Vision Statement

November 6, 2014 | 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).

vision

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.

Digital Literacy: “Young people need to develop more than just their ICT skills; they need a broad digital awareness of the wider context in which technologies and media operate to wrap around these skills in order that they can participate in this increasingly digital world” (Hague and Williamson, 2009, p.5). Digital Literacy is becoming more and more important in the classroom, and this is something that all teachers need to consider. O’Hara (2004, p.125) states that young children are becoming more enthusiastic and proficient users of ICT; this is because children are surrounded by technology, and are constantly exposed to different media. I believe that in today’s ever expanding technology based society, it is important for children to be able to use technology and have sound digital literacy. Gurney-Read (2013) states that Digital Literacy is just as important as reading and writing – in today’s society I believe that is completely true. Digital literacy should not replace the skill of reading and writing, but it should be at a similar level of importance. Caldwell and Honeyford state the importance of children being able to access technology as easily as they can access pencils and paper; which is another statement that I agree with. In an ideal world, every child would have access to an individual iPad on a regular basis, with a strong internet access. Children would also have access to other pieces of technology too; but it is important to keep the balance between technology and more traditional methods of learning.

Safety:
E-safety is often a huge concern for teachers, and can be a barrier for teachers using technology with children. It was something that I used to be fearful of, due to some of the horror stories on the news about children and the internet. However, the past three years at University have shown me that there are numerous ways to use the internet safely with children. Websites such as ThinkUKnow are fantastic resources to use in the classroom with children when teaching about e-safety. There are so many different procedures in place to ensure that children are kept safe when online, and when using different pieces of technology. Berry (2013) states that ‘Young children have little awareness of who can access online information, so it is best to teach them not to communicate any personal information online’ – this is something that all children need to learn from an early age, as so many children are signing up to social networking sites, such as: Facebook and Twitter, without having parental permission. I think this is an issue that should constantly be at the forefront of teacher’s minds, from Reception up to when students leave the education system!

Finding Information:
Children need to realise that teacher’s are not the only source of information in the classroom (Caldwell, 2014). This is a concept that is brought in at a young age, for example: a statement in the EYFS states that; Children from a young age often know that you can find out information from the computer (Page 29). Children are quickly taught that there are other methods for finding out information other than asking the teaching. Children are able to use the internet and other sources to find out information about anything they like, for example: if children are unable to answer a scientific question, or want to know a historic fact. From previous experience in schools: I have used the internet with children to find the answer to a question that I did not know. Although it is all well and good children recognising that the internet can be used to research information, it is also important that children do not become reliant on the internet for answers. Caldwell and Honeyford state the following: “As teachers, we need to help children to see that there is more to Internet research than ‘cutting and pasting’ from Wikipedia into a Word document”; which I think is another important statement to consider; children need to be aware that although the internet is brilliant for finding and sharing information, there are also many other brilliant things the internet can be used for.

Communication:
Glueck (2013) states that “Technology is an essential part of our lives today and few can imagine living without”, one of the main uses of technology is communication. Most people have mobile phones, and laptops and iPads that they use to communicate with others on a daily basis. Caldwell and Honeyford (2014) state that technology can support those children with communication, speech and language needs; children can express themselves through technology in ways they might not be able to through speech. This module has opened my eyes to the ways in which technology can help children with learning difficulties; there are so many apps and programmes available for children to use to help develop their basic skills; including motor skills and fine motor skills. There are also apps and programmes which are adapted for those with SEN, for example: adapted apps that can be used with switches, and eye vision. And there are also many apps and programmes available for those children who are EAL, these programmes can support children in learning English, but also support children learning in their own language to ensure their development is not hindered by a language barrier.

Communication between home and school can also be improved through using technology. Parents can have access to a class blog, and can see their child’s work and contributions on the blog. Email is a popular method of communication between home and school, particularly for parents who work long hours and are unable to meet teachers before and after school. There are also other ways that parents and school have can a keep in contact, for example: Parent Mail.  On a previous placement, the teachers had an internet site where they could text parents at the end of the day about positive things their child had done in class that day.  Communication amongst teaching staff, and also the communication between teaching staff and other services is supported by the communication through email and other communication sources. Communication is key across the education system.

My time at University:
My three years in ICT/Computing at University have taught me so much! I came to University with quite a skeptical view of Computing; I believed that too much emphasis was being placed on technology, rather than on children playing and exploring (Morgan and Siraj-Blatchford), I thought that children were being damaged by some of the media that is available, e.g. some of the violent video games that young children are exposed too. I also believed that Computing was an discrete lesson, and did not involve any cross curricular links. However, I now realise how wrong I was about Computing and technology. Over my three years at University, I have realised how important Computing is, and how important technology is to children’s development. I still believe that the video games available for children from a young age are poisoning children’s minds, however, there is so much more to technology than just video games. I have learned so many different ways in which I can use technology to teach across the curriculum, and I have learned that technology is more than just a child sitting in front of a computer; there is such a broad range of resources available, and I hope that I am lucky enough in the future to have a school with a bank full of computing based resources.

My future Career:
To conclude, I believe that computing is an extremely important curriculum subject, and in my opinion, all children should have vision missionfrequent access to technology. I believe that computing and technology should be used to enhance children’s learning, and not to replace previous methods of teaching that have always been used. I believe that there are significant benefits for children, parents, and teachers who use technology. I also believe that the curriculum can be extended, communication can be improved, and technology can help the curriculum become more inclusive; which is something that all teachers should be striving for.
In the future, I hope that I am able to deliver a curriculum with an even balance between technology based learning and non-technology based learning. I hope I am able to use computing across the curriculum, and incorporate different aspects of the computing curriculum into other subjects to ensure a strong understanding of the subject. I will strive to ensure that children have frequent access to technology, in a hope that children will develop a strong digital literacy.  I will ensure to follow school procedures on internet safety, to be sure that the children I teach remain safe while using the internet. I am also hoping to continue blogging in my future career, and I am excited at the prospect of having my own class blog to share.

References:

  • Beckly, P. (2013). Early Years Foundation Stage; changes, challenges and reflections. Berkshire: Open University Press.
  • Caldwell, H and Honeyford, G in, Smith, P. Dawes, L (2014). Subject Teaching in the Primary Curriculum. London: SAGE Publications Ltd
  • Lee, J., Eke, R. (2009) Using talk effectively in the primary classroom. Oxon: Routledge.
  • O’Hara, M (2004). Teaching 3-8, 2nd Edition. London: Continuum.

 



1 Comment so far

  1.    Tina Brayford on November 7, 2014 1:11 pm      Reply

    I enjoyed reading this, thank you for sharing. Good luck with your career in teaching.

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