#TheFeed is back for the March/April 2017 edition, and focusses on Accessibility. In the latest issue you’ll find stories from schools specialising in SEND, studies from the British Dyslexia Association, and the latest on technologies that can aid SEND learners and those who teach them.
This extract is written by Andrew Griggs, who discusses the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championships, a competition that tests children’s skills when using Microsoft Office, managed in UK and Ireland by Prodigy Learning. The following articles explains how you can get involved!
Find out more about MOS UK Championships and watch the 2017 trailer here.
Head over to Docs.com to browse all the latest stories from this edition of #TheFeed.
#TheFeed – Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship: Join the Movement
What is the MOS Championship?
The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship (MOSWC) is a global competition that tests students’ skills on Microsoft Office, managed in the UK & Ireland by Prodigy Learning (Prodigy). In its 15th year, the 2016 MOS World Championship (MOSWC) attracted more than 700,000 unique candidates from 120 countries who took a MOS certification exam to demonstrate their mastery of Microsoft Office products.
Last year’s competition saw regional competitions held worldwide and 150 student finalists from 48 countries competed in the final round of competition in Orlando, Florida. The UK Championship had entries from 100 academic institutions with 20 finalists invited to the UK Final at Microsoft UK in June 2016. Since this time, Microsoft has gone some way in the UK and beyond in supporting schools to transform their technology environment and approach to digital literacy.
The launch of the 2017 MOS Championships will see the start of its 16th year. The UK has a great recent history in the MOS World Championship with 2 World Champions in 3 years. Three years ago in Washington D.C. Kieran Youngman (from Sawtry Community College) was crowned World Champion for MOS Word and in San Diego in 2011, Rebecca Rickwood (also from Sawtry Community College) was crowned World Champion for MOS Excel. In Las Vegas in 2010, Robert Phipps (from Royal Grammar School in Guildford) was crowned Third Place Winner.
Who can participate?
To compete in the final round of the Championship, students must be enrolled in an approved, accredited Certiport Testing Centre and be 13 to 22 years of age (as of 15 June, 2017). To participate, students must first take and pass a qualifying MOS exam in Word, Excel or PowerPoint (2013 or 2016) during the Qualifying Round to be eligible for invitation to the UK & Ireland Final. Qualifying will be operated on a Regional basis with 3 Finalists each from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales chosen to represent their Region.
“This regional approach will effectively create four Regional Championships, maximising reach and geographic diversity at the Final. The “top-score method” (highest exam score and lowest exam-taking time) will be used to calculate the regional finalists.”
What Impact have you seen within Schools, Colleges and universities?
The MOS Championships have brought a fun edge to learning with some big prizes on offer for students. Success for the Schools is also helping to promote the great work of their students and staff which is being recognised in local media. Schools are now starting to take the competition very seriously with the Ormiston Park Academy now running specific sessions for students to prepare for the Championships.
We are also seeing a demand from FE and HE partners to deliver local “Test Fests” which are a day of exam revision and mass testing! Test Fests last year saw hundreds of exams delivered in a single day and some locations even offered free pizza for students participating!
How can Imagine Academy Membership prepare students and institutions for this?
An annual Microsoft Imagine Academy subscription contains a number of key resources which will help an academic institution to setup for MOS testing. Firstly, by being a member you receive free Certiport Testing Centre setup which enables delivery of MOS exams. 10 MOS exams are included in the membership for Teacher/Instructor development which allows staff to understand the exam process before delivering MOS curriculum to students. To support teaching, ebooks, teaching resources and online learning are all provided and are mapped to the exam objectives.
Imagine Academy subscription provides Test Centres with a chance to purchase cost effective Exam Packs via Microsoft volume licensing and through Prodigy Learning. The exam packs can make MOS certification as little as £5.00 per student.
Why are certifications and skills learnt from MOS so important to the students?
The importance of digital skills in today’s and tomorrow’s job market, is indisputable. Independent research consistently ranks skills in Microsoft Office among the top five attributes that employers look for in prospective candidates.
MOS Certifications are a great way for students to not only develop these crucial digital skills required by employers, but to show that they are competent and accomplished in the tools and working methodologies that businesses need workers to use on a daily basis. However, as well as the developmental benefits of working towards a MOS Certification, there is also the opportunity for some healthy competition and fantastic prizes through the MOS World Championship!
MOS certification is the only official Microsoft-recognised certification for Microsoft Office globally and serves as a powerful instrument for assessing student skills and preparing students for real-world application.