Monday, 30 April 2012

HN 2.0 project update

We kicked off the "HN 2.0" project a few weeks ago. The project team met on Saturday to discuss progress. The team includes practitioners from Aberdeen, Anniesland, and Cardonald Colleges, and a representative from a university.

I had intended to keep you up to date with this project via the HN Review blog but I think that it is of wider interest than that, so I will "mainstream" it by using this blog for updates. I'm pretty sure that whatever we learn in the context of HNC Computing can be applied to other Computing qualifications.

There will be two main deliverables from this project: (1) a practical report on how centres can use social media for summative assessment within the new HNC Computing; and (2) an academic paper on our findings.

The report will include an audit of every unit in the new HNC Computing to gauge its suitability for using Web 2.0 technologies for [summative] assessment. We will suggest the sorts of social media that could be used. We will then use several case studies to explore in more detail how this could be done. We will stop short of writing new assessment examplars, but I hope that the report will be very clear about the sorts of approaches you could use to generate assessment evidence using social media.

We plan to carry out some primary research into your use of social media for teaching, learning and assessment, and that will form the basis of the academic paper, which (I hope) will be published later this year. We have already had some interest from academic journals.

We will carry out the research during May, carry out the audit and write the case studies between May and July, and write the report during August.

Contact Kenji Lamb for more information about this project.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Learning Through Technology conference

I attended, and presented at, the Learning Through Technology conference yesterday, which was part of Holyrood Conference programme, held at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

The keynote was given by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell, who gave an interesting talk about the importance of technology in education. He talked about the new version of GLOW, recognising that it needs "to move on", and to be "more attractive, more open, easier to use, and more enjoyable". He also spoke about the use of personal technology in schools and colleges and how the current position, where it is generally prohibited, is "artificial" and unsustainable. He acknowledged the need for security in schools and colleges and councils, but this "had to be proportionate".

John McCann, of Scotland's Colleges, also spoke about the need to modernise teaching and learning. He said that the focus should move away from institutions towards "learning communities". He gave a lot of examples of how teaching and learning had changed in colleges, but finished his talk by pointing out that the one area where practice had not changed much was assessment. He concluded by asking for this to become the focus of attention in future.

Me and a colleague, Graeme Clark, delivered two breakout sessions, which were attended by around 100 people in total.
I spoke about how SQA had modernised its ICT qualifications, and Graeme spoke about the digital resources available to centres, particularly SQA Academy and SOLAR. I also talked about the need to modernise assessment, but acknowledged some of the barriers to change.

Contact Graeme if you want to know more about SQA Academy or SOLAR, or contact me if you want to know more about ICT awards. You can download my paper on modernising assessment here.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

NPA in Digital Literacy at SCQF level 3 - Student Notes/Instructor Guide

Our storage facility at Newtongrange is keen to clear out some documents. Currently they have around 20 sets of the Student Notes/Instructor Guide for GH83 43 NPA in Digital Literacy.

Please e-mail me if you would like any of the following:

BB3868 Digital Literacy - Computing
BB3919 Digital Literacy - Communication Methods
BB3920 Digital Literacy - Numeracy
BB3927 Digital Literacy - Instructor Guide

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Mobile Technology

I've mentioned previously that we are developing new awards in mobile technology. The original idea came from the Sector Panel for Computing & IT, when it was suggested that this was an area where we wanted to develop new awards. Well, we have. The new HNs in Computing feature units in mobile technology, and the NQGA team has led the development of specialised qualifications in this area.

I spent some of this morning providing comments on the proposed awards. There will be a number of new qualifications:

  • National Progression Award (NPA) in Mobile Technology (at SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6)
  • National Certificate (NC) in Mobile Technology at SCQF Level 6.

The team are also developing an NPA linked to Microsoft's Technology Associate qualification. So, in total, there will be four new NPAs and one new NC.

My comments were positive. The new awards look good, and embrace the knowledge and skills required to use and develop mobile technologies. I'm not sure when these awards will be available to centres, but it will be soon.

Contact Joe Spencer for more information about the NPAs and NC. Contact Caroline for more information about the new HN units in this area.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Teaching materials for Computer Games

The NPAs in Computer Games Development have become very popular in schools and colleges, and they are among the best supported qualifications in SQA's portfolio, with lots of teaching, learning and assessment material available to help you deliver them.

I got an e-mail yesterday to let me know that, thanks to EU funding, more material is now available on SQA Academy. This teaching and learning material covers all of the units in all of the NPAs (at Levels 4, 5 and 6). It's free to anyone with an account with SQA Academy. You can access it here.

There is also paper and electronic assessment material available for these awards. Contact Hilary for more information about what's available.