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Author: Bob Created: 3/12/2008 12:29 PM

There may not be a 'write' or wrong for typographers, but I expect we should still stick to spelling rules - and in this case, it would be wrong to use 'write' for 'right'.

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Ighsaan Francis, DCES for CAT in Western Cape wrote: 

One of my passions for our subject is to 'surf' subject content in the various media!!! 

  • Top Stories for science and technology...
  • Reports in daily newspapers...
  • Articles in magazines.. 

But, how can we use topical content in the media for CAT? 
I am just about to launch my first Instalment of how to use topical media content for CAT.
Hopefully the first of many in a series titled: TOP STORIES - Computer applications in the Media.
 For this Instalment I have chosen an article which appeared on the IOL web site on the 5th March 2009 on social networking. This time around I chose to develop an assessment task based on the scenario sketched in the article:"The more we chat, the less we thrive" I tried to stay as close to the format we had in the final papers, and included sections on Theory and Practical; particularly Integration. 
Please find attached the pdf format of my first Instalment, as well as its memorandum.The accompanied data files and memoranda can be find on my web site:
I hope to make this a fortnightly issue (should time will allow  :-)), and a standing feature on my web site. My next Instalment is on using a magazine article in the class (didactical) environment. 
Instalment 2 will include:

  • a lesson plan
  • learning and teaching support material
  • assessment task
  • assessment tools  

I hope you will find my endeavours meaningful and of use in the teaching of CAT.  


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When using a word processor or creating electronic documents, we become typographers. 

According to sources, there are no rules, right and wrong do not exist. There is only effective and non-effective communication. Modern word processors allow for flexibility.

"All those rules we are supposed to follow were developed 20-400 years ago. They were developed at a time when people had not even dreamt about cable-TV, interactive media, CD-ROM, Internet and graphic applications. Human beings were not stupider than today. However, media have dramatically changed. When media change, men change." (


To communicate effectively, we arrange text and graphics on a page and produce a document for printing. Four general areas apply: (

  • Placement / Alignment
  • Style (Size, contrast, emphasis)
  • Spacing
  • Embellishment / fine-tuning

It is all about readibility, legibility and effective communication and consistency.

Common mistakes:

  1. Using underlined text to emphasise - rather use bold or italic
  2. Using two spaces after a full stop, comma or paranthesis - these should be followed by one space, not two
  3. Using keyboard quotes - rather use straight quotes
  4. Using all capitals for headings - rather use styles and/or different font sizes, etc.




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After reading the blog entry (25 June 2009) regarding Phase 2 of the PAT on Dr Pam Miller's blog and some comments made by teachers I consulted my language colleagues to enquire about what they teach learners regarding writing and more specific, reporting.

They gave me a document that may also help the CAT teachers and learners when it comes to writing. Look for the two examples of reports in this document.

According to my language colleagues, every teacher is a language teacher and should teach learners language, communication skills and how to write.

Maybe if we use these examples and explain to learners that connections, they will be able to make the connections and transfer knowledge and skills.

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What is the PAT?

-          Learners must solve a problem,
                  i.e. find/suggest a possible solution for to problem
-          Write a comprehensive report regarding the solution to the problem,

 In order to do so, they need to describe their task, pose questions, find answers (data and information) to the questions using different types of resources, manipulate/analyse/process the data and information to find meaning and answers to the questions and then they need to synthesise – put it all together and create something new/original (their own report and suggested solution/idea) to solve the problem.

 Dr Jamie McKenzie wrote in his newsletter, A Taxonomy of Synthetic Thought and Production that “not all synthesis requires thought, originality or imagination”
 Also, he says: “The health of a society and an economy in this Age of Information depends upon the capacity of citizens to come up with original ideas, solutions and inventions.”

 He suggests a taxonomy (7 levels) for this purpose with “smushing” at the bottom and “invention” at the top level and provides synonyms or related words for some levels to help us to grasp and understand.

Read more as he explains the need for high level synthesis


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During the workshop we were given tips for teaching and setting tasks and papers on Operational Knowledge (theory / written task/papers).


Download the following presentation to follow these tips and find some examples for practical tests and tasks within the presentation




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During the workshop we were given tips for setting practical papers and tasks.


Download the following presentation to follow these tips and find some examples for practical tests and tasks within the presentation

Unzip and extract the files to the folder before you view the presentation to ensure that the links in the presentation work correctly



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During the CAT workshop, PAT issues were discussed and clarified.

Look at a document published by Dr Pam Miller in this regard. Check this document to follow the numbering


Also, look at the examples done during the CAT workshop


The following process was followed: 
1)       The task was given and discussed, questions answered (the audience had to read through it and ask questions to ensure that they understand the problem to be solved)
(See The PAT example Subject Advisors.doc)
2)       Solving the problem started with a brainstorming session on the problem and the topic (see brainstorm.pdf)
3)       The brainstorm document was then reviewed to determine (mark) possible headings and subheadings (group topics and subtopics) – see marked brainstorm.pdf
(some people called these first steps, Phase 0)
4)       At this point it was necessary to check the scope of the brainstorming – many people realised here that their scope was to big and that they could actually only take one or two headings and refine this otherwise the task would become to big. They decided to narrow the scope and to focus on one or two aspects only.
5)       Now start with Phase 1.
a.       Describe the problem / task (make sure that other people will understand the problem and what needs to be done if they read it)
b.       Brainstorm questions and identify and write down the main question
c.        Sort the questions according to headings / subheadings
d.       Ask more questions for each heading / subheading to ensure that you will find the necessary information to solve the problem
e.       Label the questions according to levels
f.         Think about why you need to ask the question and give a rationale for asking the question (last column). Remove questions / add more where necessary until you are happy that your questions will lead you towards a solution
g.       Identify sources of information – where to find the answers to the questions posed
At this point they engaged in peer assessment: looking at each other’s tasks, asking questions, adding comments and providing advice
h.       Use the comments and advice from peers and review the task description and questions
i.         Check assessment tool to ensure that all requirements are met
(See Phase 1.doc for an example)
6)       Now start with Phase 2 Task 1
a.       Find and access the information / data as indicated in phase 1
b.       Read, engage with the information
c.        Determine whether the sources and information is trustworthy and will answer the questions posed to provide answers to the questions and will help solve the problem
7)       Now start with Phase 2 Task 2
a.       Plan your solution and the report
b.       Create a framework of how to organise information and answers to questions – use the headings and subheadings from phase 1 – re-organise where necessary
c.        Plan how you will use the spreadsheet and database to process, summarise and organise data / information
(See phase 2 part 2.doc for an example)
8)       Do the processing and analysis using the application packages (Phase 3, task 1). Ensure that the processing, queries, reports, etc will answer the questions posed and will give you the information needed as planned in phase 2
9)       Write the report
a.       Use the framework created in phase 2, task 2
b.       Use the information found in phase 2, task 1 and the analyses and processed data / information from phase 3, task 1
c.        Draw your conclusion
d.       Present your report and your findings/suggestions
(See Report_example.doc)


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The Department of Education conducted a workshop for CAT subject advisors from all provinces from 11 - 15 May 2009.

The purpose of the workshop was to:
1)       convey November 2008 Exam results and to discuss strategies to improve results;
2)       clear assessment issues as set out in the SAG;
3)       clear misinterpretation of policy;
4)       understand the PAT, including the content for Information Management, as well as marking and moderation;
5)       understand how practical exams should be conducted, including preparation of CDs to be sent to marking centers; and
6)       understand assessment in CAT and how to assess content for all the Learning Outcomes in CAT, including setting tasks and papers

The above topics were discussed, input given and ideas and strategies shared to support Computer Applications Technology in all provinces


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Grade 12 National Examination Papers

Practical Paper (P1) Nov 08 & Memo Eng Data Files/Datalêers Theory Paper (P2) Nov 08 & Memo Eng
Praktiese vraestel (V1) Nov 08 & Memo Afr   Teorie Vraestel (V2) Nov 08 & Memo Afr
Practical Paper (P1) March 09 & Memo Eng Data Files/Datalêers Theory Paper (P2) March 09 & Memo Eng
Praktiese vraestel (V1) March 09 & Memo Afr   Teorie Vraestel (V2) March 09 & Memo Afr


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