My Vision Statement


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: Last accessed 21/11/12.

Department for Education. (1999). Information Communications Technology National Curriculum . Available: 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: [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.


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.


Teachers tools


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


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.



Useful Phonics Links


Posted by MacKinnon | Posted in ICT, phonics, teacher | Posted on October 3, 2012

During a previous assignment I researched four phonics websites that would be helpful to a teacher that needed to improve their phonics knowledge or for a teacher wanting to look for new ideas. Hyperlinked are the four websites with some information on what makes them useful to teachers in either KS1 OR KS2.

Top Phonics

Mr Thorne

‘Mr Thorne does literacy’ is a great website. A real life teacher giving other teachers advice on various aspects of literacy. He recommends tried and tested; resources,  ways of teaching and games. Videos can also be found on youtube, Mr Thorne has his own iphone, ipad and andriod apps. The website has 244 videos for phases 1-6 as well as information and videos on topics like homophones and grammar. The videos would be perfect for use on the interactive whiteboard as the start of each new sound.
The website has a fun character of ‘Geraldine the Giraffe’ that young children would love. The Giraffe puppet teaches various sounds and would be great as a running theme over a series of lessons or as a re-cap of learnt sounds.

The website gives the options for you to be able to contact ‘Mr Thorne’ if there are any queries.


Phonics Play

Games and activities from phases 1 – 6
A worthwhile resource for all of key stage 1 and early key stage 2.  If the school subscribes, there are more resources and extended activities both children and teachers can use. This is a brilliant resource for teachers who aren’t overly confident in using and teaching phonics. With plans for each phase and daily ideas, this website excels in content for phonics in the classroom or at home.
It includes information for teachers when phonics isn’t meeting every child’s needs, with handy hints and a glossary. There is guidance for how to apply phonics, with activity ideas and assessment ideas, assessment guides and information as well as resources for all of the phases. These resources are printable so could be set as homework or extension work.
This website would be great to refer to parents who are struggling to understand phonics or how to aid their child with phonics. The free games and activities can be accessed by children whilst at home, whereas the subscriber-only games can be used within school and during phonics sessions.
There are resources that are designed for the interactive whiteboard during a phonics session. Another idea could be to have one to one time with a member of teaching staff for a child who is struggling with their phonics either in key stage one or two.


Phonics International

This website can be subscribed to to gain more content, but has a lot of free resources that are very worthwhile. I advise this website to teachers who are not overly confident in their knowledge of phonics to use this website as a refresher of their knowledge. There is an area that contains sound clips for the different phonemes and graphemes, with example words and images. There is a message forum for teachers and parents to contact each other, to give advice or ask questions. There are 70 free resources for unit 1 of 12 as a taster pack to encourage joining the scheme. There are some helpful tracking registers and various charts are also available for teachers to use alongside various flashcards and posters relating to unit 1. There is also the option to sign up for free tutorials on how to use the resources and what is available if you sign up for the rest of the scheme.



This website has 856 activities, including games, songs and fun videos with well known Cbeebies characters. Not all of the activities are solely for phonics, a lot of them involve use of the ICT and phonics crossed with other curriculum subjects. For example ‘Staying Healthy’ song which could be used in a science project.
The website gives you the option to pick an age range, time limit or a theme to differentiate the activities. The website has support features and information for any adults that are trying to boost their child’s learning using the website. It includes information explaining the premise of phonics and why it is so key in child development.
Resources on the website include; videos of high frequency sounds, printable worksheets and stories to read along with.