Sunday, April 5, 2009

Last Minute Study [ The Tips ]

Hye frenz!
hmm..our final examination is juz around da corner..
hows ur preparation?? do hope we all well prepared for the final yeah..hehehh..
hmmm..
lets us together upgrade our pointer until the top k!!! trust ourselves that we can do better to raise a good result and achieve what we want in the future.

Here are several tips that we can practice for our last minute study..heheh


Sleep
It is important to be well rested. Make sure to get a good night's sleep in the few days before the test.

If you don't sleep well the night before the test, don't worry about it! It is more important to sleep well two and three nights before. You should still have the energy you need to perform at your best.


Diet
Don't change your diet right before the test. Now's not the time to try new foods, even if they are healthier. You don't want to find out on test morning that yesterday's energy bar didn't go down well.

In the few weeks before the test, try to work a light, healthy breakfast into your daily routine. If you already eat breakfast, good for you - don't change a thing.

Stress

Try to be aware of whatever anxiety you're feeling before test day. The first thing to remember is that this is a natural phenomenon; your body is conditioned to raise the alarm whenever something important is about to happen. However, because you are aware of what your body and mind are doing, you can compensate for it.

Spend some time each day relaxing. Try to let go of all the pressures that build up during your average day.

Visualize a successful test day experience. You already know what to expect on test day: when you'll get each test section, how many questions there are, how much time you'll have, etc. You also know where you are strong and where you are weak. Picture yourself confidently answering questions correctly, and smoothly moving past trouble spots - you can come back to those questions later.

Find a family member or trusted friend with whom you can talk about the things that stress you out about the test. When this person tells you that everything is going to be OK, believe it!


Verbal Questions
For passage-based questions, first work on detail questions that you can easily locate the answer to. Then move on to inference questions, questions that ask what the author intended, and main idea questions.

If a question involves a tough vocabulary word, use the surrounding clues in the text to determine what it means.


Writing Questions

Remember that a few spelling or grammar mistakes are tolerable, but you want to try to eliminate as many of those as you can.


Try to vary your sentence length and word choice.
Before you begin to write, spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas and outlining the argument you want to make. Planning will help you to write a well-organized and cohesive essay.

Practice and Review
Whatever you do, don't cram for the test! It is a bad strategy because you aren't going to remember most of what you "learn" while cramming, and the odds are slim that the few things it will help you to remember will happen to be on the test. Save the energy you would have used to cram for test day.

In the few days before the test, do a review of the skills and concepts in which you are strong. Be confident as you review everything that you know - and remember that confident feeling as you take the test.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Posting 6

BLOG QUESTIONNAIRE-SKBP 1023
Age:21
Tutorial Group: LECTURER __Dr. Zaini Amir___

1. Do you enjoy blogging? Yes ____________
NO_________________
IF YES OR NO please explain why:
2.Based on your experience what is the benefit of blogging?
3.Do you need more assistance to set up your blog ? Yes ____________ NO_________________ If YES Please explain on what aspect :
4.Do you have any memorable/favorite topic in your blog? Yes ____________ NO_________________ If YES Please list which topic ?
5.List 5 advantages of blogging for you
6.List 5 disadvantages of blogging
7.Will you continue blogging after the course? Yes ____________ NO_________________ If Yes or No Please explain why :
8.Do you think that blogging improve your writing? Yes ____________ NO_________________
9.Do you think that we should continue with blogging activity for the next batch of students? Yes ____________ NO_________________
10.Will you recommend your friend to blog Yes ____________ NO_________________ 11.Can you teach a friend to set up his or her blog Yes ____________ NO________________

Answer:

1. Do you enjoy blogging?

The answer is yes. I have learn something new that I don’t know before and it has enrich my knowledge.

2. Based on your experience what is the benefit of blogging?

Based on my experience, I have improved a lot of skills like writing, language, ICT and communication. Truly, through blogging, my knowledge has widened and I hope one day I can be a techno savvy.

3. Do you need more assistance to set up your blog ?

No

4 .Do you have any memorable/favorite topic in your blog?

Yes. Especially on the search engines articles and concordance. Before these I don’t know more about other search engine beside yahoo and google.com. Hence, for this courses, I have learn about what is concordance that I actually don’t know before.

5. List 5 advantages of blogging for you.

• Can improve my writing skill.

• Get a lot of new information that can add my knowledge
• Can interact with my friend. I also can get chance to make friends with someone from abroad.

• widen my language skill and learn new words

• Entertaining with some creatures of images, slide show, video, online games, music and many more.

6. List 5 disadvantages of blogging

• Some blogger may hurt someone with certain rude word, emoticon, and misconception of some word.
• Trough online diary, someone can express their feeling and daily life whereas there’s no secret. So that, it is no longer privacy of someone life.
• When there’s no electric supply or during black out, we can’t blogging. Means, to blogging, we need electrical supplier.
• We may get shame if our writing is worse with a lot of grammatical error because people are reading our posting on blog
• We need a lot of time to typing, searching information to adding latest to the blog


7. Will you continue blogging after the course?

Yes, of course. I enjoyed and have fun because I can interact with my friends via blogging. We can stay keep in touch and know latest about each others.


8. Do you think that blogging improve your writing?

Yes.


9. Do you think that we should continue with blogging activity for the next batch of students?

Yes.


10. Will you recommend your friend to blog

Yes.


11 . Can you teach a friend to set up his or her blog

Yes I will do the best to teach them with the knowledge that I have during taking this courses.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Posting 5: Concordance

Article 1 : Using a Concordance

A Concordance program is a computer program that can help you analyze the language that is used in real situations (example). There are two basic ways you can use a concordance:
concordance programs you have on your own computer. Examples:

• Conc 1.76, for Macs, can be downloaded here. (This is a quite simple program, but is free.)
• ConcApp, for Windows, (also free) can be downloaded here.
• MonoConc 1.5, for Windows. (information)

online concordances. Free demos:
Collins COBUILD (from England)
• the VLC Web Concordancer (from Hong Kong)
MICASE (the Michigan Corpus of American Spoken English)
Webcorp (which searches the web! It's a little slow, but has some useful options.)
BNC (British National Corpus)
Spaceless Concordancer (you provide the text)
• Online KWIC Concordancer (Business Letters)

The advantages of using an online concordances are that you can do this online without installing a concordance program on your computer, and that you can search in much larger corpora (the COBUILD corpus contains 56 million words!), so you will find many more examples of what you are looking for (although these demo programs may limit the number of examples that will be returned -- 40 for COBUILD, for example.)
The advantage of using a concordance program on your computer like Conc to search within texts you choose, is that you can choose texts you are already familiar with, so the context is clearer. With the online concordances, of course, you can only search the texts they have included in their corpora .. which will probably be unfamiliar (and possibly unknown) to you.
With COBUILD, you can choose a corpus of "American books, ephemera and radio" .. but you will not know where individual examples come from. With the VLC Web Concordancer you have more flexibility with corpora, but the only US non-web texts available are the Brown corpus of written English, and the Starr report (!). You are able to see the complete context from which the examples come, though. MICASE works similarly to the COBUILD and VLC sites, only you can control for a lot more variables (gender, age, academic discipline, discourse mode, etc. etc.). You can find out the source of each example, but not the original wider context. Under the advanced search option of WEBCORP you can specify particular areas to search. And you can specify the format of the output and sort the results, which can be very useful.
* * LOTS MORE information about concordances * *


AND DON'T FORGET... Another HUGE corpus of authentic English is available at the click of a mouse .. the INTERNET. Any search engine can provide examples of particular words and phrases in actual use, although not so nicely arranged as in a concordance. (Of course, the source of materials on the web also needs to be taken into account.)

CONCORDANCE BASICS
(examples: Finding Gerunds and Infinitives or Conditions)

• 1. OPEN A CONCORDANCE PROGRAM:
These examples use the program "Conc 1.76." (Other programs work similarly.) After you have opened Conc, you will see a diamond with a key in it in the upper right of your desktop.

• 2. OPEN THE TEXT YOU WANT TO SEARCH (YOUR CORPUS):
Under the File menu in the upper left of your window, open Open .. You can open any file that has been saved in a "text" format. (To do this, open a file, choose "save as..", choose "text", and rename it before you save it. Then you will be able to open it from within the concordance program.)
After you open your file, you will notice that it appears in a box at the top of the screen. (If you choose "9 point" under the Font menu, the type will be smaller and more will fit on each line.) You can "Append" other files to your initial one, to create a longer corpus in which to search. The longer your corpus, the better chance you have of finding examples you want.

• 3. TELL THE PROGRAM WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR:
Under the Options menu at the top of your window, choose Include words .... You will get an options box like the one shown below.

• GERUNDS/INFINITIVES:
To practice, we can look for gerunds and infinitives. But we have to tell the concordance program exactly what words we are looking for. To find infinitives, we should ask the program to find all of the to s. In the third box in the options box, below Include words in the following list: type in: to . For infinitives, this one word should be enough.
To look for gerunds, we need to find many different words, but we know that we are looking only for words that end in -ing. In order to look for PARTS of words, we need to enter them in the first box under ... words that match one of these patterns: To look for words that end with -ing, type a period (.) followed by ing. The period is a "wild card", which stands for "any letters in this position."

• CONDITIONS:
Let's think about each clause in a condition separately:
THE IF-CLAUSE: As we know, "if-clauses" or phrases often begin with the following words or phrases:
if - unless - provided that - as long as or without
or otherwise or in that case replacing the entire clause
THE MAIN CLAUSE: In real conditions, the main clause looks just like a "normal" sentence. But we will probably find lots of unreal conditions if we look for the following words:
would - could - might

In the third box in the options box, below Include words in the following list: type in each of these words (for phrases, choose the most distinctive word to search for ( provided, for example).


• 4. TELL THE PROGRAM HOW TO DISPLAY YOUR RESULTS:
Under the Options menu, if you choose Sorting .. you can ask that your examples be sorted according to the words following them ... this can be useful in identifying patterns. (If you don't choose this option, each word will be listed in the order in which it occurs in your text -- which might also be useful.) -- (Other, more sophisticated concordance programs provide more sorting options.)
Again, if you choose "9 point" under the Font menu, the type will be smaller, and more of the context before and after the word will be displayed.

• 5. TELL THE PROGRAM TO BUILD YOUR CONCORDANCE:
Under the Build menu at the top of the window, choose Word concordance and you will see another box of text appear below the first one. The words you have told the program to look for will be bold and lined up in the middle, with the words before and after them on either side. The bold words will be in alphabetical order, and the examples of the same word will be in the order you have chosen (the order they appear in in the text, or in order according to the word following them.) (Therefore, examples of to will be together near the end of the list, but there will probably be -ing- words before and after them.) (Along the left side will be numbers indicating the LINE numbers in the original text -- these, of course, depend on the total makeup of your "corpus", and on the font in which you have displayed it.)
Notice that if you click on one of the examples in the lower window, the text in which it appears is shown in the window above. This way you can look through all of your examples, and also see the complete context that they come from if necessary.
• LOOK AT WHAT YOU'VE FOUND, AND COPY, SAVE, OR PRINT THE EXAMPLES YOU WANT:
• You can open a word-processing window and copy and paste examples from your concordance into a word processing document -- and then select examples that fit your purposes (all examples of to, for example, will not be infinitives.), rearrange or reformat the examples, etc.. Here are two on-line examples, but be sure you can print your work before you spend a lot of time on this: conditions * gerunds/infinitives
• You can save the entire document on a disk. (under the File menu.)
• You can print the concordance (also under the File menu.)



• 6. EXPERIMENT WITH OTHER FEATURES OF THE PROGRAM:
(different patterns, displays, the index, statistics, etc.)

www.iei.uiuc.edu/structure/structure1/conc.html

Article 2: Teaching With Concordances

www.tesol.org/s_tesol/article.
Summary/abstract:

<

The framework provided in the article can be easily adapted for a wide range of language teaching points including vocabulary acquisition, differences in synonym use, usage variation in register or genre, preposition choice, semantic prosody, or word connotation (see Tribble & Jones, 1997, for several ideas on how to use concordances in the classroom). As previously stated, teachers can preselect concordance lines to assist lower proficiency levels or to make a language feature more salient.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

POSTING4 (Summarizing on 'Bridging the digital divide)

As the Government publishes its action plan for consultation on digital inclusion, ALAN CLARKE, HELEN MILNER, TERRY KILLER and GENNY DIXON consider some of the challenges and opportunities for the delivery of digital inclusion.

Alan Clarke

Alan Clarke argues that, Digital inclusion requires more than access to technology or the skills to use it effectively, it demands information and media literacy. Technology nowadays play the main role of society and daily life. It has abroad information and knowledge. It has update recently producing new ideas and development. With that, ICT becomes one of the skils for life. The key of learning ICT is motivation. It is likely depend on the person either to keeping update or not. Government had launched many programmes. Do hope that the vary widely across the population can add knowledge through e-learning and can improve employment prospects.

Helen Milner

From previous research, 75 percent are counted as socially excluded by the government are also digitally excluded. The action of another front mightly effect movement on the other side. The argument is convincing that connecting people to technology can connect to new skills for work and life, information, services, friends and family, convenience, savings and opportunities.
Terry Killer
He believe that Microsoft has unlimited potential to improving lifelong learning between young people and adults by providing technology skills through community technology around the world. It includes in academic area. IT Academies run throughout the UK and provide opportunities for people to realize their IT potential, offering lifelong learning and career development opportunities. The unlimited potential programme can make a difference, helping to create a continuous cycle of sustained social and economic development.

Genny Dixon

IT skills provide a green light to open up routes to flexible and online learning by stepping-stones to success. IT skills are the key to unlocking the potential of business and individuals. They are fundamental to building active participation in digital society. The skills can be measured in many different way that has flexibility to be truly responsive to learner and employer needs, offering the right type of learning and assessment to allow each individual to journey broadly. The Information Technology Qualification (ITQ) is the glue which brings all the existing IT skills traning and qualifications programmes together.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

POSTING 4(Article on bridging the computer divide, from EBSCOHost)

All students are required to go to Tun Sri Lanang library during our tutorial times and do the following: Go to the Internet lab section of the library at the main entrance. Ask the librarian where is the DOA- Dissertation online and find out what it is and also find out the online databases subsribed by TSL libraries. Then we need to search for EBSCOHost,and Lisa Net. Find 2 articles related to one of the following topics from any online databases subsribed by TSL. CALL Bridging Digital Divide Women and ICT E-Learning Summarize these articles and post them as fourth posting.

By Alan Clarke; Helen Milner; Terry Killer and Genny Dixon
Alan Clarke is Director, ICT and Learning, NIACE
Helen Milner is Managing Director; UK Online centres
Terry Killer is Skills Manager at Microsoft. To learn more about the Microsoft IT Academy programme go to: www.microsoft.com/education/msitacademy.
Title:
Bridging the digital divide.
Authors:
Clarke, Alan
Milner, Helen
Killer, Terry
Dixon, Genny
Source:
Adults Learning; Nov2008, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p20-22, 3p
Document Type


Bridging the digital divide
As the Government publishes its action plan for consultation on digital inclusion, ALAN CLARKE, HELEN MILNER, TERRY KILLER and GENNY DIXON consider some of the challenges and opportunities for the delivery of digital inclusion
Digital inclusion requires more than access to technology or the skills to use it effectively, it demands information and media literacy, argues Alan Clarke
Technology is a major force for change. It is a dynamic subject, continuously producing new ideas and development. The economic necessity for a working population skilled and confident in their use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has been widely accepted. Equally, technology has become a key factor in society as a whole, with an ever-increasing use of online communication to undertake daily tasks, such as checking train timetables, shopping for food, completing tax returns and taxing your car. There is no disagreement about the need for the population to be digitally included. The Government made ICT one of the Skills for Life, alongside literacy and numeracy, several years ago. However, this has not been supported with the financial backing needed to address the fact that many millions of adults do not use technology. The number of adults undertaking basic ICT courses has fallen dramatically in recent years.
There are many good examples of effective work to assist people to become skilled, including UK Online centres, ICT Skills for Life qualifications, ITQ for Life developments, the links made between the different Skills for Life, and teacher-training programmes. UK Online centres have continued to reach many socially disadvantaged adults. A recent research report (discussed by Helen Milner below) says that 'participants were making considerable personal, social and cognitive gains as a result of engaging with ICT'. This is no surprise because practitioners and researchers have been reporting similar findings for many years. With a wealth of evidence to support the need to develop the population's ICT skills, it is surprising that the resources made available have always been modest in comparison with other areas.
There is considerable discussion about the impact that the next generation will have on society, education and the workplace. A great deal of it seems to assume that the next generation has no problems or issues with technology. The reality is that similar divisions exist among young people as among the rest of the population. Many children do not have access to technology at home and are disadvantaged as a result. Sabates' analysis (Use of ICT by young people in England, NIACE 2007) of access to and use of ICT by 14 years olds revealed that young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds often do not have home access and frequently do not, or are unable to, take full advantage of school technology as effectively as their peers. The Government has now launched the Home Access programme to start to address the problem. A similar programme for the millions of adults who equally have no access would be appropriate. The danger of the approach is that it equates digital inclusion with physical access to technology. Digital inclusion is not simply about access to technology, but involves meaningful access, technical skills and information literacy.
In order to be computer literate 15 years ago it would have been sufficient to be able to switch one on and use one or two applications in a limited way. This is no longer the case. Surveys of users in the USA indicate that many people are now 'hyper-connected', using seven or more ICT devices and nine or more applications in their normal day-to-day lives. The technical skills gap is widening and will continue to do so. Technological change is well established and will continue to accelerate. The issue of digital literacy is not static but growing. The distance that an individual needs to travel to become a competent and effective user of technology is expanding. The existing Level 2 qualifications in ICT have grown and developed to allow for technological change. However, in practice, a Level 2 qualification is simply the foundation on which individuals need to develop their skills and knowledge. The pace of change makes vital the ability to transfer learning and experience to new situations.
The online world is now an important part of society and people need to be comfortable operating in this world of websites, blogs, wikis, virtual worlds and social networks. This requires far more than the skills and knowledge to use technology effectively. It needs information and media literacy. When any individual can launch a website the ability to judge and evaluate information in order to make decisions is essential. Without these skills, individuals will be seriously disadvantaged, misled and probably confused by what they locate online.
For all forms of learning the key to success is motivation. Why would an individual want to learn to use a computer, become information literate and embark on a process of keeping up to date with a fast changing world of technology? The reasons are likely to depend on the person but some widely reported ones involve communication with family and friends, to learn other skills and knowledge through e-learning and to improve employment prospects. The Digital Inclusion Panel (in Enabling a Digitally United Kingdom, Cabinet Office 2004) has called the reason for learning the 'compelling proposition'. It is likely to vary widely across the population.
The Government has just published Delivering Digital Inclusion: An Action Plan for Consultation. It is always dangerous to anticipate policy but my hope is that the consultation addresses the problem of access integrated with education and training. It should be about more than simply the use of applications, and incorporate information literacy, transfer of skills and experience and confidence building. Finally, it is nay hope that whatever programmes are launched should be flexible enough to allow for the diversity of uses of technology and of people's reasons for using it.
Alan Clarke
New research from Ipsos MORI and UK Online centres demonstrates the wide-ranging impact digital inclusion has on the lives of different groups, from isolated older people to teenage parents, writes Helen Milner
Every day, UK Online centres see the impact of their work on the lives of the socially marginalised or disadvantaged people they work with. They see people taking their first steps with technology, and everyday they see those firsts building into a larger picture of personal development. But those changes often don't build quickly into hard, measurable and fundable outcomes.
Getting a qualification or a new job are tangible results of ICT use and skills development. They weren't outside the scope of the 20 UK Online centre-led projects which formed the Digital inclusion, social impact study, but neither were they the ultimate goal. The projects set out to achieve two things: to explore and solidify the correlation between digital inclusion and social inclusion; and to capture and measure the size, shape and, ultimately, the value of the social impacts ICT can enable.
From previous research we know that 75 per cent of those counted as socially excluded by the Government are also digitally excluded. It follows that action on one front might effect movement on the other, and this report explores that theme. The argument is convincing: connecting people to technology can connect them to new skills for work and life, information, services, friends and family, conveniences, savings and opportunities.
The anecdotal evidence is even more compelling, but by its nature resists accumulation. It's very difficult to add up the individual 'soft' results of digital inclusion into robust, qualitative data. How do you measure, assess or put a value on increased confidence, decreased isolation or the elusive 'quality of life'? Yet that's exactly what this report set out to do. If we are to take forward the Government's vision for digital equality and informal learning, it's vital we establish a value for general skills and soft outcomes, and provide new ways of proving they can build into something employers, communities and the country as a whole can benefit from.
For this research, Ipsos MORI categorised ICT-driven social impacts into three areas: social proficiency, for instance self-confidence and/or links with family and friends; cognitive proficiency, improved ICT, literacy and anumeracy skills; and, finally, improved life chances.
More than 12,000 people took part in the social impact demonstrator projects between January 2007 and March 2008. By the end of the projects, participants were more confident, and 40 per cent had progressed into further training, employment, information, advice and guidance. Working with computers helped to improve people's cognitive proficiency -- for instance, their maths and English, and their social proficiency, with participants more likely to spend time with friends and family, and take part in community activities. All of this was achieved at a cost of engagement and delivery of £163 a head.
We've proved we can make soft outcomes yield hard facts, but this research is only a first step. We're consulting with partners about next steps, including the possibility of a substantial longitudinal study which can examine, over an extended period, whether the gains in cognitive and social skills reported here lead, over time, to even more significant improvements in social cohesion, civic participation, and life chances -- from educational attainments to levels of income and even health. Watch this space.
Helen Milner
Terry Killer describes the role Microsoft is playing in providing technology skills to realise the potential of adults and young people across the UK
At Microsoft, we believe we have the ability and responsibility to make a positive difference in the world. The same spirit of innovation that drives our business is also at the core of our commitments as a corporate citizen in communities around the world.
This commitment is a great place to start and while we certainly don't have all the answers Microsoft continues to take a leadership role in the area of inclusion to help reduce the digital divide through the Unlimited Potential (UP) programme.
Unlimited Potential is a global initiative that focuses on improving lifelong learning for disadvantaged young people and adults by providing technology skills through community technology and learning centres. Here in the UK, we support and inspire individual charity and education partners to continue working towards bridging the digital divide through three key areas of work: transforming education, fostering innovation and the creation of jobs and opportunities.
Forming a strategic alliance with UK Online has enabled us to provide much needed software to the UK Online centres (approximately 900 centres are to receive software this financial year) to enable them to provide high levels of IT skills training to prepare adults for employment.
In partnership with Age Concern we have worked through our UP programme to offer IT training courses that bridge the digital divide for the older generation.
We recently worked with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on the development of the new school-based diplomas, working closely on the base for the ICT diploma. Our support has led to the launch of diplomas this September and will see us working closely in supporting schools offering the diploma.
IT Academies run throughout the UK and provide opportunities for people to realise their IT potential, offering lifelong learning and career development opportunities.
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is one way in which we encourage young people to apply their imagination, passion and creativity to technology solutions that can provide solutions to real world issues.
Working with Fairbridge we have been able to provide IT skills to young adults in deprived areas of the UK. This training has given these young people the opportunity to turn their lives around and move towards employment.
The Black Country Consortium (BCC) project is a long-term commitment supported by Microsoft to develop a stronger knowledge economy by improving the skills of the current labour force and providing basic skills to the unemployed. Through a network of 120 community technology centres, disadvantaged communities are receiving technology skills training in the Black Country region. The project ultimately aims to enable job growth and sustained economic opportunity in this economically depressed region. BCC works closely with Black Country Knowledge Society, to provide technology training at all levels, and with the Black Country Learning Net, to broaden digital inclusion in the community.
Underpinning all of our projects is the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum, which is a key component in enabling digital literacy in the UK. The goal of the Digital Literacy Curriculum is to teach basic computer concepts and skills so that people can use computer technology in everyday life to develop new social and economic opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities at no cost to learners.
The curriculum is easy to follow and if you have a PC at home you will be able to study on your own, or with support from your family, at any time. If you don't have a PC at home - or you would like an experienced tutor to support you in your studies - then you can call the helpline on 0800 101 901. They can tell you about learning centres near your home. Many learndirect centres, Microsoft IT Academies or local UK Online centres will be offering the curriculum. Successful completion of the Digital Literacy Curriculum prepares you to take an OCR-recognised qualification, the Digital Literacy Certificate.
The Unlimited Potential programme, with our partners, governments, academic institutions, the IT community, and others, works towards minimising the digital divide and can make a difference, helping to create a continuous cycle of sustained social and economic development.
Terry Killer
The Information Technology Qualification is the glue which brings all the existing IT skills training and qualifications programmes together and makes them stick, says Genny Dixon
We embark on our personal learning journey in IT. IT skills provide a passport to open up routes to flexible and online learning; they are the stepping-stones to success. IT skills are the key to unlocking the potential of businesses and individuals. They are fundamental to building active participation in our digital society. I am conscious of the many metaphors that abound when we talk about learning and IT, but I am in danger of introducing another into the mix. What we need in the IT world is the glue that binds all the various blocks of qualifications and training into a single framework that everyone can relate to.
E-skills UK has recently published the Sector Qualifications and Learning Strategy (SQLS) for IT (Qualifying for the Information Age, June 2008), setting out the goal to describe all IT skills under one common framework. For the IT professional, that framework is the PROCOM model (PROfessional COMpetency); and for the IT user, the framework is the ITQ, the National Vocational Qualification for IT users which demonstrates staff competence in the use of IT in the workplace.
We can measure and assess skills in many different ways, and, indeed, it is essential that we offer the flexibility to be truly responsive to learner and employer needs, offering the right type of learning and assessment to allow each individual to journey as far and as fast as they can. However, the challenge that we meet through the SQLS is to underpin all this flexibility with a structure that provides clarity to users, employers and public agencies alike. The ITQ is the glue which brings all the existing IT skills training and qualifications programmes together.
Recent research from e-skills UK tells us that where businesses identify skills gaps in the use of IT, 60 per cent report that this is having a negative impact on productivity (see IT Insights: Technology Counts, January 2008). So what can we do to address this? How can we not just build the IT skills base, but also record and measure the resulting improvement in productivity? We have anecdotal evidence suggesting that the return on investment to an organisation implementing ITQ can be substantial, and e-skills UK is currently developing a case study looking at the impact of ITQ within a major national retailer. The benefits relate both directly to the bottom line, with higher quality of work produced in less time, and indirectly, through improving staff confidence, motivation, communications and achievement.
When we focus on the individual learner -- building IT skills to return to work or to pursue family and leisure interests -- the same benefits apply. On the bottom line, tasks and activities can be done more efficiently, saving time through more focused search, use and storage of information. But we also recognise benefits in the form of enhanced confidence with computers, improved communications and increased motivation to use IT as an integral part of learning.
We need to move beyond training that is soon forgotten because it is not relevant or timely, to the ITQ approach which adapts pace, content and context to suit the learner. It is in .working with an expert to devise a relevant learning programme leading towards attainment of nationally recognised standards, and requiring the learner to apply and practice their skills in a meaningful context, that we can truly make IT skills stick.
Genny Dixon

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i'm a simple person who like to be my self and luv my family very much!! sometimes i can be a moody person and quite sencitive..but it depends on da situation..an easy going,luv to shopping and cooking..so far no one hv died after ate my cook..huhu