My Vision Statement

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, teacher | Posted on November 23, 2012

My personal development of my knowledge and understanding in Information Communications Technology (ICT) has certainly improved as a student during teacher training.
Things have changed in ICT for children. When I was a child and the only computer programme commonly used by children was paint on a Windows ’97. Since then the market for children’s computer software has exploded. Between in school software and online games there are so many different types of software aimed at and accessible to children.This course has taught me how to use and teach these programmes confidently, but also to make me aware of avenues to find out about current developments in children’s ICT.

Naace is the ICT association, who have developed their own ICT curriculum proposal to give advice to other educators on developing their own schemes for use in schools until the National Curriculum is released. They have an easily accessible Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) key stage 1 and 2 pdf document. The Naace framework is split into four areas; digital literacy, skills, technical understanding and technology in the world. The focus is on progression between the key stages, with digital; life, skills and technologies at the core. The framework is based around giving children the skills and understanding of technology and the ability to relate this to their own lives.

The skills defined by the framework include; programming, modelling, presenting, communicating and understanding how technology has evolved. These basic skills are similar to those mentioned in the current National Curriculum (1999) which included; sharing information, using a variety of tools and organising their work efficiently.

Within technical understanding lies computer science. Within the framework we are being instructed to teach children how to programme and code. This development, starting during the EYFS builds onto children designing and developing their own pieces of software, exploring ‘what will happen if’ and understanding why a computer works in the way it does.

Payton and Hague (2010) give a description of digital literacy in that it involves engaging, communicating and representing but also understanding the challenges that come from the technology but also the cultural and social context that it is released into.  Digital literacy involves developing a wealth of skills and building upon these from the EYFS all the way through life. The involvement of digital literacy in everyday life means that is not only relevant during ICT lessons but across the whole school curriculum. With popular culture being so based around digital literacy (for example, mobile phones or social networking) it is important that children know how to interpret the information and are aware of how to stay safe. Digital literacy involves being creative in interpreting online texts, taking into account why, when and who they were written for and sharing these viewpoints with others.

Current technology should not be confined to the allocated ICT slot on the timetable, there are a wealth of resources and technologies that would be wasted if not brought into any lessons where they are relevant. All subjects within the national curriculum should have links to ICT. Even within the current National Curriculum (QCDA, 1999) there is talk of integrating ICT into other subjects, since 1999 the resources in which we as teachers can do this have developed greatly. For example in mathematics there are school specific softwares or free online teaching resources.
This does not mean that teachers can rely on technology to teach for them. There are many ways in which literacy can be facilitated by the use of ICT, for example in phonics games, storytelling and presenting their speaking and listening work. Zain (1994_ however reminds us that it is “teachers knowledge of literacy and pedagogy will drive the electronic writing tools. Good teaching is the most powerful program we can run”.
We can look at the use of ICT as building bridges, if a school sets up a virtual learning environment (VLE) parents, carers, teachers and school staff can admire and aid to the work that is being done within the classroom. Downes (2002) describes strengthening home and school links in this way as a way of “deepening a students learning with ICT”. 

As teachers who are preaching the use of ICT it is important that we don’t forget how much of an invaluable resource it is to us. We must remember that it can be used to aid planning, through use of online teacher programmes Dore (2002) discusses the posititve effect that use of teaching forums has, by giving teachers a chance to share experiences and advice to other educators. The use of technology for us as teachers to extract information for our own pedagogical knowledge is vital, to ensure that we are comfortable and familiar with programmes that we will be using within lessons. We must be digitally literate ourselves, able to solve problems in classrooms, overcome misconceptions either online or offline.

In my opinion with the continual fast paced development of ICT, one of the most important things that educators can do is keep children up to date with current technologies. Giving children a basic understanding of how to stay safe online, both at school and at home should be high on the agenda, encouraging digital citizenship in this online age. At primary level ICT should involve teaching a skill set that means when it comes to computing they will have the set up to continually develop these skills in further key stages and later life. If we as teachers take involved interest and opportunities to explore new technologies and share this passion and knowledge with our classes we will be able to motive and inspire the future generation.

 

Hague, C. Payton, S . (2010). Futurelab. Available: http://www2.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/handbooks/digital_literacy.pdf. Last accessed 21/11/12.

Department for Education. (1999). Information Communications Technology National Curriculum . Available: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/primary/b00199028/ict. Last accessed 20/11/12.

Downes, T. (2002). Perceptions of how ICT has the potential to influence children beyond the curriculum: home/school/community. In: Loveless, A. Dore, B ICT in the Primary School. Buckingham: Open University Press. 23-27.

NAACE (2012) ICT Programme of Study Consultation [online]. Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum/programmeofstudyconsultation [Accessed on 21/11/12].

Zeni, J. (1994) Literacy, technology and teacher education, in C. Selfe and S. Hilligoss (eds) Literacy and computers: The complications of teaching and learning with technology. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

 

Reflecting, a look at what we’ve done.

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, teacher, teachers tools | Posted on November 21, 2012

As a trainee teacher the importance of evaluating our own work is important.
Taking a look back at assignments after they have been marked.
Working out where our lesson plans went wrong.
Realising that working with your best friends isn’t always the best learning opportunity!

Bringing ICT into evaluations for children means that we can get an insight into their own opinions. The individual can tell us what they are proud of, but also what they would like to change if given another opportunity.
In some classes self assessment is done very simply with a ‘thumbs up or down’ approach.
For younger children who may not be able to write pages about their work, or for older children who may not want to, the use of talk means we can get a clear and concise evaluation.

But as all trainees will cry “what about evidence?!”
I suggest the use of audioboo. An online app that can be downloaded to mobile technologies. The app is simply a voice recorder, images or slideshows can be added to give examples of the work completed. This video can be used to show progression and reflection. This way the child takes a second look at what they have done, it isn’t just saved to the school server or printed and put in a file.
A basic outline of how audioboo works is below.

We looked at the use of audioboo in session 4.

 

Plan, Load, Scan

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, mobile technologies, teachers tools, Video | Posted on November 15, 2012

In a previous post I have discussed the pro’s of using video software with children (such as smartphones or tablets).

In session 4 & 5 we looked at using mobile technologies and why they are useful when working with children.

First of all I explored the use of QR CODES.
A kind of bar-code that can be scanned from different mobile technologies, once scanned the mobile technology will take you to a per-destined area online. These QR codes can give access to videos, websites, sound clips, messages or social networking access. QR codes are becoming more popular and common in daily life, for example, small businesses will have a QR code which a potential customer could scan.
These QR codes could be used around the classroom, to link to blogs or online images that the children had created.
The codes are simple to create and can be done using a website called scan.me

The website gives you options of where you would like your code to take you. So when creating a code for this blog I chose the ‘website’ option.
Then pasted my URL into the dedicate box and was brought to this screen.

So using the image below, if a smartphone or other kind of mobile technology scanned the code it would bring them to my blog.

 

 

Child Stars

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in History, ICT, Video | Posted on November 10, 2012

As mentioned in the previous post, making videos with children can be an easily accessible way of introducing your class to using ICT. This post is about using filming across the curriculum and not necessarily using ipads. Not all schools will have the funding to provide ipads throughout the school, it is common for schools to have either flip cams or other video cameras that can be used across the school.
Creating videos with children is a great way of bringing ICT into the classroom. It gives your class a level of poetic licence and watches opportunity to explore a new programme.

During a second year seminar we explored using video programmes to make our own videos.
Students using video software
Just another example of the maturity of students with a video camera.

Examples of programmesthat could be used with children is Windows Live Movie Maker. There is an online guide for teachers planning on using this in the classroom.

Using video is a way to bring subjects together, ideas for projects could be making a news show about current world issues or school based. Older children could make songs for times tables or educational adverts.

Personally I think making a horrible histories type viedo would be fun for the whole class to do. The children could work in small groups and make up a short drama, then combine them to make a whole class programme.

An example of a Horrible Histories Video

I have also typed this whole post on an iPad, which I must say has been a struggle. Especially relating to copying and pasting and auto correct. As an apple user I would love to say I found this a breeze but I wilhave to go back and spell check, fix my hyperlinks and then this can be published.

 

ispy

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, mobile technologies | Posted on November 9, 2012

During session 4 we looked at the use of mobile technologies for the classroom.
In a small group we decided to make our own film trailer using the ipad app ‘imovie’.

The layout was simple, we had the option to pick a theme for our trailer.
Once we picked the theme this gave us a  structure, with music and shot advice.
We decided on a title and ideas for the on screen text and typed these into the ipad.
Each shot was advised for example ‘Character 1, 3 seconds, close up’.

Having such a strong structure meant that the whole task took us just over an hour.
The film trailer we made was this:

 

 

When using this in the classroom I would let children work in small groups and share use of the tablets.
Even young children would be able to use this type of software.
The film trailer types are so specific, most children will be aware of what is necessary.
Films like this are also nice to show to parents or could be shared on a class blog or school website.

 

How times change

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, Uncategorized | Posted on November 7, 2012

Having previously used blogfolio as a form of assessment during my time during A level media studies. It was a very similar layout to the one used by the University of Northampton. As a public site, linking all students and as a forum for teachers to access, moderate and mark.

I like the idea of holding a class or school blog, if done through a school server and login to access I can’t see any downside to having a collaborative blog. This could be a valuable opportunity for schools to share with the wider world their strengths. If other schools can link to blogs, they can share abnd collaborate with the wider community the work that is being created. Schools can use this as evidence of work at parents evenings or to show potential students what kind of work they will be taking part in.

From a parents point of view it is a way of seeing their child’s work and getting involved in their learning. It can also be used to give access to family who perhaps live abroad, or for parents who don’t drop or collect their children from school to see what would be displayed in the classroom.

For example a trip could be documented in a blog, going from the planning stages, to preparation and then a photo collage or timetable of each day. Teachers could update from mobile technologies and children could create an ICT evaluation and reflection of the trip. parents could keep up to date with what their children were up to while away.

Class blogging is a  way for teachers and pupils to display the work that they are proud of, projects that span across the whole curriculum can be brought together online.

 

 

Starting from ‘Scratch’

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, programming | Posted on November 2, 2012

During session 3 we continued to explore Scratch.
In small groups we were given the task of creating the outline for a few lessons in teaching Scratch.
The group I was in decided to use cross curricular links with science.
As part of the key stage 2 science curriculum children explore the skeleton, so we decided that we would run these plans alongside the teaching of the skeleton.
The lesson ideas give a brief outline to what we would do in sessions but we were sure that we wanted the lessons to be more practical and exploratory for the children. We wanted them to collaborate and share their own experiences .

Teaching Programming to Children
Scratch

To start to teach how to use the programme Scratch we would start with a topic, for example our topic could be the human body.  The children’s age group is between 8-10.

The overall aim from 3 hours of lessons is for in small groups for the children to create their own app, of a dance, incorporating different parts of the body.

Lesson 1
The starting point would be for the teacher to show a pre created app and introduce Scratch that way.  The first lesson is introducing basic Scratch skills with the children. The children will follow the class teacher on netbooks as the teacher demonstrates the steps on the interactive whiteboard.
The basic skills will be:

1 Choosing a Sprite

2 Creating a sprite

3 Choosing a background

4 Creating a background

5 Input a simple movement (control then motion)

If this exercise doesn’t take the whole lesson the children have the chance to explore other commands.

The children will have laminated hand outs with labelled image of the screen.
The TA will be on hand, to ensure that all children are on task and the lower ability children are keeping up with the group.

Lesson 2
At the start of the second session the teacher will do a re-cap using open ended questions and purposeful mistakes for the children to correct. The teacher will introduce the task of assembling a human body; focussing on moving the different body parts to particular coordinates to assemble. This will give the children the opportunity to refine their anatomical skills, whilst also inputting commands to form a programme.

The teacher will demonstrate the first two commands, showing how to move the legs to the base of the body (they can use questioning to check the children’s understanding, by asking for specific coordinates). The children will then be given the task in pairs to create their own sprites (the body parts) and inputting commands to assemble their body.

Our example:
Learn more about this project

 

Lesson 3
The third session will consist of a brief recap, for example, how to make sprites move in specific directions. The teacher will show an example of a dancing skeleton, kicking its leg and waving its arm. The teacher will then run through how to make the other arm wave.
The way we have made the arm waved is by using a costume change as the different position. This way the children can learn to use other tools in the programme.
Explain to the children that working in groups they will be creating a dancing human body, the children will be instructed to make individual sprites for each part of the body they would like to move. Alternatively, the children can use their pre-created skeleton as existing sprites to manipulate. LA- would be advised to use this process, however, HA will be more inclined to create their own backgrounds, sprites etc. The children can then add in other motions, such as moving from side to side or jumping up and down, exploring other options that the programme can provide.

An example of what the children could create after our 3 lessons:
Learn more about this project

Extension lessons
In extension lessons using Scratch the class would be asked to take pictures of themselves or their partners and use their photographs as sprites to make them move. The class would then move onto adding music and backgrounds, to develop their app further.
By using the theme of the human body the children are developing their scientific knowledge and use Scratch to learn the different names of the bones. By doing the project in pairs the children are developing their speaking and listening skills and working together to finish the project.

 

Tune in to programming

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, programming | Posted on October 26, 2012

With advances in educational ICT, programming with children is becoming more common in primary schools. In fact many education experts are assuming that in the new ICT curriculum (now due out circa 2014) computer science will take prevalence.

An examples of a programming system in schools already is LOGO.
Using a basic number of commands children are able to move a turtle animation in different directions, leaving a trail behind them, which can be various colours. Children could use this to try and write letters or create patterns. This is a good starting point for younger children to start computer programming and then move onto more difficult programming systems.

The programme that we used in session was Scratch. It has basic commands that are accessible for children, they can add costumes, backgrounds, sounds, characters and movement.
In an hours session I tried to explore the most I could and created this:

Learn more about this project

Teachers tools

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in internet, teacher, Uncategorized | Posted on October 17, 2012

PREZI

Prezi is a website that was recently recommended to me, it is a way of presenting work or information in a fast free flowing style.
Registration for the basic features is free but for a fee you can get more advanced tools. The presentations can be shared between users, meaning both parties can edit and tweak a presentation ready for display. For teachers who are sharing a project or giving ideas to other this is ideal. With simple steps and ‘cheat sheets’ getting started is easy.

Presentations can be edited and updated, so during a class project that is cross curricular the staff or children can upload and add their own explanations and examples of work. This presentation could then be used in; an assembly at parents evening or as a reflection at the end of the project. After a school trip a Prezi picture presentation could be shown or emailed to long distance family.
This example is about recycling.

I would let children add their own opinions about different aspects of a project and decide on which pictures to add.
There is already a stockpile of pre-made presentations that can be accessed by anyone, so as the starter to a topic or an informative teaching tool Prezi is easy to access, suitable for the classroom and an alternative to powerpoint.

When working on a student led seminar, we chose to use Prezi as a form of presentation. We picked a simple and clear design and put simple bullet points to outline our understanding. By making ourself all administrators we could all edit our sections from home.

 

 

Safe Searching

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Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in internet, parents, safety | Posted on October 10, 2012

Being at university and being surrounded by computers and the internet often means that we as adults forget that not all children know about the internet, not all children can get onto the internet at home and it is our responsibility to give them the oppportnity to both use and be safe on the internet.

In some schools I have been placed in it is clear which children  have access to a computer at home, these children were confident and liked showing other children what they could do on the internet.

It is not only up to us as teachers to teach children about internet safety but adults also, specifically those parents or carers who are not computer literate.  There are easy to access videos on youtube aimed at children but also warnings for parents.

There are many different websites available to parents, children and teachers for example thinkuknow.
For children there are cartoons are videos explaining in a child friendly way why it is important to stay safe.

Cyberbullying is a very current issue, becoming more prominent with celebrities getting abused via social networking, for example Tom Daley’s very personal attack in August.

E safety can be tackled in many different ways by schools, but there is no doubt that children should be made aware of the dangers that they face online. For example an assembaly using a video such as this:

Are easy to find and tackle the serious issues, while the children should see similarities and engage.  Children could also be given the task of promoting e-safety around the school. Possibly even making a video similar to the one above.

Oftsed have published guidlines for E-safety called  ‘inspecting e-safety’This document suggests that staff, pupils and families all recieve training and information on how to stay safe online. The document gives examples of how and why internet safety can be taught, the main point from the document appears to be that maintaining a whole school consistent approach is the strongest way to teach.