Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phases 5 and 6

My learners are busy with the final phase of the PAT where they have to create a report, with sections showing the use of Excel for analysing a survey, showing the use of Excel to create a useful application and how Access can be used to manage data.

I never thought the Introduction and Conclusion of the Report would be a problem.

You must show where you are taking the readers of the report, i.e. the Introduction.

You must summarise at the end, the journey you have been on and the benefits for Omewa, i.e. Conclusion. They will have read about 20 pages and may have forgotten things so a summary/Conclusion at the end is necessary.

In the books we have mentioned Introductions and Conclusions before but some learners have short memories. Go well for the last stretch.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Teacher training

I recently met two CAT teachers. One has a B.Sc in Computer Science and the other has a degree in Information Systems. Have they attended any CAT training? – No, they could not attend CAT3 as they had not attended CAT1 or CAT2 training. Can they do an ACE course to become a CAT teacher? – No, because they are not qualified teachers. Do they need to study the philosophy, methods, rationale, etc. of CAT? – Yes, but where? The system seems to block those who want to increase their knowledge of the subject field. They first have to do a teaching qualification, and can then study to become a CAT teacher – at least another 4 years part time study.

Even if one was a qualified teacher, e.g. typing teacher, where could one qualify to become a CAT teacher – who knows – ACE CAT courses are offered at very few institutions. And is UNISA offering a course in CAT? – Not really, I am informed they are not sure of the difference between CAT and IT.

I wonder if there has been an investigation into how many people teaching Computer Studies or CAT or IT are qualified ‘computer’ teachers and qualified ‘teachers’. During the CAT training in 2005 more than half of our group of computer teachers were not qualified teachers, but computer graduates who had come to teaching from industry. I wonder how many other people currently teaching CAT are unqualified teachers who cannot get CAT training because the system will not permit it.

I think there needs to be a rethink into teacher training in this subject. Do people want to study to become CAT teachers? – Many do, but where and how?

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 5 and 6

I wish to highlight the problems I have encountered in the last phase, the report. The rest of the report so far has been fine.

Introduction with purpose of report and short description of what it entails – Description of what is in the report not given.
Description of conclusion reached with reference to this survey – Poorly done. Most learners discussed the results of the graph referred to above. They were meant to discuss the results of the whole survey.
Short description of Excel application – Not done.
Short description of the purpose of database – Not done. When learners did a description they described how databases are used in general or in education – it should be about this database.
Query 1: Description (1), type of query is suitable (1), result inserted (2) - Description not given, choice of query type and criteria not given, result is inserted.
Query 2: Description (1), type of query is suitable (1), result inserted (2) - Description not given, choice of query type and criteria not given, result is inserted. And I want the query to find out something! Many poorly done.
Report 1: Description (1), suitable type of report (1), result inserted (2) - Description not given, choice of type of report not given, result is inserted.
Report 2: Description (1), suitable type of report (1), result inserted (2) Description not given, choice of type of report not given, result is inserted. This report has been poorly done by many – I do not just want a pretty report, it must use report features of grouping or calculations.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 4

This Grade 11 PAT Phase 4 – wow!
The average for the database is 87%. A few learners did not have 30 records, and many left the title off the form.
The spreadsheet average for the Survey and Other is 70%. While marking I have been able to pick up that some learners put text in cells and did not multiply by a cell but with a number. I then told them that they must multiply with cell references. I also discovered that some create their graphs in strange ways.
Marking Phase 4 I was able to pick up a few problems and resolve them before the learners go into their final examinations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gr 11 PAT - Phase 4

This phase has enabled the most wonderful revision of practical skills in a meaningful way!
The instructions and checklists have touched on almost every part of Excel and Access, and I know that the next phase will cover Word. So much revision has taken place, and the learners will remember the skills as they were used in a real life scenario!
My learners are also getting good marks as they are reading the checklists and following the instructions.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Information Systems at UCT

UCT Information Systems Department in the Faculty of Commerce hosted an interesting afternoon today. They discussed the huge IT skills shortage in this country and world wide, and the declining drop in Information Systems students.

For me this subject is so important and useful, and understandable! As the final project these students have to design a system where they merge business and ICT to solve a problem (so like CAT). The ones that caught my eye were those providing the total IT solution for a vet clinic and a neighbourhood watch. You do not need to have passed CAT or ICT to get into the course, rather they focus on Maths and English marks.

Anyhow, they have a grand competition for grades 9 and 10 which requires 10 minutes to research, at http://www.commerce.uct.ac.za/ISSchoolCompetition (This is the URL we were given but it does seem to change – as long as the web page shows UCT Information Systems Competition for Western Cape Schools – it is the correct page.) I would love to win the prize but I am too old but the school with the most entries gets …

I challenge all Western Cape schools to enter the competition – it only needs 10 minutes and a good Internet connection.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gr 10 PAT - Phase 1

I met a CAT teacher who was so dankbaar vir al die opmerkings vanaf die blog post ‘Gr 10 PAT - Phase 1’ (11 October). Sy sé sy het amper dieselfde opmerkings gemaak. Sy was dankbaar om te sien dat haar kinders om en by dieselfde as myne was.

Training of CAT teachers

I have had the pleasure of training the 2nd year teachers doing an ACE course in CAT at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for the last 2 years. The second group of 10 teachers handed in their final work for the year yesterday! They worked so well. They had to do many activities from textbooks and then apply their skills in a CAT related scenario.

Here are the students, one partner and two lecturers celebrating! Four students did not manage to attend the celebration.

The group who graduated in 2006 focused on computer skills whereas this 2007 group focused on using the computer to solve a problem, i.e. ‘real’ CAT. I do accept that in training we have to change from a skills focus to a problem solving focus. I also realised the 2007 group did much much more work than the 2006 group. I also accept that we learn on the job at school and although one may be qualified, becoming a CAT teacher takes time.

There were no 1st year ACE CAT students at CPUT this year so there will be no newly qualified ACE teachers next year, although there will be teachers who have done the 4 year full time course. I do hope CPUT manage to get a large class of ACE CAT students for next year as I realise there is already a shortage of CAT teachers. I suspect there needs to be some bursaries to encourage teachers to do the course.

I must thank the authorities at CPUT for having given me the opportunity of teaching the ACE students as it has enabled me to grow and I have enjoyed it to so much.

PS An ACE course is a part time course for qualified teaches.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gr 10 PAT - Phase 1

The learners had wonderful ideas for their celebrations and they enjoyed the planning stage. However many had difficulty doing the planning. I am a bit concerned about their information management skills. Below are some of my comments.

Read the rubric!
Check what you have written!
You were told to complete your own rubric and assess yourself!
Content of the planning document
Describe the document!
Are those really documents? - is a Theme a document? Is a Venue a document? Think!
HOW will a spreadsheet be used?
Do not just say Internet as a place to find information – give the exact URL!
Are those REALLY search or key words?
One learner told me how they will use a spreadsheet.
Layout of the planning document
The learners have the word processing skills.
Gathering information
The rubric indicated ‘Learner proved evidence of the information collected …’ Where is your evidence?
You were not asked to provide so much evidence! Wonderful! Did you use a whole toner cartridge?

This work is common sense work and should not be beyond the capacity of Grade 10 learners. I am not sure what happened to mine when they did this.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Getting the balance in examinations is a bit tricky. Each AS does NOT carry the same weight. Not all ASs are tested in a written or practical examination. CAT actually has 4 papers. The PAT assesses much of LO3 and LO2. The written paper assesses mainly LO1, and a little of the other LOs. The practical paper assesses mainly LO2 but also LO3.
Enjoy setting your papers. Think of a topic of interest to the learners when you set a paper, and base the paper in the scenario. I have managed to create a cool paper for Gr 10 Written and it is all based on a scenario, testing operational knowledge in that scenario with a problem based approach. This weekend I must set the practical paper. I have been mentally creating it for some time - I know it takes ages to create such a paper but when you see learners enjoying a paper, it makes one feel good. I usually base the grade 10 and 11 papers on the same scenario with questions of lesser or greater difficulty.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Gr 12 planning documents

On the Grade 12 CD you can find the yearly Assessment program and Work schedules (Eng) and Work schedules (Afri), and other useful material. These documents have been made available here as a number of teachers have requested them for their early planning.