Mission Statement (Schools and the wider society)

Howdy,

Technology is rapidly developing, and it’s important that in teaching our next generation they are equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace. So where does ICT fit into this? And where does it need to go? I thought I would start by looking at what people say about the benefits ICT brings. I will then move on to review how ICT could be affecting written work and our own level of talk, before looking at what perhaps needs to be done moving forward.

Dimitriadi et al (2009) talk about the enrichment that ICT as a subject brings to pupils social skills. The subject allows pupils to learn social skills such as communication, negotiation, decision-making and problem-solving in meaningful contexts which meet the requirements of the DfEE (1999) (the primary ICT curriculum). Sharp et al (2002) say that pupil’s explorations in ICT needs to demonstrate a conceptualised understanding of the way in which technology allows information to be organised, accessed, presented and communicated.

In the foundation stage pupils are involved in exploring and describing themselves and the world to adults and their peers, making communication a key area in a young child’s development. Dimitriadi et al (2009) say that “The opportunities for ICT are embedded within all six Early Learning Goals and can take the form of playful activities in which a range of resources can be used: from metal detectors to programmable toys and digital cameras.” (p148 L24-26)

 

However, is there an argument that ICT is detrimental to talk and written work? With children now brought up with twitter, facebook and text messages does this impact on their school work?  Clinton and Steyer (2012) explain that the impact of heavy media and technology use on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development is in the early stage of research, but the emergent results are suggested to be serious. They say that the Internet could be changing how the brain works. Too much hypertext and multimedia content has been linked in some kids to limited attention span, lower comprehension, poor focus, greater risk for depression and diminished long-term memory. However, Sherman (2010) argues that ICT is simply just a new language and rubbishes any suggestion that it impacts on any aspect of talk or writing in the classroom, expressing that this new language should be embraced by teachers and used in a positive manner to enhance aspects of a pupil talk and writing, such as reducing waffle.

For this new language to be embraced, it will be necessary for a number of teachers to go on a course to grasp an understanding of it. The problem is, it’s ever changing and whilst for some things there is a common census, for others there are not and this is likely to cause a lot of confusion.

In my second post on this blog, I spoke about the dangers to wider society that are posed by the ICT, and in particular the internet and this is where I feel the real mission is. Particular dangers surround how safe a child is online, which was demonstrated by the programme ‘This Morning’. The following two video’s highlight in different ways the problem the internet can cause to children in our wider society.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VNhhY-rjYDI

Some astonishing and scary facts contained in that video. I particularly want to point out the fact that said that 90% of children between the ages of 8 and 19 have viewed pornography online. Something needs to be done to protect children from such material, and I would suggest this is something the UN (United Nations) should discuss and be looking to resolve by making access to such sites view-able by payment only. How can schools help in this matter? By raising awareness among parents of the dangers as some are likely to be oblivious of such a fact. It’s ok teaching pupil’s about the internet dangers, but for parents they were given that teaching and so need it so they know how to try and protect their child from the internet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=cV1ZCF4oueQ

This video shows how an innocent girl could get taken in by an online predator, but what is good about it is it shows the other side of the coin by reporting such abuse and how this is done. Both are emotionally for a parent hard hitting video’s, but I think the same would apply for pupil’s and they would get the same shock factor aimed for the parents who are likely to be watching them.

Aside from the problems caused by the internet we also need to ensure that in schools, we teach pupils the basics of computing, rising to advanced levels which could see the inclusion of some gimmick applications however we have to be careful not to go overboard with these as we will lose the fundamentals of day to day work life uses of ICT, such as operating a spread sheet. It really is an eye opener on school placements when you see pupils who can create their own QR codes for example, but are unable to operate a spreadsheet. As good as these gimmicks are, we do need to be careful in not getting carried away from the technology that is really beneficial.

Furthermore, we have to look at the effects on wider society. Some children now play on the xbox every spare minute they have in their day, and surely this cannot be good for them on so many different fronts. The problem is technology makes people lazy and they forget and can’t bothered to do simple tasks such as washing up because it is far easier just to put all the dirty plates in the dish washer and press a button.

I wonder at what point does this go too far? On a teaching front, years ago it may have been said that teachers will always be needed, but what if in twenty to thirty years it can all be done for young children from the comfort of their own home? The need for teacher would reduce. Another profession that could suffer is hairdressing? It will only take someone to come up with robots that could do the job and people will purchase these instead to do their hair, as opposed to visiting a salon. The danger here is that technology could take over many people’s lives. This could in turn lead to high unemployment figures as people would be made redundant because of the technology being developed.

For me, there are a few things ICT need to do for the greater good of the wider community and I believe that some of responsibility in initialising such things lies with the government.

  1. Ensure pupils know the basics of computer programs such as word and excel so that they can apply their skills effectively in a workplace and that parents are fully educated of the dangers of the internet and how to protect their child online
  2. Sites containing pornographic material need to become view-able by payment only
  3. Chatrooms need to be more closely monitored; maybe the setting up a police unit would be beneficial here, to make children safer.
  4.  For children to be aware, and encouraged to get themselves out in the fresh air and be active, as opposed to sitting on for example the xbox. Some of this encouragement could come through the school by teachers creating tasks that require their pupils to go outside to complete.
  5. Ensure that all pupils have access to the same technologies, therefore ensuring a fair education.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

References:

Clinton, C and Steyer, J.P (201) Is the internet hurting our children? [Online] Available from: http://www.cnn.co.uk/2012/05/21/opinion/clinton-steyer-internet-kids/index.html (accessed 29th October 2012)

DfEE (1999) The National Curriculum for ICT. DfEE. London

Dimitriadi, Y., Hodson, P and Ludhra, G (2009) in Jones, D and Hodson, P (2009) Unlocking Speaking and Listening. 2nd ED. Routledge. Oxon

Sharpe, J., Potter, J., Allen, J and Loveless, A (2002) ICT in Teacher Education. Learning Matters. Exeter.

Sherman, A (2010) How social media is affecting the way we speak and write. [Online] available from: http://gigaom.com/2010/04/28/how-social-media-is-affecting-the-way-we-speak-and-write/ (accessed 29th October 2012)

iPads – accessible for all?

Howdy,

I don’t own an iPad, my girlfriend doesn’t own one and neither does my mum, my auntie or my uncle. However, throughout much of our training the use of an iPad has been encouraged to be used to enhance lessons.

My question here though is, how realistic is this?

At Tesco, one of this country’s leading supermarkets the cost to the consumer to purchase an iPad is £399. So I did some mathematics, thinking that an average class has 30 children give or take one or two, so based on 30 children, it would cost £11, 970.00

Assuming that a school has one class per year group, from reception through to year 6, that would be 7 classes each with 30 pupils in. So that would be an astronomical £83, 790.00 and that’s just for every pupil to have an iPad. If that was the case,  the teaching staff would need one two, so assuming a that just the teachers, duputy head, and headteacher had one that would be a further 9, which would cost £3591.00

So to equip a full school, of 7 classes that have 30 pupils in, and 9 teaching staff with iPads it would cost the school a small fortune of £87, 381.00

Now where an earth is a school going to find that kind of money from? Even if the school was to look into purchasing a batch that could be passed from class to class it is looking at nearly £12,000 and that’s without purchasing any for the staff to use.

The simple fact of the matter is that for what they are, and don’t get me wrong they can do some impressive things, the cost to a school based on this is just not financially viable to your normal school. Private schools might be a different story, with fees paid by parents to go such a facility they may choose to put this into financing such products, or it could be possible that children going to these schools have them at their disposal anyway such is the wealth of their parents. I realise that in some cases that might be a generalisation, but by rule of thumb it is not uncommon for the more affluent families to pay for private education for their child, or at least ensure if in state education, they have access to far more than some children whose parents might struggle to get enough money to put meal’s on the table, let alone finance a computer, let alone an iPad

My personal opinion is that in some quarters a certain sense of realisation needs to kick in. I firmly believe that whatever the child, whatever their background they all deserve the same level of education. Now teachers do their best day in, day out to try and deliver this, but I think they need helping out in areas such as the new technologies of the world.  Is it fair for some pupils to experience widely the use of iPads and the great things they can do in supporting learning, whereas others have to rely on creative pieces of invention by their teacher to try and do something of a similar job.

 

It’s easy to say there will always be a class system, and with private schools and now academies it’s possible the divide could become more evident which simply is not fair! On a similar scale, the same argument could be have in regards to private health care and that through the NHS. As an example my brother needed an operation on his knee, and had been to see his gp who had referred him to a physio. Whilst waiting for an appointment to come through, his work through their private health care sorted him some physio, who instructed an mri scan and appointment with a consultant who promptly arranged for the operation. This process took just over three weeks, and he has the operation this week. He has had his appointment through the post for physio with the NHS, but this is not until January by which time he will be well on the road to a full recovery.

 

The problem is money pays for the better things, and without money school’s will not be able to afford iPads even to use across the school and therefore whilst things in their systems are good, more needs to be done somewhere to enable in education for sure, and health care if you like also  to make things fair for everyone, not matter their wealth or background.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

First steps towards an Oscar?

Howdy,

So apparently some of the students in our year fancy themselves as movie stars?

Later in this post I will share some of their best work and my favourite pieces.

With the fast moving advances in technology, there is now app’s that allow people to build up their own pieces of film. These have advanced over time, from the traditional camcorder to know being able to record footage on mobile’s.

You can now take these pieces of footage, cut and crop pieces, dub sound and apply effects to create pieces of film. For pupils in the primary school, it is probably advisable to look at making a basic film before adding further tricks of the trade to it. Three steps I would suggest starting with, are;

  1. Taking numerous pieces of film footage to a particular theme.
  2. Putting the film in sequence adding an introductory screen with writing and a concluding screen with writing
  3. Add some music to it.

We looked at doing exactly this, and took the theme of YMCA. This film shows students around the campus doing some famous moves to this popular party track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lsDtfgvwkvE

Now there are some perhaps obvious flaws to the perfectionist in this movie, but it’s purpose is to show what might be first produced by students in a primary school.  There are various scenes displaying actions, however being critical these scenes could have fitted together better to run concurrent with the words of the song. However, in terms of the three points set out, the success criteria or steps to success across two/three lessons they have been achieved. Once pupils have this basic grounding they can take things forward to produce pieces of work that are more advanced, such as movie trailers.

In producing movie trailers, you would be looking for you students to move from basic introductory screens to one’s with greater special effects. You would probably be looking for students to include more than one information screen that would appear during the footage, breaking pieces up and adding to the effect of the trailer. This piece of work provides a greater link with English. It would be my suggestion to begin this activity by getting the pupils to storyboard idea’s for a potential film having seen examples. This will then give them ideas of the footage they might want to shoot to build up their film trailer.

I said earlier that some students in our year fancied themselves as movie stars, well I have picked out my three favorite Oscar nominations, each of which appeal for differing reasons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fuAM2336kM0

This movie demonstrates how an idea could have put together on a storyboard to create something quite realistic. I like the way tension is built in this one,  and how the story and mystery is delivered.  This trailer makes you wonder what happened when the man entered the room leaving plenty to the imagination for possible story-lines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hwivg6nQlQI

Children love playing with puppets don’t they? this trailer shows some our students as big kids using puppets to develop a trailer for goldilocks and the three bears. A simple well known story, but delivered effectively in this this trailer, again generating tension, and caputring the audiences attention throughout.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DmLdFtixXrU

In this third one I’ve posted, it’s for me the classic and dare i stereotype boy type action trailer that pupils in your class might produce.  The thought of hero’s and villains I think is captured fairly well in this production and is built up to again keep the viewer watching.

There were others I could have chosen to share with you, but I think these three give you a range of idea of ways you could use this application of iMovie with pupils in your classroom.  This activity is progressive, cross-curricular and most importantly fun. So why not add a twist to a literacy unit and take a step at doing something like this, i can guarantee the kids will love it.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

ICT in Physical Education

Howdy,

For physical education purposes, Apple products enable teachers to play music, take photos and make films however this is just the start, as numerous applications enable this technology to go beyond the classroom and extend the learning that takes place by inspiring and engaging them in the lesson. Arthur and Cremin (2010) explain that to use ICT in lessons make them become visually attractive and stimulate pupils who might lack interest. Hall and Leigh (2001) emphasise this further by explaining that if the materials to learn are designed around technologies this should motivate students into wanting to learn and be active within the lesson, taking advantage of the technological opportunities presented.

However Moyles (2007) explains that you should carefully consider how appropriate the use of ICT is in the lesson, stating that it must have a relevant impact on the learning otherwise it serves no purpose other than being a gimmick. This is supported by Pickup and Price (2007) who explain that ICT use in physical education should be used only to bring about learning. Its use should support pupil learning so that the pupil can learn at a quicker rate than otherwise would be possible. However Cockburn and Handscomb (2006) question this saying that the use of ICT opens up the possibility to a wide range of questions and discussion, so therefore however ICT is used, a degree of teaching will always be involved and subsequently learning also. In relation to physical education specifically, Thomas and Stratton (2006) state that when used, ICT has a good effect on the teaching and learning that takes place.

It isn’t just useful for stimulating pupil involvement however, because for teachers it can prove a useful tool by way of assessment. Pickup   and Price (2007) explain that the appeal for the use of ICT as a teaching tool in physical education predominately comes in the use of photography and video footage to assist in aspects of teaching and learning within the evaluate and improve section of a lesson. The basics of photography and video are extended by Apple into application such as screencast which goes beyond just basic photography and enables detailed on screen analysis. Below shows how the screencasts app on the iPad could be used to analyse performance.

 

 

The view of ICT’s usefulness for assessment is extended by Pickup et al (2008) who explain that when assessing pupils in physical education we need to look at an all-round picture, so therefore we need to produce information about a pupils cognitive, social, affective and physical progress. Pickup et al (2008) say that the use of video footage and photographs are good supportive aide’s in providing teachers with this information. Doherty and Brennan (2008) support this viewpoint but go one step further by explaining that integration of ICT alongside teacher observations provides a greater picture of where the pupil and where they have progressed to meaning more confident assessments of pupil levels are made.  By using Apple products, the application enable the teacher to also assess the pupils own understanding and analysis of skill technique.

Snoeyink and Ertmer (2001) however argue that all these arguments for the use of ICT in physical education are all well and good but there lies a bigger problem in that in that teachers lack the required ICT skills to confidently use the equipment in lessons and say that there is a significant need for teachers to be provided with non-contact training time in this area for its use to become most beneficial both to teaching and learning.  It is argued however by Murphy and Greenwood (1998) that in fact the real reason is due to the lack of encouragement for its incorporation in lessons during the training of student teachers. Cuckle and Clarke (2002) say that this is because the pedagogical knowledge of those delivering the training  barriers, which are then as a result reflected in their practice.

However before using ICT in physical education the implications of teaching using ICT must be considered as Stidder and Hayes (2011) explain, it is vitally important that teachers are aware of the many issues that surround the use of moving and still images including parental permission for example. Guidance to support teacher’s in these issues have been published by The Association for Physical Education (2008) who provide particular support in their section on safeguarding children and young people, but also guidance in the use of digital imagery and filming.

Finally it is important to state that there are other companies that produce ICT products other than Apple, but as the focus in our ICT lessons has been on iPads, this is why Apple is referred to throughout this blog.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

References:

AfPE (Association for Physical Education) (2008) Safe Practice in Physical Education and School Sport. Worcester. Coachwise Publications.

Athur, J. and Cremin, T (2010) Learning to teach in the primary school. 2nd ED. Oxon: Routledge

Cuckle, P. & Clarke, S. (2002) Mentoring student-teachers in schools: views, practices and access to ICT. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 18, 3, pp 330–340.

Cockburn, A. and Handscomb, G. (2006) Teaching Children 3 to 11 a student’s guide. 2nd ED. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Doherty, J. and Brennan, P (2008) Physical education and development 3-11 a guide for teachers. 1st ED. Oxon: Routledge

Hall, A. and Leigh, J (2001) ICT in Physical Education. Cambridge: Pearson Publishing

Murphy, C. & Greenwood, L. (1998). Effective integration of information and communication technology in teacher education. Journal of Technology for Teacher Education 9, 3, pp 413–429

Moyles, J (2007) Beginning teaching beginning learning in primary education. 3rd ED. Berkshire. Open university press.

Pickup, I. and Price, L (2007) Teaching physical education in the primary school. 1st ED. London. Continuum International Publishing Group

Pickup, I. and Price, L. and Shaughnessy, J. and Spence, J. and Trace, M (2008) Learning to Teach Primary PE. 1st ED. Exeter: Learning Matters

Snoeyink, R. & Ertmer, P. (2001). Thrust into technology: how veteran teachers respond. Journal of Educational Technology Systems 30, 1, pp 85–111

Stidder, G. and Hayes, S. (2011) The Really Useful Physical Education Book. 1st ED. Oxon: Routledge

Thomas, A. and Stratton, G. (2006) What we are really doing with ICT in physical education: a national audit of equipment, use, teacher attitudes, support, and training. British Journal of Educational Technology 37, 4, pp 617 – 632

National Curriculum

Howdy,

 

The National Curriculum is set for changes under the new coalition government. There are differing views as to what should happen to ICT in the new curriculum.

 

Mitchell (2011) firmly believes that the government should make a statement of intent in regards to ICT when they publish the new curriculum, stating that it is absolutely imperative that ICT is officially made a core subject and given more time on school timetables. The reason for this view is solely economic however, stating that if the government fail to make this move, then the UK will no longer be competitive in the world market.

Sir Jim Rose wrote and published in April 2009 a report into primary education and the steps required to improve education.  Crucially from the perspective of ICT, Rose recognised its growing importance and the need for the subject to have a more fundamental role in the curriculum. In fact, this is so much the case that Rose goes as far as stating that ICT should replace Science as a core subject.  Christine Blower (2009), the acting general secretary for the National union of teachers however critics this from the point of view that in making such a move where would this leave science.  The curriculum currently includes compulsory tests, one of which is for science and Blower (2009) questions whether this would be scrapped if ICT replaces Science as a core subject and the implications on education that could have.

There are those however who believe that ICT should be simply scrapped and that in doing so, the standards of education in children will be raised. Industry group Intellect say that ICT classes are uninspiring and leave children unprepared for a life of work.  From my own experience at school, I have to admit that I have learnt far more in regards to ICT since I began working, than that achieved whilst in education. Having said this, ICT at the time was still evolving as a subject and with the advances in technology currently being seen it could be argued that children are becoming increasingly more likely to take an interest in ICT, than they were ten years ago.

It would appear from some reported items, that Michael Gove in January will report that the number hours allocated to ICT will be reduced, rather than the subject scrapped completely.  Denise Cole, a director for LapSafe Products feels however that the problem is in the teaching of the subject, rather than the subject itself. She says of their own research;

“We know from communicating with schools on a daily basis that, understandably, not every teacher has the required skills to teach ICT to the level of detail that students require. That is why schools employ dedicated ICT teachers. Without separate ICT lessons, pupils may simply use the computer programs that their teacher is most familiar with and learning may be restricted.”

So should ICT be scrapped? Should ICT replace Science? Is ICT uninspiring? Or is the real problem in the subject the way it is being taught because teachers are restricted in their own knowledge and therefore as a consequence restrict that knowledge obtained by their pupils.  I would argue that it is the knowledge in teacher regarding ICT rather than any other problem in the subject. Something the government could introduce for teacher training days would be ICT courses for teachers in schools, to give then more knowledge and confidence and raise the standards and quality of the lessons delivered.

A draft proposal for ICT has been issued, a copy of which can be found below.

Draft-ICT-POS-22Oct12-1lbivvw

It’s fairly short, but to the point really and seems to enable schools quite a bit of freedom in how they teach the tree strands.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

QR Codes

Howdy,

QR Codes, so what are they all about then? Well apparently it is this box like thing with loads of dotes in that are collated into different formations. Apparently you can scan these codes using your iPhone, or iPad and get information that is stored in the code.

Now what’s the use in that I hear you scream?

Exactly my thought’s so I thought I better look into things a bit further and see whether these are actually useful or just another gimmick? And if useful, who for? Primary school children?

QR codes were originally used to track auto parts, but have become commercially popular, particularly in Japan. The difference between a barcode and QR code is that a barcode encodes data in only the horizontal plane (as scanners read the width and distance between the vertical lines), QR codes encode data both horizontally and vertically in a grid of tiny squares. This allows for much more data to be encoded in a smaller space. Barcodes, then, though ubiquitous, are good for little more than identifying products and objects. Specially programmed scanners can read barcodes, and match them to product names, prices and inventory, but that’s about it. QR codes, on the other hand, can actually embed that information in the code itself, and, when read with the proper software, can trigger actions like launching a website or downloading a file. Additionally, QR codes can be read from any angle, while barcodes must be aligned properly.

QR codes are tailor-made for linking quickly and easily to content on smartphones. Simple uses include magazine advertisements that link to websites. Putting the codes to more complex use, start-up Pingtag uses them as a sort of digital business card for sharing LinkedIn accounts and contact info, and the municipality of Bordeaux, France  has posted them all over the city in order to track parking meters, provide links to information from the World Heritage Foundation and guide visitors to nearby shops or parking locations via Google Maps. In turn, Google has been using QR codes to promote local businesses (and itself) with the Google Places business directory, which includes reviews, contact info, and, if the business so wishes, coupons.

There are a number of apps in the iPhone App Store that can read QR Codes, including the free QRReader. Most Android phones and Blackberries are able to read the codes right out of the box, as can newer Nokia handsets. Windows Mobile users can download QuickMarks.
It is possible that in a society were mobile use is increasing that GR codes could become used on a wider scale, but whilst I can see why a business might want to use GR codes, I do struggle to believe that in a primary school children need to learn about these, and if taught would be far more appropriate for the secondary setting. There are things you could do with primary school children, such as create their own code but for me, I can’t see how learning about these in primary ICT is needed as at this stage in there learning it in my opinion is quite simply just a gimmick.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

Goal Line Technology – The Debate

Howdy,

Every year there seems to be the same debate in football in regards to goal-line technology. Many incidents that occur are difficult for officials to confidently confirm whether or not the ball has cross the line. The game moves at such a fast pace now, particularly in England and this is a further problem when the officials have to make a decision. So should football follow other sports and introduce goal-line technology or would it spoil the game?

This picture shows the ball clearly over the line, but the goal was not given.  Such a decision can effect league points, league status, trophies and finances.

Technology is already used largely to good effect in a number of sports. Specific computer technologies have been devised to use in tennis. This simply shows whether the ball was inside the tramlines, or outside. Tennis players hit the ball so hard now that it had become increasingly difficult even for the most eagle eyed line umpire to in some cases call the ball either way. Tennis still has these officials who continue to call whether the ball landed in or out of the tramlines, however should a player feel that the call was wrong they are able to challenge the call, when computer technologies are then used to show accurately whether the ball pitched inside or out of the tramlines. Stopping the game to review this hasn’t detracted the entertainment value of the sport, but in some cases has increased it.

Cricket is another sport who has took advantage of technologies available to them. In a similar fashion to tennis the umpires still remain in charge of officiating the match, however the team captain of the fielding side can ask for upto two reviews an innings in regards to umpire decisions. The same applies to the batting team, with the on field batsman also allowed two reviews. In most cases teams make use of this technology in regards to LBW decisions, as these can be difficult to judge for the umpire because he has to decide whether the ball pitched in line with wickets and if so will the ball go on to hit the wickets.

 

The governing body in football appear reluctant to introduce should technology into football, and are instead in their European competitions using more officials to help determine whether in these instances the ball has cross the line. The extra officials stand behind the goal line, with one at each end.  Blatter, the FIFA president argues that sufficient technology cannot be found to have such a thing introduced to the game, however has conceded that if such technology can be found then he would consider trialling it at the 2014 World cup. My view is quite simple. There have always been these types of incident and they create talking points and debates that continue for weeks and months amongst fans. The problem is that financially the stakes are now so high that such mistakes by officials are costly. Personally I would not like to see goal-line technology introduced, I enjoy the debate of decisions and like the fact that the grassroots game is played the same as the professional one. However I do concede that because of the finances now involved in football, and the financial implication such decision can have on a team that such technology will be introduced at some point.

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

From Tizzy to Scratch

Howdy,

Tizzy’s first tools is a piece of early years software. It offers seven applications. These being; 1. Write (word processor) 2. Paint (painting application) 3. Publish (desktop publishing application) 4. Move (turtle application) 5. Chart (graph application) 6. Decide (branching database) 7. Present (presentation application). These individual applications enable early years learners to use ICT at a very basic level before developing this further. We then looked specifically at turtles and commands to make them move. This leads to progressing children into the use of logo.

Tizzy’s first tools demonstrating a good level of differentiation which would enable teachers to use this in classes with varying abilities.

Logo is a piece of software designed by Papperet. It is a basic level computer programing piece of software, and logo is simply the language used to control the turtle on screen. This software shows the progression from bee-bot to specifically typed commands. This software is a demonstration of how on a different scale the operation of traffic lights for example work.

Using this software is good for progression from using the early years bee-bot through to constructing commands to create shapes and images. By using this software, I believe pupils will be able to develop an understanding of how things in everyday life operate using commands having used this software.

 

Learning then progresses forward to Scratch, and personally having looked at the software my personal view is that it becomes appropriate at upper key stage two (year 5 and 6). On the same basis as Tizzy and Logo it is a command system, however this one is more advanced.

The idea in basic form is moving the cat better known as ‘Scratch’ around the screen. However with the various options available, you can create several scripts to create a game. This doesn’t happen overnight however, and in my opinion whilst software could provide your pupils with the opportunity to be very creative and create games of their own it isn’t the easiest to use. With this in mind, particular guidance would be needed.

Pupil’s can learn to make their own animations, video games, art, and music videos with Scratch’s visual block-based form of computer programming. It may seem easy to stack blocks using commands such as “move 10 steps” or “turn 15 degrees,” but pupils can quickly learn valuable programming concepts like loops and conditionals, as well as bottom-up problem solving. Collaboration is encouraged, and fellow pupils can give helpful comments on each other’s projects.

At the side here, you can see an example of how in the basic form you can join together commands such as those discussed in the previous paragraph which will lead to your Scratch making a picture. In more complicated form, pupils could be encouraged to design a greeting card for example however I would suggest that there are easier ways to create, an animated greeting card than to use a program like Scratch. However, most greeting card software doesn’t attempt to teach programming like Scratch does. With building blocks divided into intuitive categories such as “motion” and “sound,” older pupils are likely to be able to quickly put together creations in which characters sing, dance, and talk.

 

Scratch is probably easier to pick up than eToys, a similar visual programming app for kids. Where Scratch stumbles is in explaining variables, random numbers, and other mathematical concepts. Unless kids have already learned these in school, they’ll need help in understanding and using them in Scratch. One other nit: Too many of the Scratch creations featured on the site load very slowly or not at all.

 

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

 

The internet society

Howdy,

I’ve been sat here today working, whilst my girlfriends mum has been watching the usual daytime TV and there has been a couple of issue’s that have really got me thinking about the internet society.In this post I will revisit a story on the Jeremy Kyle show and a story on This Morning. Both case studies highlight cyber issue’s and I will look to extend on a particular issue of cyber bullying  via facebook.  I warn now that this post may be upsetting for some to read as it contains sensitive subjects.

   During the show earlier today, there was a lengthy story centered around a group of young women, who were no older than 21. It was alleged that the group of young women had trashed the grave of a friends baby that she had miscarried.  As you can probably imagine, a difficult story to get your head around, let alone watch.

The friends denied trashing the grave, and had said they were willing to take a lie detector test to prove their innocence. What does all this have to do with ICT I bet your all thinking?  Well as in any story, there is always two sides and the same applies in this one. The friends who were alleged to trash the grave claimed that the other young girl who had miscarried had sent message’s via Facebook of a vile nature.  What vile nature i hear you ask? Vile by way of sending images of dead babies and fetus’s. In this girl’s defence she claimed that the Facebook account was fake, and it was not her profile and therefore not her that had sent message’s of such nature. The girls claim of a fake Facebook account and therefore none sending of the message was supported by her cousin and cousin’s mum.  Let’s just think about this for second or two. How easy is it to set up a fake Facebook account? I thought i would test this out, to find out how easy it could be to set up an account. I do already have a Facebook account, and for the purpose of investigation i will enter exactly the same details as already on my Facebook account.  Having put in the same information, I was challenged that my email address was the same as an account that had already been used, however I was asked that if this is incorrect i could claim the email address, alternatively I could enter a different email address. So it would be possible to set-up a fake account, if I so wished, and dependent on how often i went onto Facebook  I could takeover  someone else’s account without them knowing. Of-course there are difficulties in preventing this,  but particularly by way of taking over an account I think it is fair to say their there is more that could be done to prevent this. In addition to this the girl also claimed that the police had investigated and found that the message had been sent from a different IP address to the one she uses to operate Facebook.  Now an  IP address is basically a number that identifies a device connected to the internet (for more information on this click the link).  So for the point of a balanced argument, just because it’s a different IP address, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a different person.

After the usual arguing, threats and fact gathering it was time to discover the all important lie detector results. The lie detector showed that the group of young girls failed to tell the truth, they had trashed the grave. However the lie detector results also showed that the apparent victim in all this wasn’t quite so innocent after all, as the lie detector results demonstrated that in fact the Facebook account was not fake, and that the vile messages had been sent by the girl herself.  Now this is an horrendous story, and nobody can even begin to say otherwise but would this have happened thirty years ago with no social networking? The chances are that it wouldn’t have. Don’t get me wrong there would be ways around it but it would have taken a lot more effort and incurred expense.  What the group of young girls did was wrong, very wrong but they were provoked via social networking, our internet society causing problems in our wider society example one.

Daytime TV again, and this week on This Morning is crime week.  Today Ruth and Eamon Holmes were joined in the studio by former detective Mark Williams-Thomas and ex undercover agent Jon Taylor. They looked at catching online predators. A profile of a 13 year-old girl was set up at the start of the show on an online chatroom. The maximum number of people they could possibly chat to in this room was 35, and shockingly within minutes 35 men had begun talking to this supposed 13 year old girl. Many of these men were sexually explicit in their chat within minutes of talking to what they thought was a 13 year old girl. One given example showed that one predator even gave out personal information and offered to meet the girl today. This predator was willing to drive a round trip total of over 225 miles just to meet the girl having already made sexual references in the earlier part of the conversation. The problem with many chatrooms is the lack of parental supervision and for online predators this is the perfect environment to groom vulnerable children. This example is of a 13 year old girl, but its important to remember that boys are victims of online predators also.  For advice from the experts on how to catch these predators, please visit the following link (crime week: how to catch a paedophile).  The  internet society causing problems in our wider society example two.

 

So far  I have demonstrated two examples of how the internet society causes problems in the wider society. Thirdly and finally, I am going to look at Facebook.  Now as already pointed out earlier in this post, I am a user of this social network site and there are positives about this site and it’s effect on the wider society. The site enables people to stay in touch with friends, particularly those who live a distance away from yourself. A further benefit is the re-connection of past friendships which is particularly evident for older people who find themselves getting back in touch with old friends they went to school with, 10, 20, 30 years ago. However, that might be two positives but I want to look at the issue of cyber bullying via this site. Bullying happens in schools unfortunately but years ago a person could be protected from the bully inside their home environment. This is no longer the case, and the site might argue that it is the persons responsibility to accept their true friends request and requests from only those they know, but in reality this doesn’t happen. In some cases people may have only spoke to a person once and they are then friends on Facebook, and I know of people who are friends with people they have never even spoke to. People need to more aware of the dangers of the internet and what  innocent comments can lead to. For example a person can stick up for a friend, and then be found wrong fro doing so which during the course of a night could spiral out of control and end up coming into a school or work environment with things occurring that leads to person feeling threatened and not safe in their environment or work or learning. This isn’t on surely, but as the world becomes more accustomed to the world wide web i fear that the internet society is going to generate further problems in the wider society. The warning signs are there, and in this I have pointed out just three but there are thousands more. With cuts in policing, how long is it going to be before someone wakes up to the problems the world wide web is causing in our wider society and changes in the law are implicated to further safeguard the innocent internet users.

Hopefully this has provided a useful insight of the dangers the internet society is causing to the wider society. Please feel free to add your comments on this issue.

 

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy

Welcome to Coombesy’s ICT blog

Howdy,

Welcome to my blog. On here over the coming week’s you will discover news about the trails and tribulations of ICT in my third year at Northampton University.  The news on here should be a helpful support aide, which is opinion based on ICT programme’s/equipment or applications that could be used by primary school teachers to support the learning of their pupils.

This page has been personalised with a picture of a local football team that I am the assistant manager for, Oldswinford South under 14’s who play in the third division of the Stoubridge and District league.  From an ICT perspective, the team has a Facebook group and a club website which I am co-responsible for keeping up to date with fixture news, and team statistics. We also have an official photographer who takes snaps of the action which are then passed onto myself to upload to the website.  The season so far has been OK,  we started slowly but we have brought in a lot of new players and it does take time to get used to each other and the idea’s/philosophy of the management but each week a gradual improvement has been seen and with the team last weekend registering their first win of the season this will hopefully provide them with confidence to take forward into future games. Four points from four games leaves us fifth from bottom, but with 3/4 games in hand, hopefully we can fire up the league. This coming weekend the team face a tough cup tie against a first division side, but I have every confidence that they can cause an upset.

Anyway, enough about the football, hopefully you now have an idea on the reason for the theme and also what you will find on this blog.

 

TTFN, tar tar for now

Coombesy