It starts!

Alongside the project the assessors involved will keep a blog of the process to record progress, successes and lessons learned (both positive and negative).

Thus read one of the last lines of our grant applications to the RSC Technologies for Learning Small Grants programme.  So this is that…

We’d applied with the intention of trialling the use of tablet PCs with our Modern Apprenticeship learners as an assessment, evidence gathering and learning tool.

The aims we outlined as follows:

Desired Outcome Method Measurement
Improved quality of Observation records/Assessment Methods
  • Increased use of media through mobile devices – on the spot collection of photos and audio.
  • Increased detail in observation recording documents due to electronic completion in place of handwritten work.
Positive feedback from Internal/External Verifiers

Fewer action points relating to Observation standards.

Reduced time to complete NVQ units
(improve outcomes – completion of frameworks)
  • More evidence collected on any given visit due to improved ease of gathering multiple types of evidence.
  • Increased speed of completion of theory elements of NVQ due to prepared questions being carried out on mobile devices rather than having to wait until off-the-job.
  • Increased use of automated marking from Moodle quizzes.
Reports from Maytas database objective progress recording.

Feedback from tutors during survey.

Learner development plan and review action plan dates.

Improve Learner ‘ownership’ of portfolios and enrich learning experience
  • Modeling of mobile evidence collection by assessors using tablets.
  • Increased use of learner’s own devices for collecting evidence outside of formal visits.
Types of evidence recording form from portfolio shows more Work Product evidence.

Learner survey feedback.

We also produced a plan which I’ll also reproduce here to give an overview of what we aim to do over the next few months.

Activity Target date
Stage 1
Identify required specification for tablets.  Research and purchase 4 low cost 3G Android tablet devices for use by assessors and apprentices for gathering diploma (NVQ) evidence. 16/12/11
Identify a set of appropriate apps for assessment and learning with a focus on

  • Free
  • Capable of being integrated with common standards within the organisation e.g. Google Docs, Moodle, Mahara
  • Literacy support and facility for alternatives to writing for theory elements
  • Visual learning – e.g. mindmapping tools
  • Time management and progress tracking
16/12/11
Identify learners to be sample group.  To include several using tablets and several using own devices as well as control group.
Demonstrate use to learners and familiarise.
16/12/11
Prepare resources for learners to replicate app collection on their own devices, to include list of broadly equivalent apps on other platforms.
Also to include advice on gathering evidence independently using mobile devices.
27/1/12
Adapt NVQ forms (and other suitable forms – e.g. Health and Safety monitoring) for easier input on mobile devices.
Liase with External verifier.
27/1/12
Carry out at least first 6 assessments using devices. 24/2/12
Milestone: Carry out learner survey & staff meeting on progress barriers/enablers of the process so far once tablets have been in use.  Identify changes and improvements to be made. 24/2/12
Stage 2
Evaluate the use of Moodle’s mobile features, identify weakness and strengths and develop content for use on mobile devices (which will also be usable via traditional IT).  Anticipate this will include pre-prepared theory questions for NVQ units 30/3/11
Purchase PremiumSolo Soundcloud account to use private upload and commenting feature to annotate in-line for Professional Discussion assessment.
Update forms etc, liase with External verifier.
30/3/11
Carry out evidence gathering for at least 2 examples each of professional discussions using Soundcloud and Theory using Moodle quizzes 27/4/11
Milestone:obtain feedback from Internal Verification of QCF qualifications using new system. 27/4/11
Stage 3
Prepare guidance on best practice for assessors on mobile assessment using the new devices to be added to future assessor induction and for staff training. 25/5/11
Carry out learner survey & staff meeting on project in order to produce analysis of success.
Produce project closure report
25/5/11

The selection of hardware we’ve already decided to postpone slightly to wait for the BETT show where we’ll be able to get some hands on time and perhaps a good deal or two!  Meanwhile we’ll be cracking on with the selection of apps (so if you’ve any favourites please do post them in the comments!

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