Session 4 Digital Technology


Posted by Tracey | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on October 28, 2013

Session 4

Digital technology

During this session we looked at themes to be used across the curriculum using digital technology. Once a theme has been identified, planning can then be based upon the main ideas. We looked at various tools that will help in completing plans for the curriculum. The list seemed to be endless and time to look at them was limited. We therefore decided to choose just one tool each and see what we could find. I decided to use purple mash; this website enables you to cover lots of the curriculum areas. Our group; Tracey, Kat, Ellen and Rachael decided on the theme autumn, I managed to find within purple mash a literacy lesson that was based upon writing autumn sentences. I then used the site to write autumn poems and draw firework pictures.


This part of the site allowed you to choose various leaves from the right-hand side and then write your own poem underneath. These can then be printed off and displayed on the wall.

The purple mash application also allowed you to click and drag the pictures about autumn or conkers. The children can write about both topics these  can be printed off to display or talk about in the classroom.

The firework picture was created by choosing different coloured pens and making squiggles on the picture. The pens also came in sparkly fluorescent colours which gave a touch of realism to the picture. For mathematics I decided to look the site nrich.

‘Encourages mathematical thinking and reasoning’

This activity involved putting lots of autumn objects in a bag and the children touching and describing what the object it. These can be things such as leaves, small pumpkins, conkers, acorns, fir cones and miniature animals such as hedgehogs/squirrels. This is a great activity to help children use descriptive mathematical language such as smooth, corners, small, light, heavy and big.

All these websites would be great to use as an activity in the classroom.

Our group also added the activities to the resource bank.

I have found the resource bank a great way to share ideas. The resources are ready to use in a classroom when trying to cover so many different topics.






















Session 3, Toys, Turtles and Games!


Posted by Tracey | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on October 28, 2013

Session 3

During this session we looked at the Toys, Turtles and games. The National Curriculum has changed ICT to Computing. The evidence that the children need to achieve is vast. The main focus is on actual programming and control of objects. The NC recognises that we are now in a digital world and children need to be computer literate in order to find suitable employment. Bee-Bots have been used for some time and these incorporate simple programming for children. They also incorporate directional language which encourages the children to talk to each other.

As well as looking at small electronic equipment to program, we can also look at the idea of following simple instructions. These simple instructions are also the basis of how programming works. By giving children the ideas that these instructions work the same way as programming will help them to understand the process. These instructions can be, making a sandwich, giving directions around the classroom, finding an object in the playground. This will link into Literacy; writing and Mathematics with coordinates.

This site recommends the Bee-Bots and suggests that they are ‘a perfect starting point to teach control, directional language and programming’.

During the session we looked at various sites; Scratch, 2 do it yourself, purple mash, ideas to inspire, 2 create a story and Lego WeDo. All of these required the children to create creatures, people, houses, rooms, fictional places and then for events to happen to them. This again is a simple form of programming. The children choose and design their ideas and then run the program to show these.


Lego WeDo involves making the object with pieces of Lego, which was very time consuming and fiddly. When made the objects did not really seem to do much and the actual programming was also fairly difficult. Children in reception and year 1 would need lots of support when using this product. Lego state that;

‘Working with theme-based activities, younger primary school students are able to build LEGO robotic models with working motors, gears, cams and tilt sensors before programming with the intuitive WeDo robotics software to bring them to life. The WeDo Construction Set enables the students to hook up the robots to their computer via the supplied USBhub allowing them to program the robots actions, sounds and responses’.


 Our task for the session was to create a Literacy lesson but incorporate Computing. Our group consisted of Rachael, Kat and I, we chose the story of the 3 Little Pigs and decided to use the Bee-Bots. Using a large plastic sheet with roughly 20 pockets attached, we filled them with random pictures of the story. The idea was for the children to retell the story and use the Bee-Bots to find their way to the matching pictures. The children would work together to help give directional instructions to find the picture.  We collated all our information and added it to the resource bank.

John Naughton (2012) mentions in his column in The Guardian, how he believes ICT in schools needs to be changed. He states that, ‘Starting in primary school, children from all backgrounds and every part of the UK should have the opportunity to: learn some of the key ideas of computer science; understand computational thinking; learn to program; and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence in these activities’.   Little did he realize that by 2014 it would be!

David Crookes (2013) reporter for The Independent, also spoke about the new NC and he feels towards the introduction of programming for children. He states, ‘Even if children do not go on to become programmers later in life, they will have learnt to express logic in a form that can be processed automatically. They will learn how to solve problems and they will understand structure and organisation’.

I have used Bee-bots several times whilst in placement and they have always been well received. I will continue to source new ideas to use within the classroom but aim to look at programming objects to cover the new National Curriculum changes.




Session 2 iPads


Posted by Tracey | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on October 16, 2013

Session 2

During this session we looked at the use of iPads within the classroom. As a group we discussed who had used iPads during their school experience. The majority of the class had seen them used during the normal ICT lesson but others had mentioned how they had been used inappropriately. During the lesson we looked at different ways that the iPads can be used. There is a huge variety of apps that are available for children to use. These range from phonics to creating books for themselves. Lots of the apps enable the children to practice their handwriting by following letter formation using a stylus. Other apps give comprehensive maths sessions, covering shapes, sorting, time and coins.

Collins big cat app involved the children writing their own books, recording their voices, creating the pictures for the story and then being able to show the story to their peer. When the stories are finished the children can peer assess each others work. This should lead to good discussions and valued ideas. It may also give the opportunity for children who may struggle with other areas of the curriculum the chance to express themselves.

Other apps that we looked at were Tocabuilders and Tocaboka both these are very simplistic cartoon style adventures. Children create; new worlds, animals, outfits and homes for little people. These can be easily used by the youngest of children. This app could be used as a cross curriculum activity. If I iPads available during sessions I would encourage the children to try this app.

During the session Ben and I created a life cycle of a plant using an app called Doodlebug.

 Screen shot from iPad

Life Cycle of plants


Demonstrating knowledge of plants and how they live.

Suitable for

Key Stages 1 and 2

What you need Toontastic app and Doodlebug app    iPads

What you do

Take the stimuli of plants and create a story based on the life cycle of plants. Get the children to draw their own pictures of plants and what they think plants look like when they first grow, children will then draw themselves into the story and explain what is going on in the story. Repeat until the life cycle of a plant is complete.

Learning benefits

Provides a context for children in regard to the life cycle in plants, it allows them to experience and explain the plant cycle in their own words.

Taking it further

Relate the process which they have drawn to the real-life classroom plant. Allow the children to predict what may happen to the plant and then justify it using the plant life cycle story they have create                                                                                                                                                  My experience is very limited in terms of using iPads whilst at placements. At one Primary school the children had four iPads that were positioned on a small table only 20cms off the ground. They were left to use it as they wished; consequently there were several heated arguments, with the boys especially, on whose turn it was. The iPads only had games installed on them which did not identify specific learning opportunities. I can see from the variety that we looked at during the session how versatile iPads can be if used correctly.

Research by Naace, suggest that iPads have ‘revolutionised teaching’, on the other hand; learningwithipads,suggests that there is not enough evidence as yet to prove how they have improved children’s education, ‘There is little hard evidence to prove that the iPads raises attainment but we are in the early stages of iPad adoption in education’.

iPads do offer versatility and can be made personal to the individual child. If the applications are used in conjunction with appropriate planning and backed up with observations, then the use of iPads should be encouraged. I would definitely use iPads within my classroom, I think the majority of children have access to this type of media at home.



Year 3, count down begins!


Posted by Tracey | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on October 9, 2013

Welcome back, summer is over and we are now in the last stretch of this course. First ICT lesson of the new term and we looked at digital storytelling. The new National Curriculum has renamed ICT to Computing. The idea of computing is for children to actually understand about how computers can be programmed in order to follow instructions. So on this basis we looked at ways children can program and create stories of their own. So, we were asked the question, ‘why do we tell stories?’. The group came up with a variety of reasons; can express their own imaginations, escapism from the classroom, increase vocabulary, listen and make up their own stories and maybe relate to some of the issues they are listening to. A good story can produce cross curriculum plans for a term and longer! By creating a story in the computing lesson the children are also using their literacy skills, their creative skills, following a sequence of events as in numeracy, developing the story  will lay down foundations for  understanding the world, by talking with their peers they have covered PSE and by using their hands they are developing their fine motor skills for PE!  So, by creating a story we can see how other ideas can develop.

Our task this session was to try and create a story with 5 slides. Ben and I worked together and with Ben’s vivid imagination we came up with a plot. This had to involve Nicholas Cage, don’t ask me why! The story was about birds and how Nic would either fight them or befriend them. We decided on the friendly option as this seemed more appropriate for young children. I didn’t fancy trying to create a blood and guts picture. I decide to create the story using  the 2 simple range;  2 create a super story.

Ben used the iPad but had trouble trying to save it so went back onto the computer. He used the program ‘popplet‘ which involved lots of text boxes with pictures that all linked together.

There are a variety of different apps that children can use to create stories. During the lesson we only manged to view a few but from what we saw they are all very creative, imaginative and guide children into making a worth while story. Some examples are;

Night Zookeeper– children can create any type of animal and then send them on exciting adventures. One review suggests that the app is, Inspiring! by Primary Teacher London ‘This app really stimulated the imaginations of the children in my class. We used it during a literacy project on stories set in imaginary worlds. The children came up with their own magical animals after completing the creative missions hidden in the star filled sky’.

Communication 4 all are ready made screens for the children to create a story. There are different themes for the children to choose to which they can add their own dialogue. The story options are very colourful and the children can relate to them.

An app for the iPad that I came across, Toonia Storymaker, this combines the ‘ease of a sticker-book app with a multi-page layout and doesn’t require reading or writing (but it is an option).  Players create different scenes and can then tell a story about their artwork as the slideshow of pages automatically progresses’. Although I haven’t been able to download this app and give it a try it looks very appealing to children. If anyone has access to an iPad then let me know how you get on!

Stuart Dredge, who writes for the Guardian newspaper, summed up how ICT is used in schools just through his heading, ‘The best children’s apps are about great story telling and strong characters. Technology doesn’t replace traditional skills, but it can bring kids into the creative process’.

I will definitely give some of the apps a try during my next placement. From what I have seen the apps look like they will be useful for all abilities. I have used stories before to complete a weeks planning, ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’, the children wrote about what they would like in their sandwiches and also made their own sandwiches. They made lighthouses with kitchen rolls and electrical circuits to light the bulbs! They painted seaside pictures and counted out all the objects they could see in large scaled seaside picture eg; seagulls, starfish, boats, flags etc. In the outside area we had the sand with plastic food and in the water tray we had a collection of seashells. I prefer working from a theme as it seems easier to think of things to do!

Hope you have enjoyed my blog, can’t wait for your responses!