ICT Games in the Early Years and Key Stage 1

During out ICT session today, we had a range of different ICT resources available for us to try out different games and consider how we could use this for children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 Settings.

We had a wide range avialable for us to try, including:

  • Wii
  • Xbox – Kinect
  • Nintendo DS
  • Computers – Internet

There are a range of reasons why these sort  games could be beneficial in a setting like this, firstly it can build the confidence and self esteem of a child, especially if they are particulary gifted at particular games. They can show off their skills to other members of the group and feel proud of what they are achieving.
Aother reason is that it can be used to motivate the children, for example during circle time if the children have all done well in the week, they can have a go on the Wii for example for the afternoon to have some time to relax, and this lets the children know that they will have a treat at the end of the week, it is something for them to look forward to.
Fine motor skills are also developed in many of the games, whether it is using the keyboard and the mouse on the computers or pressing the buttons on the remotes. As well as these, gross motor skills are also developed on some of the games, for example playing tennis on the Wii or playing the drums on the Rock Band games.
Particular games are good for developing paticular skills, for example Maths Training on the Nintendo DS is a really good game, because children can either play on their own or against a friend, and there is also a range of levels for them to choose from, with every times table available to practise, along with short addition to long multiplication.
Playing these sort of games can also help children with life skills, as ICT is developing rapidly in the world, and in the future when the children I teach become adults, they may need computer skills to gain jobs in specific areas, and by encouraging them at this stage, I can teach them the basics of ICT.
Finally, it can really help children with their social development, as children who may not like speaking out in a class for example, may get involved more whilst playing this sort of game in a group. It also teaches them team work as well as competition, but at the same time about following the rules and taking it in turns.

Further Research and Reading:

I found a few good websites which children can use to play games. A few examples of these are:

Octonauts – This is a game on the CBeebies website, and this helps children learn about taking care of animals, and the places where animals live and the kind of things they eat.

Alphablocks – This is also a game on CBeebies, where children can learn about the different letters of the alphabet and their sounds.

BBC – Early Years – This has a range of links for different educational games for the different areas of development.

CrickWeb – This has a range of online games to play, and they have sections from Early Years all the way up to Key Stage 2.

ICT Games – This website is set out into maths, literacy and topic work with games to help with each.

As well as these websites for children, i also found an interesting article about the use of gaming in education. Can Gaming Help Kids Learn? This website talks about the bad press gaming gets, for example saying it turns children into vegetables. However, this site suggests that gaming can be extremely useful in helping children to learn, helping the children to remember information as well as taking an active role in engaging with the topics.
It also suggests that there is science behind why gaming works so well, because the electronic games actually stimulate the brain to release dopamine which helps with cognition.
Overall, the website talks about electronic games helping children to maintain an active role with their own learning, as well as exploring and experimenting on their own. There is also an infographic which is really interesting all about using games in the classroom.

Social Networking

This week, we were given a task to research a topic which is of interest to us, so I have chosen to research Social Networking.

Social networking is an extremely controversial issue, with many people having a variety of opinions on the matter.

Social Networking sites include:

  • Facebook
  • Myspace
  • Twitter
  • Bebo
  • Youtube
  • Flickr
  • And many more

These sites allow people to register their own sites / pages, and they are able to post as much about themselves as they would like, including photos, links and videos etc. Depending on privacy settings, many people can see what individuals are posting at all times on these different sites, as well as their pictures etc.

In one resepct, it is a fantastic way for people to interact with others, sharing photo’s and videos etc, and it allows them to share their views to many people at once.
“Proponents of social networking sites say that the online communities promote increased interaction with friends and family; offer teachers, librarians, and students valuable access to educational support and materials; facilitate social and political change; and disseminate useful information rapidly” (http://socialnetworking.procon.org/ accessed on 01/03/2013).
As a trainee teacher, I have Facebook, and I do have access to Educational pages which I find very useful. One particular page I have on Facebook is ‘Apples4theteacher.com’, which has printable resources for teachers and children!

On the other hand, many people believe it is dangerous, because young children can get onto the site’s because of the simplicity of making a fake profile. Also, bullying can be a major issue, as it can be completely anonymous.
“There is a potential for failure of security in both personal and business context. While many sites apply certain measures to keep any of these cases of harassment, cyber-stalking, online scams, and identity theft to an absolute minimum, you still may never know.” http://www.everyday-wisdom.com/social-networking.html accessed on 01/03/2013). This is a worry for both children who access to the site as well as professionals as adults.

As a Trainee Teacher, and in my career in the future, I will have to be very careful on Social Networking sites, as I need to keep my personal information private, and make sure any pictures on display for example are completely profressional. This is to ensure that any parents or children that may go onto my profile won’t be able to find any information out about me as their teacher, as well as potential employers.

Whether or not people agree on whether Social Media should be used, a lot of the children around us already know how to access these sites, and their knowledge on them is only going to expand in the future. I have found a really good video on the use of Social Media, and how it should be used to help children rather than hinder them…

Interactive Whiteboards in Early Years and KS1

During my ICT session today, I have learnt about the different kinds of Interactive Whiteboards and the many ways they can be used.

I have downloaded the Smart Notebook 2011 onto my personal Laptop so i can practice using the resource in my own time. Smart Notebook is a computer programme which allows interactive files to be made in advance to use on the interactive whiteboard with children, as well as using it during the lesson to write down ideas etc. from scratch. I have made a file with a few different ideas on for the different areas of learning.
It is completely cross-curricular and completely engaging for the children as they can be in control of their own learning when they are using it.

There are so many uses for this programme, and it is so easy to use after a few minutes of practice. Here is my file:

Smart Notebook

During the session, the tutor Ellie gave us a few ideas of how we can use it, and how we can take ideas of physical activities and transfer them onto the Smart Notebook programme.
An example of this is hiding a shape behind a bigger piece of paper and showing the children glimpses of the shape and asking the children to guess what the shape is. This can be transferred to an Interactive Whiteboard by drawing a shape and filling it with colour, then making a bigger shape and filling this and placing it over the top. The bigger shape can then be moved with a pen or your finger to show some of the shape underneath, and the children can guess in the same way.
We also saw how to choose a background image and ask the children to think of questions they could ask about the image using the ‘who, what, where, when and why’ questions.
There is also a really good tool called the magic pen, where you can draw a circle around a part of the picture you want, and it will highlight that particular part in a circle and dim the rest of the picture. This can get the children communicating about that particular part of the picture. As well as this, you can also capture specific parts of an image and put this onto a new page.

I think that although Interactive Whiteboards are expensive, they are an essential purchase for all schools, as they can benefit children in a wide range of ways, and the essential reason is the fact that children can take control of their own learning. During the session, me and a few other from the group had a go at using the Smart Notebook resource on the interactive whiteboard which is available in the class room.

Further Research and Reading

In the Learning and Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards book, it talks about the major benefit wit Early Years children by removing the need to have a keyboard. When children are just learning to write, it can really help the children to just write straight onto an ICT programme, rather than having the added complication of looking for a letter on a keyboard when trying to type up a word. This can remove a lot of confusion and help children with their spelling.  (Barber, D. Cooper, L. Meeson, G. (2007). Learning and Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards. Exeter: Learning Maters Ltd. 48.).

I decided to look on youtube on videos for other children using the whiteboard in the classroom, and came across this video which gives an idea of usin real material in a digital way. Take a look and see what you think ..


ICT Survery

I have just made an ICT Survey to see what kind of ICT other people who may visit my Site use.

I signed up to SurveyMonkey to make this, and it is a really good site to make your own surverys, and the basic package is completely free. It is a very simple site to use, with step by step instructions.

Have a go at my survery here:

Click here to take survey

ICT in Music for the Early Years

During a Music Lesson at University, I have found out how ICT can be integrated with music in a wide range of ways, which i would have never thought of before as when i thought of music, I just thought about musical instruments and singing etc.

I learnt about sound buttons today, which you can press down, record and save so that every time that button is pressed it plays back the sound you have recorded. This can help with clapping the rhythms to songs for example  in the buttons so that children start to learn about keeping in time with the beat.

As well as these, i also saw a variety of websites which are fun for children to explore on their computers, iPads or interactive whiteboards. For example:


Primary Resources – Touch Tunes

Primary Resources – Chimes

BBC – Nursery Songs

I really enjoyed looking at these websites in class with my class, and i will definitely be usng ICT to support my music activities in my future career in the Early Years, especially the websites which can either be carried out as a whole class or be left on the computers or iPads for them to play on their own.

Stop Frame Animation

I have now had a go at using MonkeyJam and have made my own animation with Holly in my Early Years Class.

MonkeyJam is a downloadable programme which is free online, and it is easy to use once you know what you are doing! All you need to do is connect a web cam and capture image after image, making small movements in the images each time, and the software will put all of your frames together and make a video for you.

Here is a video with a step by step tutorial on how to use Monkey Jam.

I think this would be such a good piece of software to use in an Early Years or Key Stage 1 classroom, especially as it is a free resource. The children could work in groups and they could use their imagination and be as creative as they wanted to be to make their own clips. All these clips could then be added together to make a whole class video which would be really good for the children’s self esteem. The children could either use little toys for example with a background, or they could try making a video with themselves in it.
I would recommend this programme to all Early Years Pracitioners as well as Primary Teachers.

However, there are some limitations to MonkeyJam as it is a simple software, and when we had finished our animation and tried to transfer the music we were using, the timings went wrong and didn’t match up.


Because of this, we decided to transfer the images onto Windows Live Movie Maker, and make the video using this and we were able to add music as well as a title page and a credits page.

Here is our Final Video to Harlem Shake…



Using ICT in Art

During my Art lesson today at University, we looked at the huge range of ways ICT can be used in an Early Years and Primary Setting for children, and the way this can help children with their overall development.

Some of the different ICT we looked at are:

  • Scanners – To scan childrens Art work in and copy them into patterns, or add colour etc.
  • iPad’s – To use a range of different Apps to make their own creations, or research other pieces of Art
  • Camera’s – To take pictures of a variety of different things to be creative and use these in their own ways
  • Computer programmes  – For example paint, where the children can use a range of different colours, brushes and effects to create their own artwork
  • Music – to let the children use their imagination to create a piece of work depending on how the music makes them feel.

There are many other ways of using ICT as well as these, and within these they all help the children develop different skills, such as their Fine and Gross motor skills, as well as their Emotional, Social, Intellectual and Language development.  It can also really help the children to build up their Self-Confidence if their work can be put up on display for everyone to see.

Our Teacher gave us a really good example of how iPad’s can be used to help children with their imagination. She read the book, ‘A dark, dark tale’ page by page, and asked us to draw what we were imagining in our heads with half of the class using the iPad’s and half using paper and chalk. I really enjoyed seeing the differences between the iPad’s and the paper drawings, and saw that using iPad’s can be just as effective as drawing down what you see in your head.

A Dark Dark Tale This was my drawing on paper of what I imagined in my head, and the variety between everyone in the class on the iPad’s and the paper was huge.


PowerPoint in Early Years and KS1

During my last ICT lesson, we looked at how PowerPoint can be used in an Early Years and Key Stage 1 setting, to introduce children to a new topic and to engage their interests.

We looked at the importance of the information being visually attractive, and using different ways of showing the information rather than using text. For example:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Games
  • Links
  • Music

I have started to make my own PowerPoint on the subject of the Polar Regions, to experiment with the different ways of using PowerPoint. The internet is the main source used to find the information needed, and I found that while looking for images and videos etc. on the internet, I also learnt some things that I didn’t know before. I have managed to use a hyperlink to a video, images and sound on my PowerPoint Presentation.

Polar Region Power Point

There is a Video on PowerPoint which Ellie our ICT Tutor showed us at the start of the session, and I think it points out all the things that should not be done on a PowerPoint.

ICT Session 1

Today i have learnt how to blog for the first time with my Early Years group.

I have made my site my own and I am ready to start blogging about my course!

As well as this, we have learnt about a wide range of resources that can be used in the Early Years learning environment, and how these can help as well as hinder learning for  children! For example the different apps children can use on their ipads and the different programmes children can use on the interactive whiteboards with their teachers.

I have been told about another myPad site that will help me with my blogging skills.

Helen On Ict