Professional Focus Paper Information and Communications Technology Level: National 1

Professional Focus Paper
Information and Communications Technology
Level: National 1
Who is this paper for and what is its purpose?
This paper is for staff who provide learning, teaching and support as learners work towards Information and
Communications Technology National 1.
Curriculum for Excellence is a unique opportunity to raise achievement and to ensure that all learners are better
prepared than they have been in the past for learning, life and work. This is because the new curriculum gives real
scope to build learning from 3 to 18 in a joined-up, seamless way. As a result, progression in learning can be much
stronger, with a clear focus on knowledge, understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes. These are delivered
through the experiences and outcomes of the 3–15 Broad General Education (BGE) and, at the senior phase,
through programmes that build directly on the BGE, leading to qualifications. Because of a strengthened focus on
the nature and quality of learning experiences and increased learner participation in every aspect of the learning,
teaching and assessment cycle, self-motivation is likely to be increased and learners consequently more engaged
and enthused. To ensure continuity and progression, qualifications at the senior phase have been designed to
embrace this unambiguous focus on high-quality learning.
Curriculum for Excellence has the flexibility to meet the needs of all learners in their local circumstances, enabling
each to achieve their very best. For example, some centres may take the opportunity to offer qualifications over two
years, whereas others may enable learners to work towards qualifications within one year. In both cases, the
advice in this paper is relevant to the learning and teaching approaches which learners will encounter. This paper is
intended to stimulate professional reflection and dialogue about learning. It highlights important features of learning
which are enhanced or different from previous arrangements at this SCQF level.
How will you plan for progression in learning and teaching, building on the BGE, to meet the needs of all learners?
What’s new and what are the implications for learning and teaching?
At National 1, Information and Communications Technology consists of seven units providing learners with relevant
experiences to develop skills for learning, life and work. The units are:
Capturing Digital Images
Searching for Information
Working with Digital Images
Working with Assistive Technologies
Working with Software Applications
Working with Multimedia Applications
Working with Communications Technologies
At National 1 the units are standalone, and to achieve an Information and Communications Technology unit at
National 1 learners must be able to achieve the outcome within the unit, with the appropriate level of support and
resources. At National 1, learning should be relevant to the learner’s everyday life, their overall learning programme
and/or work and leisure. The outcomes across the range of Information and Communications Technology units at
National 1 and other areas of the curriculum may be linked together to provide personalised achievement
opportunities for all learners, for example:
 Information and Communications Technology: Searching for Information could link directly to Social Subjects:
People and Society and Social Subjects: Natural World
 Information and Communications Technology: Working with Multimedia Applications could link directly with Life
in Another Country: Aspects of Life or Creative Arts: Creating Materials for a Performance
 Information and Communications Technology: Working with Communications Technology could also link directly
with Communication: Interacting in the Community and Interacting in the Workplace
 Information and Communications Technology units could link directly with Personal Achievement Award: Safety
and Security, Exploring a Local Area and/or Social Events.
Progression for learners may be to other Information and Communications Technology National 1 units,
Information and Communications Technology National 2 units, and to further study, employment and/or training.
The nature of this progression will depend on the individual needs of the learner.
What are the key aspects of Information and Communications Technology National 1?
Integrated approach to experiences and skills development
Information and Communications Technology units at National 1 build on the experiences and skills developed
within the BGE. A range of contexts, including within the local community, will broaden and extend learners’
experiences and enable them to apply their skills across a range of curricular areas. Information and
Communications Technology units provide learners with a wide range of possible activities, including, for example,
using assistive communications technologies, working with multimedia/software applications, altering digital
photographs, searching for information safely on the internet and using a mobile phone to send a text or take a
photograph. For some learners, with more complex needs, specific targets may be set within their individualised
educational programmes to ensure skills are developed across literacy, communication and employability,
enterprise and citizenship. In planning experiences and skill development in Information and Communication
Technology National 1 staff should also take account of the targets set in other curricular areas, including literacy,
numeracy, and health and wellbeing.
Wider range of evidence of learning
There is a clear focus on assessment as an integral part of learning and teaching. Staff will want to use their
interactions with learners to form judgments of how teaching and tasks are to be directed to meet learners’ needs.
At National 1 it is anticipated that most evidence for assessment purposes will be gathered on a naturally occurring
basis. A variety of assessment approaches should be used to allow a range of valid and reliable assessment
evidence to be gathered. Such approaches might include:
 observation of evidence demonstrated during an activity (using an observation checklist, visual recording,
photography or equivalent)
 oral questioning before, during and on completion of a task (recorded using audio-visual or audio recording or
using detailed written assessor notes)
 the centre’s own assessment tools
 learning and teaching activities that generate physical evidence for assessment
 identifying opportunities to record evidence within other curricular areas and/or other environments.
These examples of evidence could be used by learners and/or with staff to build a portfolio to demonstrate
progress across the outcomes in the range of Information and Communications Technology units. Staff should
develop criteria of success where the focus is placed on small, well-defined steps in learning. In this way the
learner with more complex needs is more likely to achieve success and be able to progress within the level or on to
the next level. Staff should ensure that different approaches to assessment are matched to the individual learner’s
needs, including accurate and regular feedback, as appropriate. Where possible, learners should be at the centre
of this process so they have a clear understanding of what will be assessed and how it will be assessed. They
should also be supported and involved in selecting the assessment evidence that best demonstrates the
knowledge, understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes they have developed and demonstrated. Staff have the
flexibility to manage the support requirements for each learner. They may also keep informal records as part of the
learning and teaching approaches to show how the learner is progressing.
Hierarchy of units
Programmes of learning should be planned to encourage learners to aim for the highest level of achievement.
There is no mandatory content at Information and Communications Technology National 1 but the general aims of
the units provide learners with opportunities to:
take digital images
find information on the internet
make changes to digital images and show altered images
use an assistive technology to communicate personally with others and/or to support their access to learning
explore a range of software applications
work with multimedia applications to create a multimedia product
explore communications technologies.
This will help learners to develop and improve their skills in familiar and not so familiar settings and for a range of
purposes. These experiences, skills and knowledge will be developed further in National 2 and beyond, and across
National 1 units in other curricular areas. Careful planning of contexts will be required to ensure learners can move
within and between National 1 and National 2 units, as appropriate.
What are the key features of learning in Information and Communications Technology National 1?
Active learning
Learners will be expected to take an active role in the learning process, working individually and collaboratively to
develop skills. Learners may require individualised differentiation of tasks and activities to promote their
engagement in learning and to support their achievements at Information and Communications Technology
National 1. Learners will require varying degrees of support to enable them to achieve the outcomes and
assessment standards. Some learners may take part at an experiential or sensory level, where they require full
support. Some may require frequent direction and support to enable them to take part, while others may take part
independently or with intermittent support. For a few learners, with more complex additional support needs, where
the outcomes in an Information and Communications Technology National 1 unit may not be fully achievable, the
experiences gained in Information and Communications Technology units will enhance learning and may contribute
to their success within other National 1 units. Using a variety of different methodologies, active learning approaches
and support models will ensure that learning experiences meet the needs of all learners.
Personalised learning and learning independently
At Information and Communications Technology National 1 learners have real opportunities to develop skills for
learning, life and work in ways that are stimulating, challenging, relevant and enjoyable. These opportunities may
be related to their specific needs, interests and choices, which in turn promote engagement. For example, using
the internet to search for information related to a hobby, interest, pop star, pop group or sporting team or using a
mobile phone and multimedia and software applications gives young people choices and enables them to follow
their interests. In tandem with these activities, a learner can be working on personal safety and supported to follow
the centre’s protocols for internet safety. Learners with complex needs will require varying degrees of staff support
for all or part of the tasks. Well-defined assessment tasks will determine the level of support an individual learner
may require at any given point within the learning and teaching environment.
Learners should be given the opportunity to use their normal mode of communication and have access to the
appropriate resources identified to support their learning, for example:
 voice output communication aids, signing and pictorial/symbol systems
 alternative keyboards and mice, speech and hearing amplifiers, soundbeam systems, mobile phones, digital
equipment, talking kitchen equipment, switches, note-takers and literacy aids
 an identified level of staff support to access, participate in and achieve tasks
 an adapted environment.
How will you plan opportunities for learners to learn independently as appropriate?
How will you plan contexts to ensure there is progression without unnecessary repetition of content?
Responsibility for learning
The quality of the relationships of the range of staff supporting the learner and a clear understanding of individual
needs will enhance the learner’s ability to engage in and, as appropriate to individual needs, take responsibility for
their learning. Learners progress at different rates and will require different levels of support depending on the
task/activity to be undertaken. Staff should be aware of the types and range of supports required to enable the
learner to experience success and achievement with the least possible intervention. Personalised learning, with
clear links to previous learning, progress and achievement, ensures that learning, teaching and individual
educational programmes are tailored to the learners’ needs across the contexts for learning. Learners’ preferred
methods of communication and the increasing use of technology will play an important role in allowing learners to
take increased responsibility for learning. Advances in communication technologies are enabling some learners to
develop communication skills which foster/allow independence in accessing areas of the curriculum, and are
central to them developing relationships with others, enhancing their emotional health and wellbeing.
Learners should be encouraged to monitor their own progress, where appropriate. Learners can be guided towards
building their own understanding of the learning process using a range of strategies. For those learners who are at
the earliest stages of reading and writing or who require positive behaviour support strategies the following could
be used:
 visual self-assessment (photographic, pictorial, graphic)
 oral, gestural and signing responses
 an achievement reward system (stickers, certificates).
How will you support learners to take responsibility for and plan their own learning?
What key areas will you communicate with learners to ensure they are making progress with the aims of the
Collaborative learning
Learning and teaching approaches should encourage and develop collaborative working, including learning from
each other. When planning collaborative learning and teaching approaches, staff will want to consider how
individual learners can be encouraged and supported to take on roles that provide appropriate challenge and also
meaningful opportunities to contribute to the group and to experience success. Many practical activity contexts rely
on learners working with a partner and in a group. Working collaboratively provides the relevant and real-life
contexts and situations that promote knowledge and understanding of life outside home and school. For example,
learners could visit a community facility, shopping centre or exhibition and by creating a visual report communicate
and share their views and record of their outing through the centre’s network or website. They could take part in
workshops with members of a local photographic or film club in the centre or in the community as part of widening
their awareness and developing their skills and interests. In experiencing different roles learners will help to provide
information and support that can improve their learning and understanding. This could include, for instance,
learners acting as researchers, creators and presenters. Working together and supporting each other in this way
will encourage learners to build positive relationships while demonstrating awareness and respect for others.
How might you develop collaborative approaches to learning and make effective use of technology?
Applying learning
For learners with complex needs, learning experiences linked to strengths, interests and choices will enable them
to develop practical skills and knowledge within the area of information and communications technology and apply
these in other areas of the curriculum and in real-life situations. Staff should ensure that tasks and activities are
clearly linked to outcomes, which in turn will allow learners to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, skills,
capabilities and attributes, accompanied by whatever support model has been identified for the individual. There
will be learning opportunities which develop thinking skills, employability, enterprise and citizenship skills as well as
literacy and numeracy skills across the Information and Communications Technology units. Learners will be able to
develop their own skills and have the opportunity to apply these across the curriculum. For example, learners could
be involved in creating a leavers’ year book or photo album, a road safety film aimed at younger children, a sensory
story including sound effects, an animation featuring their favourite superheroes or a photographic display linked to
an important personal event, centre event or area of the curriculum. They could practise using technology to keep
in communication with friends and family. A central theme is to encourage learners to use their existing and
emerging skills in a range of contexts in the centre, at home and in the community. The experiences of information
and communications technology will encourage learners to make choices, express opinions and communicate their
ideas and creativity. Learners will be able to apply their developing skills and knowledge to enrich their learning
across all aspects of the curriculum.
How can you ensure that learners can access opportunities to apply their learning in other curriculum areas?
Qualification information
The SQA website provides you with the following documents:
 unit specification
 support notes
 unit assessment support packages.
Full information on arrangements for this qualification is available on the SQA website.
Further information on the developments in National units is available on SQA's National 1 unit web page:
T +44 (0)141 282 5000 E [email protected] W
Education Scotland, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Almondvale Way, Livingston EH54 6GA
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