ICT Lesson – Linking my degree into teaching

Firstly, for this title to make any sense it might be worth me throwing some information out there.  I am officially a Historian by discipline.  When writing it, it does seem far more serious and boring than I could ever want to be which is why my enthusiasm, fun and energy is flowing throughout my teaching.  For three years I got to read lots of books about various parts of history ranging from the French Capetian dynasty, to the civil rights battles fought by JFK.  I do enjoy history and I love the discussion and opinions which come so naturally with the subject and the benefits the subject holds for the everyday classroom.  History provided me with a wide range of transferable skills which were not only developed throughout my degree, but firstly learnt at primary school.

I believe history plays a key role in developing children’s analytical, chronological and understanding skills which are transferable to all areas of the national curriculum.  I think there should be a big emphasis upon the subject due to the benefits it holds for so many subjects.  This could be due to a bias of opinion as a history graduate, or an educated opinion based upon its positives.

I do believe that in the current technological age we find ourselves, the age of the history book and previous research methods are slowly disappearing.  During the writing of my final thesis, the main resource I used was my computer.  It would be safe to say that without the use of my laptop my thesis would not exist and this is due to the research and recording that was done on it.  My thesis was “Why did John F. Kennedy introduce the Civil Rights Bill of 1963?”  The research I did for this was primarily from American articles and journals which had it not been for the internet, would not have been accessible to me.

This therefore highlights to me how important ICT is within history in terms of both research and data collection.  For my ICT lesson therefore, I combined my love of history with ICT and created a research lesson which allowed the children to complete a mini profile project.  The aim of the lesson was to work in pairs and research about a specific historical figure which was given to that pair and fill out a personal profile worksheet.  Each pair was given a different historical figure and the pairs were of mixed ability.  I found that the lesson worked very well as the children enjoyed researching about their figure and then reflecting upon this back to the rest of their peers.  The task saw them searching through information to gain the correct information that they needed to complete the worksheet.  I had within the resources accumulated a website for each historical figure which had both all of the information on needed, and that was also appropriate and safe for the children.

The lesson was a complete success with the children working together successfully to complete the task.  I feel that my knowledge of history allowed the lesson to benefit as I could answer questions the children had, I could also explain to them the importance of research and allow them to share my enthusiasm for the subject.

ICT within my first placement.

Upon arriving at the school that would be my place of hiding for the next 20 days I noticed that ICT within the school was something of great importance.  On my first day I was given an introductory tour of the school and noticed that each classroom had a ‘modern’ computer, and not one of the ‘retro’ RM computers I have seen in other schools.  I also saw that every classroom had a Smartboard™ which made me very happy as I had, (as mentioned in previous blogs), just learnt how to use one.  The final stop on my tour in regards to ICT was the ICT suite.  This was a whole room dedicated to the education of ICT, there were 28 computers with broadband internet access and many different computer applications.

I was very impressed with the technology within the school, and after speaking with the head teacher, it was something they had built as a school and still striving to build upon.  I also noticed that within the school, a lot of lessons used the support of ICT.  Whether this was in the form of a powerpoint presentation, or as an interactive game as a lesson starter.  The frequent use of ICT is something I classed as a positive; however something I do firmly believe in is the need to know the limits of ICT.  As a teacher it can be very easy to fall into the simple powerpoint presentation trap, something which I think if used too often can see the software become ineffective as a teaching tool.

Another use of ICT which I found as an excellent way to engage learning was through the use of ‘mathletics’.  This was used as a 45 minute starter at the beginning of every Thursday’s 2 hour slot.  The website incorporates games into learning by allowing the children to play games if they answer questions correctly.  The questions are set by the teacher so they are topical and cover the relevant information.  Another school wide use of ICT was called ‘Zondle’, this was the online hub in which homework can be set and accessed at home.  It was used throughout my placement and was effective at engaging the children in homework.