Philosophy for ICT in schools – Vision Statement

ICT is revolutionary, as it allows us access to phenomenal amounts of information, social and personal interaction, audio-visual and written communication, globalization, sharing of creativity and ideas, commerce, and mobilization of opinion (Allen et al, 2007).

In an era increasingly reliant on ICT technology, it is highly probable that such technology will play a huge part in children’s lives as adults (Martin, 2006).Therefore it is of the utmost importance that children are given numerous varied experiences to learn about ICT and become confident with it in order to benefit later in life (Ager, 2003), as ‘ICT has power to make the world a better place, and understanding of ICT is the key to exercising that power.’ ICT provides opportunities for children to think logically and work with others, while also being independent and responsible learners. It also encourages children to be resourceful and create things, as well as to overcome problems and evaluate their own work, gaining confidence and developing understanding (Naace, 2012).

It is therefore essential for schools to have up-to-date, relevant, functional and plentiful collection resources that allow children to have memorable first-hand experiences in order to gain skills, knowledge and ideas on technology (Duffty, 2006). A sound collection would include interactive whiteboards, iPads with both free and paid-for apps, digital cameras and recorders, Macs, various types of floor turtles and the accessories, digital blue movie cameras and countless ICT computer programs for various ages and abilities. Since, according to Condie et al (2007) ‘good resources can have an impact on motivation and attainment’, it is important for teachers to be confident and competent with their use of these resources in order to give children the best possible opportunities. Many children are very capable users of ICT technology, possibly more so than adults of today (Ager, 2003). Therefore it can be valuable to simply allow children opportunities to explore and experiment independently or in pairs or small groups to learn from each other and their experiences. Equally, if certain children are particularly interested and knowledgeable about certain resources then it may be useful to encourage them to share their knowledge with the rest of the class, which would give them the sense of independence, worth, appreciation and a feeling of expertise (Allen et al, 2007).

However, teachers themselves must have an understanding of these resources, their potential for global and local communication and of the nature of the knowledge and information revolution they represent. They need to be able to challenge those children who have good knowledge in order to help them to progress, and to develop the understanding of less confident children. It is important that teachers act as facilitators or guides and for teachers, and children to share ideas and information to help each other (Allen et al, 2007).

Condie et al (2007) states that ICT resources should be used not only to enhance children’s growing knowledge of digital systems, but also that ICT skills are an essential part of learning in other subjects. Through the use of ICT, the curriculum can be enhanced and become more interactive and memorable. Equally, children can witness a clear link between subjects, instead of viewing them as separate (Yelland, 2002).

The example activity below may illustrate how ICT can foster the integration of curriculum subjects. Whilst on placement, stop-go-animation films were created by year one and two children in small groups of twos and threes; lots of photos were taken on digital blue movie cameras consistently and merged together to form a film (see the film below).

Much preparation went into the making of these films. First, a theme had to be discussed and decided on by the class (they chose the theme ‘in a park’) and storyboards had to be written, which incorporated literacy well, the children felt inspired to write, as they felt that they had a purpose (Atherton, 2002). Furthermore, park backgrounds had to be designed and painted, characters had to be designed and dressed and props had to be made, all of which provided art and design links. Finally, the children spent a whole day devising and recording their story, whilst following their story boards which incorporated both literacy and ICT. Finally, a PSHE link was evident, as the children were co-operating with each other, sharing and some groups even assigned specific roles to each member in their group. It was obvious that the children thoroughly enjoyed this experience and gained a great number of skills from it. It was extremely satisfying to see one child’s behaviour issues in other lessons, fail to surface in this lesson. His self-esteem improved (Atherton, 2002) and he became completely immersed in the task, as he had a particular passion and flair for photography and utilised his talents and actually gave the rest of his group fantastic encouragement and support. As a result an excellent film was produced. This project demonstrated the value of digital literacy (see the video below), as it brought the ‘learning to life’ (Atherton, 2002, p.145) and allowed the children to learn actively, be creative and imaginative and exceed expectations. As with any project, it is about spotting links and seizing opportunities and allowing for creativity (Atherton, 2002).

Although the majority of ICT is viewed as potent but enabling, it is thought by some that using the internet is dangerous to children and therefore they should not have access to it, because they may view inappropriate content or communicate with strangers and give out personal details (Elston, 2007). Although these are worrying factors, it is actually more beneficial for teachers to teach children about internet safety, as the internet plays such a crucial part in our society, it would be more harmful to let children leave school without knowing how to access and use it responsibly. Equally, it is apparent that the learning involved in ICT actually outweighs the risks. Furthermore, schools have policies for ICT use and the blocking of unsuitable content (Gillespie, 2006). Therefore by instilling children with knowledge of how to stay safe online, both children and teachers can work together to eradicate unsuitable websites.

To conclude, ICT is an ever growing phenomenon that is revolutionizing knowledge and perception and therefore it is vitally important that children be immersed in a rich technological environment, where they have opportunities to experiment with ICT resources and gain knowledge and understanding and from that form their own opinions and ideas about technology (Ager, 2003). But it is also essential that teachers provide children with important information in order to stay safe when using the internet, instead of preventing them from using it, to encourage them to be responsible and to give them every experience possible.

References

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

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

Atherton, T. (2002) Developing Ideas with Multimedia in the Primary Classroom. In: Loveless, A. and Dore, B. (eds.) ICT in the Primary School. Buckingham: Open University Press. pp. 125 – 145.

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

Elston, C. (2007) Using ICT in the Primary School. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

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

Martin, A. (2006) Literacies for the digital age: preview of part 1. In: Martin, A. and Madigan, D. (eds.) Digital Literacies For Learning. London: Facet Publishing. pp. 3 – 25.

Yelland, N. (2002) ASDF; LKJH: Challenges to Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Information Age. In: Loveless, A. and Dore, B. (eds.) ICT in the Primary School. Buckingham: Open University Press. pp. 85 – 101.

‘i’ spy a ‘Movie’!

I had a lot of fun today roaming the uni grounds with Angela and Chelsey in today’s session, even though we got a few funny looks from people! It was really nice working in a group and being outside, although it was a tad chilly.

We used the iMovie app on the iPad and created a resource that could be used in the classroom with children. It was great to have a go with this app, as I didn’t really have enough time last week to really experiment with it and I also wasn’t really confident with using it but the tutorial below is very helpful and after watching it it has given me greater confidence to teach it to children.

We created a trailer of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the three bears with the help of this app and the use of puppets. We mixed the genres by creating a trailer in an adrenaline style, which we thought KS2 children could do within the school grounds over a period of weeks on a chosen fairy tale and would enjoy creating it, working in groups and being active outside of the classroom. They could even create their own puppets to be used in the trailer.

We discussed in our group that we would explain to children before doing this, that books and films etc. can often have a range of genres which overlap and it can be difficult to assign just one genre to them. (See the Goldilocks and the three bears PowerPoint for more information on learning objectives and cross curricular links.)

We shared all of our resources at the end of the lesson with the rest of the group and it was really helpful to see the possibilities and ideas that could also be used within the classroom. This could also been done with children once they have created their resources to share and praise their work and efforts. I found the video below really interesting and helpful.

Without further ado here’s our trailer! … Hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment! xXx

Mobile Technology

Within this session we firstly created QR codes (as shown to the left), which I’m going to be honest I have never seen or used before, but now that I have I think they’re really clever! I saw my first QR code today at Frankie and Benny’s after the session, which was coincidental and quite exciting and so I scanned the code onto my new free QR Reader app, that I downloaded onto my iphone within today’s session and followed the link to reveal information about the restaurant (as shown in the picture below). I personally love this app, although it’s really straightforward and I think children would to. It certainly has a place in the primary classroom. However, with more time this app has great potential to be transformed into an activity that is more complex and one that enhances that of other subjects within the curriculum and not just ICT. For example treasure hunts could be created to get children up and moving around the school, which is always more interesting than remaining in the classroom. Also math problem solving activities could be created and book reviews to enhance literacy. Also children could create their own codes and activities and get their peers to interact with them.

We also got shown how to use videoscribe but we didn’t get a chance to have a go with it, so I watched the very useful tutorial below instead but we decided that it would be more suitable to use with KS2 children as it seemed quite complex.

Also within this lesson we worked on the ipads, which we did in groups to explore the free and bought apps which were really fun. We had a little go on morfo booth which made me giggle at some of the outcomes, such as the ones below! It was really nice having time to just explore the app and have a bit of a laugh. I don’t know why but it made me feel like I had been transformed into a Sim! My favourite computer game! So I was thrilled! (I know easily pleased!) I think that this app would give children hours of fun; I know it did me. It’s creative, relaxing and funny all at the same time. It’s fantastic!

Finally towards the end of the lesson within our group, we dabbled in using the imovie trailer app, which we didn’t really have a great deal of time to create something worthwhile to put on our blogs but we did understand how easily something could be made with the app to make something more effective. We discussed how it could be used within school with children, e.g. assemblies and drama and we also saw its potential when we watched Ben, Chelsey and Megan’s video about them being superheroes, which was really clever and could quite easily be done with children in small groups, probably more KS2 children than KS1.

Thanks for reading, look forward to reading your comments!

Tasha

xxx

‘Fairytale’tastical Scratch!

Within this session I worked with the lovely Jenny Blackburn and I feel a lot more confident with using Scratch now than I did before and I feel I have improved from last week just from working in a group, which I know children will also benefit from. Working in a group allowed us to share, adapt and decide on an idea together to use and it also allowed us to draw on each others knowledge, understanding and confidence and overcome any obstacles by being and feeling more supported and reassured to explore the software more thoroughly, as they say ‘two heads are better than one’, which is something children would also feel, especially in the first few times of using the program and getting to grips with it.

To create our resource we followed the ‘Whack-a-Witch’ step by step guide which was really helpful to produce our classroom resource but we altered the sprites, point system and timings to coincide with our game, which is something we thought children could endeavour to do within a group or on their own once they felt confident in order to challenge themselves.

We created a fantasy game to be our resource to use within the classroom environment, which linked well with ICT and literacy and focused particularly on fairy-tales. Between us we discussed that the game would be more suitable for KS1 children as the idea of the game is quite straightforward (see Fantasy Game – instructions to learn how to play the game) but actually creating their own themed games we thought was more suitable for KS2 children.

At the end of the session we shared our ideas as a class and evaluated them, which was very helpful, firstly as it gave us a wide range of ideas to create and possibly share and then use within the classroom while on placement as there were so many themes and cross curricular links. Secondly we learnt how to improve our resources in a non-threatening manner. Doing this in the classroom with children would also be a good idea, as they need time to show their accomplishments and be praised for them but also have time to reflect on their work and others by self and peer assessing in a comfortable environment in order to progress and develop. But I think children would particularly enjoy playing each others games therefore time should be allowed to do this, as it creates a reason for the children to actually create them.

From our peer evaluation we learnt that generally it was a good game and theme but the sound to show when children had incorrectly clicked a non-fairy-tale creature was a bit scary for young children, so something a bit softer could have been used.

Here is our resource …

Learn more about this project

I’d really love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment!

Tasha

xXx

Just ‘Scratch’ the surface!

Within our session this week on computer programming, we focused on the program Scratch, (a free to download computer program that can create interactive stories, games, music and art). I had never used it before this lesson and although I found it interesting, it was quite difficult and overwhelming to use, (although the Scratch guide cards proved to be most helpful), which made me think children would also find it daunting. Without the help cards I would have been completely lost (up the creak without a paddle so to speak) and although I produced a Scratch story/video with the help of the Scratch guide cards I feel I only just scratched the surface of what the program could actually do.

I feel that if I was to teach this to a class of children I would probably start by allowing children time to discover the potential of the website themselves and any loop holes, with the help of their peers (by working in pairs or small groups to support each other), the Scratch guide cards and their curios and creative minds and come together as a class to discuss the things found.

It certainly is a program that I feel children would enjoy using and gain a great deal of computer skills from which they could then use in later life. Although any work created on this program would take a prolonged period of time to create, the outcomes would be well worth it.

From the games I saw created within this session after an hour by some of my peers, to my slightly disappointing over excited ghost bouncing of the walls (a screen shot of this is shown below), I have come to the conclusion that I definitely need a bit more practice in order to confidently model and teach this program in a lesson and do this program justice!

Learn more about this project

As I thought I needed more work on Scratch, I watched the tutorial below and I feel it has helped and made me slightly more confident with the program.

I’d love to hear your thoughts,

Tasha

xXx

Cyberbullying in schools

With increased internet access children are at a greater risk of cyberbullying. It is therefore important that teachers make children aware of firstly what cyberbullying is (as many children may not be aware of it), give them tips on how to act online and tips on how to deal with cyberbullying in case they are ever bullied in that way.

The use of videos such as the one below can be helpful to show to children in the classroom environment in order to start the topic and to evoke some classroom discussions about the topic.

Posters and leaflets could then be created by children to make their peers aware of cyberbullying, which could be displayed around the school.

Teachers can then use drama techniques to explore cyberbulling further within the classroom, which gives children a deeper understanding about the topic. Through the use of hot seating for example, children can experience what it would feel like to be cyberbullied and gain empathy for anyone who has ever been bullied in that manner and therefore be deterred from ever bullying another in that way. Further activities can be carried out, such as role play, which could be helpful to children, as it would give them first-hand experience at knowing what cyber bullying is, through interaction.

E-Safety in schools

Many children are not aware of the potential dangers that accompany the use of using the internet. Therefore it is schools and teacher’s responsibilities to make children aware of them. Although within schools many websites are already blocked in order to protect children but as new websites are continually being created, schools cannot rely solely on that. Therefore it is crucial that children are made aware of all of the possible risks.

When teaching children about E-Safety, it is imperative to implement in children, maturity and sensibility, so as if they were ever to come across an inappropriate website they would instantly alert a teacher who would get it blocked, so as access can be denied and no other child can encounter any harmful material.

Social network sites such as Facebook, MSN and other websites such as YouTube are blocked and banned within primary schools, as they can be potentially harmful to the well-being of children, as strangers can access their accounts and intimidate and groom them in order to find things out about them. Therefore, children are taught never to give out their personal details across the internet, such as their name, age or home address. To reinforce this E-Safety posters are placed around schools, particularly in the library (similar to the ones below that I saw while on placement) to remind children of the appropriate way to behave while online in order to safeguard themselves from potential dangers online.

Unfortunately, although these restrictions are put in place at school this is not always the case at home, therefore it is vital that children understand the severity of the situation and therefore continue to follow the rules about staying safe online while in the comfort of their own home.

Internet safety quizzes can be taken online by children within school or at home to inform teachers and parents if the children fully understand all of the do’s and don’ts when online, which can be very reassuring.