Monday, July 02, 2007

Internet safety online group

There is an online group dedicated to supporting centres that offer the Internet Safety qualification. I would encourage you to join the group if you currently offer the award or are thinking about offering the unit in the future. The group will provide peer support and SQA staff are also members and willing to help - so please join!

One final thing...

If you attended the launch event and haven't yet completed the event evaluation survey, please do so now. It will only take you a minute and will help us improve future events. Click here to take survey. Thanks in anticipation.

All good things come to an end

My secondment to this project ends today and I return to my "real" job from this morning. That doesn't mean that there is no-one to help you with Internet Safety but it does mean that I'll have a lot more on my plate. I've thoroughly enjoyed the time on this project and I've learnt a great deal about e-learning and e-assessment. I've also enjoyed working with a large number of individuals who I met through this work (such as Rob Hay of Strathclyde Police). And special thanks to Derek who gave me a great deal of help and support throughout the project. From today, you should contact Tony for assistance.

You can keep up to date with Internet Safety developments via the SQA Computing blog so don't forget to visit this site from time to time to find out what's going on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Launch event

The formal launch event was held this afternoon at the Teacher Building in Glasgow.

It went well. There was a good turn-out although there were a few empty seats, which was a pity since we had to turn down so many people who wanted to attend.

I commenced proceedings with a presentation [PPT] about the background to the project and the contents of the unit. Then Alan Patterson gave a presentation [PPT] about his experiences during the pilot. This was followed by Billy Graham of Strathclyde Police who expressed strong support for the award. Then Nick Morgan of Learning & Teaching Scotland spoke about Glow [PPT] and expressed his organisation's support for the qualification (it is going to be the first qualification to be offered via Glow). And finally John Thomson spoke [PPT] about his school's experience of delivering the qualification using mobile phones. I'm grateful to all of the speakers.

So, it was a good event but I'm glad to see the qualification formally get off the ground.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Updated FAQ

I've updated the Internet Safety FAQ. Version 2.0 includes the latest information about the qualification. You can download it here. A PDF version is available here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Launch event update

The demand for places at next week's launch event has been great and the event is completely "sold out". In fact, we could have easily doubled the capacity and filled the venue. I'm sorry if you're one of the people unable to get a place but if you contact Derek he'll send you a comprehensive information pack (which includes the latest support materials) once the actual event is over.

For those who are attending, you can get a draft agenda here and a location map here . See you all next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Launch event

I sent a letter to centres on Wednesday with details about the public launch of the Internet Safety qualification, which will take place on Wednesday 20 June at 2pm in The Teachers' Centre in Glasgow.

The letter should be arriving in centres tomorrow or early next week. In the meantime, you can register for the event here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sunday Herald article

The Sunday Herald ran an article on the qualification while I was on leave. You can read it here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Survey is closed

I closed the e-learning survey this morning. One thousand and twenty people had completed it - which probably represents the largest response to any survey that SQA has carried out. Thanks very much to everyone who took the time to complete it. The huge response means that SQA can have confidence in the results. I'll post a summary of the findings once the responses have been analysed.

Friday, January 19, 2007

800 and counting...

There has been a huge response to the survey on e-learning and e-assessment. So far, over 800 teachers and lecturers (and other educationalists) have completed the survey - meaning that SQA can have a lot of confidence in the results.

And the results make interesting reading. The highlights include:
  • 43% have "fast" or "very fast" Internet access
  • 31% are "very positive" about e-learning
  • 36% are "very positive" about online assessment
  • 43% have used a VLE
  • 40% have used online testing
  • 33% have used a blog - but only 10% have contributed to one
  • 22% have used a wiki - but only 7% have contributed to one
  • 75% report that security inhibits their use "somewhat" or "a great deal"
The top five barriers to e-learning are (in order):
  1. time to develop materials
  2. knowledge and skills of teachers/lecturers
  3. lack of training
  4. IT infrastructure
  5. IT support.
It's interesting to see the traditional reasons (lack of hardware and support) slipping down the table.

The survey is still open so the results are not finalised. I'll post a summary of the results later this month but in the meantime please encourage your colleagues to complete the survey.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The syllabus in your hands

One of the objectives of the Internet Safety project was to trial innovative technologies and one of the ways we planned to do this was to allow ordinary teachers and lecturers to change the contents of the course using a wiki.

The original version of the unit [PDF] was created in the traditional way i.e. SQA officer (me) appoints a lead developer (Ted) who writes a draft unit and then consults on its contents, finally creating an initial version of the unit. Inevitably, some people like it and some don't.

The idea of putting the current unit on a wiki and encouraging practitioners to contribute to it effectively gives control of the unit's contents to ordinary teachers and lecturers. Well, that's the theory. I am aware that good ideas like this often don't work due to several reasons - time constraints on busy teachers being the most common. But it will be interesting to see if this small experiment works. If it does, maybe SQA would develop all of their qualifications this way?

The wiki is here - and since it's based on Mediawiki it can be changed in the same way as Wikipedia. Although anyone can change the contents of the unit, I would ask you to create an account and log into the wiki so that your individual contribution can be tracked.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Project update

There's been a lot happening since my last update.

The pilot has now ended. It commenced in August and finished in December. I'm currently evaluating it right now - mainly through an online survey (which is still open so please complete it).

My next task it to write a report (for internal use) on the whole project - and especially lessons learned and how we can develop similar qualifications in the future.

I've just finished writing a letter to centres, which updates them on developments and provides information on the proposed launch event that will take place between April and June of this year.

I'm also about to arrange the next meeting of the Steering Group which will take place in February.

I'm still in discussions with Strathclyde Police about the possibility of them adopting the qualification for all of their cadets - and although nothing has been finalised, the signs are very positive.

Finally, don't forget about the EU's Safer Internet Day, which takes place on 6 February.