Friday, 30 March 2012

Mobile learning

I attended a workshop on mobile learning today, organised by the eLearning Alliance. Eleven people attended, representing diverse organisations ranging from Lanarkshire Council to The Royal College of Surgeons.

It was a good event, and I learnt a lot about current developments. The presenter highlighted the huge growth in Internet access via mobile devices, from 0.02% of web traffic in 2009 to 13% in 2011, reflecting the huge penetration of mobile phones among the general population (94%). He also went over some of the benefits of mobile learning ("m-learning"), which include convenience (you have it with you most of the time), cost (it's cheaper than buying PCs and infrastructure), and well suited to delivering learning-on-demand.

SQA was the first awarding body in the UK to deliver an entire course via mobile phone (the original Internet Safety award), and we have recently updated those materials to look better on modern smartphones and tablet computers. I'm sure, in the coming years, we will provide many more qualification in this way.

You can learn more about mobile learning here. Contact Caroline if you want to know more about the new Internet Safety award.

Friday, 23 March 2012

E-Safety Live

I attended the E-Safety Live event at the Edinburgh Conference Centre at Heriot-Watt University today, to present a couple of workshops on SQA's qualifications in this area.

SQA has developed a reputation as the leading awarding body in the area of online child protection, so it was flattering to be the only UK qualification body to be invited to speak at the conference. I spoke about our two awards in this area:
  1. National Unit in Internet Safety
  2. Professional Development Award in Online Child Protection.
My workshops seemed to be well received. There was a lot of interest in the awards. Part of my presentation dealt with the need for national qualifications (rather than informal learning). I emphasised the motivational advantages and the teaching and learning materials provided to support centres.
I used the conference to launch the new online materials for the new Internet Safety award, which are designed to work on PC, tablets and smartphones.

I managed to squeeze in a couple of workshops myself. I particularly enjoyed the presentation from Facebook, which was about how you can configure Facebook for maximum protection.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about SQA's online protection qualifications.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Assessing HN Graded Units

A few weeks ago, I posted something about problems with the re-assessment of project-based Graded Units. This came to light as a result of discussions between EVs, when it became apparent that there was ambiguity in some centres about how arrive at a final grade when students required assistance from teachers and had to resubmit all or part of their project.

I met with the Senior Verifier for Computing (David Drennan) this morning to look at the issues. We agreed to carry out an audit of the existing project-based Graded Units to identify ambiguities or contradictions in the advice given to centres. Once we have done this audit, we will provide additional advice to centres and make any necessary changes to unit specifications. I hope to have this completed by the end of May.

The EVs have assured me that, in practice, centres are applying consistent standards, but that doesn't obviate the need to improve the advice in the units.

You can contact David if you want to speak to him about any specific issues in this regard. Or contact Caroline if you want to know how this project is progressing.

Friday, 9 March 2012

HN 2.0 kicks off

The HN 2.0 project commenced this afternoon. I received a large number of responses to my recent request for volunteers and I assembled what is, I think, a good team with a range of complimentary skills and backgrounds. There are representatives of FE (such as Aberdeen College), universities, and experts on e-assessment in the team.

Today's meeting was the first meeting of the team and, as such, we spent some of the time getting to know each other. I also explained the aims of and objectives of the project. Essentially, we intend to carry out some research, and create a report on how colleges can use social media/Web 2.0 tools to carry out (summative) assessment within the new HNC Computing. One thing we all agreed on was that the report would not be an academic piece of writing -- we all want it to be something that is genuinely useful to college lecturers, and something that they can use to improve their classroom practice.

We also intend to organise a one day event sometime in June when we will launch the report, and use that event to spread good practice.

The project will be led by Kenji Lamb, who many of you will know from his work at JISC. Contact Kenji if you want to know more about this project. Although this project is linked to the HN Review, I didn't post this update on that blog because of the generic nature of this work. So look out on this blog for future updates about this development.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

HNC Computing - Update

For an update on the new HNC Computing award, please see the dedicated HN Review Blog here