Monday, 31 March 2008

Children and new technology report

As you probably noticed via TV/radio last week, the Byron Review of children's use of new technology was published last Thursday. You can download the full report here [PDF].

It makes interesting reading. You don't have to read it all - the Executive Summary [PDF] contains the key recommendations. It seems to me to strike a good balance between seeking to protect children without scare-mongering. All of the recommendations sound sensible.

A recurring theme is the need to educate young people and adults in the correct (safe) way to use the Internet. My only disappointment with the report was that it made no mention whatsoever of SQA's Internet Safety qualification, which remains the UK's (and, probably, the EU's) only national qualification in this area.

But given the focus on formal education, the Internet Safety unit is well placed to address many of the report's findings. It will hopefully stimulate demand for this qualification and might result in healthy evening class numbers in most colleges.

Please contact Caroline if you want more information on the Internet Safety qualification.

Friday, 28 March 2008

CIW qualification

I spend a lot of my time talking to vendors. As you may know, as part of the DIVA initiative, SQA has developed links with many leading industry organisations, such as Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco and Adobe.

Caroline and I met with Marjorie Quigley of ComputerPREP this morning to talk about the CIW qualification. The newly developed PDA in Web Technologies at SCQF Level 7 covers the CIW Foundation curriculum. According to Marjorie, a large number of FE colleges in Scotland plan to offer this qualification, once the PDA is available, which it will be at the end of April (it was validated with conditions last week).

You can find out more about CIW from Marjorie, more about this new PDA from Angela and more about vendor links from Caroline.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Visit to Stow College

Some time ago, I mentioned how much I enjoyed visiting centres to see at first hand what's involved in delivering SQA awards and also hear about some of the issues that face lecturers "at the chalk face". Well, another one of my ex-colleges took me up on my offer. My old boss, Ron Dillon, invited me to Stow College to participate in the weekly staff meeting, which is held every Wednesday afternoon (yesterday).

My presentation covered the range of IT qualifications available to centres - and particularly the new ones such as the new NPAs and PDAs.

It was an interesting and lively meeting - the sort that reminds me about the real issues in centres. I'd be happy to do more, time permitting.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

External Verifiers' meeting

There was an EV meeting in Glasgow today, in the SQA offices. The EV team meet several times per year to discuss operational issues.

David Drennan, the Senior Verifier, leads the meeting, which is a great opportunity for the EV team to discuss field issues and debate standards.

Today's agenda includes an interesting presentation about SOLAR and Graded Unit verification. Me and my team always take the opportunity to attend and provide a qualification update, so that the EVs are clear about new developments.

Although I'm posting this in the middle of the meeting, it's going well and the EVs appear to be enjoying the event.

Contact Mark Hood if you want to find out more about becoming an External Verifier.

Friday, 14 March 2008

E-Skills report: Technology counts

E-Skills has recently published an interesting report on trends in the IT industry. It can be downloaded here [PDF].

It's quite a large report but it's worth printing and reading the Executive Summary (pages 8-16).

It's full of facts and figures, and is a fabulous source of information for validation documents.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Professional Development Workshops

To support the delivery and assessment of the Refreshed PC Passport and Internet Safety, a series of Professional Development Workshops are being run over the next few months.

If these are of interest to you in your centre, please follow the link to find out more: