NKH's ICT Blog

Just a girl from Manchester trying to get a good career :)

Vision Statement

Filed under: Vision Statement — Nicola-Kate at 12:13 pm on Tuesday, November 13, 2012  Tagged , , , , ,

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers” (Pablo Picasso)…lets prove Picasso wrong!

Information Communication Technology in the primary school is a topic of fast-developing discussion and practice in many countries (Loveless, 2002), however its future is uncertain due to the development of technology. There has been much debate into whether ICT should be replaced by computer Science (Burns, 2012).

Children are exposed to ICT on a daily basis and often work and play through ICT (Downes, 2002). The world, in which we live in, is heavily dependent on ICT technology, both in school and out of school. In 1988, ICT was made compulsory for all children from the ages 5-16, in mainstream schools. In Key Stage One, it was made statutory that the use of ICT was also taught in English, Maths and Science. Whereas, in Key Stage Two it was made statutory that ICT was taught in all areas of the National Curriculum (Ofsted, 2008-2011). It is vital that ICT is taught effectively in schools as it prepares children to participate in an ever changing world in which work and activities are increasingly transformed by access and provision to varied and developing technologies (DfEE, 1999).

ICT includes: Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science (Naace, 2012). It is important that teachers, and to some extent children, are aware of these terms and what the terms entail, as they are being used more frequently in primary schools. Digital Literacy focuses on the ability to access, use and express oneself using digital technology (Naace, 2012). Information Technology covers the use and application of digital systems to develop solutions creatively (Naace, 2012). Computer Science is the subject discipline that explains how computer systems work (Naace, 2012). In order for children to use, and learn from, computers effectively they will need to have awareness and understanding of what ICT includes. However, although there is evidence to suggest that using computers in teaching can be engaging and motivational; there is little evidence to suggest it having an impact on pupils’ attainment (Gillespie, 2006).

Children’s access and attitudes towards ICT is fast-moving and teachers need to be aware of the changes in the social and cultural contexts in which children engage with new technologies (Loveless, 2002). The range of technologies available to schools and children is phenomenal. Technologies available in most schools include; Interactive whiteboards, iPad’s, laptops, beebots, digital cameras for pictures and video recording and digital blue movie cameras. Interactive whiteboards are used in almost every school now, due to government endorsement and support. The impact interactive whiteboards have in schools show the advantages of using them, both for the teacher and children. They allow children to engage in the lesson and understand abstract concepts through concrete examples and graphical images.

More recently, mobile technology is being introduced to schools. Many schools’ I have visited have access to laptops and iPad’s which are accessible for the children to use. I have always seen laptop and iPad’s being used positively and the children have engaged with the lesson interactively when using them. However, according to Condrie et al (2007), laptops have been less enthusiastically used by children as they prefer to use smaller technology devices.

ICT suite at Wellingborough pre-prep primary school.

There has been much debate into whether ICT should be taught as a separate subject, or whether it should be embedded into other curriculum subjects. Personally, I can see the benefits of both sides of the debate. I think that children need to develop the basic skills of using different technologies, to allow them to use ICT to access other areas of the curriculum (Condie et al, 2007). From experience, some schools’ have a timetabled slot for ICT but others’ don’t; and I think this is where the issue of ICT as a whole subject or embedded into the curriculum lies.

On a placement in a year two class, ICT was taught as an individual subject, but also embedded into other areas of the curriculum: this showed that ICT was accessible throughout all areas of the curriculum. In the individual ICT lesson, the children would learn skills such as; how to save work, how to drag and drop items, how to use the control key, how to use the return key and how to use the space key. They then displayed their skills through other aspects of the curriculum: by creating instructions using an online resource called “How to make a cup of tea?” they then printed their instructions off independently. By teaching ICT this way shows that the children have incorporated ICT into other areas of learning, meaning teachers’ can then assess their understanding of ICT.

Here is a screen shot of the How to make a cup of tea programme (accessible through Primary resources).

However, on a year six placement ICT was not timetabled into the school day. They did use ICT on a regular basis. They used a programme called ‘Pearson Bug Club’. Luckily, the school had bought the programme and it was used throughout the school: from reception to year six. The children knew how to login using their school ID, and unique password and username. When using Bug Club, they would practice their comprehension skills (cross curricular link to English). When teaching the class, I tried to incorporate ICT into my lessons as much as I could. They used laptops in pairs, as there was not enough for one laptop per child. This did create an issue as some children did not use the laptops fairly, some laptops ran out of battery and there were no other laptops left (we allowed the children to use teachers’ laptops).

The main issue when teaching ICT is E-Safety: as a teacher it is your responsibility to ensure the children are aware of E-Safety and what procedures need to be taken into account. As mentioned in a previous blog post, E-Safety was something I re capped on a recent placement when the children were researching on the internet. The school used the Hector’s world safety scheme to ensure E-Safety was promoted throughout their school. The children were aware of how to use the button and what to do afterwards: which shows E-Safety had been taught successfully.

E-Safety display at Wellingborough pre-prep school

Here is a screen shot of Bug Club:

Children need to be given the opportunity to explore the technologies if they are expected to use them effectively. Some children will probably already have some of the technology devices mentioned (a few of my year two children had iPad’s!!!) therefore, they may already be quite knowledgeable and experienced in using them. Teachers’ could then challenge the children to show other children in the class, who may never have seen technology devices before, how to use them (Allen et al, 2007).

To conclude, luckily I have had a positive experience of ICT in schools. I will continue to use many aspects of ICT when teaching such as; iPad’s (if available), interactive whiteboards, digital blue cameras and video recorders. Not only do these technologies engage the children; they are vital to their learning experiences. As well as this ICT may be crucial for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) therefore, teachers’ need to ensure that ICT is accessible to all children (Allen et al, 2007).

Technology for children with SEN may differ slightly to other technologies in the classroom.

Technologies available include:
•A concept keyboard which allows touch-sensitive access to be created on a flat board.
•A touch window- a device which attaches to the front of a monitior allowing the children to touch areas of the screen instead of using a mouse.
•Bigger keys
•Track balls
•Smaller mice.

So…where does the future of ICT in schools lie?

References

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

Condie, R., Munroe, B., Seagraves, L. and Kenesson, S. (2007) The Impact of ICT in Schools: A landscape review. Coventry: Becta.

DfEE (1999) The National Curriculum for England Information Communication Technology. London: DfEE.

Downes, T. (2002) Perceptions of how ICT has the potential to influence children beyond the curriculum: home/school/community links. In: Loveless, A. and Dore, B. (2002) ICT in the primary school. Berkshire: Open University Press.

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

Loveless, A. (2002) ICT in the primary curriculum. In: Loveless, A. and Dore, B. (2002) ICT in the primary school. Berkshire: Open University Press

Naace (2012) Draft ICT Programme of Study. Nottingham: NAACE

Ofsted (2008-2011) ICT in schools.



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