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TAFE NSW launches world-leading mobile study app

Unlike most other digital educational applications, SkillsLocker is driven by the student, rather than the teacher.

The world's first app for mobile devices, enabling students to instantly submit assessment evidence, has just been launched by TAFE NSW. Called ‘SkillsLocker', the free web app will greatly streamline the process of collecting, verifying and assessing evidential materials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-WSkFiR5Rc

Students can access the app using their DEC account, to upload media and document files – including images, audio recordings and video – to their course teachers using any mobile device, smartphones (iPhone and Android), tablets and personal computers.

The ground-breaking new app was developed over the past 18 months by TAFE NSW Customer Support, as part of its Virtual Learning Environment Program, in a partnership with Sydney-based web developer MOB-labs.

Unlike most other digital educational applications, SkillsLocker is student-driven meaning that it is the student who instigates the interaction, rather than the teacher.

The app is links directly to training.gov.au, once they have logged on, students can select a unit of competency for a course they are enrolled in and start adding evidence for that unit.

Options are then provided to assign the relevant course and teacher. To provide further assistance to the student there is a facility for teachers to upload resources and notes to support students in collecting their evidence against the critical aspects of the unit.

Typically, this function is an opportunity for the teacher to give a ‘plain English' or fuller explanation of what is required. The student is then able to record, capture or upload their evidence: perhaps a video of them carrying and completing out a task, an image of their handiwork or a written document.

Once student have collected the evidence they are able to have it verified by a designated supervisor, instructor or manager, through either one of two digital mechanisms.

The verifier can either write their signature directly onto the screen into a verification form, or they can respond to an automatically generated message to their email account.

Through each step of the process, help in using SkillsLocker is provided through help guides, videos and FAQs.

Once the tutor receives the evidential material through their own SkillsLocker account, they can assess it. The teacher then has three options with which to respond to the student's submission: ‘Sufficient evidence provided'; ‘More evidence required'; or ‘Evidence not satisfactory'. The teacher can provide instant feedback improves teacher student communication in general, which is one of the key benefits of the app.

All activity including evidence and interactions between students and teachers can be packaged and exported as a PDF or HTML file. Integration between SkillsLocker and Mahara ePortfolio is currently being developed to enable students to export their SkillsLocker resources into an online portfolio of their work or professional resume.

The key advantages of the SkillsLocker mobile application identified by TAFE NSW

  • Unit of Competency information directly drawn from training.gov.au
  • Verified capability by a supervisor, if required, within the app with signature capture available on mobile devices.
  • Teachers are able to upload supporting resources to each Unit of Competence they deliver including notes, links to existing websites, assessment documents and guides to gathering recognition evidence, which enables students to store evidence of skills for current and future use.
  • A messaging system to enable communication between teacher and student during the evidence gathering and assessment process.
  • An ability to export as a package a Unit of Competence and associated files as HTML or PDF for record keeping purposes.
  • In-built Help text files, videos and FAQ.