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.
English: I had a play with some of the letter game. The game involved having different objects with a sound button, you click the sound button to hear the word, and have to decide whether or not the word begins with the chosen letter. This would be a brilliant resource to use during phonics.
Maths Counting People in 5s: I looked at a counting game, this game involved counting people getting onto a bus, but the people were getting onto the bus in groups of 5, this would support children when learning their 5 times table. There were plenty of other counting resources, including a bus game with people getting on in 2s.
Science Dessert Island Game: This game involved children needing to know what different objects needed electricity, if the object needed electricity it could not be used on the dessert island – this was a very simple drag and drop game . This would be a fantastic game to play in the early years when discussing electricity. There were so many other games related to lots of different scientific subjects.

We discussed the different types of assessment can be used which are facilitated by ICT. There are different apps and programmes that can be snapshotindividualused, some of these included: 2Profile, Tapestry (the image on the right is a screenshot from Tapestry), Threeing, and EverNote. Whilst on Placement 2b, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to use Interactive Learning Diary. This programme was available on the iPad, and was a fantastic way of recording children’s development and progress. The app allows you to take video clips, images, voice recordings, and also to write in text. After you had made your observation on a child, you would add the observation to the child’s name and would also be added to an Early Learning Goal. The programme highlighted if there were any gaps in children’s development, which allowed for observations to be taken in that area. The data was put on a CD Rom for parents at the end of the school year to keep as a digital learning journey.

I really enjoyed using the assessment tool, and found it extremely useful in the classroom. I found that I was able to make more observations than I would if I was writing the observations on paper. Another positive about using an assessment tool is that it is unlikely for observations to be lost, whereas when observations are written on paper, I often loose them!
Although I think ICT based assessment tools are an asset to the classroom, I do think it is important to continue to create children’s paper based learning journeys. Learning journeys are often very important to the family, and children often keep their learning journeys for a very long time (I still have mine from Nursery and Reception!). I think pictures should be printed, as should comments about the children, and a paper based learning journey should be given to each parent at the end of the school year, as well as the digital copy.

Final Task:
Our final task for the session was to look at the Naace, ‘The value added to teaching and learning by ICT’. We looked at the following 11 statements and had to put them in order of importance. This is the order that myself, Emily, Sarah M and Alyson decided on:

  • Increase motivation to learn
  • Increase communication and collaboration
  • Enable access for minorities
  • Re-balance teaching and learning
  • Increase access to resources & tool
  • Use more information channels
  • Extend learning time
  • Enable games-based learning
  • Enable publishing and audience
  • Automate management and recording
  • Increase scalability and replicability

We added our flow chart to ShowMe, so that all of the group were able to access our flowchart.
We thought that many of the top 3 statements were the most important out of the whole lot. We thought that if the top three occurred in the classroom, this would allow for the rest of the statements to happen. We were torn between the statement ‘Enable access for minorities’, we originally changed this to ‘inclusive access for all’, as we believe all education should be inclusive. This was an extremely useful activity, as it allowed us to recognise the importance of ICT in the curriculum, and the positives that come from using technology in schools.

This session has brought to light a fantastic way of including those children with SEN and physical impairments in computing, the use of Switches in the classroom is a fantastic idea and it is something I will definitely consider using in the future. I think websites such as HelpKidzLearn is a fantastic website for including SEN children in ICT, as many other websites would not incorporate the Switch option. This session has also made me see the importance of using assessment that is suitable for you, as some people would benefit from using an ICT based form of assessment and others would not. One thing that I have learned from today’s session, is to ensure that there is the correct balance of ICT based assessment and paper based assessment.

Teaching Standards:
TS3 demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge.
Ts6 make accurate and productive use of assessment.

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