This page provides feedback for assessors and candidates on the examinations taken during the period from the last report to the date of the current report. This should help teachers identify specific areas of weakness in the knowledge and understanding of students and this feed this back into the teaching provision.

There is wide range of issues. General standards of written English are in some cases significant limits in the communication of ideas. Words such as scalable and factor are misunderstood by candidates that appear strong in other areas of knowledge and understanding. The word professional is almost universally misspelt. The technical prefixes Mega and Giga are not understood generally in terms of meaning million and thousand million. Most seemed to either guess 1 Gig is 100 Meg when it is 1000 (actually 1024 which one or two candidates knew) or they have learned it as such.

Conclusion: Make understanding of key terms and vocabulary a priority in each lesson. One or two words per lesson will make a significant difference over time. Regularly use quantities such as kilo, mega, giga and their relationships. It will help in maths and science too.

Graphics: Graphics file formats are important in most general purpose applications. There are two fundamental types and few candidates have much idea of their properties. Practical outcomes in terms of Using IT to improve Productivity depend on this knowledge.

Bit map or raster graphics are made up of pixels (picture elements). These are similar to the dots that make up a newspaper image. More dots, closer together the higher the resolution of the image. The downside of bit map graphics is the size of the files needed for high quality. Especially for web pages, uploading  and downloading large files will slow down the speed at which pages open and could incur additional data charges.

JPEG files. JPEG files can reduce the amount of data in an image but at the cost of image quality. The smaller the amount of data the lower the image quality. The goal is usually to reduce the file size as far as possible while keeping the quality good enough for the purpose. Because data is lost JPEG file compression is called lossy. JPEG files can not have transparent pixels so a circle will have an opaque middle and you get unwanted borders on logos etc. 

PNG files can be compressed but not as much as JPGs because they never lose data. You can always use all the original data in a PNG. A key advantage is that they support alpha channel transparency so individual pixels can be made transparent so the background shows through. This means you can put your logo on any background and the background will show through where it ought to.

Best way to do this is to give some practical experience of creating PNGs and JPGs for web pages with briefs that require economic size or transparency. 

SVG files are scalable vector graphics. The information in the file stores the mathematical details of the image to be printed not the image itself. Code in the display device turns this maths into an image at the best resolution the display can manage. (Or printer). This means that no matter how good the screen is or how big it is the image will always be the best quality possible. For this reason, where possible originate drawings and diagrams as svg (SVG supports transparency too.) and if necessary produce png from the svgs. If you need more compression and transparency is not a problem make a jpeg from the PNG.  SVG is no good for photographs where the image is originated as dots, it is mainly for designing logos and diagrams. Inkscape is a free editor for SVG graphics. 

Why only these 3? There are hundreds of graphics formats so to keep things manageable we are restricting things to the 3 most important ones for the internet. They are open standards and have free editors so no need to buy software.

Understand that free and open source software can be just as high quality as the stuff you have to pay for.

Some candidates seem to think that anything that is free must be worse. It's the old "get what you pay" for mantra. This is not the case. A lot of industry leading software is free and open source. Apache Web Server, Firefox Web Browser, Linux kernel and so on. They need to treat things on merit, not on stereotypes. Some questions are designed to see how well they can do this. There are not necessarily right and wrong answers more looking for ability to support an argument to discriminate the A*/As.

Understand the relationship between copyright and licensing. Naming licenses very weak.

Quite a lot of confusion here and mainly in communication.

Copyright is the legal ownership of your work. It enables you to say who can and can not use your work. A license provides the conditions under which the work can be used. It is specified by the copyrigth holder. It might be safest to just learn these definitions by heart. Types of license – Public domain (anyone can use it for any purpose) Creative Commons (Some rights reserved but generally you can copy it and use it with a few conditions) GPL (GNU Public license) eg Linux. You can use it and modify it but you must give back your modifications to the community. Commercial licenses – any license where you have to pay monay to use the product eg Microsoft EULA (end user license agreement) Adobe EULA etc. 

Understand the difference between local applications eg a word document and information shared on the internet.

A local applications runs on your device. It might or might not store its files there so you could run MS Word on your computer but save your word documents on the network server or the internet. An application running from the Cloud is running on a remote server somewhere. Phone apps are local running on the phone itself. A web app will run in a window in the browser on the phone but it is actually not doing anything except draw pictures on the phone screen. The advantage of web apps is you don't need to manage many local apps and several people in different parts of the world can work together using the same code. We don't need different versions of the app for each different operating system eg ios, android, windows, blackberry etc. 

Know that permissions can be set for web pages to control who can see them or edit them.

Some candidates seemed to think that web pages are insecure because anyone can see them. Permissions can be set to stop this. Candidates need to understand that the creater of a web page can determine who sees it, who can edit it and who can comment on it. 

Spell check – Some seem to think you can't spell check on web pages or print from them. Modern browsers include spellcheckers SHIFT F7 in Google Chrome for example. CKeditor on the TLM learning site has a spell checker too. Good idea to flag up spelling errors as common ones will happen often and eventually they should remember. Browsers do have a print option and quite often you ca export a pdf from a web page so some incorrectly talked about printing from a word processor but not a browser. The advantage of a word processor is that it will format the printing in complex ways to fit a paper size, general web pages won't. Of course Google Docs is really just a special web page configured as a word processor.

Ogg vorbis – very few knew of this file format. It is in Annexe B but it is not too surprising it is not known as it is not highly visible.  One student said it isn't widely supported? It isn't as widely visible as mp3 but it is widespread in games, spotify and embedded applications where it might not be as visible. Decoding is less energy intensive so it can save battery life on mobile devices by as much as 50%.

HTML 5 – The main reason for the move to HTML 5 from Flash is because HTML 5 is an open standard and Flash is owned by a single company. The web is based on open standards and that provides a level playing field for competition between technology companies. The idea is that with HTML 5 we can get rid of a lot of the complexity of many different and unnecessary proprietary file formats while making web development easier.  More and more applications are moving to the web because it is easier to write for a single free platform. 

0ne or two good candidates lost marks because they didn't match the answer to what the marks were being provided for. They really should attempt all questions and read each question carefully. This is why we are not putting a time pressure on the exam. We want time to thinnk carefully we are not trying to stress people into making silly mistakes. 


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