Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

My Vision Statement..

ICT is becoming increasingly recognised as essential to children’s learning and development, claiming to ‘transform education for the better’ (Gillespie, 2006, pp.1). It is argued that when children are learning about ICT, they are ‘being equipped to participate in a constantly developing world’ (Duffy, 2006,pp.7). With technology developing at an incredible pace, and interactive whiteboards and iPads now a familiar feature in most primary classrooms, the need to provide children with a vast experience of ICT has never been more crucial.

When thinking of my experience of ICT in primary school, I can vaguely remember being taught how to use basic programmes such as ‘Microsoft Word’ and ‘Paint’- this is as far as my knowledge of computer programmes went. The National Curriculum (DfEE, 1999) programme of study for ICT was developed at a time where computers in primary school were limited, and there was no such thing as iPads and other such advanced technology. Consequently, in January 2012, it was recognised that there was need for a change. A review of the National Curriculum for ICT was announced by the Secretary of State for Education, which resulted in NAACE developing a draft ICT framework. The framework states that ICT has the ‘potential to be a powerful enabler of transformation, equipping our learners to make invaluable contributions to society’ (NAACE, 2012); I think this is necessary if children are going to remain up to date with the developing world of technology. NAACE (2012) claim  that the necessary skills can be taught through the three Programmes of Study:

  • Digital Literacy
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Science
‘Digital Literacy’  is the ability to access digital technology, as well as the impact of technology on society.  It involves children exploring technology, considering how they can use it to express themselves. This is something which I feel fairly secure in my understanding of – I worked with a Year 2 class on placement concentrating on how to remain safe online. ‘Information technology’ looks at ‘digital systems’, considering how technology can be used purposefully and creatively. For instance, iPads could be used to promote this area of study, encouraging the exploration of a range of different apps. ‘Computer Science’ mainly focuses on how computer systems function. A good introduction to this would be work on computer programming on ‘Scratch‘ (see previous post ‘Scratch’).
NAACE (2012) place ‘digital wisdom’ at the heart of their Framework for ICT, claiming this is built through five areas of study:
As discussed in an earlier post, e-safety – the ‘safe and responsible use’ of ICT, as recognised in the five areas of study (NAACE, 2012) – is essential to children in today’s society. The internet is an important tool for finding things out, as well exchanging and sharing information (Potter and Darbyshire, 2007). However, Hayes (2004) recognises the risks proposed by the internet, including ‘grooming’ and ‘bullying’; therefore states it is essential for such issues to be integrated into the curriculum. This can be done through making children aware of such campaigns ‘Click Clever, Click Safe’ (see previous post ‘E-Safety: How can children keep safe online?’), and introducing them to websites such as Kidsmart and Thinkuknow. In doing so, children will become aware of the potential dangers online, ensuring that they remain safe not only in school, but also when using the internet at home.
The suggested Framework states that there should be vast opportunities to integrate aspects of ICT throughout the curriculum, with ‘contextual problem solving and application of ICT skills and knowledge’ being the responsibility of all teachers (NAACE, 2012). With most classrooms having access to an interactive whiteboard, it is becoming almost second nature to teachers to introduce ICT into all areas of the curriculum.  The integration of the interactive whiteboard into lessons can stimulate children’s interest in a topic through keeping the lesson interactive, and therefore engaging them in their learning (Potter and Derbyshire, 2007).
On my 2b placement, I found that the school particularly valued the use of technology across the curriculum. The majority of the children’s learning was documented through  digital photography, with children being encouraged to take pictures and videos of their own work. Additionally, the children had access to a suite of computers which they could use in their free time, as well as an iPad per classroom. This meant that children were used to dealing with advanced technology on a daily basis. However, it is recognised by Medows (2006) that children can quickly become unenthused by the  used of ICT in the classroom; children may get used to the technology or they tend to use more advanced and interesting technologies outside of the classroom. In order to avoid this, teachers must ensure to use a range of different technological devices in a range of different ways across the curriculum, with the aim of keeping the children engaged.
ICT has developed significantly since I was in primary school, and it is continuing to do so. In order to allow for children ‘to understand the world through computational thinking’, whilst also providing the opportunity for ‘excitement in using and developing digital technology’ (NAACE, 2012), teachers must ensure children have access to an engaging curriculum that is relevant to a society which is becoming ever-more reliant on technology.

Potter, F. And Derbyshire, C. (2007) Understanding and teaching the ICT national curriculum. Oxon: Routledge

Hayes, E. (2004) Internet safety [online] Available from: [Accessed 20th November 2012]

Gillespie, H (2006) Unlocking Learning and Teaching with ICT: Identifying and overcoming barriers. London: David Fulton

Duffty, J. (2006) Primary ICT.  Exeter: Learning Matters

Meadows, J. (2010) E-learning. In: Arthur, J. and Cremin, T. (eds.) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. pp. 402-411.

NAACE (2012) Draft Naace Framework for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2  [online] Available from: [Accessed 20th November 2012]

Webb, J. (2012) ICT Programme of Study Consultation [online]. . Available from: [Accessed 21st November 2012]


Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Green Screening.

This week we also had some time to look at green screening – for this you need; a person, a green screen, a background picture and Using this you can put children anywhere in the world! This would be great for a ‘where am i?’, looking at different places in the world or periods of time.

Although I didn’t try out the software myself, from observing and reading about others experiences, I can gather that it is something you must get used to using. However, I think it is well worth getting  familiar with and I definitely plan to have an experiment of my own when I get the chance!

After coming home and researching the use of green screening in television and gaming, I was shocked to see how much it is actually used! Here is a video looking at the making of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – green screening is used everywhere! Below is shorter a video showing the breakdown of the various visual effects. You can briefly see the use of green screening!


I feel that green screening is something I would definitely consider using in the classroom – it has the potential to be so much fun!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

A curriculum resource.

So after experimenting with iMovie last week, we got into groups to look at how the app could be used to create a curriculum resource – I worked with Aaron and Emma. As we had already looked at how to make a trailer, we chose to use iMovie to create a simple film. I am quite camera shy so decided to take on the role of cameraman/director!

You can see our video ‘The Art of the University of Northampton’ below:

Our video looked at the  intentional and unintentional art around the university. We thought that it would be a great way to show children that you can create a simple video on practically anything! The app could be used to create an informative video on something they have enjoyed studying.. This could then be presented to the class.

Whilst looking for information on using iMovie in the classroom, I found ‘Using iMovie to Ehance Learning‘ – this gives lots of ideas of how the app might be used in school.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012


After looking at QR codes and creating my own, I used the rest of the ‘mobile technologies’ session on the iPads exploring the apps that are available. I have an iPhone so I thought there wouldn’t be much difference between that an the iPad, however I found that the iPad was so much easier to use because of its size! Also, there seems to be more apps available on the iPad,  and I could see how lots of them could be used in the classroom.

In the session we looked at iMovie and Videoscribe – these are apps that were paid for – as well as Morfo, which is a free app.


In this app you can make your own ‘project’ or ‘trailer’ using photos or videos – these could have already been on the iPad or you could take your own. When experimenting, I selected a template and changed the script around to suit what I wanted to do. I then took various clips and then selected the sections that I wanted to use and put them into the trailer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to upload my video to YouTube successfully so I can’t show you what I did!

The different templates for the trailers mean that the app could be used for so many different reasons across the curriculum, with children of all ages. I thought that that the app could be used in the following ways..

  • Literacy: the app could be used to create or re-tell a story
  • Geography: iMovie could be used to document a trip and then create a story
  • PE: children could record their work and watch it back, editing it to make suggestions for improvement
  • Science: the app could be used to make trailers to predict the outcome of an experiment or enquiry
The app cold be used in lower Key Stage 1 to introduce a topic – the teacher could create their own video, which In think would really get the children’s attention! However, the app is really easy to use so children from upper Key Stage 1 could probably use it with help, and children at Key Stage 2 would need very  little support. The app encourages children to develop their speaking and listening skills as it requires group work, and has the potential for children to create work that they might present.


This app is so much fun! You can turn a photo of your face into a ‘talking, dancing, crazy 3D character’. I found it quite difficult to do at first  as I couldn’t  align my eyes and mouth correctly to make them move.. I eventually managed it but I think I still might need a bit of practice! The video below is amazing at showing what you an do with Morpho when you know what you’re doing.. I think it’s hilarious!

Although this app doesn’t necessarily link to any area of the curriculum, it is a great way to introduce children to the types of thing you can do on an iPad. I’m sure the app would be fun to use with both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 🙂


So next week, we are going to look at working in groups to create a resource!


Watch this space 🙂




Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Ermm, QR codes?

This is something that I have never really understood.

I was once in a restaurant when the waiter handed me the bill, attached to a card and said if I wanted to hear about their upcoming offers then I should scan the QR code on the back of the card he had handed me.. I looked at him completely blank. He then told me to download a ‘QR reader’ onto my iPhone.. I found that I could scan the code and it immediately took me to their website!

So as you might imagine, when I was told we were going to be looking at QR codes in ICT this week, I struggled to see how they could possibly be useful in school.. I was so wrong! QR codes are practically everywhere now – mainly for advertising purposes – so children are most likely to have seen them at some point. This means that they are most likely to wonder what they are, or already have an experience of them. With iPhones and iPads being used more and more in the classroom, we can introduce children to a fun way of using QR codes. I think they are brilliant way of grabbing children’s attention!

After all this talk about QR codes, I had to make my own! I used the website Scan Me to create my own QR code. Below is a link to the Year 3 class blog 🙂



If you want to read QR codes there are different QR code readers that you can download through the app store on an iPad or iPhone, with ‘QR Reader’ and ‘Scan’, just to name a few. You hold the device over the code and wait for it to scan – it will then take you to the link!

In school, QR codes could be used:

  • to create a scavenger hunt for children, giving clues through the QR code
  • on children’s homework to give parents information
  • on classroom displays, linking to videos of children talking about their work

So there are lots of different ways to use these across the curriculum, I really hope you’ll have a go at making your own 🙂



Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Scratch in school..

In last weeks lesson we looked at the basics of computer programming, particularly focusing on Scratch. Unfortunately, I was poorly for this weeks session so having looked at what the rest of my group had been doing, I decided to work on my own to create my own resource to be used in Key Stage 1. I chose to create a simple game, ‘Ghosts and Dragons’, which involves catching the ghosts and dragons by clicking on them – it’s more difficult that you would think!

Once I got used to the software I was able to play around with the different ‘sprites’, making them move in different ways.I found it quite hard to make the ghosts and dragons move in different directions but I eventually managed it! I then added some sound effects 🙂 So eventually I was able to create a project that I am fairly proud of!

Anyway, here’s what I ended up with..

Although the game isn’t based on a certain topic,  I thought it would be fun to use in lower Key Stage 1 as younger children all love to play games! I would probably choose to use it on the interactive whiteboard, getting all the children involved. It would also be a good way to introduce children to the software and show them what you can do with it.

Thinking about cross-curricular links in Key Stage 1, this resource could be used in some different ways..

  • English: it would be good for the topic of fairy tales or other fiction texts. The children could create a story about what is happening in the game and why, or think about the different characters that are involved.
  • Mathematics: the children could count the characters as they disappear.

The resource could also be useful when introducing children to Scratch  to make their own project – this could be done in Key Stage 1 or 2. In Key Stage 1, the children could add their own characters or change the background, whereas in Key Stage 2 the children could begin to look at different actions, and eventually lead to creating their own version of the game.

When creating their own Scratch project, children should take their time, completing a different step each session – for instance, they may add their background or sprites in one session, then begin to make them move over the next few sessions. Otherwise it might be a bit overwhelming! If children are going to make a really good project, it should take a half, or even a whole term!

I think that Scratch is particularly good for allowing children to be creative and work at their own level. The programme is really flexible depending on the child’s ability, therefore it could be used in both Key Stage 1 and 2. Also, at whatever age, all children will have different ideas and visions for their final project, and so it would be great to see all the different outcomes at the end of the term – I’m sure the children would really enjoy trying out each others games or stories!


Anyway, I hope you enjoyed having a look at what I did 🙂

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

What is Scratch?

So in this session we looked at computer programming.. Something I knew basically nothing about! As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty daunted at the beginning of the session, thinking that it definitely would’t be something I would find easy!

We were introduced to ‘Scratch’. When I first saw the program I had no idea where to start, and it took a while of listening and watching demonstrations for me to understand how it worked. Scratch is actually a really simple, easy to use software through which you can make interactive games or stories using programming.

You can download Scratch free from the internet, which I thought was great as I then had the chance to download it at home and experiment 🙂

When you load Scratch you start off with a ‘sprite’ which initially is a cat animation. The screen looks something like this..

Screenshot of ‘Scratch’

To someone like me – who hasn’t used scratch before – it looked quite confusing! The Scratch website however gives lots of information about how to use the software. I found this really useful 🙂 The programme allows for you to add or create a background, and also add ‘sprites’ which you then can make move or add sounds to!

Another similar piece of software we talked about was Kudo – this is similar to Scratch as it also looks at how computer programming can be used for making games and is easily accessible to children.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Something to help..

After looking at e-safety, I thought it might be useful to share some useful websites 🙂


Kidsmart is a fun website that aims to help children keep safe online. The site contains a range of information that is easily accessible for children, as well as interactive games. The site looks at issues such as; social networking, safe searching, mobile phones and digital footprints, whilst also providing children with a list of fun websites and posters of advice on how to stay safe.

Screenshot of Kidsmart Website


Thinkuknow is another great website full of information about internet safety. The site has lots of interactive games and activities that allow children to learn about how to stay safe online in a fun and enjoyable way.

Screenshot of Thinkuknow Website

Both websites also have sections for parents and teachers, offering them advice on how to keep children safe whilst browsing the internet.


Sunday, October 14th, 2012

E-Safety: How can children keep safe online?

So throughout Year 1 and 2 of this course we focused a lot on e-safety; we looked at the potential issues and concerns of children using the internet, considering the best ways to keep children safe online.

Personally, I feel strongly that all children should have the opportunity to explore the internet as it is a valuable source of information. However, it is essential that children understand the importance of staying safe online.

In schools there is usually some sort of filter in place to ensure that children are not able to access any inappropriate sites. In order to be cautious however – when using the internet for a particular purpose – rather than allowing children to simply use a search engine to look for information, it is best to give children a list of sites that you have looked at beforehand. This will ensure that children access appropriate information, as well as stay on task!

Using the internet in school is one thing, but with 80% of households in the UK with access to the internet, it would appear that most children go online at home. This should be seen as a fantastic opportunity for children, however there are some risks that children must be made aware of.

With social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter becoming more and more popular, there are greater potential risks for children online. Whilst on placement in a Year 5 class, I found that children were already on Facebook, even though the terms and conditions state that ‘you will not use Facebook if you are under 13’. With Facebook not asking for any proof of age, we have to accept that there will be some children registered to the site who are not actually old enough!

We could remind children that they should not be using certain sites due to their age, however personally I think that children will continue to use these sites regardless – if most of their friends are on the site they are not going to want to be left out! Therefore, I think the best way to address the issue is to ensure that children are aware of how to protect themselves on such sites.

The UK Council for Internet Safety introduced the strategy ‘Click Clever, Click Safe‘  in 2009. The strategy aims to ensure that children are taught, from the age of 5, how to stay safe online. Alongside the strategy is the campaign ‘Zip it, Block it, Flag it’ which encourages children to take the following actions:

‘Zip it, Block it, Flag it’ Internet Safety Code

The government suggests using the code in schools as a foundation for teaching internet safety. Internet safety does not have to be taught exclusively in ICT lessons however, it may be taught through other areas of the curriculum, such as PSHE. In a Year 3/4 class, I saw drama being used during circle time to explore how someone might feel if they received hurtful messages online. The children then discussed the best ways to deal with such issues and collectively decided on the actions they would take if they were ever in such a situation.

By making sure children are familiar with this code, we can help keep them safe when using the internet – both in and out of school. With the harsh reality of cyber-bullying and the grooming of young children online, it is essential that we ensure children are aware of what is inappropriate and how they should deal with such issues.
For more information on ‘Zip it, Block it, Flag it’, I found that the Childalert website was particularly helpful!

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

What do I know so far?

If I’m completely honest, when I started this course I knew little about ICT myself, let alone how to use it in the primary school. I was able to use Microsoft Office, and I was also used to going online – this was mainly to visit social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook!

However, in Year 1 I was able to see that there are so many more ways in which I could, and should, be using ICT. In my ‘ICT E-Portfolio’ I discussed the new things I learnt about such as; interactive whiteboards, modelling and simulation, information literacy and presentation software.

In Year 2, I thought about what I’d learnt over the past two years and produced a poster about ICT in the primary school.

Since starting this course I feel so much more confident in my own ability to use ICT, and now love using it in the classroom!

I have never blogged before and it has taken me a while to have a look around and get used to how it works! However, once I’m used to it, hopefully it will be a good way to share my ideas and thoughts on ICT in the primary school, as well as to show how my own understanding of ICT has developed in Year 3 🙂

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