I finally managed to get together my funding bid for almost everything I thing I'll need to start teaching the new NC Digital Media. I'm hoping to blog about the process of changing so that other schools can learn what we're doing (and do it better!).
I'll blog about my shopping list later, but today I'll explain what we're changing to and why.
I hate Standard Grade Computing. It is pretty much the course I did when I was a kid. I imagine in the late 80's and early 90's it was an incredible course and kids loved finding out about robotics and virtual reality and expert systems. I certainly loved it. However as a teacher I find it very difficult to explain the relevance of this stuff to kids lives.
I started researching alternative courses in 2006/7. I found out about the English course, called DIDA, which looked promising, and industry certification, but I was told I had to offer SQA courses for the school stats.
The SQA have now developed a National Certificate in Digital Media Computing at three levels: Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Higher. An NC is equivalent to first year in college and would hopefuly mean pupils could then get accepted into a wide range of HNC and HND courses (direct entry into second year).
The NC consists of a set of six core units and six optional units from a choice of almost 60 units. The units to choose from include animation, games design, web design, graphics, audio and video editing, etc.
Sets of three units group to give you additional awards, called National Progress Awards. There are NPAs in Web Design and Digital Literacy etc. There are lots more sitting temptingly on a list with a release date of Dec08 and Jan09 but I don't know what's happening to them. These are in Games Design, animation, still image, sound and video, etc. I REALLY want to do these, so if anyone in the SQA knows about these please let me know! The SQA call centre weren't particulary useful and everyone else has their answering machines permanently turned on!
It looks like teaching different levels of units at the same time will work, and only half of the units need to be at the level of the NC (eg you only need 6 units at Int2 level to get an Int 2 NC) which helps students progress and advance.
I'm going to have to think carefully about which units to teach when. Some units will work well across the whole time. for example there is a blogging unit, so pupils could blog throughout their course (and be reading blogs too).
My plan is to do three units in S3 and three units in S4. Three of the units over the two years will combine for an National Progression Award. If they choose to stay on in fifth year, and I hope this will be a good incentive to stay on, they can complete the other six units. Of those, two can be completed in other departments, the literacy and numeracy units. That leaves four to complete in S5 Computing time. Actually I'm hoping to do more than three a year in S3/4, but we'll see how it goes. We won't have to deal with prelims and revision which should help. It's going to be very different not having to cram content and facts into kids as quick as I can. I need to remember to take it easy and have time to explore and have fun learning!