An aspect of ICT, which planned on being covered in sessions but couldn’t be due to lack of time was control technology including floor turtles.
I have used floor turtles on most of my placements and they can prove to have many problems for teachers in the classroom but many children love to experiment and play with them. They come in many shapes and sizes including; Beebot, PIP and Roamer.
Both of the above have been used on placement.
Beebots (Normally used in Early Years and Key Stage 1)
I used Beebots in my 1b placements with Reception and a few Year 1’s. My mentor and I arranged it that the children will guide the Beebot around a map that I they had made previously. However, the children this very difficult as they had no real concept of measurement and how far the Beebot was moving each time. We tried several ways of explaining how far the Beebot was moving but still the children could not estimate or evaluate their answers. This was still rather early in my teaching practice and my knowledge on effective questioning was still very limited.
Therefore, in the future I would make sure that the squares on the floor mat match up to 1 movement of the Beebot to make sure the children can see it easier and evaluate their ideas better.
http://www.tts-group.co.uk/shops/tts/Range/Bee-Bot/92b201eb-0c85-4e38-a297-35932cbc56b6?pagesize=-1 – This website offers products but gives you an idea about how many accessories are available for the Beebots.
Roamer (Normally used in Key Stage 2)
We used roamers with a Year 1 and 2 group during placement 2b. This was used on my last placement with a partner. Luckily, she had taught floor technology before as well so we joined our ideas together and created free-flow activities which the children could pick and choose. However, we came across some major problems.
1) The school had very limited supply of floor turtles. There was 2 in the school and they had no batteries. This meant that there was frantic finding of batteries during the lunchtime.
2) The children had had no input into how to use floor turtles on the computer. The software that was on offer was also unsuitable for this age group because it used angles, which the children were not aware of.
The lesson was not a complete disaster but there were definite issues that were difficult to avoid due to a lack of resourcing on the schools behalf. This can be an issue with all areas of ICT. If topics are not correctly resourced then they can be difficult to use.
http://www.valiant-technology.com/us/pages/roamer_yourprojects.php?cat=1id3 – A website that explains what the robot is, has a page where teachers share their activities and a photo gallery.
P.S – When teaching using floor turtles – check the batteries the night before!