Friday, 24 September 2010

Scottish Learning Festival

I attended the Scottish Learning Festival on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. It's always interesting to catch up with the wider educational issues but we also used the event to promote some of our qualifications.

Wednesday's keynote by Mike Russell, the Education Secretary, was particularly interesting. His talk focussed on the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). He spoke about "the unparalled opportunity to change the qualification system" and how there was "too much emphasis on tests and exams". He emphasised the need to change teaching and learning, and "think differently".

At lunchtime on Wednesday we launched the NPAs in Computer Games Development. There was a good turn-out at the seminar, where we explained what's in the new awards and their key features. There has been a huge amount of interest in these qualifications.

In the afternoon, in the discussion zone, Kate Farrell explained how her school had implemented the National Certificate in Digital Media Computing. Kate explained how her school timetabled the course and the resources she used.

On Thursday morning I attended a spotlight event on assessment within CfE, led by Frank Crawford, the Chief HMIE. Frank explained the need to change assessment and the importance of getting away from rote learning and learning exam techniques. SQA's John Allan also contributed (from the floor) and pointed out that the new unit specifications that SQA will produce as part of CfE will be "more open" with "more freedom for teachers". He emphasised the need for integrative assessment that assessed more holistically.

In the afternoon, we also had a slot on the main floor to promote the NPA in Computer Games Development when people could drop-by, take a seat and find out more about the awards.

CfE has implications for everyone in education, not just school teachers and pupils. It was pleasing to see that the new NPAs in Computer Games appear to be compatible with many of the principles and practices proposed.

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