Session 2: Mobile Devices

Session two was all about discovering new apps and how we could use then in a school setting. As a class we had briefly discussed a few of the app that the group were familiar with already. Naz and I wanted to explore a web tool that we hadn’t used before so we decided to take a look at “Story Jumper.” This tool is free to use online but does require you to register first. We had decided to continue with our theme from the previous session of “Rudy the Rabbit” but add a different dimension to it. Below is the story we had created:

Book titled 'Rudy's New Shoes'

Story Jumper is a great tool to use with children as it allows them to be creative and to use their imagination. Children will also have an end product which they can share with others and the practitioner can also use this to assess the children against.

Further Reading:

ICT in Schools?

It can be said that ICT isn’t used as much as it should be in primary schools, some indications as to why may be because the teachers themselves do not feel confident to use the equipment. Preston and Baker (2013) conducted interviews with primary and secondary teacher who were openly reluctant to use ICT, in particular, computing. It was brought to light that many of the teachers had similar concerns, which are:

  • poor quality of equipment and internet support;
  • lack of support when new systems are adopted;
  • lack of demonstrable pedagogical benefit;
  • the lack of availability of time to experiment with new ICT tools;
  • the sense that computers were not important for the very academic      student.

There is a big push on ICT in schools in particular, computing and coding. Nevertheless, technology should be being seen as an integral part of teaching and learning although, Noeline Wright, a New Zealand ICT specialist, states that in the UK, ICT has almost become ‘a political football’ (Wright 2013).

It is important to highlight that one of the key government priorities in education is children’s attainment in literacy and early reading. In a recent Specialism lecture we had been discussing the ‘quality’ of teaching and how this can be measured. If a practitioner is not confident with the ever changing world technology the quality of their teaching may not match that of a subject which they are confident in. furthermore teachers will limit their teaching strategies by avoiding using the latest technology in the classroom. Statistics show that 15% of children leave primary school in England without reaching the expected literacy level for their age, as a result out of twenty four counties, England was placed at number twenty two for literacy behind South Korea (National Literacy Trust, 2014).

This is not to say that using ICT is the saviour of England’s falling literacy attainment but an aspect which needs to be explored as it is suggested to have many benefits for children, in particular those who may be falling behind in reading and children who have learning difficulties. Preston and Baker (2014) state that

“Using digital technologies and in particular touch screens, ensures that children without good reading and writing skills are able to interact effectively with multimodal text on the computer.”

Touch screen allows children to physically “drag and drop” as a pose to “typing words.” Some of the apps which I’ll be discussing in my future posts, allow children to record their voices so that they can still story tell without writing the words. In a recent government publication, Michael Gove emphasises the importance of identifying children who are falling behind at an early stage, although he is primarily discussing the phonics screening test, this is still relevant as early interventions can be put in place to support those children through using touchscreens in literacy (DfE, 2010).

Reflection:

This session gave me the opportunity to further enhance my knowledge in digital storytelling through exploring a variety of apps and web tools. through my further reading I have also built on my knowledge of the new National Curriculum for “Computing” which I feel is and essential part of my practice.

Reference:

Preston, C. and Scott Baker, M. Do young children need access to computers as much as they need to play with sand and water? In: Burden, K. Leask, M. & Younie, S. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching and Learning Using ICT in the Primary School. Taylor & Francis.

Wright, N. (2013) ICT or Computing in the UK? from a New Zealand Perspective http://www.mirandanet.ac.uk/researchexchange/articles/ict-curriculum-mirandas-views/3903-2/

National Literacy Trust (2014) Michael Gove says Tories will aim to wipe out illiteracy within a generation. National Literacy Trust [online]. Available from: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/news/6061_michael_gove_says_tories_will_aim_to_wipe_out_illiteracy_within_a_generation [Accessed 9th October 2014].

Department for Education (DfE) (2010) All children to be given a phonics-based progress check in year 1 so teachers can identify those in need of extra support. DfE [online]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reading-at-an-early-age-the-key-to-success [accessed 9th October 2014].

 

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