material yourself, using simple drawing or shape tools. You may also have to alter some of the supplied images, and justify the changes.

Many of the software packages that you might use come with collections of clipart, slide templates, backgrounds, etc. There is nothing to stop you using this material if it is appropriate to the task that you have been asked to perform. But be careful, searching through a clipart collection takes time and you may lose more than you gain if it slows you down.


Combining different types of information in digital products

and getting marks in the examination

Unlike printed products, digital products can present many different types of information. These are often text and images, but you should also know about audio, video, and animations.

Text and images. These can be treated in a similar way to how you work with printed products. For the IGCSE practical examination you may have to use: plain text, fancy text / word art, text in boxes / frames, headings and sub-headings. You will need to be able to wrap text around images, superimpose text on images, and use a piece of text as an object which you can manipulate.

Images include charts, photographs and clipart, shapes and backgrounds. You need to be able to caption, label, position, and manipulate an image.

Audio. It is fairly easy to record and edit your own audio clips, and there are huge numbers of free samples available on the Internet. But for the IGCSE practical examination, any audio clips needed will be supplied, or will be available as part of a software package.

Working with an audio clip may require you to do some simple editing, such as cropping a file to a given length. It is more likely that you will simply have to insert an audio clip into a digital product such as a web page or presentation.

The output from the practical examination is just paper printouts, so the evidence needed will be screen captures that show what you did.

Video. Recording and editing video is a little more complex than working with audio, and takes up a lot more computer resources, so you will probably not be asked to do that. You may however be asked to insert a video clip into a digital product such as a web page or presentation.

As with audio, the output from the practical examination is just paper printouts, so the evidence needed will be screen captures that show what you did.

Animations. Creating an animation is fairly simple given the right software, but it takes quite a long time to produce even a short one. That means that you probably won't be asked to do it in the practical examination. As with audio and video, you are more likely to be asked to insert an animation into a digital product such as a web page or presentation.

It is also possible that you will be asked to use pre-made animations in a presentation package. Since the examiners do not know which software you will have, the use of pre-made animations will have to be restricted to commonly available features such as slide transitions.

As with audio and video, the output from the practical examination is just paper printouts, so the evidence needed will be screen captures that show what you did.

In this case however, you may need multiple screen captures. e.g. if you are setting up a slide transition, you may need to show timings, looping, triggers, or other properties. These may not all be visible on a single screen.


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