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Level 2 IT Users Qualification – Unit 1 Improving Productivity

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1 Level 2 IT Users Qualification – Unit 1 Improving Productivity

2 I can describe the purpose of using IT in my work
I used ICT to complete my coursework because it is faster and a lot easer than writing it myself. I used pictures in my presentation and newsletter to make them more interesting and more intriguing. If I had not used ICT in my work then the pictures would have been harder to use because I would have to print them and cut them out or photocopy them from a book. Getting them from the internet using a Google was better because it saved time. I included a Youtube video in my presentation because it relates to what it’s talking about. Without ICT, adding this video would have been very difficult and would have made my work look less professional. My newsletter included articles which were not written by me but came from the internet. I used ICT to complete a Google search to find articles about technology. My business card, letter and newsletter were made using templates. These helped me in my work because they meant the layouts were all done for me. My presentation included a range of additional ICT tools such as hyperlinks or animations. These enhanced my work because it made my work more interactive and more professional. If I had completed my work without a computer then I could have made errors but because most software has spellcheck I was able to use it to correct my work. If I had not used ICT for any of this work it would have taken longer and not look as good. Candidates should be able to describe the purpose of their work and why using IT adds value to it in some way or ways.    Additional information and guidance Candidates might describe the audience at which they are targeting their work and any aspects of the work that makes it particularly suitable for the audience eg "I presented a science topic using a presentation with links to references so that another student can use my work to revise for their exam". They should be able to describe the key characteristics of writing formally in a presentation to present their informationas opposed to the style used for chat and instant messaging of friends. The candidate will show evidence of understanding relevance in relation to purpose. Information that is irrelevant to a task will not support its purpose and inaccurate or biased information could be against the purpose.

3 I can describe the methods, skills and resources needed to complete my tasks successfully
In order to complete my tasks successfully I had to know how the software worked. Each piece of software is different and this meant that I had to learn lots of new skills . In my presentation I had to know how to make a master slide and then had to add text and pictures. I thought about the layout and organised my slides so they looked more professional. I used a main menu which included using a wide range of hyperlinks to link the contents page to all the slides and back to the contents page. Using these made my presentation interactive and also made it more professional. I also improved by including a range of advanced features such as picture borders and animations. These made the presentation better to look at. Publisher enabled me to use a range of different methods to create my products. It enabled me to choose a design and colour scheme before starting my project so that I could then use a template which helped me create each of my products. Templates were useful because they enabled me to keep the design consistent whilst adding all of my own work. Using these saved me lots of time but meant my work looked really professional. For most of my work I needed pictures and I found these by Google search. I had to change the settings on Google when looking for my pictures so that they are copyright free. I also had to store them in a source and store table so I could follow the law. I also had to reference the websites of articles and video’s I used in my work so that it wont break law. Candidates should be able to systematically analyse a task and match needs to resources. They should be able to describe the methods, skills and resources they need in some detail. Evidence: Explain what the methods and skills used when creating the presentation. They can describe issues related to copyright and accessibility if they intend others to use the information they prepare. The resources needed could include time, software, hardware or new learning and expertise Additional information and guidance For example, as a method of presenting information to a general audience, using a presentation is often a better choice than desktop presentation software. They might need skills related to eg preparing so they are suitable.

4 I can describe factors that might affect the task
There are many factors which could have affected me from completing the tasks set. The first factor is to make sure that I have access the to technology to be able to complete the tasks set. Without a computer I wouldn’t have access to the software and so wouldn’t be able to complete tasks quickly. The computer or software could be out of date and this could affect the task because I might not have all the tools I need. I used the internet a lot in my work so if there had been problems with the internet such as losing connection or sites being blocked then this could have prevented me from getting copyright free pictures or creative common by using the search tools on my browser. Copyright could have been something else which might have affected the task because I had to search for images that where copyright free and sometimes the pictures I wanted to use weren’t available because they had copyright restrictions. Finally, the biggest factor which could have affected the task is me. If I could not use the software then I wouldn’t have been able to complete the tasks. Candidates should be able to describe a range of factors that could affect the way they carry out their tasks. Evidence: Explanation describing these factors and considerations in their planning (access to computers, audience, time, access to software at home) Additional information and guidance Have they have considered the time the task is likely to take, any copyright issues in obtaining suitable resources, cost of resources and any e-safety and/or relevant security considerations? This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. The factors considered simply have to be credible and useful in the planning process. Again, being able to describe the factors and relate them to the task is a Level 2 characteristic.

5 I can describe how the purpose and outcomes have been met by the chosen IT systems and tools
I created my presentation using PowerPoint and my business card, letter and newsletter using Publisher. I chose PowerPoint to create my presentation because it included lots of tools. Firstly, it included the ability to add text and pictures. Writing directly onto the computer it saved my time because otherwise I would have had to copy it all out. Getting pictures straight from the web was easy because I could searched for them and didn’t have to find them in a book. PowerPoint was good for a presentation because it has a wide range of professional features such as hyper links and animations which made it perfect for my work. Publisher also had a wide range of amazing features but most of these were to do with the range of templates available. By choosing a design and colour scheme I was able to apply a template which did most of the hard work for me. This meant I could focus on making a awesome logo and finding effective articles. Publisher also enabled me to save my work as a PDF. This was useful because it meant that there wouldn’t be any problems with viewing my work. Candidates should describe how the tools and systems they chose have been successful in supporting their project outcome as part of an evaluation.  Additional information and guidance They can also point out weaknesses in the tools and alternatives that they might have adopted with hindsight taking account of feedback from their peers and others. Assessors can give specific headings and general guidance to make it clear that an evaluation must target specific outcomes and their strengths and weaknesses and not just result in general opinions such as "I think I was successful". Descriptions should reflect Level 2 functional skills in English and the ability to describe how... is the key difference between Level 1 and Level 2 work.

6 I can describe any legal or local guidelines or constraints that apply to the task or activity
I completed my coursework at school which meant that I worked from my own login. It is important that my account is protected so that other people can not make changes to my own work. I also completed my work in school which meant that I had to follow school policy when using the computer. This policy included using the computer respectfully and not going on sites that are blocked. Some software the school has in free but some software has been purchased which means it needs a licence. Software licences are all different, some can restrict how many computers can run the software and others can restrict what tools you use within the software. If you don’t buy a licence then you are breaking the copyright law. Copyright was very important in my coursework because I wanted to use videos from YouTube and pictures from the internet without making them myself. I followed copyright law by using a source and store table which showed lots of information about the asset I had found online such as the web link and the url. I found pictures using a copyright free Google image search to make sure that the creator was happy for me to use their work. Candidates should demonstrate that they can describe the legal and local guidelines and constraints that apply to the activity. These should be relatively straightforward summaries of say the acceptable use policy and copyright as a minimum. Additional information and guidance Candidates should demonstrate that they abide by any local acceptable use policy and that they can describe the policy in general terms. They should make a declaration that they license their work for free use and that it is their own work and any sources of information are referenced to their owner. They should not use copyright tools or information without first gaining permission (or have it provided directly in the license). Any further local constraints can be included in this work but some description of the AUP and copyright should be present. There is no need to have a detailed understanding of very complex terms and conditions. At this stage an overview of the main purpose and key requirements is sufficient. 

7 I can describe whether the IT tools selected were appropriate for the task and purpose
Many of the tools I used in my coursework were appropriate for the task and purpose because it saved time. For my presentation unit I was able to create a master slide so that all my slides could be matching in design, layout and colours which made my work look better. I was able to use hyperlinks to link to my video. This made the main menu and individual slides more interactive. I was able to add pictures, texts and videos so that the actual presentation was unique to look at and this made the presentation suitable for my audience. Presentation software allowed me to choose from a range of animations and transitions. While these made my work look better, I was not able to make my own. Desktop publishing software enabled me to create range of publications such as a business card, letter head and newsletter by choosing a template which looked the same. The tools in desktop publishing software included allowing me to write my articles in columns and this made my work look more professional. Desktop publishing software also allowed me to save my files as PDF so that anyone could view them. Finally, online tools such as vistaprint helped me to create my own logo in a quick and easy way. Overall, the tools I used were right for what I was doing because they helped me with everything I wanted to do. Evaluation should include a description of the IT tools and their fitness for purpose. This can be organised as an analysis of strengths and weaknesses Additional information and guidance Candidates should be able to make clear judgements about the IT tools available to them supported by evidence. They should consider not only the "brand" but the functionality and cost including indirect costs such as dealing with viruses, upgrades and administering licenses. File formats generated by applications should be considered in relation to lock-in to a particular product that could reduce future choice.  Assessors should provide guidance to get candidates to refer to specifics rather than general statements such as "I think the tools were appropriate"  without justification. Listing strengths and weaknesses will help avoid bland generalisations. The characteristic of Gold Level 2 as opposed to Silver Level 1 is the ability to describe specific aspects of the tools used and to make rational judgements about their properties. For example, the tool did or did not provide the facility to save a document in an open file format, the tools are expensive so only available to me in the place of work, the tools required some time to learn/were easy to learn. Some operations were slow and limited the speed I could work, I only used a very small number of the available features.

8 I can assess the strengths and weaknesses in my final work
When completing my presentation I thought that my design was very good because it matched the colours of fast, cool, expensive cars. I also thought that my table was awesome because it showed how fast the cars went and how much they each cost. I felt my main weakness was my hyperlinks because they could have been created using smart art but I didn’t know how to do this. When completing my business card, letter and newsletter I thought that my colour scheme was one of my strengths and while this was a preexisting software feature, I was able to choose it to match with my logo. I thought my business card was the best of all three publications because of the colours and general design of it. I thought that I could improve my letterhead by adding some actual information as it was too plain. Candidates should provide evidence that they have analysed end products of their work and stated associated strengths and weaknesses taking into account feedback and views of other people. Additional information and guidance Strengths and weaknesses should relate to some of the following: format, layout, accuracy, structure, style, quality, clarity for audience. Getting candidates into the habit of using the strengths and weaknesses method and making an overall comment of judgement about the success of their work is recommended. They should get peers/intended audience to help them review and assess their outcomes

9 I can describe ways to make further improvements to my work
I could have made further improvements to my presentation if I had consider different software such as Go Animate. If I had used Go Animate instead then I could have made something intriguing. Many of the features of presentation software are the same but so many presentations are made using Powerpoint that they can become repetitive so people don’t get excited about looking at them. I used Powerpoint because I had used it before but looking back my work could have been much more unique if I had used something new. I could have improved my newsletter if I had added more articles specific to gaming consoles. I was pleased with the finished newsletter but felt that it could have been more specific to my chosen topic. Candidates should use Additional information and guidance Analysis of strengths and weaknesses as the work progresses forms the foundation for this assessment. Include examples from correcting mistakes and errors, improving connectivity or interoperability by adopting open standards, learning new technologies, adopting more efficient or effective methods such as preparing graphics for display so that they look reasonable and download quickly. Where conflicts arise eg one aspect causes both positive and negative effects, candidates should be encouraged to discuss these and not simply take an accepted view on face value. There is a lot of disagreement about the relative merits of particular tools and methods. At this stage the main emphasis is on making judgements and at least attempting to justify them even if the candidate's level of knowledge is a limiting factor.  the evidence from their evaluations to inform ways in which future work can be improved.

10 I can review the benefits and drawbacks of IT tools and systems used in terms of productivity and efficiency There were many factors which affected me in terms of productivity and efficiency but the one I noticed the most was knowing the software. Some of the tools in PowerPoint and Publisher were tools I had not used before which meant that I lost time having to learn how to use them. An example was that some of the designs in publisher were not available for all publication so I had to spend extra time making sure that the one I wanted was there. As I had to follow the copyright law, I lost time when creating my newsletter as I had to explain I had to copy and paste. I could have been more productive if I had copied straight but this was something that could not avoid. Each lesson I had to log in and sometimes this took ages. During some lessons internet did not work and this affected me because I had to be patient and wait. The candidate should be able to identify how IT tools might make achieving ICT based solutions more efficient to increase productivity for themselves and others.  Make specific comments on how a Presentation is the best solution for a revision tool Additional information and guidance For example, sending can be more efficient than talking to someone when all that is required is a specific piece of information. Discussing the details of how to use a new software tool by or text messaging is likely to be a lot less efficient than a spoken conversation and so review should include discriminating use of ICT. Other factors such as the lack of expression and remoteness of technology can lead to "flame wars" that would reduce efficiency. Information entered directly into a web page can be much more efficient than making a word processed file and attaching it to the page. Firstly there is no need for word processing software, secondly the information is immediately available to users without having to download a file and having software for opening and viewing it.  Social networking can be very powerful, but it can also be a major distraction to the focus required for efficient working. They might have discussed this in forums or verbally to form their views and so assessors might provide a witness statement to acknowledge this. 

11 I can describe ways to improve productivity and efficiency
There are a number of ways I could have been more productive and efficient in my coursework. The first is if I had to focus more. There were many lessons where I did not make much progress and if I had of been more focused then I could have been more productive. Sometimes, when starting something new , I took a long time as I had to make sure I know what to do. Some of the tools within Publisher were new to me. This meant that I had to work more slowly until I was as ready as I wanted to be. Throughout the project I kept my files organised which made me more efficient as I was able to get set up quickly. I also only wrote the contact details for my company once then copied so that I could be more productive with my time. The use of templates helped me as it only had to be done which made me more productive because the work only had to be done. The candidate should provide evidence that they can describe examples of working methods that improve efficiency. Additional information and guidance Examples might be to use a typing tutor to improve keyboard efficiency, use of keyboard short cuts, recording a macro to automate a process or getting a web browser to save often used details like name and address. They might describe how they organise their folders so the most often needed files are most readily available or change user interface characteristics. They might use bookmarking for files - note for machines with multiple users, bookmarking web sites are a clear advantage. They might use on-line collaborative tools instead of desktop tools or they might use shared resources such as open clip art and wikipedia on the "Give a brick get a house" principle. 

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