Back for more ICT in Year 2!

Skills and techniques

This is the first of three sessions for ICT in Year 2 after our summer break  and today we met our new tutor Helen Caldwell. We got stuck in straight away and started off the session with a discussion of the different ways in which media can contribute to teaching and learning in schools and in early years settings.  As a group we came up with various types of media that we had used in previous school placements, both positives and negatives. Examples such as the use of Ipads, cameras, Interactive Whiteboard, Beebots, Roamer, Programmable toys etc. were shared with the group.

Helen then showed us some computer/ IPad apps which were available to us such as:

  • ICan Animate
  • iMovie
  • Puppet Pals
  • Story Jumper
  • Explain Everything
  • Videoscribe
  • Collins big cat books
  • 2 create a story
  • Purple Mash

This was a real eye opener for me as previously I had not explored the many different types of apps and websites that are readily available which could easily be used to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. I was inspired to explore and take a look at at some of these at my own leisure and it made me think about investing in an iPad, there is so much you can do with them!!

Our first session began with a discussion about why stories/story telling are important in the Early Years and Key Stage 1


How do children in the early years and ks1 benefit from stories?… at

This answer garden shows how stories are really beneficial and essential for children ‘s early development in retelling a story orally, helping them to develop their speaking and listening, reading and writing skills and aids to their creative thinking.

untitled (5)Our objective for today’s session was to create a media resource which was linked to a book of our choice. We worked in groups and I paired with Amisha, our book choice was ‘The  Gingerbread Man’, a familiar story in early years and KS1. We decided on this  book as the characters could be changed and a variety of resources could be created around it. This session enabled me to develop my own personal knowledge  and I found it very useful in exploring the different types of apps and websites that are available. Upon first glance some of the apps looked complicated but this assumption soon changed as once you knew how they work you can be very creative. Working as a group I find is always beneficial as you are able to bounce ideas off each other and work together to create a really good media resource.

imovie imageI really liked the iMovie  app which is available on iPad, Amisha and I  decided that this was an effective media piece to use to make a movie trailer and could be a good ‘hook’ into the story. We went off to the school experience section in the library and found a story sack to use which had finger puppets which we could use for our trailer. As the app already has music we just needed to add in the pictures and the text to create the trailer. It was amazing what you could do in such a short space of time, I could see how children would  enjoy using the app once they got to grips with it, I think working in pairs would be beneficial in order that the children could take turns.

The trailer turned out really well, watch our iMovie trailer: The Gingerbread Man.




There are positives and negatives of using iMovies, firstly the negatives, it has limitations to choice of music as it is already set and secondly unless you have a longer session to complete the making of the trailer you cannot save it and make adjustments to it later on. However, on the positive side children would enjoy using this app as it is easy to use and the end product looks very professional. I would use iMovie with children in key stage 1 as once shown they would be able to create their own trailer, younger children in the EYFS would need adult support.

 In my future placements I would use the trailer on my schools/class blog/website so that parents/carers/staff members would be able to see a trailer of upcoming performances/assemblies that the children are going to be a part of. Another idea of how I could incorporate teaching and learning into the curriculum using media would be to use the trailer as a ‘hook’ into getting the children into the story for a literacy session.

Further reading


I read an interesting article by Rachel Ager titled ‘ICT in the early years’, the article discusses how there is a need for ICT  to be introduced to young children at a very early age. McFarlane (2009) states that ‘we need to teach our young children about technology so that they can all engage with it’. Ager suggests that children should be encouraged to embrace the technology we all use in our lives everyday so they start to appreciate how it is embedded in ‘real-life’, therefore there is purpose.

Initially children should be allowed to become familiar with age appropriate ICT equipment without much adult direction, for example, allowing children to take photographs without directing them. As they become familiar with ICT, then adult interactions provide meaningful learning opportunities and give purpose and context to the use of ICT equipment. Once children are familiar with technology, the idea is that they will automatically select appropriate tools to satisfy a purpose, for example, select a camera to take a photo of something they have made, or use the internet to find information on a topic, the article suggests that children should ‘learn about technology and then use technology to support their learning’. This article highlights some interesting points on allowing young children to play, explore and discover ICT, and something which I will put into practice when I am teaching in an early years setting.

Click on the link to read the full article.


Further Reading

Spring Cottage Primary School

Another article of interest which I came across was one by David Andrews in the Guardian, about a Year 6 teacher who has been investigating how mobile technology can be used across the curriculum to enhance the teaching and learning in the classroom. His blog Mr Andrews online – iPads in Primary Education provides practical ideas on how iPads and iPods can impact  pupils’ progress and independence across the curriculum, this a fantastic blog with lots of interesting ideas, a recommended read.

iPads in the classroom: embedding technology in the primary classroom.

The article supports the potential for enhancing of teaching and learning through technology and is a testimony of how the use of iPads in Year 6 motivated pupils exponentially after the SATS. The teachers developed various apps and got the kids involved in a project in groups. The benefits of the technology they were using meant that children could work at their own pace in solving problems by using the videos and instructions on the iPads (provided/developed by the teachers). This enabled ‘child centred learning’  as the children took more control of their learning as they progressed through the project. One of the most interesting aspects of using the iPads is the different areas the children were involved in as part of the project, they not only made controllable devices, but went on to make an advert using multimedia and a music app, made a blog and finally presented it to parents. Furthermore, in literacy, David discusses how the children used the devices in a variety of ways, such as a stimulus for writing, this just goes to show how technology can support and motivate pupils in enhancing their learning in the classroom! Click on the link for the full article.


21st Century learning in the classroom …

An inspirational video for all practitioners ‘Learning and Creating with iPads in Kindergarten’.

In today’s ever evolving world, a kindergarten  class demonstrates how technology has been successfully incorporated into their classroom. The video clip below is truly inspiring and well worth watching. The children were learning about the life cycle of  butterflies and have created iMovies about what they learned using iPads.  All of the children were all very enthusiastic and really focused on their task and along with their teacher have produced this brilliant video. Take a look!!

To blog or not to blog…

Definitely to blog… sadly this is my final blog  for this year, I can honestly say that am going to miss blogging and our ICT sessions with Ellie.  ICT has certainly widened my outlook on what is available and the different ways of incorporating technology in the learning process. Having had the opportunity to try out different ICT resources such as ‘Monkey Jam’, ‘Smart Board ‘ technology and even incorporating ‘Gaming’  into the curriculum, I am excited about implementing these resources and more into my future school placements and into my teaching career.

To begin with I was a complete novice at blogging , these sessions have not only enthused me to carry on blogging but have helped improve my own skills greatly, I hope you enjoy reading my blog.



Today was our final ICT session for year one. It was a very informative session in that we discussed the issues regarding internet safety. The evolution of technology has made the internet part of our daily lives with accessibility at our fingertips. It has many advantages and can be used for social networking, entertainment, information resources etc. However there is a downside to internet usage with regards to e-safety issues. As a group we shared our good/bad experiences with each other, it was an quite an eye opener for some colleagues, as a mother I am aware of the potential issues with internet usage and safety. During the session we ‘Googled’ our names and I was quite shocked as to what details came up, my name and address was accessible from the click of a button! We all agreed that  both children and teachers need to be safe guarded as to dangers which they can be exposed to such as cyber bulling, talking to strangers, inappropriate websites, protection of  personal identity, this point is particularly important as it could affect a teachers’ career.

To safeguard children all schools have an ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ or AUP as they are known. I looked at my daughters AUP for her school, they outline the rules for using the internet and require both the child and parents/carers to read and sign the policy.  In the session we looked at internet safety sites such as ‘Think You Know’ ,‘Google Safe’ and ‘Yahoo Kids’ all of these  sites proved to be very informative. On the ‘Think You Know’ website you can use it to download resources on child internet safety for use by children, parents/carers and teachers/trainers.

Also on the ‘Think You Know’ website you can access ‘Hector’s World Safety Button’ this is a free download to help protect children when they are on the computer, there is a  dolphin  character which swims in the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. If the child or teacher see’s something that makes them feel uneasy or uncomfortable when they are using the computer, they can simply click on the icon and the screen will be covered, I would definitely use this safety button in my classroom.

Some facts about how children can stay safe online:

  • Don’t give out your personal information
  • Never meet up with an online friend
  • Don’t open junk mail
  • Beware: people might not be who they say they are
  • Always tell an adult if you feel uncomfortable or worried

The CBBC Stay Safe , Kent Internet Safety Site and Kent Trust Web (Local Authority site) are all informative websites which contain handy tips and information for children, parents/carers, teachers etc. addressing the issues of staying safe online. As a trainee teacher these sites contain valuable information on e-safety policy guidance, downloadable e-safety posters, advice on internet safety training, links to e-safety websites etc.

Below is a video made by CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre), it is an internet danger video about a young girl who is chatting online to a stranger, click on the link.

Creativity in Early Years and KS1

Hi all, In today’s ICT session we were given a brief to think about a favourite picture book of our choice and use this as a stimulus to create a resource.  The age group for which the resource could be used is for Early Years (aged 3-4). Unfortunately I was absent for this session and was unable to collaborate with my peers to produce a resource and present it to the group , however I have chosen to make my own resources to one of my favourite children’s books called ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.

I began by producing a ‘Monkey Jam’ of the story of the hungry caterpillar using resources from the universities school experience library.

I  have also chosen a short video clip  to show the children the life cycle of a ‘Monarch butterfly’, I would simplify the terminology of the video clip when using it with the children in the classroom.

I also made a resource which I could use in the classroom using Smart Notebook which I feel is age appropriate, this is a science interactive activity (aged 3-5) where the children sequence the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly by dropping and dragging the correct picture, the purpose impact on learning is that the children learn about life cycles.

Peer Assessment- two groups presented their resources which they had created using their chosen book as a stimulus. The two book themes were ‘Owl Babies’ and ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, both groups presented their resources really well and included a variety of teaching/learning mediums such as the use of poppletts, animations using Monkey Jam, a video from You tube showing how a bean grows, interactive games using Smart NoteBook and the use of apps. Well done to both groups, the presentations were age appropriate, had a purpose impact on children’s learning and demonstrated good use of ICT skills.

Game On!

Todays session was about game based learning, when I came into the session I thought wow this looks fun, (my gaming addicts, sorry my two boys would be in their element!). We talked about the rapid change of technology over the last five years with the use of Ipads and Apps and how gaming has become so huge and accessible to all. As a group we came up with suggestions on the benefits of using gaming in education:

* Gaming embraces modern technology

* Can improve hand/eye co-ordination and manipulate fine/gross motor skills

* Can improve social development i.e. turn taking

* Can build on self esteem and confidence if child is non-academic

* It is a different approach/way into learning

In our session we all had the opportunity to have a go on a variety of games such as Xbox, Wii, Guitar/Hero, PS3 and the Nintendo DS, we even had our very own exclusive from our ‘Early Years Rock band’ courtesy of Drew on guitar, Emma on drums and Ellie who sang a mighty fine tune. My favourite games where the Nintendo DS and the Wii. The DS ‘maths training’ and the ‘brain gym’ were really good and I could see these being used in the classroom effectively to develop children’s literacy and numeracy skills whilst having fun, their fine and gross motor skills could also be developed with using the consoles and stylus’s. I have a Wii console at home and we use it as a family to play games, its a great way to get everyone involved, young or old and it develops many skills. We also use the Wii fit which is a great way to exercise. In schools I have only experienced children using websites such as the Cbeebies site for literacy and numeracy activities  and the Nintendo DS being used at ‘Golden time’, however I can see the potential that these games can have if used in the correct way to enhance children’s learning not just as a reward but as a teaching/learning resource.

I read an interesting article on ‘gaming in education’ online, the article said that the use of electronic games in education is on the rise and if used responsibly ‘gaming can become a force that actually helps mould young minds for the better’. The article also suggests which I found interesting is that  many teachers are finding that gaming helps students remain engaged and motivated and retain information. Follow the link for an informative read.


How Ipad’s have transformed  the classroom!

The school that gives every student an iPad Is this the way forward… I read an article about a school’s radical shift with the use of modern technology. In 2010 every pupil at ‘Cedars School of Excellence’ in Green oak Scotland had an Ipad. The idea arose from the day to day demand within the school. The head of computing at the school started to look for answers to address the issues of teachers increasingly wanting to provide pupil’s with web access, the school could not afford enough laptops to make a difference and so the Ipad was favoured to meet the increasing demands. With supportive staff on board who were already familiar with IPhone technology, a leasing arrangement with their local Apple store was arranged and the school was soon equipped with dozens of Ipads. The school found that even teachers who were not confident with technology found ways in which the Ipad enhanced the pupil’s learning. Paper books were being replaced with ibooks and even homework is sent and received via email!!!

There are specialised apps for the younger pupil’s at the school such as ‘Pocket Phonics’ and ‘Maths Bingo’ which is proving to be very popular. The use of this technology as not only boosted pupil’s confidence but has found that the  pupils are willing to try and open to new ideas. Evidently there are some critics to the integration of Ipads into the learning environment at the school, however I think the benefits out way the negatives and that this is an innovative idea of using modern technology and integrating it into the curriculum to enhance the learning environment, this could well be common in the future for all classrooms as the demand and need for technology evolves. Click on the link to read the full article.



Education the bigger picture

I recently saw a  very thought provoking You tube clip by educationalist ‘Sir Ken Robinson’. It is titled ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ and is well worth listening to. Click here to go to the video.

The video really got me thinking about the current education system and how it actually fails children whilst it is being sold to us as ‘improving’. It seems that everyone wants to reform education to improve it (well! who doesn’t?), but what is really required (according to Sir Ken Robinson) is a complete re-think.

Let me ask you, are you academic or non academic? Well I guess if you’re academic then you must consider yourself as belonging to a group of successful people. Therefore, if you’re not academic, you are less valued and therefore deemed as not as successful. This is so true in todays education system, as schools place so much emphasis on English and Maths that other subjects get ‘left behind’. Sir Ken Robinson is particularly critical of standardised testing and urges us to question why we categorise children the way we do. Talk to teachers and they soon tell you that children are good at different things. I listened to one teacher’s anecdote: One Year 6 child had multiple learning difficulties, who would not be able to score enough on the SATS tests, but this child knew so much about how a car engine worked or could connect hardware in the classroom together quite easily. Clearly children develop learning in different ways and we need to value all learning and skills.

‘Divergent thinking’, helping children to increase their capacity for creativity through collaborative learning is definitely something I will take on board. Thank you Sir Ken Robinson!


This is a link from last weeks blog, I found a really engaging whiteboard resource which could be used across both key stages in primary. The resource is called ‘Splat Square 100’ and can be accessed via the following link. This interactive resource could be used in a variety of ways such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, counting on, number bonds etc.


IWB’s (Interactive Whiteboards)

In today’s ICT session we looked at the role of the IWB and how it is a great  interactive resource to  use in classroom to enhance children’s learning. During the session we all had an opportunity to have a go on the IWB, I would like to use this equipment a lot more in my future placements in order to gain more confidence. I have found that IWB’s can be  practical for both teachers and learners, (develops the learners fine motor skills and allows them to be interactive within the session).  A Smart board has many advantages such as it is interactive and it encourages pupils to be active participants, it appeals to all types of learners, provide updated information about any subject, they can help the teacher to gauge pupil progress and they can make the lesson more interesting.For teachers there are a bank of available resources  to choose from and new resources can be created and saved for future use, as can onscreen annotations made by the teacher and children.

My previous experience prior to volunteering and working in schools with IWB’s was minimal. When I was at school an IWB would have been very futuristic , the teachers at my secondary school used a traditional OHP (over head projector) to show and model a particular topic onto a whiteboard, you could say that the OHP  has evolved into a projector and the good old blackboard to has evolved into an electronic whiteboard, add a computer and hey presto you have an IWB, how technology has changed, and definitely for the better. The two most common examples of IWB’s which I have come across in schools recently are the ‘Promethean’ and ‘Smart Board’ technologies.  The approximate cost of  a Smart board is around  four thousand pounds which is quite an expense for a school for each classroom, and then there is additional costs for maintenance and repair.  The height of the IWB needs to be taken  into consideration in order for the pupils to gain access to it,  especially for the children in the Early Years and Key Stage One area of the school.

Smart Notebook – In today’s session we also looked at Smart Notebook program, this program  is the main software used to develop lessons for the SMART  Board.  The software gives you the option of developing files or slides, you can insert  clip art, sounds, video clips or hyperlinks. I have recently downloaded the software onto my laptop and hope to develop and increase my skills and become more confident with using software. I came across a really useful website called Kent ICT, the site has a range of useful interactive resources and lesson ideas for Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Foundation subjects, Early Years as well as other interactive websites click on the linkTeacher is  another informative website, click on the web address to have a browse.

In the ICT session we looked at and experimented with different Smart Notebook programs such as homing into part of a picture to prompt open ended questions – who, what, why, when, were etc. this could be a great starter for a literacy activity. I also looked at hiding a part of shape to see if the children could guess what the shape could be, which would be useful for early years mathematics, see examples below:



 ICT for the Future

In today’s ICT session we explored stop motion animation techniques using a software called ‘Monkey Jam‘, it was so much fun! We used a USB camera, props such as animals, miniature figures, palm trees,  lego etc. various backgrounds and some much needed blue tak. We were given a brief introduction into how to use the software and then were ‘let loose’ to produce our own short animation.

We were advised that we needed to take some 250 photos in order to produce a 20-25 second animation!!

Now I’m no Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg but i’ll certainly give it a go . After encountering a few teething problems of ‘props behaving badly’ , it was fairly easy to make. I produced a short (yes I did say short) animation I hope you enjoy watching it.

Having explored the ‘Monkey Jam’ software (which by the way is free to download) I found that I really enjoyed using it (once you get to grips with it and it can be a little time consuming ). It would be an excellent tool to use in the classroom both as a presentation tool to or to use with the children for them to create their own animations. The appeal of this program is that it is easy to use and great fun, children in Key Stage 2 would get to grips with this software quite easily, however I feel that the younger children will need a little practice and may need a little extra support with this software in order to produce/achieve their animation.

Ict in Early Years – Where do you start?

Children nowadays are surrounded by technology in their everyday environments and  ICT now impacts on so many aspects of their daily lives, they need to learn about technology and its role in the world in which we live . Cambridge ICT Adviser, Harriet Price has some innovative ideas of how to do this in an early years’ setting. There is a really useful website within the RM Education site with regards to ‘ICT in the Foundation Stage’, and how ICT can be used following the early learning goals. Harriet Price highlights that there is the opportunity to use ICT in all six areas of early years development. “ICT is a tool that helps children develop their learning potential. It can also be fun, motivating, enabling and is entirely relevant in young children’s lives today. Children’s experience of ICT in everyday life is used across all areas of learning.” I found this website to be informative and useful as there are plenty of resources and ideas to help support the teaching of ideas in Early Years ICT including how to use a Smart board which I found particularly useful , click on the link for additional information.


Enhancing Learning through Powerpoint

Today’s ICT session was on presentation software. We focused on power point and how to use it effectively to convey ideas to an audience. The benefits of using power points is that you can pre prepare resources in advance and it can be used as a lively an interesting way of presenting information especially for visual learners, however they need to be used correctly and should enhance and accent a presentation and not overwhelm it with too many slides and information overload. Here is a link to a humorous take on ‘Death by Power Point’.

I created a Power point on polar bears and integrated a video into a slide and used transitions to enhance visuals.  I also chose appropriate arctic music to help create an atmosphere.

Follow the link to my powerpoint.  Polar Bears

Why use Power point?… at

ICT and Art

ICT and Art

Today’s art session focused on  the exploration of art through the use of new technologies, such as IPad’s, Notebooks, Digital Camera’s etc.  It was a really useful session, and showed us how we could embrace the use of this equipment in art education and gave us examples of how we could achieve this in a classroom setting. Nowadays, ICT is prominent and is embedded in all areas of the primary curriculum, accessibility to new technology is increasing and by experimenting with a variety of ICT equipment teacher’s can learn from, embrace and can gain confidence in using these new technologies to aid art practice in schools. I look forward to implementing this technology into my future classroom.