Apps in relation to accessibility and impact on learning.

This week in ICT, after been allowed to explore apps freely over the last few weeks, we were tasked with reviewing apps for IPADS in relation to accessibility and impact on learning. Apple its self states that all their apps are created with the intention to help everybody ‘connect with the world in new ways’. There are a variety of apps all aimed at different age groups and abilities as well as foci on learning.

Early Years and Key Stage One:

Name: Doodle Buddy

Accessibility: Really easy to use drawing tool that is simple.  It has a variety of accessories- stamps shape and text which can be used to enhance the drawing .You can email the photo to save it and print it off so that work can be recorded.

Impact on learning: Children can explore with this app as a means of expression, to represent a story or a specific outcome. This app can be used as an aid to another area of learning as it is simple to use.

Key Stage One:

Name: Saving Seeds

Accessibility: Children are given seeds which need to get into a pot, they need to draw lines to save the seed in the pot. This can be differentiated easily with the level selected. This app is accessible to all, however, it may need some explanation in order for children to use independently.

Impact on learning:  This app promotes a lot of co ordination and estimation skills. Forward thinking is also needed along with recollection of what worked earlier.

A key point acknowledged when reviewing these apps was how the evidence could be saved. Some apps allowed for emailing or printing , whereas others did not save. I feel using ipads are a valuable resource but i feel recording and evidencing the work on them is just as important. Apps such as VidRhythm  allowed for images to be recorded and put into an animated video. This could then be shared with parents and carers as well as peers.

Please click here to look at the rest of the apps I reviewed : please feel free to comment on this post if you have reviewed similar apps, I would be interested to see your opinions.

A little bit more….

When looking further at apps that can be used I came across the website ‘Fun Educational Apps’. This site gives a brief review of the learning points as well as positive and negative ideas relating to the app. You can pick specific apps related to age ranges which i feel is good in ensuring the apps are age appropriate.

The media also reviews apps and the Independent  has come up with top 10 free educational apps. I feel because this is in a news paper, parents and adults may look at them and this will impact on children’s learning at home. This is not specifically related to child age apps, but general apps so could be useful of informing teachers. It should also be noted that IPADs in education are not only being implemented in the UK but world wide as nobody wants to ‘be left behind’ Aaditi Isaac

Finally to review learning related to using mobile technologies- IPADS we created mind maps in small groups, to display all our knowledge and understanding relating to accessibility and impact on learning which we then jigsawed to share our knowledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos taken from ICT Session)

 

 

 

Creative Coding …..creating resources

Children having ownership of their own learning is an important aspect when planning. Allowing children to create games and learning resources to assist their learning and development is therefore vital.

This week we worked as a group to create an interactive simple coding resource to be used with children aged 3-5 years.  This allowed skills to be drawn from each person to create an overall resource which could be used in school. This resource would be ideally used on an interactive whiteboard.

We decided to use the program 2DIY as  we were all confident in using it. However, during the session we did look at other programming and coding programmes such as Purple Mash.

Based on the book ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ By Eric Carle

This ‘catching’ game allows children to develop and bring together a variety of coding skills.  This game could be created during a small adult lead session, where children get to collaborate and retell the story.  See plan: Overview Plan

 

Click here to play :Caterpillar game

The aim of the game is for children to direct the caterpillar to different fruits to gain points, this game created is cross curricular looking at many aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage and can be adapted depending on the age and ability of children. Children use mathematic skills to count the fruit and the total they have collected.  Skills of estimation and direction are used when directing the caterpillar to the fruit.

Using the program 2DIY to create a resource means the degree and complexity of the coding involved can be differentiated.

Another resource we tried to make was on the app

‘Explain everything’

Here teachers and children can create a resource to be used on a whole class scale.  Our resource created was an interactive story of the Hungry Caterpillar, which could be used as a stimulus to the game created above. You could record sounds and speech and insert images to represent your talk. Unfortunately, as we went to save, the battery ran out so there is not an example available.

But check out the video below, as it is a great resource to be used in schools.

 

 

Creative Coding

‘‘There is an argument that the ‘R’ of pRogramming needs to be a fourth ‘R’ alongside Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic as a basic foundation of 21st-century education’

Martin Belam.

Therefore the need for children to be exposed to and for programming to be incorporated into the curriculum is vital.  With Michael Gove ‘scrapping’ the existing ICT curriculum, it has left space for a richer curriculum to be developed by schools, which includes that of teaching children skills they will need for life, that of programming and computer science Eric Schmidt.

As a result of this, a whole host of programming applications have been developed and are available to be developed to assist and develop children’s learning.

Many of these applications are available on tablets which are seen to be an important tool for learning, however, with the use of tablets becoming ever more, there are still many debates over the accessibility in terms of price.

‘Scratch’ is a coding program available both on an IPad and the internet, which allows children to create interactive stories, games, music and art along with many other applications by themselves and in turn share them on the internet. This resource does not only promote coding skills, but mathematical and creative skills.

During the ICT session we explored a few apps which are suitable for children in the Early Years. These were all accessed using an IPad.

Daisy the Dino

This app is very user friendly and allows for experimentation. Due to the ease of using the app, children do not need to read or follow instructions before beginning the game. This app could be made real life with children directing other children in the same form as on the app.

The second app reviewed from the session was Tinkerbox 

I found this app to be quite frustrating ; this was because instructions had to be undertaken in order to grasp the game and it did not allow for the same amount of exploration as Dizzy. I also felt this app was very male orientated, so could be used to help hook boys if they are struggling to engage with the session but may not appeal to girls in the same way.

In school practice I have seen initial ‘coding’ taking place through the means of BeeBots. Here children have been given or create their own directions which are then put into the BeeBot . I found children grasped this really well and it was a successful activity.  Using BeeBots, not only develops children’s coding skills but also is cross curricular in developing skills of direction.

As well as apps, we looked at a computer program 2DIY and the coding activities they offer. Below are several examples of work I created to develop different coding skills. This program was easy to use and accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

For nursery and reception- simple matching games can be created, where children can drag and drop items to create the desired outcomes.

For more able there are activities such as ‘catching’ games and ‘quizzes’. I created was a ‘catching’ game which would enable children to work together to create an activity that is cross curricular and uses several coding skills.

I feel coding is a vital tool for children to use at a young age, because as they grow up and develop they will have more skills to apply to their learning and have different ways to show their knowledge and understanding.

Internet Safety

With ICT becoming an ever evolving technology it inevitably brings risks. The safety of those using the internet in particular children is constantly changing with the progression of programs and websites. Therefore the need for children to be internet aware is vital to ensure they keep themselves, their friends and others safe. As a trainer teacher it is vital to be aware of what safety precautions are out there, to use both on teaching practice and for our own safety.

Image from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/feb/10/literacy-digital-teacher

With children becoming so technically advanced at such a young age it is vital that their safety on the internet is addressed even at a very young age. There are many simple free online websites and programmes to assist this.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has set up a website: http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ .This is a child friendly website which targets a variety of age ranges, with age appropriate activities and information stressing the importance of web safety and how to be safe.

On school placement in a reception class, I noted that the whole school- children, teachers and parents included used one specific tool provided by ThinkuKnow, ‘Hectors World’ http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/hectorsworld/Hectors-World-Safety-Button1/. I had not previously heard about this safety tool, but had seen it on computers .Here, a dolphin swims at the top of the screen and when a child feels ‘confused or scared’ they are able to click and it covers the screen until an adult is able access the computer. As mentioned above parents used this tool as well, the school ran an ‘How to be Safe at Home’ workshop, where the school promoted the use of ‘Hectors World’ on the home computer. I feel this is such a good idea as children will be familiar with this tool.

Along with interactive resources for children, ThinkuKnow also provides useful resources for teachers. I tried to sign up to this, but you can’t as a trainee teacher, but there are some resources that are free as an unregistered teacher .

(http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/hectorsworld/)

Print Screen from:http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/hectorsworld/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In all my placement schools I have observed that at ICT stations and areas, rules have been devised by the children and teachers in order to keep safe. I noticed that on ThinkuKnow there is also a section ‘Top Tips’, which could be used a stimulus with older children to create their own rules (http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/tips/. )

Print Screen from: http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/tips/

I feel this website offers a wealth of resources which can be accessed and used by children, adults and parents.

This is defiantly a safety tool I will ensure is used in my setting.

Other websites I accessed were:

Kidsmart- (http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/)

Print Screen from: http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/teachers/ks1/readsmartie.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I specifically accessed an online safety story aimed at children in the Early Years. Here an online story showed the importance of online safety http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/teachers/ks1/readsmartie.aspx. To link with this, the website offered lesson plans and activities children could do which related to the story.  This site also offered opportunities for home learning- where a book related to the class teaching can be downloaded.

This I felt was a great website with a whole host of resources free and readily available to access.