My Vision Statement

My personal philosophy for the use of digital technologies in Early Years and Key Stage 1 settings.

 

Vision-definition-e1374486983238

As we now embark upon a change in direction for teaching ICT in the form of Computing (2013) curriculum, I see opportunities to create really exciting, engaging and collaborative ways of teaching and learning for all children. I envisage a classroom where children have ready access to a range of computing resources which include, internet, iPads/tablets, visualisers, voice recording devices (digital microphones/dictaphones), cameras for stills as well as video, programmable robotic devices (roamer, beebot, big trak) to name a few. I envisage a seamless interaction of learning across all curriculum areas interlinked with computing resources. Technology will be embedded in all subject areas, and children of all abilities including those with SEND/EAL will have the skills and knowledge make their learning much more interactive and collaborative, for example, a story will be written directly online, edited, pictures and sounds added for effect and then, not just published, but a copy purchased as well (www.storyjumper.com). In a typical Key Stage 1 classroom, I would expect to see a group of children working together using cameras to take photos (and writing captions), another group may be using a digital microscope to look at hands, skin etc. and another group talking about the parts of the body, filming  and presenting a video report. Children will have regular opportunities to contribute to the school website, including being able to blog within the school community  also the wider (global) one. It is this ‘Digital Literacy’ that we will become accustomed to.

I envisage children in KS2 having their own iPads which they will use in the classroom and beyond to enhance their learning across all areas of the curriculum. Children will have the capability to be able to find out information using technology independently, be motivated (by the technology), be reflective and respond to problems by being creative, thus enrich their learning by taking ownership. This certainly gives learning more context and meaningful to the learners.

Traditionally, children are being taught ICT skills in their own right, in the form of learning how to use particular programs or software, like developing keyboard skills using word-processor software or mouse skills via drawing software (Reception/Year 1). Whilst these skills are still regarded as important, the new Computing (2013) curriculum goes beyond being the end user of a software program, but rather, the actual program/App creators. The role of the teacher will change from a traditional ‘dispenser of all knowledge’ to one that channels learning by presenting open, collaborative and challenging tasks that require deeper, meaningful learning, one where independence is promoted.

In fact, the new Computing  curriculum aims to ensure that pupils become digitally literate, which means they will have the transferable skills to apply to a variety of platforms to express their ideas, communicate with others (globally) and find solutions to problems. Hence, securing a place in the ever- increasing digital workplace. Specifically, the National Curriculum (2013) stipulate that all pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

 

In order to achieve these higher goals, educators will ‘need to bear in mind the twin goals of learning through technology and learning how to use technology’ (Caldwell, H and Honeyford, G (2014 p.46). In fact, the challenges of resourcing and teacher training, particularly existing members of staff (or long established teachers) will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, in my opinion. Observations on all school placements so far, suggests, that more will need to be done in order to fully realise the aspirations of the new curriculum. This may, for some schools, have resource implications.

However, I am confident because I have observed children beginning to learn programming using Scratch in some schools already and this presents a really interesting, engaging and creative way of getting children to code and think logically and methodically. Children learn in school and then continue at home, thus becoming active learners. In fact it is this ‘extended learning time’ that is referred to in NAACE (2014), where children continue and develop learning at home on their iPad/tablets/lab tops etc.

In terms of planning, a head start has already been made in this regard by Somerset in conjunction with e-learning & information management (see Computing Curriculum Planning) for a range of detailed, extensive plans for Reception through to Year 6.

As children become increasingly confident at using a variety of devices on a variety of platforms, they will develop a high level of Digital Wisdom, defined as  ‘the ability of to make considered, conscious decisions about the use of technology inside and outside school or a working environment’  (Caldwell, H and Honeyford, G ,2014, p.47). Thus, in order to safeguard children, they must also be equally equipped with the skills to make decisions about e-safety. With the development of the use of mobile technology and accessibility, children must be made aware of e-safety as part of the wider curriculum, as Audain, J (2014, p.11) states that children should be able to:

  • be aware of the danger on the internet in the same way as stranger danger
  • know how to set a strong password
  • know who to tell when they come across situations or web content that makes them feel uneasy
  • know how to comment on a blog post in a positive and constructive way

It will be my role to ensure that children know and understand the importance of E-Safety as recommended by Ofsted (2012) who state that practitioners need to ‘continue to make e-safety a priority in the curriculum, in staff training and in support for parents’ (E2BN, 2008).

……My final thoughts for my vision statement is that ‘ICT is an integral part of the modern curriculum’ (Hayes, 2012, p.172) and that it is a key skill which we need to embrace, educate and equip our ‘future generations to think about our ever evolving world in new ways’ (Crow, D, 2014).

 

cropped-wordle-4-2-19u4u51

 

 

 

 

I do hope you have enjoyed reading my blogs. My subject knowledge of ICT has grown immensely as has my confidence. As an Early Years I feel enthused and well equipped to go into my future practice and put into place all of the apps, software and webtools  I have explored and incorporating them into the classroom to enhance and support children’s learning across all curriculum areas.

Thank you for reading.

 

References

Audain, J. (2014) Planning your provision. In: Audain, J. (ed.) The Ultimate Guide to Using ICT Across the Curriculum. London: Bloomsbury Education . p.1-28.

Caldwell, H and Honeyford, G. (2014) Computing And Digital Literacy. In: Dawes, L and Smith, P. (ed.) Subject Teaching in Primary Education. London: Sage Publications Ltd. p.43-64.

Crow, D. (2014). Why every child should learn to code. Source [online]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/07/year-of-code-dan-crow-songkick [Accessed 2nd Nov 2014].

Department for Education (2013) Computing programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2. Source [online]. Available from:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239033/PRIMARY_national_curriculum _-_  Computing.pdf [Accessed 30th Oct 2014].

Hayes, D. (2012) The Curriculum. In: Hayes, D. (ed.) Foundations of Primary Teaching. 5th ed. Abingdon: David Fulton Publishers. p.163- 177.

https://slp.somerset.gov.uk/cypd/elim/somersetict/Site%20Pages/Progressions%20main%20page.aspx

http://www.e2bn.org/esafety/399/e-safety-and-ofsted.html

Unknown. (2014) The value added to teaching and learning by ICT. Source [online].  Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/ [Accessed 3rd Nov 2014].

Images courtesy of Google Images

Developing a vision

Alas this week was our last taught extended ICT session with our inspiring tutor Helen Caldwell, the last five weeks have flown by! As we approach the end our first term at university it will not be long before we are teaching our own class of children as we embark on our teaching careers.

Today’s session began by an introduction  to ‘subscription software’ in the form of two sites Education city and Help Kids learn. We were given the opportunity to explore both sites, choose an activity and feedback to the group .

 

education city

I first took a look at Education City. This is an excellent software site which I have seen used by children in previous placements. The site is packed full of learning activities covering the curriculum areas of English, Maths, Science and Computing as well as MFL of French and Spanish. There is also a section on ‘Learn English’ which I thought was particularly useful especially with children who have EAL. The site can be used across key stages 1 and 2 and has a section which incorporates the EYFS. Education City is simple to navigate around and is ascetically pleasing to the eye, an important factor and I feel is one of the reasons that children like to use this site. I discovered there is also an option to display an activity on the IWB, this is a useful feature as you could use the activity as a starter activity,plenary to the lesson or as a continuous provision for children to access.

I had a look at a Ks1 maths activity of ‘Flower Fun’ ordering numbers from 1-20, this activity I found is very user friendly and one which children would be able to do independently. Overall I give this website a big thumbs up and will definitely like to use on my next placement or in my future practice. See the activity example below

 

edu cit mat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bigmack_with_coloured_tops

Next I looked at a software site called HelpKidzLearn. This site also has games, activities, stories, a creative section and lots more which is aimed at the early years and those with learning difficulties. Helen our tutor showed us ‘switches’ which can be used  for children who have an impairment or for children to build upon their skills when moving onto using a mouse to complete an activity. When you click on an activity will advise you how many switches can be used (for 1 or more players). I browsed through some of the activities and found them to be very early years and simple to complete, the Education City site I found is more challenging and geared towards both EY’s and primary range aged group, however I do like the fact that switches can be used to complete an activity and will take the idea forward when I am in my future practice.

 

The site has a story section which has has activities that develops and reinforce children’s counting skills, although limited, for children in FS1 and Fs2 I feel that they would enjoy using and working through the activities independently. I had a look at a counting called ‘Five big Dinosaurs’.

 

dino

 

 Exploring Assessment tools

 

 

Picture2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the next part of our extended session we looked at assessment tools. We looked at and explored:

  • 2Build a profile
  • Tapestry
  • Three ring (free app)
  • Evernote.com (free app)

 

I have had the opportunity to use the 2Build a profile app on a school placement and found after a little practice it was fairly easy to use. I would say this is a good documentation tool to use for assessment purposes. It allows you to take a picture of the child or children you are observing, then you write your virtual note and tag the observation to the early learning goals, you can also print off the observation to go in the children’s learning journals to share with parents and other teaching staff.This and other apps save time on observations a plus for all teachers, I would highly recommend having a go.

The Three Ring e-portfolio app allows you to collect evidence of learning and capture children’s work in the form of  video (a feature that I like) sound recording and text, it also allows you to organise classes using an iPad. I am totally convinced that the iPad is the way forward it can be used in so many different ways, an essential tool for teachers.

Have a look a this short demonstration video below

I looked at Evernote which is web based and can be used for a digital student portfolio, this tool allows you take pictures of the children’s work,  add text, add audio recording , children are able to talk about what they have learned , what they did and why it was important to them. This app allows you to share the child’s information with parents/carers via email. This app is not designed as an assessment tool but can be adapted for assessment purposes. I may explore this further and use it in my next placement.

 Making learning visible

I  watched an informative video of how one school documents children’s learning through a differentiated learning curriculum as a whole school research project. The research the project developed through the children’s input and interests. Teachers acted as facilitators and both teachers and children documented the learning journey in a variety of ways. The displays of the work the children had researched  made the learning more visible to the whole school community.The children were able to analyse and discuss the documentation they researched with teachers and their families. The project was celebrated and displayed in may ways such as using digital technology, interactive displays, video, drama, art and design etc. to value the learning that had developed from the project. The schools approach in displaying their findings in such creative and effective ways not only made the learning  visible it also enriched the school environment and allowed the children to revisit their learning. 

Take a look at the video below from Woorana Park Primary School

 

Our final group activity was to assist us with thoughts about the content of our vision statement.

We talked about research from Naace (2014) on the 11 top statements on how ‘ICT could impact learning’. We put the statements in order of importance and then using an app called Skitch we chose our top three statements and annotated them by circling around statements, use arrows and annotate  with text. These where then uploaded onto Show me app,  an online learning community , and shared with the rest of our group. Unfortunately, sometimes technology can let you down and we were unable to upload our top three statements  thankfully I took a picture, our top three were:

  • increase motivation to learn
  • Increase access to resources and tools
  • Enable access for minorities (be inclusive for all children)

You can see Rachel and Co.’s example of their skitch below, by completing this activity has given me some valid points on the importance of ICT and how it impacts on learning.

 

 

Reading

How the iPad can transform classroom learning

This article by Ben Johnson typifies my vision for computing transforming classroom learning. The focus of the article is the use of the iPad and the possibilities for learning transformation across the curriculum. One of the main benefits is the ability of a teacher to set open tasks that require critical thinking and problem solving. Learners can research, find evidence, model ideas, corroborate with other students and present their learning in form appropriate to the task.

From the teacher’s point of view, the iPad becomes a tool for assessing , evaluating and documenting the learning. In fact, this is already being implemented in some secondary schools where children have their own iPads, which they use during lessons to support and enhance their learning.

Click on link to read the full article

 

In today’s session the Teachers Standards which are addressed within this session are:

TS3– Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge (have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject)

TS4– Plan and teach well structured lessons (impart knowledge and develop understanding, promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity)

TS5– Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils (have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities)

TS6 – Make accurate and productive use of assessment (make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’
progress)

 

References

Johnson, B (2012) How the iPad can transform learning. Source [online]. Available from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipads-transform-classroom-ben-johnson [Accessed 2nd Nov 2014].

 

 

 

Digital Technology across the Curriculum

In this weeks session we looked at how ICT can play an essential part across the curriculum.

QR Codes

We were tasked to day to work in pairs and create a themed/curriculum resource using  a selection of QR codes. Let’s go to the beginning and find out what QR codes are and what are there purpose. 

 

qr sample QR – Stands for ‘Quick Response. You may have seen QR codes in a magazine advert, on a web page, on a billboard, or on promotional literature. QR codes store and digitally present a lot of data, such as url links and instead of having a hand held scanner such as a scanner that is used to scan bar-codes, most smartphones can scan the QR codes quite easily and bring up the information on your phone in an instant, using a QR code reader app which are easily downloadable.   We were introduced today on alternative ways  of how to use QR codes effectively, such using them as an educational resource in the classroom. I had never thought of using them in this alternate way, who would have thought they have so many uses. This is an excellent idea of having resources on a topic of study on one sheet, a cube or grouped on a key ring! Below is a delightful video of how one class use QR codes in their classroom to get to popular websites which they have bookmarked and can use in an instant. Her explanation of how to use QR is spot on!

 

Amisha and I worked in a pair and decided that our early learning theme would be ‘All about Minibeasts’. We collated six different resources covering several curriculum areas such as Literacy,  Science, Art & Design  and put the QR codes together on one sheet linking them to the relevant url/websites on our chosen theme. I can see the benefits of using QR  codes in the classroom as they can be used across the curriculum subjects, children could put together their own mini project and sharing what they have learnt with their peers, children’s work could also be uploaded onto the school website/blog and parents could access their child’s work using their QR code scanner via their smartphone. 

We looked at various resource sites such as Infant Encyclopedia, Tes, Communication 4 All, BBC Bitesize , Purplemash and many others

 

infant encylopedia

communication 4 all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both of the sites we looked at have a number of topics to choose from. They are packed full of information, activities and resources that cover many areas of the curriculum. We looked at the Science section for information on our chosen topic of Minibeasts, we liked the fact that there was a wide variety of activities to browse and choose from that children would find appealing such as videos, literacy activities, art and design activities etc. There are also adaptable IWB activities that available within these sites, these sites are well worth exploring as they are a valuable resource to have and use in an Early Years/KS1 classroom.

After we had chosen our activities, we used a QR code generator (we used Scan.me) to make the QR code. We then used a snippet tool to add it into a publisher document. It is very simple to do. Once compiled you scan the codes to find out more information by simply scanning the QR code which instantly takes you to the url/website on Minibeasts. Here is our example which has been added the Teaching Resource bank

 

 

97tf97yfy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at Green Screen

I was interested in taking a look at ‘Green Screen’ as it looked like fun and something that I would like to experiment with. Having looked at a few examples I soon realised that there are many innovative ways to ‘bring the curriculum to life’ and Green Screen is one of them. Armed with your iPad and green sheeting/paper (you can choose other colours for the background but grren works best with skin tones) you begin  by performing in front of the screen, this is were your artistic flair comes in and then using technology the green background is removed and depending on what background you choose you can be transported to any location in an instant.

I think that children would enjoy this as it has so much potential, it could be used as a starter to an activity/topic or to bring the topic to an end. There are many ways that Green screen can be used, for storytelling, a Geography topic on weather, a history topic on The Great Fire of London, there are so many possibilities!

I found an example of how one school has used Green Screen to bring their knowledge together on their topic of the Victorians, the teacher commented that the children were all enthusiastic about presenting in front of the screen and it was an activity that could incorporate all of the children even those who were shy of performing in front of the camera.

Victorians 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the session we watched a video of how one teacher has used Green screening creatively for an introduction on a History topic on WW1, it is really effective and a great way to get the children hooked into the topic. This has inspired me to incorporate using GreenScreeing in my classroom! Watch this space……

Take a look at the video below

 

We were posed a question of ‘What does ICT add?’

Hall (2010) suggests that before technology is introduced into the learning of a subject it is essential that we consider whether ICT should be used, and does it enhance teaching and learning. Hall (2010) goes on to make some valid points does ICT:

  • make it easier, quicker or more enjoyable to accomplish a task
  • improve the quality of the work
  • enable learners
  • provide motivation
  • help to achieve the desired learning outcome?

There is lots of evidence  to suggest that ICT is an effective tool for teaching and learning and providing it is not ‘overused and it is used effectively’ it is good reason to include in the classroom to enhance and not substitute teaching and learning ‘(Hall, 2010, p.15). This article has made me think a little more about using technology in an effective way in my classroom and I will question whether it adds value and content to the learning when planning activities.

We looked at many different websites an apps today such as Recce – London a free app which a great way to explore London’s sites without actual having to take a trip to the capital. This could be way in if looking at a history project of London, such as the House of Parliment,Tower of London, HMS Belfast or Buckingham Palace.

screen568x568 of london

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other apps were explored such as Steet view on Google Maps, this app is amazing an allows you explore landmarks around the world, you can be looking in another part of the world in an instant! Rome, Egypt, India all at your finger tips….This could be adapted and used in the classroom closer to home, the children could make a map of their route to school and by using this app could add a real life dimension to their learning.

 

Making the leaning visible – Collaborating and sharing

Collaboration at a whole school level is wonderfully demonstrated by Bridgewater Primary School in Northamptonshire. The school tapped into the interests and motivations the children, which was a program/game called Minecraft. This was modified it and re-presented to the children as ‘Bridgecraft’  where the whole school worked together on a week-long project covering all different subject areas. Children were so motivated, they were totally immersed in being creative, collaborative problem solvers with so many of their own ideas. Learning was totally visible across the whole school as each year group created a different aspect of the project. This was recorded as stills, video and put on the school blog. I must say, the children, teachers and parents really seemed enthused and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the school won an ICT award as a result of their project. Take a look at the inspiring video below of

 

 

Reading

Learning, Digital Media and Creative Play in Early Childhood

 

spotlight picThis thought provoking article intrigued me to take on board introducing technology to young children in the early years that are ‘developmentally appropriate’. Children from a very young age become accustomed to using digital technologies in their play that are a tool for supporting learning. The article suggests that pre-schoolers must still have the important real hands on experiences that they require and need to experience such as riding a tricycle, playing in the sand or making sculptures out of clay or dough. This particular school in the article has incorporated technology as part of their everyday classroom.   It goes on to highlight the market for educational media for young children is expanding rapidly. Almost half of the 100 top-selling education apps in the iTunes App Store were for preschool or elementary-aged children, with games and apps that allow pre-schoolers to do everything from animate their own to cartoons, to learn their ABC’s etc. and all claiming to be educational. The reality is that the research behind if there is any real potential by pre-schoolers playing these games/apps helps their cognitive or social learning and development is yet to be proven. Another point which was highlighted was parents who are’ handing over their smartphones to entertain bored kids in the back of the car. And the iPhone has become, according to one New York Times article, the most effective tool in human history to mollify a fussy toddler, much to the delight of parents revelling in their newfound freedom to have a conversation in a restaurant or roam the supermarket aisles in peace’, in other words a smartphone as the modern alternative to a baby sitter. In my opinion there is a place for technology and I see the immense possibilities that they can create however, there has to be a balance between real life experiences and using technology effectively. Read the full article by clicking on this link to give your view

 

 

In today’s session the Teachers Standards which are addressed within this session are:

TS1 – Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils (set goals that stretch and challenge pupils)

TS3– Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge (have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject)

TS4– Plan and teach well structured lessons (impart knowledge and develop understanding, promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity)

 

 

References

Hall,D. (2010) Using ICT to Enhance English. In: Hall, D. (ed.) The ICT Handbook for Primary Teachers. Abingdon: Routledge. p.15-26.

Jackson, S. (2012) Learning, Digital Media and Creative Play in Early Childhood. Source [online]. Available from: http://spotlight.macfound.org/featured-stories/entry/learning-digital-media-and-creative-play-in-early-childhood/ [Accessed 3rd Nov 2014].

Creative Computing

Computing

In this session we looked at where computer science fits into the National Curriculum (2013) and how we can introduce computing skills to children in the early years and KS1. ‘Computing‘ as it is now known replaces the term ICT and its purpose of study is to equip children to use ‘computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world’ (NC, 2013).

There is a much deeper level of thinking into how digital systems work and how to use this knowledge to create simple and more complex programming in order to  become more digital literate in our highly evolving technological world. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive with words such as ‘computational thinking, algorithms, debug and programming’ and what these terms actually meant, so I thought I would increase my own subject knowledge and find out a little more about the new ‘computing terminology’. I recommend looking at the BBC’s Bitesize Computing Science and ICT site as it unpicks the language of computing into simplistic terms.

p025xg29 bbc bitesize

Whilst researching computing I found a really useful guide for primary teachers on Computing in the National Curriculum. According to Naace (2013) the term:

cthead

 

Computational thinking is a way of thinking and problem solving that uses computer science techniques, a term which was first used by Seymour Papert. I really like the thought process behind computational thinking in that it is an  important skill for pupils to to develop their techniques and be creative, allowing them to feel empowered.

 

An Algorithm is a precisely defined procedure – a sequence of instructions, or a set of rules for performing a task

To Debug is finding and fixing/removing errors or mistakes in programming

Programming means the process of writing a computer program.

The National Curriculum (2013) states that pupils should be taught to code, create and debug simple programs some of which I will explore below.   

To look into detail what pupils should be taught in KS1/2 in Computing you can access the National Curriculum in England: Computing programmes of study by clicking on the link.

 

We also looked at how children in the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS, 2013) do computing without using a computer, for example giving another child a set of instructions to move from a to b (the beginnings of simple programming) this is called unplugged learning before they move onto programming a floor robot such as a Beebot (this shows how pupils have progressed from a unplugged activity to a plugged activity by programming the Beebot). Below is a short video on an unplugged activity ‘Mr Bagge the Sandwich Bot’ where the children are giving the instructions to the teacher on how to make a sandwich.

 

 

teaching kids to code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at coding

We had an opportunity to explore a range of iPad apps in the session such as  ‘Scratch Junior, Daisy the Dinosaur and Move the Turtle as well as looking at floor  robots such as the Bee-bots and if that was no enough we were being creative with  Lego models and programming them to move. As you can see our sessions are  very hands on and as well as learning about new ideas to use in our teaching  practice we get to have fun as well!

These apps can help teach children (and adults!!) to learn basic programming in a fun an interactive way.

 

ipad apps

 

I had a look at ‘Daisy the Dinosaur’ which is a fun free app. I found  it very simple to use and  can see how children would enjoy programming Daisy to move, spin and jump up  and down!  You simply drag and drop a sequence of instructions and see what happens, I think that children in the Early Years  could get to grips with this quite easily. See the example below

 

daisy the dinosaur coding

Click on this link and it will take you a teacher tutorial on how to navigate round this simple coding app.

 

I also explored Scratch Jr which is more advanced than ‘Daisy the Dinosaur’ it enables the user to create animations, add sounds, create games and stories. It is very easy and user friendly and you get to grips with it easily once you have had a practice, this app is accessible for younger children. I made my sprite (the cat) move and jump up and down on the bed and say hi! I would recommended the more advanced version of Scratch for older children as it is more complicated and does need to be modelled and scaffolded. I feel that children would need to add or make changes to an existing programme intially  in order to get to grips with the it before creating one of their own.

image

 

 

Bee-bots App and Floor Robot

BeeBot_App_4

The Bee-bot app has been developed from a personal favourite of mine, the Bee-bot robot. This app supports young children to develop their directional language skills through programming a set of sequences (an algorithm) such as  forwards, backwards, left and right turn through 90 degree turns into the robot. In my last placement I used Bee-bots with Year 1’s and the maths lesson was very enjoyable as it brought ‘giving directions using the Bee-bot to life!’  The children really enjoyed the physicality of handling the Bee-bots aswell as the challenge of predicting, planning and programming the Bee-bot with a sequence of directions to get the bananas to the hungry monkey. There is no end to using Bee-bots across the curriculum areas, you can even make the Beebots dance!

 

 

ITSBOT

 

Whilst browsing I found a Prezi courtesy of Emily Brown (2013) which shares some excellent ideas for using Bee-bots across the curriculum for children in the early years and Key Stage 1. Click on the Link

 

 

 

Having explored both the Bee-bot app  and the floor robot I would recommend that children practice and become familiar with the floor robot first, as I found the app to be a little tricky to do using one continuous instruction. I also found there to be an issue with the arrows on the Bee-bot app which you need to get to grips with, if the Bee-bot if facing down you need to press the forward arrow to make it move forward, this may confuse the children and practice may be required. As with the floor robot that you need to remember to clear it to proceed if completing separate instructions.  On the plus side the app is more challenging and is a good way way to see progression in children’s learning as it has different levels which are timed and rewarded with stars as an incentive.

 

Web Based coding with Purple Mash

Purple Mash has computing focused activities based on coding called  2Code. The  site has teaching tutorials and is easy to navigate around. After exploring the site I would say that it is okay to use and has similar features to other coding applications (such as Espresso Coding) however, my opinion is that Scratch is a far easier format to use. To begin with the 2Code activities are simple to do and require one or two sequences. However, as the challenges increase in difficulty, the coding sequences become more complex as does the language, this is where I feel it becomes more geared towards older children in KS2 as there are many more instructions to follow and information to absorb and process. I had a go at Jumping Monkey which was fairly easy to use once you got to grips with it. I enjoyed the challenges and feel that children would be able to increase their confidence and build on their understanding of coding when using 2Code over a series of sessions.

 

 

Barefoot-logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of today’s session we were introduced to the ‘Barefoot Computing Project‘ which is an excellent teaching project that is funded by the Department of Education. It is a free site full of practical resources to support primary teachers with the new ‘Computing Curriculum’, one I will be visiting once I commence my teaching practice. The site is packed full of downloadable activity ideas that are detailed with a complete lesson activity and include:

– Programming activities

– Recommended year group

– Curriculum links

– Learning Intentions/Outcomes

– Resources required

– Lesson outline/timings

– Assessment opportunities

– Teaching notes

…. the list is endless!!! And if like me lack confidence in teaching Computing the guidance information that the site provides will instill confidence within you to teach Computing successfully, this site is really informative well worth taking a look.

As a group we were tasked to evaluate an activity from the sites Key Stage 1 Exemplar Activities. I paired with my partner Amisha and we  explored Bee-bots 1,2,3 programming. This activity requires children to create an algorithm to draw the shape of a numeral. On evaluating the activity – The programming side of the activity involves taking the algorithm created by the children and using it to program a Bee-Bot to draw a numeral (a marker pen is attached to the front of the Bee-Bot). This activity links with Computing and Mathematics (position and direction) and is a problem solving and collaborative activity with lots of talk opportunities for the children throughout the activity. The children first write the steps down on a whiteboard to create an algorithm prior to programming the Bee-Bot. We felt children would really be engrossed in the activity as it requires quite a few steps, it is also an opportunity for the children to self assess and to see if the algorithm they have created matches the numeral. See the example below 

KS1_beebot_123_3_draw1_algorithm

 

Reading

I asked myself a question …… We all know that children enjoy technology and can spend an endless amount of time using them at their leisure but do children need to learn to code?

I look into this a little further and came across an interesting article by the BBC that answered some of my doubts.  The article suggests that children do need to learn to code form an early age as we as a society have become ‘more and more governed by technology ‘. It goes on to discuss  how coding can teach ‘logical thinking’ by breaking things down into steps and looking beneath the device. I think this quote sums up the article quite well and why learning to code is an important skill, 

“The tools we have to create content today are amazing but we want people who will create the tools of tomorrow and they are going to be the ones that open up the box and tweak it” (BBC, 2014)

You can click on this link to read the full article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29145904

An article of interest whist browsing was an informative Prezi on Physical Computing by Graham Hastings (2014). It links in well with this weeks session. The Prezi shares information on how control actually helps children develop the skills, language and logical reasoning skills. Offers a variety of applications/programs (like Flowoll) that can be used, which lend themselves to programming, including use existing resources like Bee-bots. The Prezi is meticulously created detailing how the needs of the DFES Programmes of Study for Computing (2014) can be met. Would definitely recommend a view of the full presentation to gain further insight.

And finally….

In today’s session the Teachers Standards which are addressed within this session are:

TS3– Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge (have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject)

TS4– Plan and teach well structured lessons (impart knowledge and develop understanding, promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity)

 

 

 

 

References

Berry, M. (2013). Computing in the National Curriculum- A guide for primary teachers. Available: http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/CASPrimaryComputing.pdf.  Last accessed 16th Oct 2014.

Department for Education. (2013). National curriculum in England: computing programmes of study. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study. Last accessed 12th Oct 2014.

Wakefield, J. (2014). Does a five-year-old need to learn how to code?.Available: http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29145904. Last accessed 18th Oct 2014.

 

Maximising the use of Mobile Devices

Looking at the innovative ways Ipads are used in the classroom

In today’s session we looked at a Prezi Helen had created on how primary schools are using iPads in the classroom. Helen showed us many apps some of which she recommended we should take a minute to explore. Helen talked about the Flexible Use of Media and how by using certain apps such as GreenScreen children can have the opportunity to be ‘virtually’ anywhere, an example was shown on how a group of children did a virtual tour of the sites and landmarks of London. I also enjoyed using Feltboard and can see children creating their own stories using this app. I have previously used iMovie in year 2 and Haiku Deck which I feel children can easily get to grips with.

Making Learning Visible, apps that allow children to share what they have learnt, a nice way of sharing and talking about children’s work in the early years would be by taking pictures of the children’s activity and then sharing what they have done using Reflector/Apple TV on the IWB. Another way of making learning visible is One is Popplet which is easy to use and has the option of adding images and video. We looked at answer garden which I have used on previous blogs, it allows you to answer a question that is posed.

Making learning flexible and personal, there are many different types of apps that are available some of which support curriculum areas such as Pocket Phonics, Spellasour app for supporting spelling, Collins Big Cat Books for developing reading. I also had a look at the Grasshopper apps, these can be customized and are good to use for children in the Early Years. It is also important to make learning personal and take into account the needs of all children to include those with SEND/EAL.

Encouraging talk and collaboration is always paramount, there are many to choose from. I have explored apps such as Puppetpals, Toca Boca, Tellagami, ShadowPuppet.edu all of which encourage the use of talk. Take a look at the Prezi below

 

After the session introduction we had an opportunity to finish off our storytelling apps. Amisha and I decided to finish off resource by adding our Feltboard story into Story jumper (an easily accessible webtool) as this would be a great way to showcase the children’s stories in the form of a book. You can see our example below, it looks really professional , I feel that children would be really proud to see their worked displayed in this way.

Book titled 'Rudy's New Shoes'Read this free book made on StoryJumper

 

We also had an opportunity to share our resources, I liked Sarah and Co’s take on ‘Dear Zoo’ using Tellagami app, I also liked the resource created by Alyson and Alex of ‘The Brave Knight’ using Green Screen, it was very effective and I can see how this could be used in the classroom across many curriculum areas such as literacy, history, science, RE etc. children could be transported to any place they choose! This has inspired me to have a go a using this app on my next placement. You can take a look below

 

Using ICT in the Early Years Foundation Stage

using Computers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where does ICT fit in the EYFS?

According to Somerset ELIM (2012) ‘there is a clear place for ICT in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS). The Somerset ELIM (2012) document talks about the many ways in which so many of the Early Learning Goals (ELG’s) can be addressed and met using ICT.  ICT is not just about iPads and computers, it can be anything that requires makes pressing buttons/switches and watch to see what happens. Children in the early years are motivated, excited  and engaged when using ICT, they enjoy sharing their achievements.The site suggests examples of weblinks to support specific ELG’s. I had a look the ELG of

Making relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

The site suggests activities such as children working collaboratively using Bee-Bots, Roamer, Big Track or other electronic toys, these types of activities are a great way of children making new relationships and forming friendships. It also suggests the use of appropriate software on a computer, iPad or IWB. Other suggestions are using walkie talkies or toy mobile phones,  I feel that children would enjoy using these in their play and communicating with each, this will develop their language and communication skills. It is also important that children understand turn taking when using equipment and that use of time on devices is limited in terms of usage time. I found this site is really informative click on this link for more information.

As part of our reading for this session we were asked to comment and reflect on why some teachers are reluctant to use digital technologies in the primary classroom. 

Do young children need access to computers as much as they need to play with sand and water?

This article posed some point of interest on ‘Why some teachers are reluctant to use digital technologies’.

I think that most teachers, the ones who are new to recent mobile technologies, do use computers to carry out everyday tasks like online booking, buying insurance, downloading music and videos and social networking. The issue is that they have reservations, namely;

  • E-safety and security of information
  • Reliable networks
  • Availability of on-site technical support
  • Lack of training and time for experimenting with new technology

However, with more reliable networks and the popularity of mobile devices in homes, teachers do find it easier to incorporate software and Apps into everyday teaching and learning. Devices, such as tablets are actually being used for assessment and to record progress of children’s development / skills, e.g.2Build a profile.

On the question of whether children need access to computers as much as the need to play with sand and water, children do need real life experiences however, evidence suggests the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Children as young as two years old are familiar with devices, such as smart phones, iPads or similar tablet devices. I have observed them select their favourite video to watch or program to play with, even at least know how to stop and start. Thus showing familiarity at a very young age and by the time they start formal school, technology has already become part of their normal life.

Touch screen technology has many advantages for children who haven’t started reading yet, they can access to a whole range of learning by following images and voice prompts or dragging and dropping (shapes, for example in a maths based activity) even if they have poor motor skills. With such technology, children can start ‘learning’ even before they start reading and writing. As technology is becoming more embedded in our daily lives, so does the need to be at the forefront of this technology because children of today will be better prepared for the advances of the technology tomorrow.

 

In this week Early Years Specialism our group was tasked to do a presentation on theorist Maria Montessori. Amisha, Rachel and I researched some background information into her educational vision and presented our findings to the rest of the group. I created a Prezi instead of a Powerpoint as I feel this is a really effective way of presenting information. It allows you to zoom in and out and add text and video. See below

 

 

 

Reading

I came across this website (http://www.ideaslab.edu.au/design-lab/ckc/) about how new technology will mean a re-evaluation of pedagogy. I found some really useful background information via a link (http://www.ideaslab.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Understanding-Virtual-Pedagogies_CKC_ideasLAB.pdf)

Increasing use of mobile devices opens up new possibilities and at the same time ‘they re-conceptualise the nature of teaching and learning in a technology-rich learning world.’ As these new learning dynamics are explored, so to the need to evaluate traditional pedagogy because the role of the teacher ‘as the source of knowledge’ evolves as a facilitator of independent, collaborative learning – referred to as virtual pedagogy, which challenges many of our traditional assumptions about effective teaching and learning.

Mobile devices open up enormous possibilities for learners because they provide an instant access, contextual anytime, anywhere learning. New possibilities of connecting and communicating are now presented for the learner as well as the ease of collaborating and working collectively with a much wider group of learners. The quality and diversity of the learning outcomes that arise from the use of these experiences truly has the potential to empower the learner like never before.

I also found the ideas presented by James Long,  interesting in understanding the potential of using ipads. The video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_6TcE4-65E) describes some of the possibilities and benefits of using mobile devices, e.g. ipad. Such devices meet the learning needs for any subject and all abilities and help personalise learning. There are a whole range of Apps that can facilitate learning for a whole range of curriculum areas.

 

References

http://www.ideaslab.edu.au/design-lab/ckc/

https://slp.somerset.gov.uk/cypd/elim/somersetict/Early%20Years/ELGs%20and%20ICT%202012.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_6TcE4-65E

Preston, C. and Scott Baker, M. Do young children need access to computers as much as they need to play with sand and water? In: Burden, K. Leask, M. & Younie, S. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching and Learning Using ICT in the Primary School. Taylor & Francis.

 

 

Presentation Tools and Digital Storytelling

More ICT in year 3!

After a long summer break and feeling refreshed, I was ready to re-engage with the exciting world of ICT. We are about to embark on our final six sessions of ICT before we become qualified teachers and I will record my learning throughout the sessions in my blog.

After a brief module overview from our tutor Helen, we were given the opportunity to explore a range of presentation tools in the form of apps and web tools and how they can be used successfully for storytelling in the Early Years and Key Stage 1. We looked at examples such as interactive comics, virtual trips using green screen by doink, felt board, and lots more, the list was endless . I was amazed at how they can be used to enhance storytelling and support learning for teachers and pupils both in the classroom and beyond.

Below is a video of a virtual ‘Trip to London’ courtesy of the Year 1’s at Kingswood Primary Academy in Northamptonshire. I particularly liked this app as I could see the benefits of using this in the classroom. The children were able to create a ‘virtual visit’ to London using media. The Year 1’s were learning about the landmarks in the capital and conveyed what facts they had found using green screen. This use of media shows how it can be used in such a flexible way, by being creative and would have developed and extended the children’s learning, and all this without even leaving the classroom! I am excited to use this app in the classroom and can see the benefits of using green screen for storytelling and for bringing curriculum topics to life.

I created a Popplet (also a reminder for myself) with just a few of the many exciting apps/web tools that I have explored. The apps/web tools are so open ended and I can see the benefits of how they can be used in the classroom to extend and develop children’s learning, I can definitely see myself using these apps/web tools and software as teaching tools in my future practice.

 

What I found interesting about this session is that is shows you all sorts of interesting ideas of how children can tell stories. Helen showed us an effective way of using and interacting with a light-box or an overhead projector to tell a story. Children can use lots of different craft or everyday materials such as beads, tissue paper, small world play creatures etc. to create a scene. It looks very effective and is a first step into storytelling before young children move onto using technology, I can see how this could be used in the early years  and captured and shared using an iPad, the children could record their own commentary around their story scene . Click on this link for some more inspiring ideas on using a light-box (you may need to use Google translate as the site is in Polish, you can be inspired from the photographs alone!)

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 09.42.53

 

Light-Play-ArtPlay-Birrarung-Marr-2

Using Morpho for storytelling

Having explored this free app I can see the benefits of using this in the classroom and how you can use it across the curriculum. The app allows you to upload a face, this could be a story book character, an animal, you can bring food to life or even bring back a historical figure from the past such as Richard 111, you can be really creative. The app allows you upload a photo and record your voice. It allows you to record for 30 seconds  and  lip syncs your voice  into your talking character, children would enjoy using this app and watching their creations.

Below is an inspiring example of how creative you can be using the Morpho app and iMovie, the Yr3 pupil has chosen a dolphin as her character and used it to do a presentation on what she did on her summer holiday.

 

 Exploring Tellagami

h_tellagami_ipad_app

Whilst looking at the different types of apps available in the session we decided to look at an app called Tellagami. This is a free app and after having a go at mastering the functions of the app we decided that children would be able to get to grips with it after having a practice. Tellagami is an app that lets you create an animation called an ‘avatar’. You start by choosing your background (or choose your own from the camera), choose and customize your character (male/female), clothing, hair colour, facial expression i.e happy, sad, angry etc. and then you can type in the text of what you want your character to say or you can record your own voice –  I recommend recording your own voice as it is great fun and very effective, there is a limited time of 30 secs to record your choice of message so be prepared.

You start by creating and customizing a character and then selecting an appropriate background (you can if you wish take a picture of your classroom or another area and use this as the background). Finally you decide how you want your character to talk. You can type in text (choice of male / female and a few accents) or you can record your voice (limited to 30 secs). We felt that this app has potential as you could use this to introduce a lesson activity, such as setting the scene for a character in a story, in history to introduce a historical figure, in Geography to talk about a part of the world as well as using the concept in other areas of the curriculum. We decided to use the app to set the scene for a storytelling activity in the classroom, to get the children to use their questioning skills to find out information about the pet rabbit that has arrived in their classroom. Take a look at our Tellagami below you can see how effective it is and how you can go on to use it in many creative ways.

 

The aim of our first session was to first plan, produce and share with the rest of the group a resource using apps/webtools which can be used for storytelling.  Our brief from Helen was  to think about how can technology support or enhance the process. I paired with Amisha and  we decided to plan out our idea of what type of resource we were going to create geared towards children in the Early Years and Key Stage 1.

I read a really informative chapter on Computing and Digital Literacy by Caldwell, H & Honeyford,G (2014) the chapter discusses how technology and computing can enhance learning in the classroom and by using different forms of digital media teachers can support and extend the learning and provide opportunities for children to be really creative. This chapter reiterated my understanding of the importance and advantages of using technology effectively in the classroom. This chapter talks about the new Computing curriculum and gives you ideas of what the learning will look like when the curriculum is fully embedded. It also provides ideas of how to enhance your own practice. I would recommend reading this chapter in developing your subject knowledge. Below are just some ideas taken from the chapterof the advantages of using technology and computing in the classroom.

Technology and Computing can:

  • Grab attention
  • Engage and motivate children
  • Make connections between ideas
  • Capture and reflect on children’s learning
  • Differentiate learning and make it more personal
  • Opens up new channels of communication
  • Is exciting

shadow puppet edufeltboard

We decided to incorporate a couple apps and a web tool in order to produce a good resource. Our idea was to bring a real rabbit into the classroom to hook the children in followed by a message from the teacher addressing the class on the IWB using the Tellagami app. The Tellagami app was simple to use as mentioned above the only disadvantage we found was that you had less than 30 seconds to record your message, children may need to practice first.

This was followed by using an app called Shadow puppet edu where the scene was set of how the rabbit got to the school. We combined photos and video, (adding narration and music on top) to set the scene for our storytelling. We felt that this is another simple and effective app to use which children in Key Stage 1 could easily get to grips with.

Following on from ‘Shadow Puppet edu’, after talking and working collaboratively the children would then use ‘Felt board‘ to create their own stories of what ‘Rudy the Rabbit’ gets up too. I really liked using the Felt board app, it is bright and colourful and I feel would allow children to be really imaginative in creating their own characters and story lines. I put our example into Story jumper (an easily accessible webtool) as this would be a great way to showcase the children’s stories in the form of a book.

Check out our resources that we created below.

 

 

These resources have been added to our teaching resources bank

 

Reading

Using Digital Storytelling in the Primary Classroom

This article by the National Centre for Technology and Education (2013) provides an informative overview of the benefits of using digital storytelling in the primary classroom. The article discusses how

digital tools enable the construction of multi-dimensional stories that are conveyed through a combination of text, images, motions and sounds’.

Benefits

– Digital storytelling can play an important role in group work and collaborative learning within the classroom.

– It enables pupils to create multimedia resources using images, voice, text and music which can be shared with peers and the wider     community.

– The digital story produced may be published on the school website virtual learning environment.

The article also gives useful ideas on how to use technology in the classroom effectively to support literacy and numeracy and how it can be used for assessment purposes. An item which I found of particular interest is how digital technology can be used to assess children with SEND. One example is to ‘create a bank of visual cues’ for the pupils which can include text and audio.

Click on this link to read the full article.

I was browsing session one’s reading and came across ‘ICT With Miss C’ this is a fantastic website for teachers as it is packed full of useful websites, web tools, ipad apps, lessons using iPads etc. Miss C is a teacher from Australia who is passionate about technology integration in the classroom and is sharing this passion via her amazing website. This site is well worth bookmarking, see for yourself! ICT With Miss C

 

References

Caldwell, H and Honeyford, G. (2014) Computing And Digital Literacy. In: Dawes, L and Smith, P. (ed.) Subject Teaching in Primary Education. London: Sage Publications Ltd. p43-64.

Unknown (2013) Using digital storytelling in the classroom (Primary). Source [online]Available from: http://www.pdsttechnologyineducation.ie/en/Training/Training-Materials/ICT-in-the-Classroom-PDFs/Using-digital-storytelling-in-the-classroom-Primary-13-04.pdf. [14th Oct 2014].

There’s a ‘rumble in the jungle’……

 Using media

On placement I have been able to incorporate using media into our ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ topic using the ‘2Simple 2Paint A Picture’ program, having explored this program during my own ICT session at university, I was keen to put it into practice.  Year 1 had been searching for jungle animals in the schools spinney and their task was to create their favourite jungle animal using ICT. It was exciting to see the children exploring  the tools and using the special effects to create their jungle animal. Below are just a few examples of the children’s fantastic pictures they had created.

                        KRIT AND  MAHIR

 meet and rohan

 

Planet of the Apps

It has been a really exciting week on placement in terms of ICT. ‘THE APPRENTICE’ is down to the last eight candidates and their task this week was to design and create a brand new app. Both teams have created some amazing apps using Blippit which is a pop-up app maker designed for students and schools.

1364902_s

Team Apocalypse have designed an app called ‘Learn the world’ an app which is designed to help you to learn facts about places around the world.

 

1364903_s

Team Dynamite have created an app calledEasylearn’ an educational app used to support literacy and numeracy for Key Stage 1 and 2.

 

benefits2014Both apps are amazing and considering the pupils are only in year 6 they have done an amazing job.  This fits in really with the new 2014 Computing programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2. The teams had to complete the task in only a week and be ready to present their apps to the whole school in assembly. The pupils are able to vote on the schools website to choose their favourite app and decide on who will stay and who will get FIRED!!!

Watch this space…

 

 

 

Final thoughts for Year 2 of ICT…

 Passionate about blogging !

ipadIn January as part of our art session we were joined by a group of reception children along with their class teacher from Eastfield Academy, a local primary school in Northampton. Miss Lowry the class teacher gave us a talk about an art project the children had completed in the summer. The class teacher armed with her iPad is PASSIONATE about blogging and updates the class blog regularly with lots of pictures for parents/children/teachers to see all of the amazing activities that the children have been up to. It was a fantastic session and both the students and the children really enjoyed the activity and produced some really creative art work inspired by the artist Paul Klee. The class teacher uses the blog as a learning journey for each of the children which I thought was a great idea as the parents could access it at home and take a look at their children’s learning at their leisure.

This session made me think about having my own class in the near future. The use of media technology in the classroom such as the iPad can be so versatile, they can contribute to teaching and learning, they can  save so much time for the practitioner,  and more importantly a great way to share with parents their children’s learning.

Click on this link to see the class blog of the children’s art session at the university.

This is my final blog for year 2………. 

untitled (6)Towards the end of February I begin my 2a placement in Year 1. I am looking forward to putting some of my new found knowledge of ICT and incorporating the use of digital media into my practice. The last three sessions along with the reading and browsing has allowed me to develop my subject knowledge immensely and has given me lots of great ideas and the confidence in using media meaningfully to support and enhance children’s learning.

Blogging is becoming increasingly popular in schools,  as I found whilst browsing my up coming placement school’s website, each of the year groups have their own blog, you can click on the link here to see all of the exciting learning experiences the children have been up to.

I do hope you have enjoyed reading my blog, I look forward to blogging again soon.

Thank you for reading.

Sharing our resource

Sharing and Evaluating

Our third and final session for ICT was an opportunity for the group to share their media resources that they had been working over the past couple of weeks and to provide feedback. The groups had all worked really hard and it was a great way to see the different types of media that the groups had decided to use. Not surprisingly apps such as Puppet Pals and iMovie trailer were very popular as they were great fun to use as well as Smart Notebook, Make Dice, Popplet, Funny Movie Maker, etc. the different types of media used in the presentations broadened my knowledge immensely and enabled me to think about and how technology can effectively be used in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning in the Early Years and Key Stage 1.

imagesCA77JNY5

There were two groups who’s resources were really enjoyable to watch, the first being Sarah, Hayley E and Hayley H who used Puppet Pals to retell the story of ‘Hairy Maclary’ by Lynley Dodd. The group were very creative and had chosen to add in their own backgrounds and pictures which gave a great effect. Sarah’s son was the voice over for the story and it really bought the book to life and we could see how it would be an effective app that children can use that teaches storytelling skills and allows the children to be really creative.

91qT3G36cTL._SL1500_

Another enjoyable resource which was presented was Emily, Katie and Alison’s Puppet Pal of ‘What the ladybird heard’ by the brilliant author Julia Donaldson. I was unfamiliar with this book and it was lovely to see their take on it, I  liked the characters and the theatrical voice overs, they looked liked they had lots of fun making it, click on the links above to view them.

All of the groups gave very positive feedback to our presentation, we first showed out iMovie trailer of ‘The Gingerbread Man’ followed by our Puppet Pal. I was impressed with how professional the iMovie trailers look on the big screen, having seen the other groups adding music and uploading their own backgrounds and pictures is something I will take on board and put into practice when I use the app in the classroom. I may have to invest in an Ipad as I found the best way to become familiar with all of the many apps that are available is to have a go!

Our iMovie trailer and Puppet Pal can be viewed here

iMovie trailer The gingerbread man

The Gingerbread Man Puppet Pal. This resource has been added to the shared resource bank here

mzl.fggjgwxo.480x480-75

‘Make dice’ another great app which I thought was a simple yet effective idea which can be used in storytelling. This app was used by Emma, Sophie, Holly and Charley group as part of their presentation. It allows you to make any kind of dice you wish instantly, I think that children would like shaking the iPad to roll the dice.  This app is a great teaching tool for children, in literacy it could be used for sentence structure, or descriptive writing and for younger children pictures can be added to create a story cube.

Reflection

Storytelling plays an important role in the early years and KS1 and is something which children enjoy doing whether it is listening to/retelling a story or acting out a role play. Storytelling helps children to learn language and develop literacy and by introducing digital media can not only support and enrich learning, it is a way of offering an alternative for children to be creative in expressing themselves, boosts confidence and can support all learners in the classroom.

The resources were created to support children’s literacy. The trailer was created to support them in the initial introduction of the book, the narrative, the characters, etc. we chose this app as it is something which the children could do themselves, working collaboratively in groups, using puppets, pictures, acting out the story in a role play etc. to make their own trailer. Using Puppet Pals would enable the children to develop their story sequencing skills, be creative with characters, support children with their communication and language skills, develops social skills with taking turns and working together and develop their ICT skills. The app can also be used by the teacher as a form of assessment.

 Further Reading

I thought I would explore the role of digital technologies and how they could support children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and children who have English as an additional language (EAL).

Article: Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities: An Overview

This article discusses the availability of Assistive technology to aid children who have SEN or disabilities. Assistive technology can be a device or a piece of equipment that helps children to work around or compensate for an individual’s specific learning needs.  The technology can help a child to reach their full potential for example, a student who struggles with reading but who has good listening skills could benefit from listening to audio books. As well as supporting the child in their learning, assistive technology can also increase their self-reliance and more importantly a sense of independence. The article discusses the technology available that can address the different types of learning difficulties that children may have in their reading, writing, numeracy, organisation and memory. There are many types of assistive technologies that are available such as:

  • Alternative keyboards
  • Audio books
  • Electronic maths sheets
  • Speech recognition programs
  • Remedial reading software
  • Texthelp

The Texthelp program is designed for those who need extra help with reading and writing. The program allows children to read aloud  from websites, it also has a speaking dictionary, a phonetic spell checker and word prediction. This program is really useful for children with EAL, dyslexia as well as other learning difficulties. The article has highlighted some interesting points that I will consider when on placement, having done some research I found that there is a lot of technology available that can aid, enhance and support children who have specific needs in their learning. Click on the link above for more information.

Further reading

I read an article on iPads/iPods as an observation tool in the EYFS by Miss Leigh , a nursery teacher at Spring Cottage Primary School in Hull. She talks about her settings common issues in relation to observation and assessment methods and how the use of iPads has transformed the way they assess and record observations in their setting.

Screen Shot 2012-07-22 at 09.49.57

 

Increasingly schools are turning to the iPad/iPod for assessment, especially in the foundation stage. In the context of the EYFS framework, the workload has significantly increased and therefore the need has arisen to find a better way. Hence, many practitioners are trialling the use of iPads with the ‘2simple’ and ‘2build a profile’ apps. The idea is quit brilliant, innovative and smart way to assess and record, a must for practitioners in the EYFS!

 

 

How it works?

2

Firstly you add the children that you are going to observe by taking a photo and inputting their details. Next you take a photograph of their learning experience (the app also allows you to tag more than one child in observations). You can insert a description of the activity and record anything the child/children have said by clicking on the yellow post-it and type in the information. Writing out observations for anyone who works in the EYFS knows too well can be very time consuming, this app is not only efficient but saves time, Apple have described it as a simple and powerful way to log children’s achievements against the EYFS profile in 4 simple steps’.

However, this does come at a price which most budget holders will shy away from. But all is not lost as Apple devices are not the only ones available. The Learn pad is one such example that is available and include the apps and software required. One school is using Samsung tablets to the same and they are quite cost effective. So, the good news is that there are options to suit different budgets.

Obviously, as new technology in introduced, there are going to be teething problems of compatibility with existing systems and local authority firewalls, etc. but these will get resolved. Of course, using android will probably prove easier for compatibility, but whichever path one takes (Apple or android) the way forward is tablet technology to assess, not only in the foundation stage but also further up the school. I can see children taking these SATS exams on these too.

 Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

Discovering Puppet Pals!

Curriculum applications

This was our second ICT session,  and after our first session of exploring the many different types of apps that could be used with young children in the classroom. I was excited to make another resource surrounding our book choice. The objective of the lesson was to work in groups to produce a resource, curriculum plan or a set of materials for using media in the classroom, and to think about how to add  interactivity to our presentation and to use images effectively.

Firstly Helen shared with us some of the many Webtools, iPad apps and Software which can be used to tell a story using digital media:

Webtools                                      iPad apps                             Software

Purple Mash                                       I can animate                               2Create

Storybird                                            Explain Everything                      2Create a story

StoryJumper                                      iMovie Trailers                             Powerpoint

Movie Maker                                  Collins Big Cat Books                     SmartNotebook

Bookr                                                 Videoscribe                                  Clicker6

VoiceThread                                       Morfo Booth

Little Bird                                           Puppet Pals

Haiku Deck                                          StoryPatch

There are many amazing ways that stories can be created, I particularly liked the ‘Morfo Booth’ app as the example shown was a character of a fox reading  the story which really bought it to life, I would use this app in my practice as I think children in early years would really enjoy using it. The Morfo app allows you to take any picture of yourself and automatically turn it into an interactive animation! I came across this interesting article  by a reception class teacher titled ‘Using Apps to Bring Story Language to Life’. In the article they talk about their work with ‘apps based learning’ on iPad and how effective Puppet Pals and Morpho Booth are in bringing stories to life. For an example of Morfo Booth based on the Gruffalo click on the link http://enabling-environments.co.uk/2012/03/31/using-apps-to-bring-story-language-to-life/

untitled (3)

We decided to use Puppet Pals to create another resource linked to our book choice of ‘The Gingerbread Man’. This app is great fun to use and allows you to make your own animated presentation.

We began by exploring the app and we found that you can pick your own characters or use the ones which come with the app and even choose your own background settings.  By using the camera on the iPad we were able to take pictures of the scenes and the characters from various sources in the library. We decided to change a few of the characters from the traditional story, you can simply take your character picture, trace around it and add the character in, we found this app to be quite user friendly and something which children could easily get to grips with.

I recorded the character voices whilst my colleague Amisha tried to control herself! You can also move the characters around by dragging them and you can make them rotate, flip, shrink etc. I could see the benefits of using Puppet Pals app in the classroom, it would be great to use for speaking and listening, for making a storyboard with children in creating their own characters and it can also be used as a really form of  assessment, as well as  being lots of fun.

I found a useful  link for  a tutorial on getting started with Puppet Pals.

This is our first version of ‘The Gingerbread Man’, we really enjoyed making it!

Taking a look at Purple Mash

imagesCASN7PKH

I thought I would take a look at Purple Mash, I discovered that it is a fantastic ‘award winning’ Webtool packed with lots of great resources, creative tools, apps, educational games, activities etc. which can help enhance and support children’s learning. On the main screen is the toolbar to help you navigate around the site, it includes one for teachers which shows you the benefits of using Purple Mash. I looked into the sites ‘Themes’ section, it covers many of the subject areas of the curriculum. In the Theme/History there are many topic areas to choose from such as:

  • Ancient Egypt
  • Tudors
  • Mandela
  • Florence Nightingale
  • etc.

This is followed by Paint Projects, Postcards, Purple Mash Cams and Creative Tools. There is so much to choose from, I had a look at 2Animate in creative tools, this feature allows children to create their own images using a felt pen and is a great way  for them to create a simple animated storyboard particularly for younger children in the early years. See my example below

Gingy animate

 

Another particular feature I liked on Purple Mash is ‘Mashcams’, this is where children are able to put their faces onto the role of a person, a historical character from the past such as Florence Nightingale, a wizard or even a fairy princess!! The children are able to write about their character in the speech bubble or they can record the event. Mashcams would be great to use for creative writing in literacy, or in history when learning about a famous person from the past or even in topic work, I would definitely use this in my practice. See the MashCams screen below

 2Animate

 

Reflection

This session has highlighted the potential of using ICT to enhance storytelling in the classroom. On my previous placements I have used traditional story books or have encouraged the children to retell the story through role play. In today’s classrooms even very young children are technology savvy and have access to various forms of technology at school/home which they are able to explore and experiment on.

I feel more confident after these sessions and have developed my own subject knowledge on the different types of Webtools, apps and software that is available like some of the ones I have mentioned in my blog, that can really change the way a story can be told and I can see the potential of them being integrated across other curriculum areas. By using media to create a story children are actively engaged and can enrich their learning , I can see how children would really enjoy using them and would make the session really enjoyable. In my up coming placement and in my future practice I will endeavour to incorporate and plan to use some of them to enhance my lessons.

Further reading

I came across an interesting article titled ‘Technology in the Classroom: The Benefits of Blended Learning’ by Timothy Huneycutt. The article talks about how technology is becoming increasingly integrated into our society, and how ‘technological innovations’ such as smartphones, Tablets, and access to social media at our fingertips have changed the way we conduct our lives on a daily basis, ‘including how knowledge is digested and taught in our classrooms’ (Huneycutt, 2013). The article discusses further how these innovations can benefit students and helps prepare students as they go forward, it highlights four specific points of using technology in the classroom:

 1. It can keep students focused for longer periods of time by helping them develop better learning through exploration and research.

2. It makes students more excited to learn when technology is integrated into school lessons, learners are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about the subjects they are studying.

3. It enables students to learn at their own pace and also gives the teacher more time to help the students who might be struggling.

4. It prepares students for the future and by learning to use technology in the classroom, both teachers and students will develop skills essential for the 21st century. Education today is no longer just about learning and memorizing facts and figures, it’s about collaborating with others, solving complex problems and developing different forms of communication.

I think that all of these points are important and relevant across the EYFS and the primary/secondary curriculum, ICT has a definite place in all areas of the curriculum. With anything there are some negatives with using technology in the classroom, such as internet safety, correct balance of using ICT and proper use of resources however, I feel that the pros out number the cons. When used in the correct manner technology can support both teachers in their teaching and aid students in achieving success in their learning.

Click on the article for further information http://nms.org/Blog/TabId/58/PostId/188/technology-in-the-classroom-the-benefits-of-blended-learning.aspx

Further Reading

preschool_classroomTechnology  in Early Childhood: Advice for parents and teachers from a trusted source.

Are young  children being exposed to digital technology too soon and is it beneficial for them? This is something that I often think about, this article by Sarah Jackson highlights some interesting points, one of them being the ratification of the use of technology for young learners. But it’s not that simple!

Whilst technology is developing constantly, for young learners to truly develop, the technology has to be interactive, purposeful and appropriate. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) believe that ‘when used appropriately, technology and interactive media have tremendous potential to nurture early learning and development’. Therefore, children passively watching the screen (or the like) will do more harm than good. The recommendation is  that in the early childhood years, when children use technology it should be ‘active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering’.

The article does not provide a conclusive argument but much research does indicate that technology has a place, but comes with a warning label. Read on to find out more

And finally…

I’ll leave you to ponder over this prezi I found online by Zaveeni Buksh (2013) on the benefits of using ICT in Early Childhood Education.  It is well worth a look and thought provoking. It highlights some important factors about the benefits and potential of using technology in early years education and how ICT can enhance children’s learning and development in todays rapidly changing world.