June 10, 2021
Category: Blog,Modern Studies

I’m always looking to make the site better. I’ve learned a lot about digital education in the past year, I suspect you have too. The plusses and the minuses. It’s time, I think, to grasp the opportunities offered by blended learning and where better to start than with Higher Modern Studies?

If you haven’t read this document, I can highly recommend it. Essentially it’s saying that the pandemic has happened and things in education aren’t going to be the same. Ever. But in a good way, if we see blended learning (or ‘deep learning’ as Microsoft calls it) as a positive, rather than a negative. Having a balance of face time classes and online learning can actually be better than either old style face to face all the time or having youngsters sitting passively reading powerpoints. What’s required is focused, personalised learning using the opportunities digital technologies allow. I sought to take the broad principles of Reimagining Education to construct a Higher Modern Studies website which would

  • make teaching more enjoyable – take the pressure off resource development & free the teacher up to spend time with learners
  • get better results – the SQA two term Higher dash is still here. Youngsters need results. While hopefully having learning which is fun, it has to also focus on getting results.

The hybrid model combines the best of in-school and remote learning, with digital
engagement. It is more than a quick fix. It is a way to enhance and accelerate learning by
providing student centered approaches to meet diverse learners needs.

Reimagining education: From remote to hybrid learning

There is now a new Modernity Scotland Higher Modern Studies website

It is in a Beta form at the moment but will be fully operational for the return to school in August.

Last year I worked hard to make modernity.scot more personalised for students. The problem was, if you forgive me for going a bit geeky, that I had a WordPress site which I was formatting into an education site. I bolted on a Learning Management System (Learndash) which then had various third party plug ins which I used for creating features such as school groups and note taking. All fine in theory, but it was clunky and if anything went wrong no one party was taking responsibility for sorting it.

From now on I have a site which has been designed first and foremost as an educational site, a proper e-learning solution. It has functionality which can only grow and develop.

Higher Modern Studies

I’ll now get to the nitty gritty about what’s on the site and how you can access it!

At the moment there is just Higher Modern Studies on the site. As 2021-22 progresses, I’ll have National 5 Modern Studies, AH Modern Studies and H Politics on it.

There are four Higher Modern Studies courses. I’ve chosen these according to what I think are popular Higher Modern Studies course options.

Higher Modern Studies Course Options

Say you choose Course 1, this allows the learner to

a) see the learning journey they have ahead. Each Course has lessons which match the SQA Higher Modern Studies Course Specification.

Higher Modern Studies ‘roadmap’

The learner knows in advance the content they must master.

b) The learner can also have the satisfaction of seeing their progress through the Course, from 0% to 100%.


Every bullet point in the Higher Modern Studies Course Specification has a lesson. Each lesson takes the form of a video. The video has a transcript and is supported by a powerpoint and pdf which can be downloaded.

Video: Higher Modern Studies USA Participation and Influence

There is a timeline of the video so the teacher can decide how much should be viewed at any particular time.

Video timeline

Also supporting the lesson is a Google Doc learning pack (called ‘Consolidation’). This contains a range of activities which the learner completes. It culminates in 12 mark and 20 mark questions which are scaffolded to assist the learner achieve the best marks. There is further reading/viewing for the most able/motivated. I would encourage each Learner to download each Learning Pack into a Google doc folder.

Consolidate USA Participation and Influence

To sum up, the advantages of this new approach are:

•Learners can log in to the site in class or at home

•They work at a pace they are comfortable with

•The teacher is free to go round the class discussing individual progress

•Reduces ‘one size fits all’ lessons

•The Consolidation activities assess the core aspects of the Course but also allow for further reading/viewing for the more capable

•Learners can see their own personal roadmap and can track progression through the Course

The Deal

There is just one lesson on the new site at the moment but all will be there in August.

Subscribing institutions to the new Higher Modern Studies site will have access to the ‘old’ (it’s not that old :-)) modernity.scot site for Higher Modern Studies, National 5 Modern Studies, AH Modern Studies and Higher Politics. For just £200, for all your learners, until the exams in May 2022.

Learners and teachers have their own log in and personalised account for the new site.

If you’d like to subscribe, please contact me and I’ll have you set up.

Any queries, please message me on our social media accounts, email or phone, full details on www.modernity.scot.