Vision Statement

November 6, 2014 | Vision Statement  |  1 Comment

ICT should not simply be some kind of attractive gizmo. It should enable us to do things better than we could do before..” (Lee and Eke, 2009, p.90).


I think this statement is extremely important; many think that ICT is something that is used to ‘jazz up’ a lesson, and often cannot see the learning impacts that using ICT in the classroom can have for children. Rather than looking at a simple picture in a classroom, we can now look at 360 degree pictures, which can incorporate sound. Rather than watching a video on a TV, a video can now be accessed much quicker on a large interactive whiteboard screen. Children are now able to share their work on blogs and websites, rather than only being able to take their work home. Children can now use apps and programs to enhance their learning, and to make learning fun, rather than constantly using work sheets.

National Curriculum:
Before teaching the Computing curriculum to children, many teachers have had to develop their own personal Computing skills, to ensure that they are able to teach children efficiently. On my last school placement, the school held computing sessions for any teachers who were worried about the changes to the subject. Other teacher’s have completed further research into the subject to ensure they are able to teach to the best of their ability.  There are plenty of courses online to support teachers through learning and teaching the computing curriculum.
When looking at the National Curriculum, and the Early Years Foundation Stage, it is clear that Computing and Technology are extremely important, and they are embedded throughout both curriculum’s. The Revised National Curriculum (2013) has changed ICT to Computing. The National Curriculum now places are larger emphasis on children understanding different aspects behind computer science. In the EYFS, there are several areas where computing is discussed throughout, for example: Literacy: Reading (Page 29), Understanding the World: Technology (Page 41-42). The Early Learning Goal for technology is: “Children recognise that a range of technology is used in  places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes” (Page 42), which involves children knowing and using a range of technology, and the children are able to use the technology for a purpose.
Both the EYFS and the National Curriculum, involve children learning skills which they can use across other curriculum subjects. The Revised National Curriculum expects children to learn new skills that were not present in the ICT section of the previous National Curriculum. For example: children are expected to be able understand fundamental principles of computer science, such as algorithms. The new computing curriculum gives children the skill of problem solving; problem solving is a skill that is needed across the curriculum, for example: in maths and also in science. Debugging and programming are plugged methods of problem solving that children will learn in Ks1 and Ks2; there are also many unplugged approaches to teaching problem solving through computing, for example: Teacher Bot Jam Sandwich.Children using technology in the EYFS, is a skill that can be transferred to other subjects, for example: using iPads for maths games or using cameras to capture images.

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Practising on Prezi

November 4, 2014 | Prezi  |  2 Comments

Some of the apps and programs that we have used over the past 5 sessions, I would most definitely consider using in the future. After seeing Prezi be used as a presentation tool, myself and my group have attempted to use Prezi for an upcoming presentation in our specialism session; this Prezi is about Funding for 2 Year Olds;

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In today’s session, we discussed Switches. Switches are an alternative tool for a mouse, which can be used on the computer or on an iPad. I had not come across switches before today’s session, but I think they are a fantastic way to involve children with poor fine motor skills into using technology. We also discussed Eye Gaze and Hands Free Cursor Control (Head Mouse), which are both wonderful ways to make sure Computing can be an inclusive subject.
The Help Kidz Learn website has resources for Early Years and also for SEN children. This website has games and other resources where Switches can be used, and it is very simple and easy to switch between the mouse and the switch option. The games were very simple and would not need much adult input, and I believe that young children would be able to use this website independently after a small amount of guidance. Although the games are very simple, which is brilliant for Early Years and SEN children, the games are also very limited, and may possibly be seen as limiting to children’s learning. I played Pop the Bubbles game, which I thought would be a brilliant game for children to be able to develop their fine motor skills.
education_city_imageThe Education City website has resources for Early Years, Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. There are plenty of resources and activities around the following subjects; English, Maths, Science, Computing, Spanish, French, and ‘Learn English’. Many of the activities on this website would be fantastic to use as a starter activity in the classroom, or to use as continuous provision in the Early Years Setting. The games on this website were really enjoyable and were very educational. Click Here To Read More

In the beginning of today’s session we were at the cross curricular use of ICT; we discussed using ICT to help support the teaching of Science, Geography and History. Here were some of the ideas that were shared in today’s session:

cross curricularScience – Using time lapse, of a similar app/program to watch the growth of a seed, or shadows moving across the playground, or to record the life cycle of a butterfly. We also discussed the use of media to create weather reports, books on scientific topics (such as, life cycles) and we also discussed using media to create a set of instructions for a recipe (which could be closely linked to algorithms).
Geography – The main focus for Geography was the use of maps, including: Google Maps, and Google Earth. Scribble maps and The Big Day Out were also said to be good for using with children when learning about maps. Other good apps to use related to geography could include: the compass and world atlas.
History – The green screen was one of the things I would like to use most, particularly linked to history, as I think that using the green screen would really bring history to life. Morpho was also another app mentioned when trying to make history come alive, and I used this app later on in the session. Story telling apps and programs would also be good to tell stories of then and now.

I found a great website called Apps 4 Primary Schools, which demonstrates lots of different apps that can be used in lots of the curriculum subjects.

For the remainder of the session, we were all looking at collecting resources based around a specific theme. Some themes chosen byfire works other groups included; Rememberance Day, and the Seaside. Myself and Sarah M, chose to do the theme ‘Fire Work Night’. We looked through Purple Mash to find some interesting resources related to Fireworks. One resource that I particularly liked on the Purple Mash site was related to writing a Poem about Guy Fawkes; this resource had words that could be used to give hints on what to write, and there were also pictures that could be added before the children printed their poems. I also liked the firework paint resource, as this would be brilliant for making firework images that could be displayed around the classroom. We also looked at the Infant Encyclopedia related to Bonfire Night.  There was also an interesting video on the BBC website, along with some interesting facts. I also came across a Disney Firework creator, children would be able to create their own firework show on this webpage. I found this could be linked closely with algorithms in computing, as it is linked with a sequence of instructions.
I had never used the Morpho app before, and neither had Sarah M, so we thought we would give it ago, and relate it to our Firework Theme. Below is our Morpho of Guy Fawkes: Click Here To Read More

The last week flew past, and here we are again back in ICT. In today’s session we discussed categorising different apps. Before the session, I would have categorised apps by subject (e.g. mathematics based, literacy based etc.), however, today’s session has shown that there are many different ways to group apps. We discussed grouping apps in a different way, Helen Caldwell introduced us to her four categories; Personal Learning, Collaborative Learning, Visible Learning, and Combining Media. These different categories made it clear that apps have different purposes, and how important it is to know the purpose of the app before using the app in the classroom with children. After the discussion about categorising apps, we had time to finish off our own resources, before sharing our resources to the rest of the group.

Our resource:
We were then given time to finish off our resources, or make a second resource related to storytelling resource. I continued working with Sarah M, and we decided to make something that would support our original resource, rather than creating a separate resource. We decided to create a rough outline of how we would use our original resource in a lesson.

We thought we would use a piece of music to get children using their imaginations. The clip below is the theme tune from Pirates of the Caribbean, we would play the theme tune to children, and ask them to guess what piece of music was playing. We would ask the children if anyone recognises the music, and where they think it might be from.


We would then use the program on the interactive whiteboard to slowly reveal a picture of a pirate ship. The picture would slowlypirate ship be revealed and the children would have to ask yes or no questions to find out clues about the picture. The children would then find out that they were going to write the ending to a pirate story. The story on Photo Peach would then be shown to the children (we agreed that we would have to resolve the issue of the pixilated pictures on our PhotoPeach story before using it with the children, we also agreed that if we were unable to resolve the picture issue we would have to use a different app, for example: Story Jumper or Story Bird).

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Exploring Computing

October 6, 2014 | Computing  |  Leave a Comment

In today’s session we looked at the changes in the revised National Curriculum, and the changes to the ICT curriculum. The first bignc change is that ICT is no longer called ICT, it is now called Computing. In the revised National Curriculum, children are expected to learn many different skills related to computing, for example: coding, decoding, debugging. The children need to know a large amount of computing vocabulary, for example: algorithms (instructions for program), and decomposition (the parts to the program).

There are two different types of programming; plugged and unplugged. Plugged programming related to technology and the use of something electronic (for example: using iPads or bee-bots). Unplugged related to not using an technology (for example: programming a teacher/child to do something with a set of instructions).

There are many different apps that can be used in the classroom to help to teach programming, and also to help develop skills with programming. There are apps for the Early Years all the way up to the end of Key Stage Two. In the Early Years, simple programming is introduced, for example: sorting, programming teachers to make a sandwich by giving step by step instructions, and general approaches to problem solving not just related to ICT. Often in the Early Years, more physical representations of programming is used, for example: Bee-bots and floor turtles. Children then go on to explore different apps and programs, and vocabulary is introduced so that children can begin to understand the terminology. This continues throughout the Key Stages, with children constantly developing their programming skills.  “A high-quality computing education equips pupils to understand and change the world through logical thinking and creativity, including by making links with mathematics, science, and design and technology” (Revised National Curriculum, 2013, Page 188), the skills learned in computing can be used in different subjects across the curriculum, and will assist learning and development in other countries.

Here is an example video of children instructing a teacher to make a sandwich, this is an example of an unplugged activity (a very simple way of exploring programming and algorithms).

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Year 3

September 29, 2014 | ICT Education, Resources, Storytelling  |  Leave a Comment

It’s hard to believe that I am sat here writing my year 3 blog, it feels like only yesterday that we were being asked to begin our first blog. Our very first session of the year was ICT, and I was glad, because I always have fun in ICT as well as learning something new and useful, every session.

In today’s session, we looked at methods of storytelling using technology. There were many different apps that were discussed and modeled throughout the session, including; Morfo, GreenScreenFX, PicCollage, PhotoSpeak and StoryPatch. There were also new pieces of technology introduced in the session: we have previously discussed the iPads and the use of the different apps on the iPads, but many of us were newly introduced to the concept of Green Screens, and we were also introduced to the idea of using a light box.


Our task for today’s session was to use an app to tell a story. I worked with Sarah M, and we decided to use a piece of technology that neither of us had used before, the light box. We decided to set up a scene on the light box and take a series of pictures to create a story. The picture (left) shows our beach theme scene that we created on the light box. We used small word characters to create a story about pirates stealing treasure. When we took pictures of the light box, there were light lines across the photos, so we had to find an alternative method of capturing the scenes we created. We experimented for a while before finding a solution, we took a slow motion video of the scene for a few seconds, and we then took screen shots of the different video clips to create a still frame. When discussing the pros and cons of using the light box for storytelling, we decided that there were far more pros than cons. We found the light box very easy and simple to use to create different scenes, we also believe that children would be able to complete a task using the light box with  very little adult input. One of the most important factors of the light box, was the unlimited possibilities when creating/retelling a story. With enough resources and materials, children would be able to tell endless amounts of stories using the light box.

Once we had our pictures, we then had to decide on which app/program to use to turn our series of pictures into a story. We decided to use the program, PhotopeachPhoto Peach. This was an app that neither of us had heard of before today’s session, so we were intrigued to have a play around on the app. First of all, we had to upload of photos to the program, this was very simple and easy to do. We then had to chose any subtitles, music or credits that we wanted to add to the story. We attempted to add a pirate theme tune through YouTube, however, unfortunately the YouTube clip would not play, so we chose a piece of music already located on the programs music section. Click Here To Read More

crosscurricularSince our final session of ICT, I have been looking out for different examples of where ICT is mentioned in other subjects across the curriculum. There were certain subjects in which I thought ICT would rarely be used, however my opinions have been altered throughout this term;

There are obvious examples of where ICT could be used across the curriculum; for example: taking photographs of children’s work or creating work on a computer (e.g. writing up a story online rather than on a piece of paper)… However there were other more specific examples that I have been made aware of!

During a recent art session, our lecturer mentioned having a scrap book online!! I didn’t even know this was possible (I suppose it’s a bit like a blog), but it definitely sounds like something I would want to try with my own class one day. The children take pictures of their work or just post the pictures they have taken that support their work.  This is just another way of children recording and storing their art. It’s also a fantastic way for art to be shared in the school community and the wider community. Here is an example of a Sketchbook Blog.

Throughout recent sessions of PE, it has been regularly mentioned that it is beneficial for children to record their routines in dance or gym, so they are able to watch their routine back. Recording routines could be beneficial for a number or reasons: for remembering the routine at a later date;  for self and peer assessment; for making improvements and also for sharing with others.

Phonics programs and games can be very beneficial to children. There are a number of brilliant, educational games on the Letters and Sounds websiteClick Here To Read More

After thinking about it, I came to realise that I haven’t actually researched the pros and cons of blogging in schools. I’ve really liked the idea of one day having a class blog with my own class, however I have not really looked at the positives and negatives of doing so…  (Getting a bit ahead of myself)… So I decided to do some research into blogging…

I found a great YouTube Video on blogging… And also lots of great articles…

Creative Blogs came up with the following positives for blogging in a school environment:

  • To celebrate pupils’ learning and achievements.
  • To provide real audience and purpose for children’s writing across the curriculum.
  • To promote standards in literacy and facilitate peer review.
  • To develop safe opportunities to collaborate with other schools and outside experts.tick
  • To encourage the wider community to get involved in the work of your school.
  • To offer visitors a ‘window’ into the everyday excellence that takes in your school.
  • To distribute the workload of maintaining a website more evenly across the school staff.
  • To give a platform for pupil voice to be heard and developed.
  • To allow stakeholders such as governors or parents’ groups to participate in the school’s web presence.
  • To provide a secure and authentic environment through which children can explore and learn about the world of digital literacy. Click Here To Read More

Sharing our Resources

February 5, 2014 | Resources  |  3 Comments

Today was the day we all presented our resources to the rest of the group! There were so many fantastic resources.. Different apps used, such as; PuppetPals, iMovie and many more. Others had created various resources, such as games, and one that I particularly liked was the ‘questioning dice’. A group made a dice asking specific questions about the book they had chosen. This is a really creative way of getting all children involved in answering questions, with a bit of a difference!! All of the class members 2 stars and wishhad done a great job of explaining how they would use their resources for learning across the whole curriculum. One resource that I particularly liked was: Hayley E, Hayley H, and Sarah’s. They had made a video based resources based around a book called ‘Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy’ by Lynley Dodd. One thing I really loved about their resource, was the fact that Sarah had asked her son to do the Narrators voice, which gave their resource such a lovely touch. It was easy to see how their resource could be used with children, and also created by children. Below is the video created by Sarah, Hayley and Hayley…

We were asked to come up with two stars and a wish (two positives and one area for improvement)… On many, if not all, of the resources it was easy to come up with several stars, however hard to come up with wishes as the resources were all so well put together.

Myself and my group presented our resource through the following PowerPoint presentation: What the Ladybird heard – Alyson, Emily and Katie. We had several stars (positive comments); for example: people stated they enjoyed being told the story an app creation, others stated they like the fact we had made a story to follow on after the trailer, others said they were impressed with our use of Popplet to display our thoughts of cross curricular development. We were pleased with the comments about our resources. The wishes (points for improvement), were more related to our presentation skills, than the actual resources we had made. For example: one wish was to not have used PowerPoint, and another wish was to have brought the book we used into the session. Which were points we would definitely consider in any future Presentations.

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