Wednesday, November 21, 2007

PAT - Value of

Seeing these final OMEWA PATs made me again realise how valuable the PAT is. A while ago a teacher posted a message on the CompStudies mailing list and one of her comments about the PAT were that she felt that there are too much emphasis on finding and gathering information and that it was unnecessary since most CAT learners do not go to university.

Whether you go to university (and many CAT learners will go), or not, LO3 is a very valuable LO. This is where everything we do in CAT 'comes together'.

Most of the tasks we all do every day life, irrespective of our career and job function deal with 'problems' to solve - problems where we need the right information before we can solve it / come to a conclusion, etc. The PAT gives the learner the opportunity to show if he/she can solve a problem and also use a computer to help him/her find and gather information, to organise and manipulate it as well as present the result/solution to the problem effectively.

I wrote the following on the CompStudies list: I saw the value of the PAT when a guy came to school yesterday to use my computers to book an airline ticket. Firstly he faffed and fiddled about the date, the time and then how to pay. If he had asked the right questions before he began looking - what, when, how - he would not have wasted so much time. He looked at 5 airlines, did some calculations, and eventually bought the ticket. The process took ages because he was not clear where he was going. If this had been a PAT we would have needed a Conclusion indicating we had a ticket, and had checked prices on 5 airlines and decided on SAA because …
This airline booking incident showed me how all learners whether they do to university or not, need the thinking and planning skills of a PAT (LO3).

A secretary must organise and plan for a visit of an overseas delegation from Japan to visit their city and look at their company for investment purposes.
* Where and how can one book/get their flight information?
* Will there be any special dietary needs for this group?
* What food should (or should not) be served at the welcoming function?
* What information needs to be given to the delegation the form of an information brochure?
* Where can one get welcoming words in Japanese for the CEO of the company?
* Where will they stay – for how long?
* Do they need transport?
* What budget is available for their stay and functions?
* Will they need transport arranged? Will an interpreter be needed or be helpful?
* Will they have time to take in local tourist attractions - which ones?
* Which staff will be invited or required to attend the function? Do they need formal invitations or will an inter-office e-mail/memo suffice?
* Is there money available to purchase each member of the delegation a small memento of the city?

An administrative assistant has to facilitate the process where different provinces send their teachers for teacher training. What details about these teachers must she keep and save?, whom must she contact in the provinces?, when and how will she communicate with the teachers? - and many more…. The 'boss' does not have time to spell out EVERYTHING and the assistant is expected to be able TO THINK FOR HERSELF!!!! OK - she will use the Office Packages in the process - and it IS very important to be able to do it efficiently and effectively (LO2) - BUT that is not where the focus should be anymore. The packages are a tool or a means to an end or a solution, not the end itself.

The PAT does also provide an opportunity to revise the use of the packages, especially concepts that might have last been worked with in prior terms. (Working through exemplar papers and exam type questions will also naturally help!)

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