Claire's blog

BA (QTS) Primary Education

Vision Statement

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November 21, 2012 Posted 3:24 pm

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have gradually developed, and become much more advanced, over a period of time. When I was in primary school ‘IT’, as it was called then, was time when you were allowed to go and use one of the two computers that the school had to type up a piece of work or to create a picture on Paint. At the time, this was brilliant; 1: because it got you out of the classroom and 2: we were allowed to use the newest pieces of equipment in the entire school!

IT gradually became increasingly popular throughout schools and it became a taught subject where children would learn how to use computers. Selwyn et al (2010) argues that when the curriculum changed in 2000, and ‘IT’ became ‘ICT’, ICT became more inclusive and focused on technologies being used across the curriculum; however, ICT lessons should keep a focus on learning the skills and understanding needed to allow children, and teachers, to use technologies across the entire curriculum. After all, as Allen et al (2007) highlights, if teachers do not have a good understanding of ways that ICT can be used, then they will not be able to use it effectively to enhance their lessons.

Both as a student and a teacher, I enjoy using ICT. I have moments where I have some serious words with my laptop; however, without the use of it for numerous reasons, I would not be able to search the internet, complete assignments, use social networking sites or store and edit my photographs. Many of these things we take for granted but as a teacher, the children need to know how to use ICT effectively and how to stay safe when using ICT.

One of the most fundamental aspects that should be covered within ICT lessons should be internet safety.  Selwyn et al (2010) argues that a stronger focus should be put on teaching safety to children as a case study showed that some children could not distinguish between an annoyance or problem and an actual danger. If children are taught how to use the internet effectively and safely then they will benefit from using this within other aspects of the curriculum and outside of the school, while being aware of the risks. All schools that have access to the internet have a policy, that is usually called the Acceptable Use Policy, which is in many cases developed with the parents and discusses the risks and benefits of using the internet and mentions how these will be managed within the school (Allen et al, 2007).

The curriculum for ICT is currently being reviewed and staying safe using ICT is one of the main areas of focus. Another area of focus of the draft curriculum is Digital Literacy.  Allen et al (2007) argues that Digital Literacy will be an important part of allowing children and teachers to use new technologies effectively and creatively. ICT should be taught in an interesting and meaningful way to the children as well as in a context that the children can understand (Ager, 2003). This can be established through the use of digital literacy when looking at social networking, that many children will be familiar with, and through searching and retrieving information and using this within other subjects to enhance learning.

“One of the greatest virtues of ICT is its flexibility and hence its capacity for increasing the efficiency of teaching and learning by combining the development of ICT capabilities with children’s subject learning.” (Bennett et al, 2007, p.79). There are many arguments as to whether ICT should be embedded within the curriculum or taught as a separate curriculum subject. As the current curriculum has ICT as a separate curriculum subject and through some of the curriculum subjects, my view is that there should be time for children to develop effective ICT skills but also be given plenty of opportunities to use these skills throughout all of the subjects within the curriculum so that it can enhance both their skills in ICT and other subjects. ICT skills need to be developed and practised, but also used to enable the skills to be useful to them (Duffty, 2006 and Ager, 2003).

Goddard and Walton (2009) argue that schools spend three times more on ICT than books; but ICT does not raise the standards significantly. This depends on whether or not ICT is used effectively and to the best of its ability. Many children who consider themselves to be ‘not-so-good’ at Literacy or Mathematics may excel themselves within ICT in general, or certain aspects, which can then increase their abilities in other curriculum subjects if used effectively. This would then make the above statement false. Personally I agree that ICT can enhance performance in all aspects of the curriculum if the technologies are used effectively. In order for ICT to be used effectively, children need to be appropriately challenged to extend their existing skills, which will show progression in ICT (Ager, 2003 and Bennett et al, 2007). Potter and Darbyshire (2005, p.23) highlight how ICT should be approached to make sure that all children benefit from the possibilities of ICT as many children may already have the capabilities and need to be further challenged, “ICT capability goes beyond the ability to use certain ICT techniques; it includes having conceptual understandings and making use of higher-order skills.”

As previously mentioned, ICT has developed a significant amount since I was at school and I believe that the most should be made of the possibilities in order for the children to benefit significantly from the range of technologies available to them. Children have many opportunities to solve problems and teachers can provide real situations in which to do so (Dimitriadi, 2012). This can help children to develop their skills and use their skills with the prospect of knowing those skills will be of use throughout their life as technology continues to develop.

References

Ager, R. (2003) Information and Communications Technology in Primary Schools: Children or Computers in Control? 2nd Edition. London: David Fulton.

Allen, J., Potter, J., Sharp, J. and Turvey, K. (2007) Primary ICT: Knowledge, Understanding and Practice. 3rd edition. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Bennett, R., Hamill, A. and Pickford, T. (2007) Progression in Primary ICT. Abingdon: David Fulton.

Dimitriadi, Y., Hodson, P. and Ludhra, G. (2012) Emphasising the ‘C’ in ICT: Speaking, Listening and Communication. Abingdon: Routledge. In: Jones, D. and Hodson, P. (eds.) Unlocking Speaking and Listening. pp. 156-170.

Duffty, J. (2006) Extending Knowledge in Practice: Primary ICT. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Goddard, G. and Walton, A. (2009) Education in the Twenty-First Century. In: Walton, A. and Goddard, G. (eds.) Supporting Every Child. Exeter: Learning Matters. pp. 146-159.

Potter, F. and Darbyshire, C. (2005) Understanding and Teaching the ICT National Curriculum. London: David Fulton.

Selwyn, N., Potter, J. and Cranmer, S. (2010) Primary Schools and ICT: Learning from Pupil Perspectives. London: Continuum International Publishing.

ICT Session 5 alternative activity: QR codes curriculum application

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November 21, 2012 Posted 3:08 pm

Unfortunately due to illness, I could not attend the session 5 of ICT so I approached an activity on my own using QR codes as I had only created  a couple in the previous lesson and was a little unsure of how you could use them effectively in a cross-curricular way in the classroom.

QR codes in a Science ‘Healthy Eating’ lesson.

A possible resource for children to use as a prompt to know the amount of certain ingredients to look for.

  • could set up a large shop with different sections and put children into mixed ability groups.
  • Children given a different task each e.g. to create 3 balanced meals for a child to consume in a day, create a balanced diet menu for a wedding celebration meal or create 3 balanced meals for someone who cannot eat dairy products.
  • Each item could have a QR code that lead them to the information about the product e.g. what food group it is in, possibly the nutritional value and the ingredients and how much it contributes towards a guideline daily allowa
  • nce: obviously what information you include would depend on the ability of the children and the objective of the lesson.
  • This can be used for ICT with the QR codes; mathematics with possible percentages, figures and quantities and would be part of the Science curriculum with healthy eating. The children would also be making use of their collaborative and problem solving skills and the task could be made as open ended and as adaptable as a teacher would make it

If children were to make a healthy lunchbox:

The children could find some items that they think would be good for the lunchbox and QR code them to see whether or not they create a balanced lunch together.

The children could do this after learning about some of the food we need more of and the foods we need less of or they could use a pie chart with picture on to give them some sort of idea what they need to look for, which would be more towards the start of the topic to help them learn about some of the food and food groups.

Once the children had completed the activity and given feedback to the class, they could create their own QR codes, by text or picture, to show children what they could put in their lunchbox. These could be linked to the school website and QR codes could be sent out to parents in the school newsletter or with the children so the parents could share the children’s ideas.

As previously mentioned, this activity could be approached in many ways and the QR codes could be created by the teacher or the children or a bit of both. Some items already have QR codes on them and this may show the children what sorts of information they could put into their own QR codes.
Here is an example of a QR code that could be on a product that children could use as part of their QR code to create their healthy lunchbox QR code.

ICT session 4: Mobile Technologies

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October 23, 2012 Posted 8:53 pm

They are now a wide range of mobile devices that we use on a day-to-day basis but these are becoming more and more available in classrooms also. Some of these devices involve mobile-phones, laptops and iPad’s.

In the session, we focused on iPad apps, both free and paid for. We looked at iMovie and VideoScribe, which are apps that you need to pay for, and Scan and Morfo which are free apps! We all like free apps!

iMovie

iMovie is an app that allows you to make a ‘project’ or a ‘trailer’ using video that you take through the app, video already on the iPad or photos taken through the app or that are already on the device. Unfortunately, iMovie is not available on the iPhone, only the iPad but it is very amusing and well worth a try – I reckon, 8/10, possibly 9.

Scan

Scan is a free app that can be used to scan QR codes that are now everywhere. When scanned, the codes can take you to a site or give you some information about the item you are scanning. QR codes can also be used to create games such as treasure hunts; however, you need some time to play around with the app to be able to create treasure hunts and things. I think its pretty good that you can create your own codes using scan.me. – Probably 6/10 or 7 if I had a chance to explore them better.

I haven’t yet used the other two apps so it would be unfair to rate them against the others; although from what I have seen, they look quite interesting.

As many of my friends know, I have my own iPad and I have an app called Photo Booth that I believe came with the iPad 3 and during the lesson, Jenny and I used this to take morphed photo’s of ourselves. We used these in iMovie to create a morphed, and quite scary, trailer of ourselves as if we were creating a movie about ourselves at uni:

I had many issues attempting to upload the iMovie onto my blog. I tried sending via email, but it was too large. Uploading via ‘attach/insert media’ and then uploading onto YouTube  however this all failed.

Eventually I managed to get it to upload onto YouTube by sending the video to my laptop (instead of straight from the iPad, then inserting the link into my blog. After FINALLY getting there, or so i thought, I asked my partner Darren to try and find the video – this also failed … so I created a QR code from were I uploaded the video and asked him to use this link – IT WORKED!

So finally, the determination paid off and I have uploaded the video and the QR code to the iMovie – ‘The Spooky School of Education‘ by Claire and Jenny.

After playing around with iMovie, we though it would be a good idea to create a QR code that would lead us to our blogs. Very cool idea I thought, until I realised I would be blogging about it and therefore be on my blog page already so people would not need to scan the code to get there, haha! … so I created a second QR code for people to go back to the ‘Year 3 Class Blog‘ (In case you hadn’t noticed, I have created a hyperlink to the class blog page too in case of QR code failure).

The use of the apps with children and cross-curricular links

  •  Children could create their own treasure hunt using QR codes – this could be used in a cross-curricular trail with OAA activities in P.E. or scavenger hunts in Science.
  • In literacy, children could be looking at stories or poetry and use VideoScribe or iMovie as an additional resource to make their poem or story come to life.
  • QR codes could be used to give the children a set of instructions that can be referred back to – the instructions could be given out in small groups so the other groups do not know what the instructions are for other groups – this could be used for differentiation purposes also.
  • Children could create their own music videos, possibly after creating their own music or dances – this would be used in expressive subjects or P.E. and drama – this could be for in lesson projects, concerts or clubs.
  • Any of the apps being used in the classroom can provide opportunities for the children to be actively involved with an ICT lesson as well as develop ICT skills and use mobile technology.
  • The children can be given guidelines or just b given an opportunity to explore the apps and see what they come up with.
  • There can be plenty of opportunities for both group and individual work and presentation skills (if the children feedback to the rest of the class).

For anyone who has an opportunity to use mobile technology in any of their lesson across the curriculum  i seriously recommend trying some of these apps with the children as they will want to become involved and will have a sense of achievement with their finished pieces (as I was!)

A big thank you to Jenny for working with me – our video is definitely unique!

ICT session 3: creating a computer programming resource

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October 16, 2012 Posted 7:36 pm

As I mentioned in my last post, we created a child-friendly resource in this lesson. Ours was obviously brilliant as it was created by the shortest and tallest person in the class!

Wordle: Untitled

Shane and I used scratch to create a game that was cross-curricular in terms of ICT, Science and Mathematics. Our initial idea was a counting game and as we had been in Science learning about habitats the lesson before, and overheard another group come up with the idea, we adapted this into our game also. We wanted to create something that both KS1 and KS2 children could use. The main aspects of the game are: creatures of the sea, counting how many appear and the possibility of adapting the game or creating their own.

We worked together on creating the game by sharing the jobs: Shane created the background of the sea on his computer by ‘painting’ the ‘stage’ while I created the codes for the characters so that we could animate them how we wished.

Here is a screenshot of some of the characters being animated.

We hoped that we would be able to save the animations onto a memory stick and somehow merge them onto the background; however, we couldn’t, so Shane copied all of the animations that I had done into the background that he had created to bring the project together. We made sure that the animations worked correctly and discussed some of the features; for example, if we should include a counter (we decided against this as it did not matter if the children counted the correct amount, this was not the purpose of the game) and whether or not to include sound so that children would know when the had clicked a creature (we decided this would be helpful), and here we are, our cross-curricular-under-the-sea-counting game…how original!

Learn more about this project#

Keys Stage 1 activities related to this game                                        

  • Playing the game.                                                                                         
  • creating a character for the game (using codes given).              
  • discussing the animals in the habitat (Science).                              
  • counting the characters (Mathematics)                                                 
  • working in groups or pairs to create simple counting game.    
Key Stage 2 activities related to this game
  • playing the game and discussing adjustments
  • creating a character and exploring new actions.
  • creating games with different habitats and creatures over a number of sessions (Science and ICT).
  • working in pairs or groups to create a more complex game.

There are many other aspects of this game that can be adapted or the game could be used as a stimulus; for example to create a story in Literacy based on habitats. The children could work individually, in some situations, but this is a brilliant chance to get the children to work in groups and encourage the groups to name a project leader, share out the jobs and, in some cases – more Key Stage 2, use exploratory talk to discuss ideas that they could put into creating a new game. The group work does not need to be completed as Shane and I did it, it could be completed as each member produce a copy, all the children take it in turns to work on one computer or or the group nominate one person to complete the computing while the other group members give directions. I would recommend the way that Shane and I completed our group activity because each person completed a part but the discussion was ongoing as we talked about what we were both doing and asked each other for ideas. The outcome was pretty good, Thank you Mr Booth for your co-operation!                                                                                                                                                         

ICT session 2: Intro to computer programming

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October 16, 2012 Posted 5:46 pm

In this lesson, we were introduced to computer programming with such programs as Scratch and Kodu. I decided to focus mainly on Scratch as I was intrigued by the variety of codes available to create an animation and wanted to see if I could create one myself.

To explore the program as much as I wanted to before beginning would take too long during the lesson so I thought I would explore another time and I used one of the project packs to help me to create a game. I adapted the game with such things as changing the Sprites and the background. I also changed some of the instructions. The pack I used was level 1 and as I had never even heard of the program let alone used it before, I figured this would be a good place to start.

When I first sat down at the computer, I thought … How on earth can someone learn to use something like this in one lesson; however, I surprised greatly by producing something that was entertaining and almost original (with the help of the pack). There are many project packs on the Scratch website to help you to get started.

The ‘Ghost Game’ I created features … ghosts, believe it or not, and the idea is to click on as many as you can within the 30 second time limit. Here is the finished product:

Learn more about this project

The ‘Ghost Game’ could be used with KS1 or KS2 children to create their own game or to adapt the original, as I did, as a starter. If I was to teach children how to create their own animation with Scratch then I would set the task over a half-term (or term depending on the project) so that the children could create something that is theirs and something that they can be proud of.

Extension activities could include adapting the game, including another character or changing the existing characters or creating a new game entirely.

Of course Scratch is not the only computer program available for children to use, as previously mentioned. There are also iPad app’s available such as ‘Daisy the Dinosaur‘, ‘Cargo bot‘ and others. Many of the apps are free for the iPad (as Scratch is a free computer download) and do not include a huge amount of features so they would be great to use with KS1 but there are also more complex app’s available for KS2.

We will be using computer programming in the next session to create a group resource!

ICT Session 1: eSafety

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October 8, 2012 Posted 2:56 pm

E-safety is an increasingly important aspect of ICT ; however, children may find it dull when learning about it year after year: so much so that they may not pay too much attention and miss important information that can help to keep them safe. Even some adults do not realise exactly how important it is. Some people think that anti-virus software can be enough to protect a computer or a password can be enough to protect a phone, although one of the largest dangers when it comes to e-safety is ourselves. If we do not consider what information we make available to the public, or think about changing our privacy settings, or opening a mysterious email, then we could end up with a virus or with strangers obtaining our personal information.

Wordle: eSafety

When teaching children about e-safety, it is important that teachers make the lessons exciting for children so they can participate and fully understand why they need to stay safe using the Internet and hand-held devices.

A useful website for both teachers and children to use is: Kidsmart. The site has areas for children, parents and teachers. The children’s area has games and information for children to look at; the games are interactive so the children can enjoy learning about e-safety as they play them and use the knowledge that they gain to help them to keep safe while using the Internet and hand-held devices. The teachers area has information and lesson plans to help them to teach children about e-Safety in an active way. The parents section provides the parents with information that can help them to support their child with becoming responsible about all aspects of e-safety and keeping themselves protected.

Another website similar to this with sections for parents, teacher, children and training teachers is thinkuknow. This website provides quizzes for people to assess their knowledge of e-safety and to inform them of what they need to know in order to keep themselves and others protected when using hand-held devices and computers.

The BBC has a section on their website about ‘Staying Safe’. This section contains videos for children that are enjoyable to watch and provide important information through meaningful contexts. The children could have discussion about the videos in groups to see how they impact on them and how the children would feel in those particular situations. Each group could feedback to the class about their views and come to a decision as a class about how each situation should be dealt with.
Cyber bullying has unfortunately had a huge impact over the years on many children so it is important that they are made aware of it and given advice on how to deal with it if by any unfortunate chance it was to happen to them, or to someone that they knew.

It is an important topic for teachers to cover at school as this is the time that the children are most likely to start using the Internet, and perhaps a mobile phone, so they need to know about it in order to try and prevent cyber bullying from happening to them. Teachers could use a wide range of activities to teach children about cyber bullying such as watching videos of some scenarios, using role-play in groups, sorting cards out with statements, that are bullying and not bullying, to see if the children are aware of certain cyber bullying aspects. It is also extremely important for teachers, parents and any other adults to make the children fully aware that they have people to talk to if they become unfortunate enough to have cyber bullying affecting them.

Video from: OnGuardOnline.gov (cyber bullying)

Ten tips for children to deal with cyberbullying are:http://www.onguardonline.gov

  • Ignore it to the best of your ability.
  • Do not respond but keep evidence.
  • Report it to an adult.
  • Make someone you can trust aware of it so you do not have to feel like you are going through it alone.
  • Do not open any messages/ emails you are unsure of.
  • Password protect your devices and do not tell anyone what the password is.
  • Change privacy settings to friends only where possible.
  • If using a mobile and it continues, get the number changed.
  • Do not speak to anyone you do not know, even if suggested by a friend, if you are unsure then do not speak to them.
  • Do not post private information anywhere it could be seen by strangers.

Cyber bullying is awful, however if all aspects of e-safety are taken into account and teachers and parents make children fully aware of it then hopefully it can be avoided.

My First Blog

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October 2, 2012 Posted 12:22 pm

Today was our first ICT session in year 3.

In this session, we created our blogs and if you are reading this blog then I have successfully completed my first post.

 

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