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My vision statement

Posted by: | November 23, 2012 | No Comment |

This vision statement represents my personal philosophy on how ICT should be taught in schools. As everyone is aware, the National Curriculum is currently being reviewed and this includes the Programme of Study for ICT. In October 2012, a draft of the new ICT Programmes of Study (available from Naace, 2012) was released however this is subject to change taking into account views on it. I look forward to seeing this in place in schools as I previously have very little experience of seeing ICT taught. What I have seen has been incorporated into other areas of learning, I have never seen it discretely taught.

The draft ICT Programmes of Study (Naace, 2012) depicts three aspects included in ICT: digital literacy; information technology; and computer science. Digital literacy, as explained by Hague and Payton (2010), refers to children having access to resources and skills which they can apply using digital technology. It involves creation but also communication and collaboration with others, and being digitally literate requires children to know when and how these skills can be best used as a means of support for these. Information technology refers to the use of computers and computing devices to manage information, being able to create and retrieve it when needed. Computer science, otherwise known as computing, is the understanding of how computing systems work. This involves the programming and designing aspects in computation. In comparison with the current Programmes of Study for ICT, it is clear to see how technology is rapidly evolving. There is now a much deeper focus on children’s computing ability which has now become more accessible to children than ever with the new software available. The new Programmes of Study also incorporate the idea that children should be using a range of different electronic devices. Current technologies accessible to children in schools now include and consist of mobile devices, iPads, interactive whiteboards, better quality laptops, more advanced programming tools and digital recording devices. Technology enhanced learning is only mentioned in the new ICT draft Programmes of Study by reference to how it is important to the way that the world now works. Unlike the old curriculum, there are not explicit links made to how ICT can be linked to other areas of learning, however, research such as that carried out by ? shows that it is increasingly common for teachers to try and incorporate technology into other areas of learning so as to enhance it.

I feel it is extremely important to find the correct balance between teaching ICT as a closed subject and involving it in other areas of the curriculum. The benefits of using ICT to enhance learning in any subject are substantial. Teachers should use the technology available to its fullest potential as this can really aid children in their learning. Interactive whiteboards in particular, as seen on placement, can be used in order to meet children’s diverse learning needs as they help to incorporate visual, audible and kinaesthetic learning styles. Other technologies such as floor turtles can be hugely helpful when linked with mathematics work, and electronic communication tools can play a modern role when linked with literacy. Due to there being so many ways that technology proves beneficial when linked with other areas of learning, the importance is often forgotten of how children need discrete ICT sessions as well. Without these, how can children be expected to gain a proper understanding of how to use the technology for themselves? Children need discrete ICT lessons in order for them to be able to become digitally literate and therefore effective digital citizens in this constantly technologically developing world.

I intend to achieve coverage of the curriculum through introducing concepts to children in discrete ICT lessons and then giving them the opportunity to practice using the skills that they learn through incorporating the technological processes into other areas of learning so that this can be enhanced at the same time. I intend to use a great deal of technology in my teaching strategies to enhance children’s learning by showing them different ways that ICT can be used and how it can be helpful to their own learning. In my personal opinion, seeing how useful ICT can be is essential to children’s understanding and own desire to use it. I will definitely be using the skills I have developed and the software I have been introduced to through our university sessions. In particularly, when teaching computer science, I will make use of the programming software Scratch and the iPad app Daisy the Dino. In my own teaching I also intend to put a large focus upon the teaching of e-safety. As discussed earlier in my blog, I feel it is essential for children to learn how to be safe when using the internet as this will have an influence on how children act when using the internet for the rest of their lives. Encouraging children to be responsible on the internet involves not only avoiding inappropriate material and avoiding cyber-bullying but also issues such as copyright and the need to respect and value others’ work. Once again this relates back to helping children in becoming successful digital citizens.

I hope that this vision statement, alongside my blogs keeping track of my personal development in ICT, has shown my personal philosophy on how ICT should be taught in schools and how I intend to implement it as a teacher.

References

Hague, C. and Payton, S. (2010) Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum: A Futurelab Handbook. [Online]. Slough: Futurelab at NFER. Available from: http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/digital-literacy-across-curriculum-handbook [Accessed: 23/11/2012].

Jones, I. and Day, C. (2009) Harnessing Technology: New Modes of Technology-Enhanced Learning: Action Research. [Online]. University of Nottingham: Becta. Available from: http://www.sero.co.uk/assets/capital/ht_new_modes_action_research.pdf [Accessed: 23/11/2012].

Naace (2012) Draft ICT Programme of Study. [Online]. Nottingham: Naace. Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum/programmeofstudyconsultation [Accessed: 23/11/2012].

under: ICT and Me
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Development of ICT skills

Posted by: | November 23, 2012 | No Comment |

Over the period of the sessions in Year Three my competence in ICT has developed further. I am now much more aware of the issues that come with working on the internet as well as how to overcome these. I now feel really confident in the use of mobile technologies (such as iPads and QR codes) and I feel I have developed my own programming skills which will aid me when it comes to teaching these to children. I have really enjoyed the ICT course over the time at university and now feel much more like a ‘digitally literate citizen’ than I did at the beginning of the course.

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iPads – For leisure or learning?

Posted by: | November 23, 2012 | No Comment |

My nephew enjoying himself on a touch pad!

During sessions we had the opportunity to experiment with the iPad3’s. Personally I own a touch pad so I was quite confident using the control features of it however I had never come across a large amount of the apps that we explored so I found this really enlightening. Use the following link to see the section of the Apple website which is specifically designated to education in the classroom:

http://www.apple.com/uk/education/ipad/#classroom

An app that a huge focus was laid upon in the session was iMovie. This wasn’t my favourite app as I don’t particularly enjoy being video recorded however I do see the educational benefits of it and can imagine lots of children really enjoying it. This app allows you to make your own movies as well as trailers (which are shorter projects) by using templates and incorporating your own video, images, sounds and effects. This could be used to fit in with a particular topic or simply used as part of creativity or drama work. This app does cost however, so it may be expensive if a number of iPads are needed.

One of my personal favourite apps was Daisy the Dino. This app teaches children basic programming similarly to Scratch. I feel that compared to Scratch, Daisy the Dino was a great deal simpler so I would definitely use this with Key Stage One children as a programming introduction. The app (which is free) is designed like a game so it teaches children through giving them challenges to complete.

An app I really did not like was the free app Phonics Genius. When seeing the app name my first reaction was an excited noise. I thought an app that I assumed would pronounce the different sounds would be an excellent tool to have. Upon exploring it I decided I was not particularly happen with the accent of the speaker and it makes me wonder if children may have some difficulties if I differed between using the app and my own voice. I also thought some issues may occur due to the layout of the sounds as it does not really connect with any phonics schemes that I am aware of.

Check out some of these other great educational apps I discovered by clicking on the hyperlinks. They cover a range of curriculum topics to show how ICT can be an effective addition to any resource bank.

Inspiration
Science360
123D Sculpt
Geoboard
Toontastic
Educreations
VideoScience
Londinium
Music Keys
Mathboard
Strip Designer
Visual Poet
Tabletop

under: Mobile Technologies
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As part of my further reading I found this interesting journal article which discusses the use of QR codes and how they can be implemented in children in the classroom:

http://www.sicet.org/journals/jetde/jetde10/7-So.pdf

For my resource I decided to take the idea of the Maths learning trail as I feel like I would definitely experiment with this in school. This involves children having access to a QR reader through a device such as an iPad. Children have a starting code to scan which reveals a maths problem and the location of the next QR code that the children have to find. Each time the children find a maths problem they must record their answer in a worksheet provided. I think it is great that you can ask children questions in a fun, exciting and interactive way which will keep them focused and wanting to solve the problems. From the previous session I felt comfortable with the simplicity of creating QR codes so this was actually quite a quick process to create. The only important thing to take note would be that if using this in school, it is important to make sure the correct QR codes are placed in the correct places so that the trail is successful.

To see my mathematical learning trail please see my resource page.

My own trail is a very basic one aimed at adding two digit numbers together however the possibilities are endless. It would be quite difficult to differentiate this however personally I would overcome this by pairing mixed ability children. By doing this, children could take it in turns answering questions and every other question could be at a harder difficulty than the first.

The idea of a QR code learning trail could be applied to any area of the curriculum. I chose to focus on Maths as it is my specialism however it could just as easily be used as a learning tool for Science or Literacy, or the current topic work.

under: Mobile Technologies
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Another recent focus in ICT in the primary school is mobile technologies. A large percentage of children will have access to mobile technologies at home and may already have a large knowledge base when it comes to using them. I personally feel it is essential that children have the opportunity to work with these in school as some may not have the opportunity to experiment with them at home and even if they do, it is useful to introduce them to educational software/activities that they may not be aware of.

I spent the session focusing on the use of Quick Response codes (QR codes). I was unaware of the term ‘QR codes’ but soon realised when I saw what one looked like that I had seen them everywhere. I was incredibly surprised at just how easy they were to create and would definitely use them in the classroom as a way of making things interactive. I used the website ‘scan.me’ which was free to sign up to.

The first code I made was a simple text code:

Next I experimented creating a link to a website:

Finally I used another useful website ‘recordmp3.org’ which is used to record sound. I then linked to this through a QR code which I experimented with further in order to change the appearance of it:

I really enjoyed creating my own QR codes and would definitely teach children how to create their own. I would also create my own to use with children for example on classroom displays in order to make them more interactive. Another activity idea I really thought would be good to use with children was learning trails. I have created a maths based learning trail which I will give more of a focus to in the next session.

under: Mobile Technologies
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Computer science is recently being considered as an important part of ICT in children’s education. Computing relates to programming which I do feel is a useful skill for children to develop however due to the complexities of it, the question is posed:

How do we introduce and teach such a difficult technique as programming to children?

Through our session we were introduced to a piece of software called ‘Scratch’. This is a free-to-download piece of software that is aimed at young children enabling them to use basic programming skills in order to create animations and games.

The Scratch logo.

I personally found the software quite overwhelming upon my first attempt of using it. After exploring and experimenting with it I got the hang of it and realised that it was a great deal simpler than I had first expected. I would definitely use this software with children however I would not feel particularly confident using it with Key Stage One children, I would aim it at Key Stage Two children. I feel that in order for children to get the most out of their experience using Scratch, the software would have to be introduced to children at a slow pace. By focusing teaching on small aspects of Scratch at a time I believe that children would have a better understanding of how it works and be able to use it more efficiently independently in the future. Once the main features had been introduced to the children I would then provide the opportunity for them to explore it in more detail.

There are guides available which instruct you step by step how to programme certain things. As long as the children are able to read, these would be extremely beneficial and provide a structure to make teh software seem less daunting.

To see my Scratch creation please visit my resource page.

under: Computer Science
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E-Safety

Posted by: | November 22, 2012 | No Comment |

It is very easy to comment that the internet is a highly beneficial tool for many different purposes however children need to be made aware of the negative aspects when it comes to the internet in order to become, as Helen described ‘responsible digital citizens’. It is essential that when in school, children are developing their ICT skills whilst being safe and responsible. E-safety needs to be taught directly to children so that they understand the importance of it and will subsequently take this into account when using ICT at home.

So what are the dangers of using the internet?

A huge issue when browsing the internet is that anybody can put anything on the web no matter how inappropriate. School’s will have filters to help to prevent such inappropriate content from being accessed however not everything is guaranteed to filter. It is advised that teachers try to prevent this as much as possible through checking websites before showing children them to children or providing children with a list of websites that are guaranteed to be safe for them to use. Children do however need the opportunity to use search engines and so need to be taught what to do just in case they do come across something.

Another issue relating to e-safety is cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is bullying through electronic communication. Electronic communication through email and forums is a great skill for children to have however cyber-bullying often becomes an issue as it can be done so easily and it is not always clear who is doing the bullying. Children need to be made aware of what it is acceptable for other people to say to them so that when something in unacceptable they can report it and put a stop to it. Providing children with a communication tool on a VLE is one way that can help to prevent cyber-bullying as children will individually have a log-in and cannot talk to strangers.

Something that may seem obvious to us, but not necessarily to children is the importance of knowing not to give out any personal information as this can be dangerous and understanding issues such as copyright as well as the difference between true and false information on websites.

When teaching e-safety, it is essential that it is taught well and children need to be regularly reminded of the importance of it. E-safety is commonly tackled through PSHE. Role playing situations involving dangers on the internet is a great way to teach children how to be safe in a practical way. Here are a few of my personal favourite websites I found that can help to teach children about e-safety:

http://pbskids.org/webonauts/

http://www.netsmartzkids.org/

http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/topics/stay-safe

under: E-Safety
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My ICT journey so far…

Posted by: | November 22, 2012 | No Comment |

I have always felt quite comfortable using ICT in my own time for such purposes as creating word documents, powerpoints and spreadsheets. I also have a great deal of experience with using search engines, social networking sites and online games, as well as media sharing sites such as youtube. It was not until starting this course that I realised how much more there was to ICT.

In Year One of the course we were introduced to many different aspects of ICT and how we could use them in the primary classroom. I found it really shocking how much was expected of children due to having hardly any experience of ICT whilst in primary school myself but that just shows how times have changed as new technologies keep developing and much more focus is placed upon the importance of ICT. For our Year One assessment I created an e-portfolio which kept a record of reflections upon our sessions and I still find it useful to refer to this.

In Year Two we were introduced to even more possibilities of ICT in the classroom. I particularly enjoyed working with the software such as logo because prior to this I had no experience. The Year Two assessment involved creating an ICT poster in which I focused on the possible uses of digital technologies in the classroom such as video recording devices and floor turtles.

This year, the focus is on computer science and mobile technologies which I feel to be a great addition to my ICT knowledge.

under: ICT and Me
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Welcome to blogging

Posted by: | November 22, 2012 | No Comment |

Hi and welcome to my blog!

My name is Becky and I am using this blog in order to reflect on and discuss ICT that is relevant to primary schools, as well as to share ideas and resources for classroom implementation.

Initially I found the whole idea of blogging a scary prospect but I have come to realise that once you have explored blogs, it is an easy to access tool. Unfortunately, I have witnessed very little ICT throughout the placements I have undertaken in my first two years of teacher training. I hope that upon my final placement I will have more of an opportunity to try out some ICT teaching for myself – imparticular the use of blogging. I feel this could be a very useful tool to use with children and accessible assuming that the right scaffolding is provided.

under: ICT and Me
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