Teacher Notes Introduction

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1 Teacher Notes Introduction Why ICT 4 Life? Wouldn t it be great to have classes of enthusiastic, ICT-capable learners, performing and progressing well? Of course, we see fantastic examples of good practice every week, but all too often good practice can be overshadowed by the challenges facing almost every ICT department at Key Stage 3: short contact time, staff changes and lack of specialist training. That s the reason for ICT 4 Life. We believe that it can really unlock the potential of Key Stage 3 ICT and free up both pupils and teachers to be more creative resulting in many more enthusiastic, capable learners. It does this by offering a clear focus on capability fully integrated assessment a project-based approach with scenarios to capture the interest of pupils clear progression writing that reflects the new curriculum. What is capability? ICT capability is about applying ICT skills, knowledge and concepts effectively in a particular context. It is about problem-solving knowing the correct tools to employ to solve a problem and how to use them efficiently and well. Skills knowing how Knowledge knowing that ICT Capability Concepts knowing why The problems Techniques and skills are easy for pupils to understand. Many will already be skilled in certain areas, e.g. they can create a presentation with impressive transitions, animations and graphics. But many will have little understanding of concepts such as audience typically they will create it in a way that they like, rather than it being fit for purpose. For example, they may create a presentation using pink and yellow because they are their favourite colours, with little consideration as to how that will appear on screen, what the contrast might be, whether it is likely to appeal to the audience etc. Of course, it is essential that pupils are taught the necessary skills. But if they can understand why they are using them and actually employ them to solve a problem, they are more likely to be motivated to learn and remember the skills, and more able independently to apply those skills in a different context.

2 The aim for the end of Key Stage 3 is that pupils should be largely autonomous users of ICT, able to make decisions, recognise the correct approaches to solving problems and understand what suitable solutions might look like. In short, they should be capable users of ICT, which will prepare them for making the best use of ICT in their school life and beyond. ICT 4 Life and ICT capability Capability is integral to ICT 4 Life. Each unit starts with a challenge, a problem to be solved by the pupils, which lasts throughout the unit. Techniques are introduced at appropriate points for pupils to reference as they work. But within the context of the challenge, pupils understand why they are learning the skill and how to apply it. They are also introduced to the concept of audience from the outset, so that throughout Year 7 they can build their independence. Capability is highlighted in two ways in the Pupil Book. On the first page in each lesson, the techniques and capability are summarised, as a reference point. Then throughout the lesson itself, key learning points are highlighted as headings, indicating the capability that is transferable to other scenarios. Assessment The best way to assess pupils is regularly and systematically, using that assessment to help pupils to progress further. The key here is using it s vital to allow yourself time to use the assessment that is done rather than just doing the assessment for its own sake. But ongoing assessment can be very straightforward simply observing pupils as they work can give you a huge amount of information which can be used as part of your assessment. Teachers we see often get hung up on thinking they have to do big assessments which are obviously time-consuming when simple tactics like observation are more manageable, often more informative and can be acted on immediately to help the pupil to progress rather than after a period of analysis. ICT 4 Life and assessment ICT 4 Life gives you a variety of tools to make assessment more manageable: Evidence At regular points throughout the course, pupils submit work for marking. This work will appear in the teacher assessment area, associated with the relevant assessment points. Once the work has been assessed, it remains in the area as evidence of the pupils work. Teacher assessment The assessment criteria provided in the Pupil Book are provided alongside the evidence in the Assessment Tool. These translate what the level descriptors mean in the context of this particular scenario or activity, making it easier for teachers to assess consistently. Once evidence has been submitted, the teacher can open the evidence and tick the relevant assessment criteria exhibited in that work, along with any other information they may have gleaned from observing or talking to the pupils as they work. The assessment area is set up so that the whole class can be marked on a single sheet. These ticks will contribute to a working within level overall, which is generated automatically in the assessment area.

3 This method of assessment encourages regular, systematic assessment which is quick to perform, so it doesn t overburden teachers, and which contributes towards accurate levelling with evidence of that level. These assessments can be used formatively by running reports overall, on different classes or on different focus areas, to identify problem areas or areas of success and to plan accordingly, and to help to personalise learning. The assessments can also be used in summation to produce reports on individuals and to track progress, in conjunction with the school s own scheme of work. In Unit 3, there are four holistic, self-contained assessment lessons which give the opportunity for pupils to work more independently and confirm the level that they are working at. Note that levels should be seen in the longer term ongoing assessment forms pieces of a jigsaw and it is only when these are put together at the end of the key stage that a final decision on level can be made. The level generated is indicative only, based entirely on teacher judgement as to the assessment criteria evidenced in pupils work, and indicates the level pupils are currently seen to be working within. It is important to consider the long term in relation to levels. Teachers are required to moderate levels before they appear on reports. As the levels generated are based entirely on teacher judgement, they should be accurate. However, the ability to moderate and edit levels allows teachers to take into account other information which may have not been considered in earlier marking. Self/peer assessment In many schools we see good self and peer assessment go to waste when it is filed away in a folder to be brought out once a year. ICT 4 Life helps schools to embed the principles of Assessment for Learning by integrating self, peer and teacher review and giving the opportunity for this to be reviewed at any time. Pupils submit their self assessments via the ActiveBook at regular points during the course against the relevant success criteria. This is then displayed alongside the teacher (and peer) assessment in the Assessment Tool, to be reviewed by the teacher or relevant pupil. This can be used to highlight areas of perceived weakness or strength and personalise learning accordingly. Consistent tracking Because KS3 classes have little contact time, it can be difficult to keep track of what pupils are doing. This is even worse if more than one teacher teaches the same class. ICT 4 Life provides a means of checking what has and what has not been done by pupils and a central data source about the pupils and their progress. Progression In my experience, there are three areas which often hamper progression: Low expectations. Many pupils regularly ask for support where they don t always need it and so teachers are afraid to let pupils make their own decisions. Once pupils have the necessary skills, be brave! Let them show what they can do. First they can apply what they know to a different, but familiar, situation. Then

4 they can apply this in an area of new experience remembering that they should see their work as being for someone else, with emotional detachment. Pupils forget. Whilst the Strategy Sample Teaching Units (STUs) were wellreceived and have helped teachers to develop the idea of capability with their pupils, they have been around for five years now, and in ICT five years is a long time. The problem with the STUs is that they support a curriculum which offers a unit on Modelling in Year 7, followed by the next module in Year 8. The amount that pupils can forget between one week and the next is often surprising what they forget from one year to the next, well, you tell me! Where are pupils now? As we ve seen, there have been many hurdles to ongoing assessment. Ideally, ongoing assessment should enable teachers to know exactly where pupils are and where they need to get to, allowing them to plan the route to get there. If you re unsure where a pupil is now, planning the route becomes very difficult. ICT 4 Life and progression ICT 4 Life allows pupils to learn new skills in a familiar environment of school, then apply their knowledge to the less familiar environments of an animal rescue centre and gaming, whilst still learning new skills. You can give them as much or as little support as they require, but these new dimensions allow the opportunity for pupils to work independently and enthusiastically all this with full support for the teachers. The activities give short-term goals, the lessons are pacey and there is a focus on getting things done, all keeping pupils attention and helping them to progress. With the in-built assessment, the course provides a regular snapshot of where pupils are and where they want to be (predicted level) in order to identify areas of strength and weakness and enable you to recalculate the best route to get there. This helps you to personalise the course for your own pupils. It can also be used to help with long-term planning to help you with how to progress towards the overall goals. ICT 4 Life has moved away from a strictly unit-based curriculum and focuses on the development and application of ICT capability in a holistic way it offers a curriculum experience in ICT where pupils have opportunities to revisit aspects of capability a number of times throughout the year. This means that the development of capability in ICT is reinforced and consolidated at every stage of the pupils experience. And it also includes opportunities for pupils to refresh their skills base, or to develop new skills, before they apply them in new contexts and so demonstrate their ICT capability. Curriculum change The Framework was published six years ago; a change is due. From this academic year, a new Programme of Study and Framework for ICT are being introduced. It contains many of the elements that were consolidated in 2002, but new elements such as sequencing instructions and Internet safety have been introduced. ICT 4 Life has been written for the new curriculum and integrates the new areas. At the time of writing, Functional Skills pilots in English, Maths and ICT are in progress. Functional Skills are the practical skills that help people to work as effectively as possible, both at school and at work. They require that people can apply their skills, knowledge and understanding and adapt them to new environments, working independently. In fact, very like capability at Key Stage 3. ICT 4 Life s approach of scenario-based learning fits well with Functional Skills and starts to cover many aspects of Functional Skills, which will be developed throughout the

5 course. ICT 4 Life 3 contains additional features to help you integrate coverage of Functional Skills in your lessons. ICT 4 Life 3 has been matched to the Functional Skills standards levels 1 and 2 by a Functional skills examiner. Matching documents are available for these in the teacher notes. Where more coverage is needed, additional Skills 4 Life points have been introduced which help to explain and practice areas which pupils find difficult. Additional practice is provided in the Assessment lessons at the end of the materials which are in the style of the current Functional Skills exam. See the introduction to Functional Skills at the end of this document. ICT 4 Life and the NAA on-screen test The tasks and activities in ICT 4 Life have been designed to emulate the situations in the NAA formative tests. One of the most common problems reported in the test pilots was that pupils were fazed by the approach the test took of s arriving; they were also fazed by the tasks being holistic in nature, about solving problems. In the Assessment unit, ICT 4 Life introduces pupils to information and tasks being delivered in this manner within the familiar environment of the ActiveBook. This practice means that if a school decides to enter pupils for the NAA test, pupils will be able to cope more easily with these problems. If you choose to use the NAA on-screen tests, you will allow pupils to take them when ready. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to determine when pupils are ready. By using the ICT 4 Life Assessment Tool, you will be able to run reports to see when pupils are ready to test the particular aspect for which you are planning to enter them. It will provide further confirmation of levels. You will need to plan entries to the NAA on-screen tests into your scheme of work. In summary, ICT 4 Life is definitely the right course for Key Stage 3, in time for the new Key Stage 3 Curriculum Framework for ICT, and ideal for meeting the needs of teachers and learners alike. We hope you enjoy using ICT 4 Life and wish you every success in your teaching! Chris Jones

6 Introduction to Functional Skills What are Functional Skills? The aim of the qualification is to help learners (of all ages) gain the most from life, learning and work. It is important that the skills learners gain enable them to go on and learn how to: Use their knowledge in all areas of their lives Be confident and competent when working with others Solve problems that they might face Make a positive contribution to the world around them At time of writing, Functional Skills specifications are still at the pilot stage. There are five levels in the qualification, but the assessments within this publication are focused on the higher Levels 1 and 2. The difference between the levels involves a range of factors, which concern the complexity, technical demand, familiarity and independence. Why are these factors important? These factors are key to determining the level at which a learner may be assessed. For example: At Level 1, the situation will be more straightforward and the tasks associated with the activity will be less complex, often with more scaffolding or support and guidance. At Level 2, the situation will be more complex; there is likely to less information about it and the tasks that need to be completed will be more complex. Learners will be expected to break the task into sub-tasks or steps in order to produce a relevant solution. At Level 1, there will be less demand on the student ICT capability. At Level 2 tasks will call for a higher technical knowledge, where learners can show skills across a wide range of applications to produce an appropriate solution to a specific problem. At Level 1, the learner is likely to be quite familiar with any task or activity, yet at Level 2 the task or activity and context may be one that the learner has not encountered before. At Level 2, the learner should be able to solve the problem and complete the task independently, whereas Level 1 learners are likely to need more support and guidance. Level 1 learners should be able to make appropriate choices and know when to ask for direction with regard to the task. Measuring the skills The Level is determined by the way the learner applies their ICT skills, the outcomes (e.g. documents and files) and the differentiation within the standards it is not just the content of the activity or task. Teachers should note that each level of the standards is included in the level above. Functional should be understood in the widest sense of providing learners with those abilities and skills needed to play a full and responsible part in everyday life: community, workplace or education. The aim is for learners to transfer their ICT skills effectively and confidently across a wide range of contexts. Awarding bodies will deal with this by applying the standards to the activities and tasks set for assessment. Each assessment will address the standards either by

7 summative testing (which might consist of specific tasks or multiple choice questions) and/or a witness statement verified by the teacher. Learners should be taught how to maximise the marks they can achieve by ensuring they know how to use a header or footer to add their name to any printout in a computer based assessment. In addition, learners should be familiar with the software, e.g. knowing how to produce a spreadsheet in both data and formula view in a computer based assessment. It is important that learners have a good awareness of fitness for purpose and a sense of audience and purpose. What does achievement look like at Level 1 compared to Level 2? The following are just some examples, which are based on outcomes from pilot assessment materials. Task or Activity A formal letter A poster for a specific event Formatting a spreadsheet At Level 1 At Level 2: Given template formatted or amended to reflect correct recipient address (as given). Date included in appropriate location (between letterhead and salutation/right or left aligned) Some spelling/typing errors and omissions Salutation present but not correct Letter not necessarily spell checked or proofread Layout acceptable but with some errors All information present Layout poor use of white space not effective Errors in spelling or minor omissions Graphics resized without retaining proportions Inappropriate graphics and/or excessive use of WordArt (for example) Simple formula present Sort or filter not attempted (or not on correct fields) Failure to provide formula view Lack of formatting such as merge cells, shading, text wrap, bold or alignment Inappropriate use of =SUM Chart or graph present but unnecessary information added (e.g. legend or labels) Given template used Date in appropriate position and in suitable format Recipient details entered accurately and in appropriate location Salutation correct e.g. Dear Mrs Smith or Dear Jane Complimentary close appropriate to salutation used and spelt correctly Sensible signatory and spacing for signature Subject heading present with appropriate capitalisation Body text consistently aligned and formatted Letter suitable for despatch without major amendment All information present Layout uses white space effectively Only minor errors in spelling and no omissions of key data Graphics resized retaining proportions Graphics appropriate and no WordArt Use of complex formula e.g. =IF Sort or filter correct Data and formula view presented Cells formatted to enhance information, e.g. merge cells, shading, text wrap, bold or alignment Appropriate use of =SUM Chart or graph present with no unnecessary information added (e.g. legend or labels) Appropriate use of page orientation A All information present All information present

8 presentation Layout poor use of white space not effective Errors in spelling or minor omissions Graphics resized without retaining proportions Inappropriate graphics and/or excessive use of WordArt (for example) Little sense of fitness for purpose font size, style and backgrounds impact on ability to read information Layout uses white space effectively No or few errors in spelling or minor omissions Graphics resized whilst retaining proportions Graphics included show sense of audience and purpose Fitness for purpose e.g. if intended for big screen font and content appropriate size, style and quantity Please do look at the QCA website for more information. Susan Nutt Functional Skills Examiner

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