Vision Statement

vision_atatement_banner

[Image: http://www.neoimpex.com/images/vision_atatement_banner.jpg]. 

“How near are we today to releasing the potential of new technologies to enhance teaching and learning in different settings and across different subjects?” (Triggs and Sutherland, 2009, p.3). This was written 5 years ago now, however in these past 5 years I feel we have come a long way in terms of the technology we have today. 5 Years ago it was unheard of for schools to have a set of iPads, enough for a whole class to use at once. We need to accept that ICT is now a major part of children’s everyday lives, and this is only going to continue to grow. Because of this, it is essential that teachers and practitioners have a strong knowledge base of ICT to be able to assist children in their knowledge of the subject.

Curriculum

In terms of the Curriculum, ICT is taken into account in both the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum, as well as the National Curriculum.

In the EYFS Curriculum: Development Matters (2012) , ICT comes under the ‘Understanding the world: Technology’ section. This is only a small section, with very limited points for each age range, however the Early Learning Goals for this section states that children should “recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purpose.” This gives EYFS teachers freedom to teach the technology they want to, ensuring that they give children the understanding they need to use the technology for the appropriate situations.
Early Years Foundation Stage: Development Matters (2012) 

In the National Curriculum (2013), ICT is now classed as ‘computing’. In Key Stage 1, children are expected to learn about algorithms, create programs, use technology safely and more. This is very different to the old National Curriculum, however I feel it is changing for the good, as in the future when the children we are teaching today are looking for jobs, they are more than likely going to need to know some or most of these new skills. The Key Stage 1 teachers still seem to have a lot of freedom on how and what particular computing skills and technology they teach and use, which once again I think it is good as the teachers can judge this around their individual students.
National Curriculum (2013)

ICT in the classroom

So where does ICT fit in with the everyday school life? Firstly, and in my opinion most importantly, using technology to enhance an activity in a lesson can make the activity more enjoyable, therefore hopefully the children will gain more from this. Audin (2014) states that there should always be a reason to use technology, one of them reasons being that technology can make learning fun. As long as the children are engaging with the activity, and gaining enjoyment from it, then they should learn from it.

As well as making the activities enjoyable for children, it can also encourage talk within the classroom. O’Hara (2004) discusses how ICT provides a new context for teachers to be able to encourage children to ask questions, offer their own opinions and justify their answers. It also gives the children a range of options to try for themselves, while seeking ideas and opinions from their peers, eventually coming to agreements. All of these aspects of talk will help children to learn independently using technology, as they are given the chance to explore for themselves.

In addition to the reasons already discussed, technology has a major place in helping children with Special Educational Needs. As Beauchamp (2012) suggests, using technology to help children with learning difficulties is complex, but using the digital technologies can help to minimise the problems that pupils with these Special Educational Needs may experience. As I have already spoke about in my blog, there are a range of different products on the market now which can assist children should they need it.

E-Safety

E-Safety also has to be taken into consideration when letting the children use the internet. Although the internet can be a wonderful place full of useful information and activities for the children, there are unfortunately times when the internet is not safe. Audain (2014) describes E-safety as how children act on-line, staying safe on computers and other devices. However, the restricting nature of this is also discussed, in terms that safety is not just linked to the internet, but to other types of technology. The purpose of E-safety is to give children the space to develop their own on-line presence, while bringing out their own personality, just as they would in everyday life.

In terms of the information found out during the ICT sessions in University, I would say that Hectors World is the website which I find the most useful in terms of keeping children safe on the internet. This website has activities and top tips for the children, as well as resources for the teachers to use, plus training.

My Experience of ICT during University

Throughout the sessions of ICT from year 1 to year 3, I have learnt a great amount. Before coming to University, I believed I knew a lot about ICT and would find these sessions quite simple. However, I did not expect to gain as much insight into the vast amount of resources that are available, whether it is on the internet or on iPad apps. I have been fortunate enough to try out a range of these activities on placement, however I am excited to use more of these on my final placement as well as on my own class in the future.

ICT in my future classroom

When I qualify as a teacher and I have my own class, which will hopefully be a Reception class, ICT will have its place within my classroom. I would like to make sure that the children have constant access to some form of ICT within their free flow, whether this is the use of computers or a class camera. On top of this I want to make sure that I teach ICT specifically, showing the children how exactly we use certain types of technology, and more importantly why we would choose a certain type of technology to use in a certain system. I believe it is essential that children have the deeper knowledge and understanding of ICT to be able to use it successfully in everyday life. On top of the teaching of the technologies themselves, I will ensure I teach the children specifically about the safety aspects they need to consider when they use the technology. In addition to the free flow and ICT sessions, I will try and integrate ICT into other areas of the curriculum, but only when it is appropriate and I believe it will enhance the learning of the children. I want to make certain I do not just add in technology to my lesson plans for the sake of adding in technology, the ICT needs to serve a specific purpose. I feel that Hayes (2006) sums up my vision statement effectively, stating that “the children we teach today are the adults who will be determining our own futures ‘tomorrow’, and it is our responsibility to enable them to make informed choices and to be in control of the technology they will use” (p.1).

Reference List:

Audain, J. (2014) The Ultimate Guide to Using ICT Across the Curriculum. London: Bloomsbury Education.

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School. From Pedagogy to Practice. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Hayes, M (2006) Introduction: Teaching for tomorrow. In: Hayes, M. and Whitebread, D. (ed.) ICT In the Early Years. Berkshire: Open University Press, pp. 1-5.

O’Hara, M. (2004) ICT in the Early Years. London: Continuum.

Triggs, P. and Sutherland, r. (2009) A holistic approach to understanding teaching and learning with ICT. In: Sutherland, R. Robertson, S. and John, P. (ed.) Improving Classroom Learning with ICT. Oxon: Routledge, pp.3-26. 

Sessions 5 and 6

Developing a Vision

This week we had sessions 5 and 6 together to ensure we had all sessions before the assignment deadline. We had a chance to look at a few more resources, as well as having a chance to discuss the assignment.

Activity Websites

Today we looked at Education City and Help Kidz Learn, these are two websites that can be used to carry out class activities.

During my 2b placement, Education City was a programme that was used daily for both phonics and maths lessons. I also used it as an introduction or a plenary to a topic, for example I used a science waterproof materials game to introduce the idea of ‘waterproof’ before taking them out  in groups and carrying out a follow up activity in the water tray. On Education City I particularly like how the website is set out, grouping the subjects separately, and then breaking them down. The letters and sounds section is split up into the different sets, with activities to teach the letters as well as activities made for practising. I would definitely like to have this website available to me when I am teaching my class.

 

On the Help Kidz Learn website, the activities are all very simple. However there is a teacher activity where you can make your own activities, called Choose It! Maker 3. I really like this activity and managed to quickly make my own science activity. It was really simple to add or remove boxes, pictures and text, as well as chance the colours and backgrounds. This could be useful for making a simple activity for any part of the EYFS or National Curriculum.

Presentation1

 

Assessment

We then looked at ways of assessing children using technology:

  • 2 Build A Profile  – This app is a paid app which allows the Teacher / Early Years Practitioner to take a picture of a child carrying out an activity, link it to their profile, add notes and also add other children carrying out the activity with them on the iPad. This is also automatically synced to the computer. This removes the need to have cameras and to try and remember what was happening at a later date, as the notes are all made at the time it happens. Here is a video about the app:

    • Three Ring App – This is an app that can be used by both teachers and students. Pictures can be taken of the children’s work, discussions can be recorded of the children, and children can also upload anything they may want to.
      Here is a video for Three Ring:

  • Evernote – This is another app which allows the teacher to take photos and organise the observations online.

Pinterest

We used Pinterest to look at ideas for different areas of Early Years, and I now have a wide range of pins for the classroom, including resources and assessment. Luckily I had already used Pinterest so knew how it worked, however today I added a few of my friends who signed up today, meaning I can now pin pictures to their boards and I can access their boards when I want to. I really like this website, as it is great for searching for some inspiration during placements, and ultimately when I have my own class.

Importance of ICT within the Early Years and KS1

Finally, we were given a task to work in groups of three and order a list of statements in terms of their importance in ICT in Early Years and KS1. We decided that the top point was to increase motivation. As a group, we were in agreement that ensuring the children are inspired, motivated and enjoy the activities was the most important thing, as this will then encourage them to build on their learning. We took a picture of this on the Skitch app, which is a handy app which allows you to annotate pictures on the iPad.

Reading

ICT In the Early Years, by Rachel Ager

Click here for the Link

This website discusses how to introduce technology into the Early Years. This article suggests that  we as teachers may feel as though we do not need to teach due to the children already having a vast knowledge of how technology works. However, it is not the case that just because children seem to know what to do with the technology that they actually engage with the ICT. When looking closely, children may know how to press the buttons, but do they actually know why they are using this piece of equipment, or what they can gain from it? I feel strongly that we need to observe what children know, and build on this to show exactly what children can gain from using the equipment, to ensure that they gain as much as possible from their experiences with ICT, and they can then take these skills further up in the school to benefit them in other areas of the curriculum

This article also discusses how the Early Years Foundation Guidance is too vague, with not enough help on what kind of technologies we are to use. Basically we are told to teach the children about every day technology and how to use it. However, I feel this gives the teachers the freedom to use a wide range of technology with the children in their Reception class, and while observing the children using these activities they can see which types of technology certain children really engage with, and will aid them across the curriculum further.

The value of play with ICT is also stressed in this article, speaking about how it is just as meaningful as mark-making is to learning to write. Children need the chance to explore the technology and enjoy it in play form, before being taught about the many uses and exactly what it is for.

Tagging the Learning Journey at Rosendale Primary School, by Deerwood. 

Click here for the link

This is an interesting online article about an assessment project which was put in place in a school in London to capture learning reflections, then use this to inform next steps for the children.

They decided to put this in place because they felt as though the assessment methods they had in place was not enough to capture the whole learning story of every child in their class. They decided to put the pupils in control of their own assessment using technology.

Firstly, the children were all given their own digital notebook using the Evernote app which I mentioned earlier in this blog. The children were given the task to capture their own moments during school, which they can do using various pieces of technology, and then these can be transferred into their own notebooks. The children were all extremely enthusiastic carrying out their own learning journeys throughout the year.

I really like the idea of giving the children the task of capturing their own learning, as it gives them the chance to look at their own work, assess their own work and then decide if they are proud enough and worked hard for this work to go into their personal diaries. This really does give the children time for self-assessment, as the children in this particular class were in Year 3, so it proves how teaching the children how and why we use technology right from the Early Years, they will have the capability for something like this as young as Year 3, and maybe even younger!

Session 4

ict curr

During session 4 of ICT, we discussed the ways ICT can be used to enhance other areas of the curriculum, rather than an isolated subject.

We discussed the uses of animation, a couple of examples are:

  • Using 2Create a story, children could create a story for any subject. They could re-tell a story already written or could make up their own story.
  • Using I can animate apps to tell a story in Science for example. This uses stop frame animation and Time Lapse.

We then discussed how ICT can be used for exploring places, (which are all great for the Understanding the World section of the EYFS), for example:

  • Photocard apps, for talking postcards. This app allows children to choose a picture (or add their own) and write their own messages on their own postcards, as well as recording their own voices talking. This is an excellent feature for children in the Early Years who may struggle using the iPad keyboard, or struggle with spelling. Other curriculum links this particular app would cover is Expressive arts and design, and communication and language. (Click HERE for a video on how to use the photcard app)
  • The RECCE app, which is an app on the iPad which allows you to see maps in 3D, and explore different places. This will allow children to visit different places, and will be useful for comparing different areas, for example the sea side, to the centre of London.
  • Google Street View – Special Collections.  This can be used on the computer, and has specific locations saved so the children can just click on a place that would like to visit, and see this from the street view:

After this, we were told about an excellent website which allows you to search for any topic you are teaching, and it brings up different sources, from different websites, which have online activities for that topic. This website is called Infant Encyclopedia.  All you have to do is type in your topic into the search bar or click on the matching picture, and your activities will appear. See below.

minibeastsminibeasts 2

 

Once we had looked at the different websites and apps and how they can be used across the curriculum, we were given the task to make an a4 sheet full of QR codes, that can be used as an activity sheet for children. The use of QR codes means that children who may struggle typing website addresses in, can quickly assess a website by scanning a code. This also eliminates the dangers of typing a general search into a search engine and getting results that are inappropriate.
We were given the task to carry this out in pairs, so Holly and I decided to focus on the topic of Minibeasts. We used a mixture of websites including Purple Mash, YouTube and the Infant Encyclopedia to find online activities. Every time we found a website we liked, we then needed to make that into a QR code which we could use on our sheet. To do this we used the website Scan.Me. This allows you to easily change the website address into a QR code that can then be scanned by any QR code scanning app.
Our final QR code activity sheet looked like this:

MINIBEAST QR CodeMINIBEASTS QR CODES – Click there for the word document.

Unfortunately we ran out of time, so we have had to put the codes on without labels. But if we had more time, we would have added a caption to each othe codes to ensure the teachers knew exactly what the children were accessing. Also, as we have put this on the resources site, it would have been handy for anyone who may want to use this sheet to know what the activities are without having to look at each one individually first.

Overall I think this was a really good session, giving us a chance to see how all the new apps and websites we have been introduced to can be linked across the curriculum, especially using the QR codes as a way to link them all together on one activity sheet.

Why use ICT within an Early Years or KS1 classroom?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

 

Reading:

40 Interesting Ways to use QR Codes in the Classroom, by Tom Barett. 

Click here for the article.

This online article gives a huge range of examples of how QR codes can be used both within the classroom, as well as within the wider school.

One idea given is to place the QR codes in a text book, so the teacher could add in some extra information, and when the child see’s the code they can easily access more information about that topic. I think that is a great idea, constantly giving children extra information, while making it fun and interesting to scan the link and see what comes up.

Another idea is an easter egg hunt, which would be a great activity to carry out in a class. I made one of these for Placement 2a, however unfortunately all the websites I used to link pictures to my blog were blocked by the school so I did not get to carry out my activity. Nevertheless, it was a good learning curve for me and gave me the chance to trial QR codes within the classroom.

Overall, this article is a handy information sheet to have available for some inspiration on getting QR codes into the classroom.

iDoceo –  The Teacher’s assistant for iPad – Preparing for the New Year.

Click here for the article. 

I was looking for articles about using ICT across the curriculum, and came across this interesting article. While looking at ICT in the classroom for the children, I had not really thought about how ICT can be used to support the teachers as well. This article discusses a new app which could be the new teaching assistant, which is a massive statement to make! This app can:

  • Set up timetables
  • Set up classes
  • Set up seating plans
  • Includes a diary
  • Includes a planner
  • Resource manager
  • Lesson Planner


Here is the actual website for the app itself. 

From looking at the information, this App looks as though it could be a little bit too complicated, with more on it than there needs to be, for example pictures of all the individual children. However, if this app is available, it would be interesting to see what other Apps are out there for the organisation of teachers!

Session 3

Creative Computing

During session 3, we looked at what is included within the new computing curriculum, as well as  how this can be taught within the Early Years and KS1.

First, we discussed how programming resources could be used to teach programming, for example BeeBots.

 [Image: http://www.tts-group.co.uk/_RMVirtual/Media/TTS/Images/ITSBOT_18_large.jpg. Accessed 03/11/14].

Beebots allow the children to programme the object using directional arrows. Floor maps can be used to extend the children’s knowledge of Beebots once they have mastered the arrows, by giving them a starting position and asking them to move the Beebot to another area on the map. One problem with Beebots is having to press clear in between each set of instructions, which in experience have noticed that children sometimes struggle to remember.

We also discussed thinking about computing without actually using a computer, which is called ‘unplugged learning’. Examples of this could be:

  • How to make a jam sandwich – this lets the children think in their minds all the steps needed to make a sandwich, thinking of all the small details, and it helps them to realise that each step is important! For example, if we say put the knife in the jam, but we have not got the knife out of the draw, then that step is impossible!
  • Think about all the controllers the children already use – For example children may already know how to use a remote control for the television, so they understand the steps needed to change the channels etc, so this will already give them a good start to programming other objects.
  • Simon Says – A fun game to get children used to following commands / instructions, and making the link that you have to say simon says before doing the action, just as you have to press the arrows and go to make the Beebot move.

Here is a video modelling the jam sandwich activity on how this could be carried out by a teacher.

 

We then looked at iPad apps which also help the children master the idea of commuting, using programming skills. Some of these were:

  • A.L.E.X  – This is an App with a robot named A.L.E.X, where the children have to use a series of directional arrows to get the robot from the beginning to the end. At the beginning it is very simple, however it gets quite complicated as the levels grow, and even I struggled to get my head around which way I needed to turn the robot in some situations. Because of this, I feel the app would be suitable for Key stage 1 to carry out independently and work their way through the sessions, however in the Early Years I feel the children may when the levels become more difficult.
  •  [Image: http://carlispina.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/photo-11.png Accessed 03/11/14].
  • Scratch Jr – This is an App which is very Early Years friendly, where the children can simply create their own stories and games. Click here to see how to use Scratch Jr

As well as iPad apps, there are also Computer activities that can help with computing, such as:

  • Purple Mash – Purple mash has a whole section on computing, with a range of different activities for children to practice their programming. For example, 2Go, which is a game where the children can choose a coloured pen, click the directional arrow and choose how many times they want it to go for, and the pen automatically draws. Using this, the children can watch as their programming skills draw a colourful picture:

2Go

  •  Scratch – This app is an online website which allows children to use activities which are already made, go into their ‘script’ and change things around to create a new character etc. Dance Party on Scratch is a brilliant, fun game where children can add characters to the party and make them dance in different ways. :

scratch

 

Reading:

Coding at school: a parent’s guide to England’s new computing curriculum, by the Guardian. 

Click here for the article. 

 This article discusses the reason for the new curriculum as filling the gap between the amount of new jobs needing computing skills, but the lack of skills people have to fill these jobs. They class this as the ‘long-term solution’.

When surveying 1,020 parents of 5-18 year old children, the results were that 60% did not know about the changes in the National Curriculum, taking the ICT out and replacing this with computing.

“ICT used to focus purely on computer literacy – teaching pupils, over and over again, how to word-process, how to work a spreadsheet, how to use programs already creaking into obsolescence; about as much use as teaching children to send a telex or travel in a zeppelin” (Michael Gove, in the Article).

Overall, the idea is teaching the children how a computer works, rather than how to work a computer. Computer Science is the new age of the ‘ICT’ curriculum, giving children a chance to learn how to make their own programmes and make it work in a way that they want it to.

 

Session 2

Mobile Devices

During this session, we looked at Helen’s Prezzi presentation and received a wide range of brilliant apps to use within the Early Years, including:

    • Haiku Deck – This is an app where you can simply upload photos and add text over the top to tell stories etc.

Meet Haiku Deck from Haiku Deck on Vimeo.

  •  PlayArt – This app gives children the chance to play around with art from original paintings from famous artists. The children can move them, rotate them and create new pictures using elements from the original.
  • Popplet – This is an app I have spoke about before on this blog. This is a very simple way to make a flow chart about any subject imaginable, which can then be embedded into a document or presented to a group.
  • Jelly Bean Count – This app allows 4 children to all play at once on one iPad. The children all have a corner of the iPad each, which a particular colour. When the jelly beans come up, the children have to count the beans of their colour and put the amount of fingers onto their colour. For example, if there are 3 blue jelly beans, the person on the blue corner will need to put 3 fingers on.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Tellegami – This app allows you to make a video with an animated person, adding a background,  recording your voice / giving the character text to say, and sharing the video. This could be a fantastic app to use in History fore example, by having a historic place in the background and having the character speak about that place.

During Session 2 we were given time to finish off our digital storytelling task. We managed to transfer our felt images onto iMovie and change our images into a trailer. We really liked the fact that we could transfer the images from one app onto the iMovie app to extend the quality of our movie. We had previously used iMovie so knew how to add text and pictures etc. However, one problem which we came across was that iMove gives you a set amount of boxes to add pictures to, however, we did not have enough pictures to fill all the boxes. Luckily we found a way to overcome this problem, by editing the movie once we had finished, and we managed to cut out a few seconds where we had previously had to repeat one picture for a few boxes.

Here is our finished product.

This is a fantastic app for Key Stage 1, as the children would be able to carry this out independently once they had learnt the basic skills. However, for the Early Years I feel that the process of making the pictures, transferring them to the iMovie app, and being able to add the pictures and add text would be a bit too much for the reception children. However, I feel this would be a lovely activity if the teacher / TA has time to carry this out in pairs for example so they can give the children the support they may require. It is lovely to see all your photos that you have made suddenly transformed into a movie at the touch of a button, and I feel the children would be proud of what they create with this app.

After we completed this, we were asked to try out some of the apps using the iPad’s and then review these on a joint review sheet, unfortunately we did not have time to comment on the joint review sheet due to our problems making our movie. However we did manage to trial some of the app’s mentioned.

Reading:

Manipulating Media

The directed reading was: Manipulating Media, by Caldwell, H

This article discusses how useful tablets can be in the classroom to combine media in effective ways for different purposes, for example story telling. The article was based on a curriculum enrichment week held by Bridgewater Primary School. The theme was avatars, and the whole school was involved, giving each year group a different task to carry out using ICT to help the avatars who are lost.

To start, the school made a curriculum plan showing what each year groups specific theme would be, and the links to art, science and the new ‘computing’ part of the curriculum.

The children were able to mix and match a range of different apps on their tablets to actually carry out their activities, for example they could draw a picture, take a picture of this on the tablet, and then transfer that picture onto a different app, and from this they could actually have their artwork as a background for a film for example.

The article goes on to discuss how the children were learning, what they were learning and what they gained from the experience.  Overall, using tablets in the classroom to enhance any topic / area of learning is a bonus, as it gives the children a new interest in the topic. It gives the children a chance to use a wide range of creative ideas to create something rather than just drawing an idea on a piece of paper for example. The opportunities to children are endless.

iPads in the classroom  

I carried out some additional reading on the subjects of iPads in the classroom: iPads in the classroom 

This article discusses how iPads can  bring education to life, while making learning more engaging and memorable. It even asks the question, what if we were to give all children an iPad to use in school and to take home with them? In my opinion, although this isn’t realistic, it would be extremely beneficial to the children, because any work they do at school would be saved to their own iPad, and they could then use what they have done at school to carry out homework based on this, and even finish off projects at home that they may not have had time to complete in school. It would also mean that children could have apps downloaded onto their iPad that are specific to their needs.

Overall, it raves about the benefits of using iPads in the classroom and is an interesting read.

Year 3 – Session 1

Digital Stortelling and Presenting

Hello everybody! Not only is this the first session of ICT for Year 3, this is also our first session back after the summer holidays! It has been nice to ease back in to University with an ICT session!

This session has been all about how we can tell stories using ICT within the Early Years. We have been given a wide variety of apps for the iPad that are fantastic for telling stories, all in their own ways using different methods. As well as this we have also had a chance to look at how the green screen works, and how this can be used to record something, and then integrate this into the apps we have already been looking at to tell a story. I have seen a green screen before, and heard about them, but I had never thought we would be given the chance to actually use them within our classrooms. Seeing it being used within our classroom at University, it has shown me how easy it would be to integrate this into the primary classroom.

For the main activity in this session, we were asked to get into pairs, experiment with the different apps, and finally have a piece of work we can show the class that tells a children’s story using one of the apps we have been looking at.

Me and Holly chose to work together. We chose an iPad each and decided to click on a few apps to see which ones looked user friendly, with good characters and scenes etc. Finally we came across the Felt Board app. This is a fantastic app which gives the effect of layering felt on top of each other, to make people, scenes, objects etc, all using the finger on the iPad. Here is a demonstration on how the Felt Board app works.

We loved this app, because we chose to re-tell the story of little red riding hood, and this app happened to have all the scenes, animals, people and outfits we needed to recreate this story. The app is extremely user friendly, you can just pick and choose items from the menu on the left, put them where you want, re-size using two fingers, and the app does the rest for you! In terms of the Early Years or Key Stage 1 classroom, I believe this would be perfect. The children can relate to the felt, as they may have had experience layering felt to make pictures already, but it is also so simple to use that they could easily make a few different scenes to then make into a story. This app is extremely cross-curricular, and would be great in the Early Years to develop the fine motor skills.

The only negative I found from this app is the fact that when you have created a scene, you can take a picture of this, but you are limited as to what you can do with the picture. However, this is easily fixed!  When you have taken a picture of each scene, this adds to your camera roll,  these can then be added into the iMovie app for example, to carry on the story telling. We chose to use iMovie to turn our story telling images into a trailer.

 

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to turn our scenes into a story using a different app, so this will be continued next week, and the resulting iMovie will be posted during Session 2!

Noisy Readers: Little Red Riding Hood

[Image: http://igloobooks.com/browse-books/ebooks/ibooks/noisy-readers-littlered.html#.VDLH6vldXlQ [online] Accessed:06/10/2014].

Reading:

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

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

SeaWeenies Sand & Water Play Table £143 - Education Furniture[ image: http://www.equip4work.co.uk/shop/seaweenies-sand-water-play-table.html. Accessed: 06/10/14]

This is a very interesting article which discusses the use of ICT within the classroom, as well as the role of the adult within this.

This article suggests that schools value new recruits to teaching, (as I will be next year) as having a good knowledge of ICT and being able to use this within the school, as well as being able to teach these skills to the other colleagues within the school. However, due to the constant stream of new programmes, apps, and technology being introduced constantly, I believe there should be support / training available for staff more often to ensure they are kept up to date, and therefore the children in their class can receive the greatest benefits from this too.

A major benefit of technology, which this article discusses, is the fact that if children are lacking in reading / writing skills, apps / computer programmes give them the ability to carry out activities which could be difficult for them usually.  For example, activities which involve clicking and dragging words into sentences for children that may struggle to write but can read well.  As well as this example, there are a huge amount of other benefits which children can gain from, by using technology during the school day.

However, as well as using ICT regularly, children also need to carry out the physical activities that do not involve ICT, for example exploring with different textures, learning to write using a pencil and playing sports. All these things will give children the skills they will need in later life that cannot be learnt by using an iPad for example.

From this article, I think it is clear that technology within the classroom can be extremely beneficial, and all teachers should feel confident in using this to enhance children’s learning. However, I believe that enhance is the key word, as there should be a definite balance between using ICT, as well as other techniques of teaching and learning which is non-ICT based. Learning should take into account the different learning styles of all children, and it is an excellent way to deepen the knowledge children already have.

Final Year 2 Post

This is my final Year 2 Post for my Blogfolio before I send it off for marking.

The three ICT sessions I have had this year have been really beneficial to me, as well as the articles available for extra reading. Everything I have discovered over these sessions will help me develop my practice when using ICT within the Early Years and Key Stage One. I have really enjoyed the hands on element, as we were given a task during the first session, and by the end of the third session we had completed everything and had the chance to share within our groups. From this, I feel I have learnt more than I may have done if we were just taking down notes, as we were also given the chance to work within groups, but sharing out the responsibilities to ensure everyone had at least one individual job to do throughout.

At the end of February, I will be beginning my 2a school experience in the Foundation Stage, and I am going to try and fit at least one element of my Year 2 ICT into this to discover if they are as successful with the children as they were with me. I will also take into consideration everything I have read from the online articles, to ensure I am using ICT to benefit the children completely, rather than making my lesson plans more cross-curricular.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed my blog as much as I have making it!

I thought I would leave you with a video which I think is a really nice idea for using QR Codes in the classroom with iPads.
QR Codes are scannable codes for smart phones that anybody can make and can be used for almost anything. Click here for more information on what a QR code is.

Goodbye for now!

Article: Technology in Early Childhood: Advice For Parents and Teachers

There is an article online discussing the age at which technology is appropriate, when it is appropriate and how it can be used within the classroom as well as at home and in other settings.

Technology in Early Childhood: Advice For Parents and Teachers

I particularly like this quote:

“Technology should not be an isolated activity, but should instead become part of the daily classroom routine, enhancing and expanding lessons”

This really hits home about the importance of integrating ICT into the classroom, rather than trying to teach it is a separate subject. Due to the fact that ICT can support children in all areas, it should be integrated into the cross-curricular curriculum.

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However, it does speak about the different types of ICT, for example screen media where children are passive watching TV, and hands on media such as photography where children are involved and learning from what they are doing. I agree with this, as I do believe that television is an easy option to keep children quiet and occupied. However, in school ICT needs to be judged as to whether this will be the most beneficial task to children at the time, or whether a non-ICT based activity would suit better to the needs of the child at the time.

Overall, the article makes some really good points about ICT being very beneficial for children, as long as the teachers and parents ensure they are using it to enhance learning rather than just having it there as another option for children to use.

For me, this is an interesting article, due to the fact in University, even on the blank lesson plans we are being told to try and fit ICT into all areas of the curriculum to enhance the lessons, and although I agree with this, the article makes me question whether I am adding the ICT element to make the lesson look better, and whether the children will actually benefit anymore from using the ICT. When I go into my next school experience, this is something I am really going to have to think about when planning ICT within my sessions.

Using ICT in Science

During a Science session at University, we were given the task to use ICT to assist us with a misconception.

We chose the misconception based on shadows, with children not understanding that shadows are an absence of light. To do this, we decided to use the book ‘Can’t you sleep little bear?’ as inspiration. To make the video, we simply used cardboard to cut out the bears and the bed, stuck these onto long straws and then used the iPad and a torch the record the video. Here it is:

Although the video was quite simple, and we only used the camera to video rather than a downloaded App, I feel the video is quite effective, and could be adapted and used for a variety of different subjects across the curriculum. In my opinion, using ICT should engage the children more than the teacher just explaining, which should then hopefully fuel the children’s interest as they can see the bears and relate to the story, and hopefully they will gain a better understanding.

Session 3: Sharing and Evaluating

For the final session of ICT for Year 3, we filmed our final pieces for our story of ‘The Ugly Duckling’. We also made activities for the children to carry out using the ideas from our curriculum map.

duckkk

This was an activity we made based around the book using the Smart Notebook programme. As it is interactive, we thought this would be a good activity for the children to carry out on the interactive whiteboard, and the idea is that the children have to take the animals from the book and decide whether they live on the water or on land by moving them, and also then adding the correct label to the animal.

We finally decided to use ‘Puppet Pals’ to make our video on the iPad. Puppet pals was extremely easy to use:

  1. First you have to find a picture, either off the internet or from a gallery, and then these need to be cut around.
  2. Then when you have all your characters you can upload a background.
  3. Then, you can add characters on and off the screen by putting them on to the stage. Just press record, use your fingers to move the characters and speak at the same time to record the film. Characters can be flipped, can grow, can shrink and can move all with one finger.

Click here for a detailed YouTube tutorial on how to use puppet pals.

This was our final video for ‘The Ugly Duckling’

 

I really enjoyed using the Puppet Pals App on the iPad, and I believe this would be a great resource for children to use throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, and even upwards through the school. There was only one problem we encountered when using this App, and that was shrinking one of the characters too small, that we couldn’t then fit two fingers on to enlarge them again, meaning we had completely lost that character. This will be something I will be careful of in the future.
As well as being easy to use, it is also a lot of fun finding the characters, making them your own and adding funny voices over the top.
Overall, puppet pals was a success and I would recommend this App to anyone.

Once we had made everything, we then carried out a sharing session at the end so everyone could look at everyone else’s activities and videos they had made. I really enjoyed seeing the outcomes from the rest of the groups, because every activity and video was completely different from the last, with every individual putting their own spin on what they had made and the book they had chosen, and I would like to say Well Done to everyone in the group for what they have completed in the 3 sessions!

Article: How the iPad Can Transform Classroom Learning

There is a very interesting article online about how iPads can not only be a tool for teaching, but also a tool for children to become independent learners, while giving the teachers a chance to use the same equipment to assess the children at the same time.

apple-ipad-mini-pr-1

How the iPad Can Transform Classroom Learning

In this article, Ben Johnson describes the vast ways that children can use the iPads in a variety of different ways from just one task, from finding out information, using this information to gain results, make a graph using these results, talk to other members of the class to compare their results and even find online lectures.
Although this is too complicated for an Early Years group, the same concept can be put into place, using apps for specific subject, and allowing them to carry out educational games during their free flow play would be a great way to incorporate the play into their learning of a specific subject as well as ICT.

As well as the students, the teachers can use the iPad to assess the children, taking pictures, making notes, and even videoing the children, not just while they are using the iPads but throughout the day.

This has really made me think about the wide range of possibilities the iPad can bring to the classroom, and I will definitely be carrying out further research and collecting as many apps as i can to use when I am qualified.

Session 2: Curriculum Applications

This week during ICT, we looked further into using ICT specifically for Communication, Language and Literacy in the Early Years, and how it can be used for a story.

In our groups, we had the task of choosing a story, making a curriculum map around the story using ICT and coming up with an idea to either make a trailer or re-tell the story, or a similar idea using the app’s and computer programmes we discovered last week. This week we practiced using the apps to decide which ones we were going to use and also made our curriculum plan.

Firstly, we decided to use ‘The Ugly Duckling’ book, as we knew the majority of the class would be familiar with the subject, and we thought the moral of the story was lovely for an Early Years environment.

During this session, we decided to practice making a trailer using the iMovie app on the iPad. This app is quite an easy app to use, where you can choose the theme you want and it brings up a range of boxes, telling you to add writing, take pictures or take videos, and how long each video should last. Once this is completed, it makes the trailer for you:

Towards the end of the session, as a group we decided to quickly make a trailer using us as the characters. This was made quickly without much planning, but it gave us the general idea of what could be done with this iPad App if planned well and time was taken over it.

We liked this App, however we would like to have more freedom over how we set out or video, rather than being told to take a picture in one frame, then a 2 second video in another. Because of this, we decided that next week we will try a different App to record the story as a video rather than making a trailer.

Article: ICT in the Early Years

This is a very insightful article, written by a Rachel Ager, who talks about the growing need to actually teach children how to use ICT, rather than assuming because it is all around them now they will learn on their own.

ICT IN THE EARLY YEARS

Rachel discusses the adult’s role and the way they can teach children, while letting them play and discover at the same time, for example using questions such as: ‘what would happen if I pressed this button?’. I feel this is a great way for children to explore ICT and learn how to use it, without feeling they are being forced to learn the skills, or even know they are learning at all.

There is also a Health and Safety section at the end of the article, which discusses some of the issues which may not normally be thought about in a setting, for example not leaving children unattended with rechargeable batteries, or checking all plug sockets are safe.
It also touches upon the rules which could be put into place with ICT resources, e.g. a time limit on each resource to ensure a range is used and all children get to explore, as well as rules to keep the equipment safe, for example using the neck strap when taking pictures with a camera. For me, the time limit on resources for each child is a brilliant idea, due to the fact there is always that child in foundation stage who will run to the computers during free play, and stay on these until called for an activity. It is great that they are using ICT, however they may not know anything about how cameras work, so need to explore a range.

Overall, I found this article very interesting, and I will be using the ideas and information within this in the future when planning ICT sessions / activities as a reference point.

First Year 2 Session! Embedding Technology

Hello again!

We have all returned from the summer and have began blogging once again. We only have three sessions this year, but hopefully I will have a chance to build on my knowledge of ICT , and use what I have learnt in Year 2 in my 2a and 2b school experiences.

During the first session of ICT for Year 2 of our course, we spoke generally as a class about what ICT we have seen in schools, whether it is in a positive way or a negative. From this class discussion, I heard a lot of opinions of ICT, both positive and negative, but some also in a perspective I hadn’t thought of before, which I found extremely interesting.
From my own experience, the time that has stuck with me was when being observed by my PAT and school mentor during my 1b school experience, and the Interactive Whiteboard decided to freeze midway through the lesson, leaving me to make the quick decision to turn the children round and carry out my backup activity! From that moment forward, when planning ICT I make sure I always have a back up activity available.

After this, we were then given our group tasks, and we have been given the task of either retelling a book, making a trailer or adding an alternate ending to a book, using different resources such as computer programmes or different apps on the iPad.

A few examples which are excellent to use with children in Early years or KS1 could be:

  • I Can Animate App
  • iMovie App – this is brilliant for making movie trailers, as all the themes etc. are already installed.
  • VideoScribe
  • Puppet Pals
  • Explain Everything
  • Colins big cat books
  • Strip Designer
  • Comic Life

The four of us in our group, Me, Holly, Charley and Emma all decided to use the iMovie app on the iPad to create a trailer for ‘The Ugly Duckling’, which we shall be carrying out during session 2.

The_Ugly_Duckling_1491

Final Post

This is my final post before I submit my blog for marking.

Firstly, I would like to comment on the idea of blogging. When we first started ICT, and I was told that we were going to have to blog every week for our assignment, i wasn’t too impressed, however as the weeks went on, I found the whole process a lot easier and actually started to enjoy it. I have gained a lot of confidence in blogging in general, as well as improving my knowledge on the subject, for example using things such as Popplet which are online, as well as learning how to embed things to add them on to my site. Now i have carried out blogging for one assignment, I would love it if all assignments could be done in this way!

As well as blogging, I have learnt a lot within the session of how ICT is completely cross-curricular and how different resources can be used in different ways, for example Smart NoteBook and Monkey Jam. I will take everything I have learnt from the sessions and use them in my own way when I qualify and have my own classes as a teacher.

One of the main things I will take away will be the impact that Internet safety has on the lives of children. Before this course, I knew that the Internet could be dangerous for children in a number of ways, but now i know the severity of the situation and it is a lot worse than I origonally thought. In my future career I will be taking this very seriously, and be doing everything I can to protect the children I teach.

As well as my own blog, I have found it extremely interesting to look at the blogs of other members of my class and how they have interpreted the sessions as well as any extra information they have found around the sessions. Seeing the comments that other members have put on my blog with their thoughts and feelings has also helped me to feel confident with my blog.

From what I have seen during my time blogging, I feel it would be a valuable resource in the classroom to communicate with the children and the parents, for example letting them know about the topics we will be doing, extra activities the children could be doing at home to help learning, and any websites etc which are useful for the children.

I am looking forward to learning a lot more about ICT in the future and using it in my career, as well as carrying on my blog. But for now it is goodbye from me!

I would just like to leave you with a video about the history of technology in education…

 

 

 

It’s Not About the Gadgets – Why Every Teacher Should Have to Integrate Tech Into Their Classroom

This is a blog all about the importance of how technology is used in the classroom, rather than the resources being available but not being used efficiently.

It’s Not About the Gadgets

The blog on this site talks about their experiences of seeing ICT in the classroom, but not using it as it should be used.

For example, one section talks about how teachers let their students type something on the SmartBoard and think this counts as integrating tech into their lessons, but they disagree with this, and suggest it is too limited. They suggest that integrating properly is when a student films a video for example to show learning rather than making a poster.

It also talks about the need for proper training, as there is no point having a classroom full of ICT technology if the teacher of the class doesn’t know how to use them so the students can develop through them to their full potential.

This is an interesting article, and has made me think about the way I have witnessed teachers using it in the classroom. I agree that teachers may think it is enough to have a lesson including the SmartBoard, but unless children actually have the chance to explore and have a go on their own, they aren’t engaging with the technology enough to be learning from it.

There is also a related article at the bottom of the page.

 

 

Early Years ICT – Where to start?

This is an interesting Article all about ICT in the Early Years, in the specific areas of development. It includes links to other websites that could be useful to Teachers and Early Years Practitioners who are looking to use ICT.

Where to start?

Communication, Language and Literacy:

Under this section, it is talking about using technology in the setting to reflect the real world, for example phones etc. As well as letting the children use the computers to write e-mails etc. as this is the norm for most people today, and it integrates ICT with the children’s literacy and imagination skills.

Creative Development:

This section talks about using a wide range of ICT rather than just the usual computer programmes. For example using camcorders to record imaginative play in the role-play area. This can hep them build confidence with their creative skills.

Knowledge and Understanding:

The article talks about the different types of resources children can use to look at the world around them and their lives. For example, looking at living things by taking photographs and recording them. A good example they have suggested is placing waterproof webcams or camcorders in an area of the playground with wildlife, so they can look through the footage afterwards and see the insects wildlife behaving differently to how maybe they would act with people around, or at night time rather than the day.

Maths:

The Maths section focuses mainly on programmable toys such as floor robots,  to look at problem solving, direction, and counting etc. As well as being educational, these can also be very fun for the children to play with.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

An example of this is using programmes such as paint on the computer to draw pictures, and printing these off to keep or show in a display, as this will give the children a confidence boost and they can feel proud of what they have achieved using the ICT technology.

Physical Development:

This section is based more on helping the children gain confidence to carry out more physical activities to develop their skills, rather than ICT which helps Physical Development directly.
An example they have put it similar to the Creative Development, where they can record the children carrying out physical skills for them and their parents to watch back so they can feel proud of what they have achieved, and once they have seen that can do it it may inspire them to carry on and even try other physical activities.

 

I have found this Internet article very useful, and it has made me think about the different ways ICT can help throughout the curriculum. As well as the information I have wrote about, there is a link for more information under every section of development, as well as other general links at the bottom of the page.

Internet Safety

In todays session we looked at the issue of Internet Safety in Schools.

I found out that all schools should have an Acceptible Use Policy (AUP).

Click here for more information on AUP’s.

We discussed as a group our experiences with problems online, and found out about professionals getting into trouble due to their facebook pages for example, as well as children using social networking sites when they aren’t technically old enough.

During a placement at college, I had an experience with a child in Year 5 who was being bullied by other children in his class through facebook. When the school told their parents, they simply replied that there is nothing they can do, if their children want to go on facebook then they will find a way to get on facebook, and i don’t believe this is the attitude anyone should be having towards their children and internet bullying or safety in general.

An extremely good website is Think U Know. This website is all about the safe use of ICT, with resources for children in age ranges, as well as resources for teacher and for parents. On this website there are videos, printables and handy tips all about the safe use of ICT and the internet specifically.
An example of a video in the age 5-7 section is:

Also on this website there is also a really good resource for teachers and parents which is Hectors World Safety Button. This can be downloaded on all computers, and will be on the screen constantly. Children can be taught to press this button as soon as they see something on their computer screen which they don’t think is appropriate for them, or they don’t think they should be looking at, and it immediately covers the screen until an adult can come and sort the computer out for them. I think this is an excellent resources and all computers where children have access to the internet should have them, whether at home, in the nursery or in the classroom.

When searching the net, researching using search engines is really good for children to do for themselves, however not all search engines are safe for children, as an innocent search on google may come up with results which aren’t meant for children.
There are child friendly search engines which could be more appropriate for children to use:

By adding a few simple security measures, children can enjoy searching the internet and enjoy educational online resources safely, without too much worry from teachers, practitioners and parents.

As well as safety for children, we looked at our own online activity. During the session, all of us had the task of ‘googling’ ourselves. Quite a few members of the group found that personal details and images of themselves could be found simply from typing their name into this well known search engine. From this, members of the group realised how important it is to ensure privacy settings are set to maximum on all social networking sites, and many members of the group decided it would be best to remove their last name from Facebook completely and use their middle name instead. This will help future employers and parents of the children they teach to search for them.

Further Research and Reading:

From doing my own research around the topic i have found a few websites that could help with internet safety as well:

  • Kidsmart – On this website you can either log in as a parent or a practitioner and there is a huge range of links on there, including games, music and safe searching.
  • BBC – This is more for parents to keep their children safe on the web
  • CBBC – However this website is more to do with the children, as it as at their level and there are quiz’s etc for them to carry out.

Also, from carrying out further reading, I found a good website based completely around Internet safety: Interet Safety.
This website talks about the golden rules being: never give out personal information; don’t open emails from unknown people; don’t become friends online with unknown people; never arrange to meet someone in person who you have met online; and finally tell someone if anything you see or read worries you!
As well as this it has the risks that are out there, as well as facts about cyber bullying and cyber stalking to online grooming and identity facts. This website is very detailed in all the different dangers out there and what everyone can do to prevent these terrible things from happening.

Funny Bones Resources

During this session, the whole group was split into groups and given the task of choosing a book and making resources around this, as well as presenting the ideas to the rest of the class.

Holly and I were given the task of making resources for the book Funny Bones between us.

Once we had the ideas of what we were going to do, we decided to split the jobs so i made the PowerPoint and Holly made the Smart Notebook Resources.

When making the PowerPoint, I found a good video that could be shown to children to give them an introduction to the book, whether they had read it before or not.

 

 

Here is the PowerPoint we made for the Funny Bones Story to present to the class:

Funny Bones

Finally, here is the Smart Notebook activity we made for the children to use on the Interactive Whiteboard:

Funny Bones

The idea of the Smart Notebook activity is so the children can either use the pen or their fingers to move the body parts around and put the skeletons back together.

I really enjoyed this lesson, and if we had more time there could have been hundreds of activities we could have found or produced around this book, as well as more ways of presenting to the group for example using a Popplet for the different areas of development.

As well as our Funny Bones activities, there was a lot of other great presentations and ideas from the other groups in the class based around other well known books.

Popplet

Popplet is an internet site which helps you to create mind maps easily and simply, around any subject you like.  There is a youtube video to show you how to make a popplet and this one includes the use of it in an english lesson.

 

I have made a Popplet on the use of ICT in Early Years and Key Stage 1, which i will be updating throughout the course.

I think a Popplet would be a good resource to use when starting a new topic which children on an interactive whiteboard. The subject could be put into the middle of the screen. Then, in one colour coming off one side, information the children already know could be added. On the other side in a different colour could be things about the topic the children want to find out.  There are endless ways this resource could be used in Early Years and Key Stage 1 Education.