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30 August 2014
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Higher Still - Modern Studies - Local Government

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Education Scotland
Intermediate
Modern Studies
»Local Government
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Investigations
Filing Cabinet
Activity File
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the investigations
activity file
the filing cabinet
using the site in the classroom
using the resource centre
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site outline
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The Higher Still: Modern Studies: Local Government website asks students to investigate the operation of various council projects and initiatives in Scotland. The site focuses on contemporary issues that are relevant to students today. The site is suitable for independent use by students, providing clear, flexible and intuitive navigation. The site aims to encourage independent learning and provides the students with a dynamic and 'immersive' learning experience in real events. The website can be used as a stand-alone resource to support the teaching of the unit, though useful background will be found in the 'Higher Still: Modern Studies: Local Government in Scotland' television series (Prog 1: Services. Prog 2: Power). View details of transmission times.

The site offers a natural 'learning route' for students without supervision. However the Resource Centre gives the Investigations and the resources within them maximum flexibility of use for teachers and allows for differentiation. The site has been designed with the intention of allowing teachers to develop their own methods of delivery, using the resources they feel are most appropriate to their class and level. It is intended that the resources will be useful to teachers of other Modern Studies units.

While the site does not aim to cover all of the outcomes for the unit it aims to meet the following learning objectives:

  • describe and explain local government issues
  • evaluate primary sources
  • select evidence from primary sources

and to support the following general learning skills for Higher Still: Modern Studies:

  • handling and analysing complex data
  • adopting a structured approach to the study of contemporary issues and problems
  • constructing and sustaining lines of argument which mirror the complexity of the issues they address
  • evaluating evidence, detecting lack of objectivity and drawing and presenting conclusions in a balanced and structured way
  • participating in debate and discussion, through which attitudes of open-mindedness and tolerance are fostered
 
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the investigations
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The site is divided into 5 Investigations. In each of the Investigations, the students will find a range of primary sources to help them to meet the learning objectives of the unit outlined above.

Once the student has selected an Investigation, they will see an animated introduction. They will then be presented with the Media Page and Case File. These pages contain the essential primary sources for the Investigation: audio and video interviews, newspaper cuttings, press releases, leaflets and other official documentation. Once the students have reached the Case File, they will have access to the Activity File. This application allows the students to choose from 5 appropriate writing tasks.
 
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activity file
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The Activity File is intended to help students take notes for 5 common written exercises:

  • Press Release
  • Persuasive Letter
  • Notes for a Debate
  • Decision-Making Exercise (DME)
  • Poster Presentation

When the students enter the Activity File they will be able to select one of these activities. A screen with a brief explanation of how to complete the activity will appear on the screen. Once they have clicked 'I have read this', the screen will empty. The student can then gather information from the Investigation sources and write notes inside the text box. It is important to note that while the site offers the facility for students to write these notes, they cannot be saved and will be lost once the user leaves the site. They can be printed by selecting the "Print" option on the screen. Students can then go on to attempt another activity.

The site has also been designed for independent learners who wish to use it for more general information retrieval and research. This is provided by the Filing Cabinet.
 
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the filing cabinet
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The Filing Cabinet has been designed to provide a simple description and evaluation of the:

  • inter-relationships between local government, Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament
  • structure of local government
  • financing of local government, i.e. grants, council tax, business rates, public-private partnerships (PPP)
  • provision of services, i.e. health, housing, education, leisure, transport, culture, cleansing and refuse, environment
  • work of officials and councillors
  • useful external links to relevant organisations for further research
 
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using the site in the classroom
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The site has been designed for use with both a multimedia projector and interactive whiteboard as well as individual PCs. In this way the class can use the site as a whole, individually or in smaller groups.

The site uses HTML code which is readable by all web browsers. It also has audio-visual, graphic and animation content which means that there are applications using Macromedia Flash, Real Media and Adobe Acrobat. If you do not have these applications, they are easily downloaded from this site: View plug-in information. Most schools and colleges can access these plug-ins, but if you are experiencing difficulty you should consult your ICT Co-ordinator. He/she can get in touch with the service provider that maintains computers for your LEA and ask them to make it possible. HTML alternatives are provided where Flash is unavailable, however, these pages will not be animated.

If students are using individual PCs, they might want to use headphones whilst working on the website. This will help them concentrate on where they are in the website rather than being distracted by the audio commentary from other computers.

The 'Students' page link on the left-hand navigation bar will give full explanations of all functions to the user.
 
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using the resource centre
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There may be too many resources in an Investigation for your class to manage in one lesson. The Resource Centre allows you to customize the Investigation you use in the classroom by selecting the resources you would like your students to see.


GO TO THE RESOURCE CENTRE

 
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