Emily Bailey's Blog


Duffy (2006, 7) notes ‘when pupils learn about ICT and when they learn with ICT they are being equipped to participate in a constantly developing world’. This quote illustrates and reflects how crucial ICT is in children’s education, starting in the Early Years.  Technology is part of all of our lives, with no sphere untouched by it, this is why it’s so important that it be part of children’s education (Berry, 2013 and Voogt and Pelgrum, 2005). This is supported by Glueck (2012) when she describes technology as ‘an essential part of our lives today, few can imagine living without.’

With the revised National Curriculum came the reforming of ICT;  this learning now comes under Computing; the core focus being computer science where children ‘are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming’ (DfE,2013). The change has involved some re-learning on teachers part and teachers must ensure children are versatile and adaptable to these changes too. As Alfin Toffler notes  ‘the illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn’ (Hennessey, 2002).  Within schools teachers should be teaching children to become digitally literate; solve problems, communicate, find information and stay safe in their computing experience.

Jisc (2014) defines digital literacy as ‘the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society.’ Computing ensures pupils develop this digital literacy (DfE, 2013). Teachers today are preparing children for jobs that do not yet exist, as technology is continually transforming and becoming part of our everyday lives you can suggest digital literacy is a vital subject to teach children. This is supported by Surman‘s (2013)  belief that digital literacy is as important as reading and writing and this fourth strand of literacy should be considered mainstream. I believe it is truly important to embed technology into teaching and learning, my classroom will value computing whether it is online or offline.Due to the wide variety of resources available and their adaptability it makes it easy to link it throughout all of the children’s different strands of learning (Ivy, 2011), I will ensure to give children time and the opportunities to explore and investigate different resources as well as integrating them into my teaching. A good example of creating these links is Bridgecraft STEAM week, as explored in my previous post and the cross-curricular post, exploring many different apps that are available. I don’t think it’s necessary for school’s to spend thousands of pounds on hundreds of the available resources but I do believe it’s necessary to provide a wide range of quality computing resources for children to enable them to develop this digital literacy (Ivy, 2011).

These different resources allow children to find information out, teacher’s are no longer the main source of knowledge (Caldwell, 2014). This is why it’s important to introduce children to different tools for finding information out. A good tool is the Infant Encyclopedia , this site will only bring up appropriate sources so it helps in keeping children’s searching safe. Information can also be obtained through other resources, for example if a child wants to find out where something is they can look on googlemaps,  streetview or if it’s within one of the available cities on Recce they can use this. These can be explored either on a laptop, computer, interactive whiteboard or iPad/tablet. Elston (2007) notes that ‘the internet has had a huge impact on teaching, providing access to information and resources. This is supported by Daniel’s view that ‘ICT is an integral part of modern life. It gives us almost instant access to facts, materials and services.’ During my 2b placement with a nursery class I was completing some writing work with a child, when she was unsure of what the sound ‘b’ looked like she took herself to the IWB which had alphablocks displayed and correctly pinpointed the b and was able to write it in her work.

Computing also provides children with opportunities to solve problems. This is introduced formally during KS1 when children are introduced to algorithms and debugging. Children are taught specifically how to correct algorithms, they literally solve problems. Berry (2013) discusses how bebugging codes ‘develops valuable learning skills that are transferable right across the curriculum, such as independence, resilience and persistence.’ In my classroom I would use the site purple mash that has a wide variety of activities and resources, not just related to computing but to key themes and different subjects. Within purple mash there is a section called 2code, the activities available here help to build up children’s confidence and knowledge with coding and debugging. Purple mash only requires the purchase of one log in for it to be used across the school, it’s appropriate across all the key stages and is easily accessible. In terms of offline problem solving, children can create their own algorithms for the teacher or a friend to follow, when they encounter any problems they can work to resolve these as seen in the Programming a teacher to make a jam sandwhich video in my previous post.  Other problem solving activities can involve mathematics problems that can be created on differing apps and websites for the children to solve which can help to consolidate these problem solving skills.

Through computing and technology there are also many ways children can communicate effectively. Through resources such as blogs and community pages sharing information is quickly and easily done and can be easily accessed, for example many schools now use blogging to communicate with parents and inform them of what their children have been learning. For instance my 2a placement did this effectively with parents and other teachers commenting on the posts. Technology can also play a big part in ensuring the classroom is inclusive and allows all children to communicate effectively, for instance Preston and Baker (2014) note that ‘using digital technologies and in particular touch screens, ensure children without good reading and writing skills are able to interact effectively with multimodal text on the computer.’ There are also other technologies available that can aid communication between the teacher and EAL children or parents, during a visit to Parklands Nursery with my specialism group, I was shown a pen and map that when you record what you want to say and click on a country it translates the words, if possible this would be a particularly useful tool to have in the classroom especially in a school with a wide range of languages. Communication through technology in the form of an email service is also often used to aid transition between Key Stages (Hartley, 2014) therefore it’s important that children are familiar with all different types of communication technology.

The safety of children while using technologies should not be overlooked. As Byron (2008) transcribes ‘technology offers extraordinary opportunities for all of society including children and young people. The internet allows for global exploration which can also bring risks, often paralleling the offline world.’ It’s important for children, an in fact everybody, to be aware of the information they’re putting on the internet. During our first year we discovered how easy it is for someone to access pictures and information you have uploaded to social media websites, I don’t post anything personal or controversial, but this is when I decided to set my facebook to the highest possible privacy setting. This is supported by Berry (2013) ‘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.’ Other ways to protect children is through the use of Hector’s World which is free and, through a series of animated clips, teaches children about being safe online. This site was explored in my E-Safety post. There are also a number of children’s books you can explore with your class to further educate them on their e-safety, for example PenguinPig is a nice one for Early Years.


Click for resources linked to PenguinPig.

To conclude, my view on computing and it’s importance is clear, it cannot be underestimated or overlooked. Murphy et al. (2003) effectively sum up ‘it’s necessary for teachers and young children to be knowledgeable about the range of appropriate technology applications. It’s our responsibility as educators to help children understand how to use technology in safe and enriching ways. They need to be taught how to use these stimulating and exciting tools in ways that promote learning and social interaction so that they will become confident and skilled users of technology.’ The sessions over the last three years have provided me with a wealth of resources, ideas and values to bring to my teaching and I feel confident about using technology in my teaching.

Reference List

Berry, M. (2013) Computing in the National Curriculum: A Guide for Primary Teachers. [online] Naace. Available from: http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/CASPrimaryComputing.pdf [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Caldwell, H. (2014) Why teach computing? [online]. Prezi. Available from: http://prezi.com/-x2be-ikl2sc/why-teach-computing/ [Accessed: 31/10/14].

Daniel, L. (2014) ICT in Education is Important! [Online] Naace. Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/1068 [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Department for Education (DfE). (2013) National Curriculum in England: Computing Programmes of Study. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Department for Media, Culture and Sport. (2008) Safer Children in a Digital World. (Bryon, T.) Nottingham: DCSF.

Duffy, J. (2006)Achieving QTS: Extending Knowledge in Practice- Primary ICT. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Elston, C. (2007) Using ICT in the Primary School. London: SAGE.

Glueck, M. (2012) The Role of Technology in Today’s World and the Future. [online] Availabel from: http://www.eoi.es/blogs/marieglueck/2012/06/30/the-role-of-technology-in-today%E2%80%99s-world-and-in-the-future/ [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Hartley, E. (2014) Lecture Notes. [Notes on transition between key stage 1 and key stage 2 in Professional Studies lecture, Friday, 5th October].

Hennessey, J. (2002) Embracing the Need to ‘Learn and ReLearn’. [online] stanfordalumni. Available from:  https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=38371 [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Ivy, R. (2011) New Technologies in the primary classroom. In: Georgeson, J., Moyles, J. and Payler, J. (eds.) Beginning Teaching Beginning Learning: In Early Years and Primary Education. Fourth Edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press. pp. 168-176.

Jisc. (2014) Developing Students Digital Literacy. [online] Available from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/developing-students-digital-literacy [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Murphy, K-L., DePasquale, R. and McNamara, E. (2002) Meaningful Connections: Using technology in primary classrooms. [online] Available from: http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200311/TechInPrimaryClassrooms.pdf [Accessed: 05/11/14].

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.

Surman, M. (2013) Cited in: Gurney-Read,J. (2013) Digital literacy ‘as important as reading and writing’. [online] Telegraph. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10436444/Digital-literacy-as-important-as-reading-and-writing.html [Accessed: 05/11/14].

Voogt, J. and Pelgrum, H. (2005) ICT and Curriculum Change. Journal of Human Technology, 1(2), 157-175

Today was our last EVER ICT session as trainee teachers. The next time we’re involved in an ICT session we will be leading it or will be NQTs on a course. (Scary but so exciting!) It’s quite upsetting that I will never get to enjoy exploring different apps and creating quality resources with the lovely Early Years girls but I think we’re all definitely ready to get out into the real word, as daunting as it is!

We started off by exploring two sites that have been made available to us and that we’ll be able to take away with us when we leave (which is great!). The two sites were Education City and HelpKidzLearn. During the session I looked at HelpKidzLearn which has a focus on Early Years and SEN children.


HelpKidzLearn–> The site allows you to choose access options, for example if children will be using switches or eye control/head control for any children with physical impairments or for young children to build a transition into using the mouse. Suitable for continuous provision or to be set up during free flow as it’s very simple for the children to work out what to do. You can make your own activities from the homepage. Quite limited but good to have set up for independent development. Creative activities that can be printed out and further explored and games to enhance concentration and timing skills. For example I created a snowman which would be appropriate for creating Christmas cards etc., there are many other things to create that would fit appropriately within other themes.

My Snowman. Click to make your own.

My Snowman. Click to make your own.


I also played a game where you had to whack the gophers on the head, similar to the arcade game whack-a-mole. As an adult I still found this game engaging and it maintained my attention for some time. The game adds a sense of friendly competition, whether it’s with yourself or peers, by timing how long it takes you to hit a certain number of gophers. It has options of ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ so children have the option to feel comfortable at the level they’re working at.

Click to have a go

Click to have a go

There is also a stories section that contains songs and activities to accompany them, this section helps children to with counting and learning numbers from 1 to 5. For example the song Five Speckled Frogs is on there, with two different counting up activities. Children would be able to access this independently to consolidate their numbers. This wouldn’t be appropriate for children further up the school as the activities are very simplistic.

Click to access

Click to access

After the session I decided I would have a go at creating my own activity on the site. I thought it would be really confusing but the screen gives you hints as you go along which helped me to understand. You can create activities to support your teaching for any theme with this which shows the versatility of the site. You have options to add sound, text, pictures etc. which is great if children cannot read they can get a prompt from the recordings. When children have played the game it allows you to see how long it was played for, how many questions were answered and the percentage of correct answers. It then shows you a chart with too difficult, keep practicing and well done which can show teachers how well they’ve understood a topic and can be used for formative assessment. I chose to make activity around science; classifying animals. My game is below.

Click to play my activity!

Click to play my activity!

In my own time I decided to explore Education City to see what it had to offer…

Education City–> the site allows you to choose between several subjects including French and Spanish and there’s an option to ‘Learn English’ which can help support any EAL children in the class. Within the English section a there are phonics options which include the programmes letters and sounds, jolly phonics and Read, Write Inc. so these can easily accompany your phonics sessions no matter what programme your school is using. There’s also an option for ‘whiteboard mode’ if you’re display it on the IWB, this can give the teacher confidence the game will actually work on it! I decided to explore the letters and sounds category as this is something I’ve used in placement a lot and I really enjoy, it would be good to see what else is available besides phonics play. I went on Dancing Dinosaurs to practice the letter D.

Click to have a go.

Click to have a go.

Next we delved into assessment and the every growing technology attached to it.

Assessment Tools…

We looked at and explored several different apps and sites used as assessment tools, they create online learning journeys or can be printed off. I have seen an app being used on placement 1b where they took a picture and inserted it into an app that allowed them to have a border, add text and titles which they could then easily print. I can’t remember the name of the app but it’s similar to some of the ones we explored; Evernote, 2profile, tapestry and Three Ring. Many of these are free(!)

Evernote – this isn’t specifically designed for assessment purposes but it works. This allows you to create an online notebook for each child, you can then add photos, videos, recordings and text. It also allows for discussion within the app which makes it appropriate for parents. Below is an explanation of how this works…

When I typed evernote as an assessment tool into youtube it came up with a recording of a teacher using it within a setting, although it looked like she was just on her phone during the session it becomes apparent she’s set up his notebook and is recording their conversation – much easier than scrawling on post-it notes and often losing them. The video is below.

Thinking about our vision statements…

In the last part of the session Helen showed us a group of statements about the value added by ICT taken from Naace (2014). She asked us, in groups, to sort them into what we considered the most important to the least. The statements were…

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

Our group didn’t like the way ‘enable access for minorities’ was worded so we changed it to inclusive access. We then worked together to order the statements, for the most part decisions were unanimous and when there was a differ in opinion we placed the statement in the middle then moved it around when all were down, we annoted around the statements what we thought was relevant to and linked with the statement. We then uploaded a picture of it to the app skitch to choose our 3 most important and further annotate around them. The app allows you to add arrows, text, draw on photographs and record yourself talking about it, which I think would be appropriate to use with children in the classroom, talking about their work which can consolidate their understanding of what they have done.

Our 3 that we considered most important were Increase motivation to learn, increase communication and collaboration and inclusive access.

Increase motivation to learn–> we considered this to be the most important because if children have no motivation to learn the quality of their learning and what they take in will be affected. If children want to learn they’re more likely to understand.

Increase communication and collaboration–> we thought this was really important because communication is crucial in children’s early education. Technology can help teachers to easily communicate with parents, carers, other teachers and the wider community.

Inclusive access–> we found this to be really important because all education should be inclusive, every child has a right to education so it needs to be made accessible to every child.

Our Skitch is below…

This definitely gave me points to think about for my vision statement.

Teaching Standards: TS3 demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge. TS5 adapt and respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils. Ts6 make accurate and productive use of assessment.



Today’s session focused on the use of ICT across the curriculum, it’s important for people to see ICT as a subject that can support learning and not a stand alone subject. A good example of ICT forming a major part of linking the curriculum was ‘Bridgecraft:technology uniting the physical and digital worlds’ the whole school took part completing the Bridgecraft project. Here’s a video of their week:

As you can see ICT is not all about computers it is anything where you can press a button and make something happen.

Helen explained to us all about the different apps and websites that can be used across different subjects. I’ve reviewed and explored some of these…

Google Earth Showcase–> this can be used for children to take different types of special tours including; historical imagery, the ocean, 3d buildings, 3d trees, mars, the sky, the moon, US presidents, climate change, favourite places and liquid galaxy. You can see that these catergories lend themselves to different areas of the curriculum, 3d buildings etc can be linked to mathematics, history can be linked to historical imagery and US presidents, a space topic in science can be benefited from these too. It’s free to download Google Earth so I had a quick look at home.. I toured Paris and Mars!

Google Earth Showcase

Google Earth Showcase

Similarly you can use Street View which is good because you can be in charge of where you’re going and what’s being seen.

Google Maps–> can be used for story telling believe it or not! Bev Evans created the story of The Little Red Riding Hood on Google maps  This, then incorporates Literacy into Geography and ICT by the simple use of one tool. You could also recreate a story from history, for example plotting key points of The Great Fire of London. Another app you can do this on would be scribble mapsThe tool bar to use is easy to use with clear symbols that children could easily understand. It brings together words and story telling.


Recce–> This is another tour app, you can fly over and around a city, zooming into landmarks etc. This could help with a the topic of London. This would be good for children who wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to see these places. You can take screenshots to use in activities later. For example you could create a class brochure or information book with the children creating a page each for different landmarks.

Recce- click to download

Time-Lapse–> This allows you to record for a long period of time and it speeds it up to a watchable amount of time. You can create your own 60-second make over type video! In Science this could be used for germination, the hatching of a chick, life cycles and much more. On iPhones and iPads the camera has a time-lapse so you’re not necessarily required to purchase an app or anything or you can download the hyper lapse app. With this you’re not just limited to science, you can record the children creating something, a walk around the local community and so much more. Below is a video of a chick hatching, it’s lovely to see the changes happening over time.

Talking Tom and Ben–> This is a really versatile app that you can use for talking about anything and everything. The children would most likely enjoy the funny voices and the animals may appeal to them. You can use them to talk through a recipe (D&T), give a news report on a particular event (this could be from History, from around the word-Geography, or part of a story). You can really have a lot of fun with this app. I’ve included a video of the app being used for musical purposes…

My Cross curricular experience…

During placement 2a I used the programme 2publish on Purple Mash to create a non-fiction book about farm animals with my Reception Class. We were going to be visiting a farm that week and they had been exploring what fiction and non-fiction was so I decided to incorporate technology into their learning, as suggested by my mentor who noticed and discovered I enjoyed ICT. I took the children in small groups to the ICT suite within the school, it was difficult to help all the children as they all struggled with their spelling and finding the letters on the keyboard…on reflection I think it may have been beneficial to get the children to write their sentence and take it with them to copy, I could have also done some work on typing and keyboards with them. I overestimated their ICT skills at this young age. In the end, me running around like a crazy person (on a what turned out to be fractured ankle I might add!), was worth it in the end. Below are some pictures of our non-fiction book. Unfortunately I have the photocopied version as the school kept the colour one but you can see how good the colour one would have looked. Below are a couple of the pages.

Front Cover

Front Cover






The blurb

The blurb

To use this further up the Key Stages you can request that their sentence should have at least 1 adjective etc. there are different options on purple mash that allow more room for more text.



QR codes…

In the next part of the session we worked in pairs with a chosen theme and created a QR code page for other people to easily access and use. What are QR codes I hear you ask? I don’t think I could describe any better than this girl…

I worked with Alyson and we chose the theme of the seaside as this is usually a key theme within the Early Years. The first place we went onto was purple mash and communication 4 all. This is where we decided on our theme.  The first activity we thought about was creating a brochure for a particular seaside, this can incorporate Geography, History, Numeracy, Science and Literacy into one activity depending on what content you put in it.

Click the picture to access the programme

Click the picture to access the programme

Next we thought about what story we could link this theme to and work on, we chose the story of The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch. We included a QR code that takes you to an interactive online telling of the story that could be used as a hook or accessed by the children during free flow. The video is below:

From the story we thought the children could create a postcard, letter, story page etc. about a character from the story or change the story etc. Using one of the many activities available in the seaside theme. We also discussed how the children, to incorporate science and D&T, could create their own pulleys and levels to deliver the Lighthouse Keepers Lunch. This could be recorded on a time-lapse app or camera and the children could watch themselves creating their pulleys in a matter of seconds. This would be good for formative assessments too.

Our next idea was the children designing their own beach huts on purple mash. It doesn’t allow you to go out of the lines around the beach hut which I think is good for younger children especially. This can be used as part of a design process for the children making their own beach huts (which incorporate D&T too and Literacy if they do a detailed plan beforehand). Or this could form part of a display on the seaside. My poor example is below…(I ran out of time!!) You can also design your own fish, rock pool and deck chairs within the theme.

Click to create your own

Click to create your own

Finally, I had some fun playing with the deep sea diver purple mash cam. Unfortunately the QR code didn’t save my picture or writing so people using our code sheet won’t be able to enjoy that…With this you can put a picture of yourself as a deep sea diver, add your own text in the speech bubble and record yourself speaking as this character. This would be good to use for History (talking about finding hidden artefacts eg. from the titantic), Literacy (to speak as a character from a book), Geography (to talk about where in world you’re diving), Science (discussing what animals you see and classfying them. It could also be good as a summary of the topic, children talking about what they have learned which you can print out to have in their profiles.

We uploaded our QR code sheets onto the Resource Page for other trainees to access and use if they wish to. I decided to try out the scan.me app at home and was amazed and excited when it took me to the right pages…I should have been surprised it actually worked but I was. I think this would be great to use with children, showing how they made a certain piece of art work when you hover over it (good for parents too), talking about a certain place when you hover over the picture. Below is a screenshot of our QR code pages.



Teaching Standards

TS3 Have good subject and curriculum knowledge, TS4 reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching and promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosityTS5 have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them, TS6 make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’ progress.


Caldwell, H. ‘Manipulating Media’, in Caldwell, H & Bird, J. Teaching with Tablets (In press). Sage, London.

On my personal twitter account I’ve recently started following GuardianTeach and TES in case I see anything relevant to my Research Project this year. I have found a few good articles for it but also discovered some interesting articles and ideas. I was scrolling through my feed today when a post from Guardian Teach titled ‘Inside Steve Jobs Schools: swapping books for iPads’ popped up. As a book lover I felt inclined to give the article a read…

Click here to visit the guardian education website

Click here to visit the guardian education website


What is a ‘Steve Jobs School’? 

These are schools with no workbooks, whiteboard, blackboards or even formal lesson plans(!). The structure of the school is children dropping into 30-minute work shop sessions on various subjects. There are no seating plans and 45% of learning takes place on an iPad-which the children are given when they join.The work shops the children attend are decided by the teachers, parents and children themselves as part of a six week learning plan. They use web-based learning programmes that adapt to the children’s results. Teachers are described as ‘talent coaches’, helping children to achieve specific learning goals.


Where? When?

This began just over a year ago. Seven schools educating 1000 4-12 year olds opened up their doors. These schools are in cities like Amsterdam and there are now 22 of them across the Netherlands.

Does it work?

There has yet to be any formal research carried out, the entrepeneur Maurice De Hond has commented that children are getting more self-assured over the year in his schools. He believes the iPads are helping children to concentrate for longer, particularly for those children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Robin Smorenburg, an apple educator, notes that ipads allows children to see their learning in an alternative way to just seeing exam results. The independent element to this learning doesn’t work for all children, but it allows teachers to give more attention to children who need it. It has been suggested that their involvement in designing their own learning goals increase their engagement within their learning.

Watch Maurice DeHond talking about his schools below:

What do the critics say?

Critics have said that it limits the creativity within learning, they are taking in information rather than embracing their creativity. Others have noted that ‘there’s something inherently wrong with building a school around a brand’, that schools should be independent and not linked to a product. This method can also make it difficult to see a child’s development and progression- you cannot see how they’ve done something. Children often learn a lot from exploring their misconceptions and this method does not adopt this strategy. As ever, the safety issue has been bought in, and rightly so. Children’s work will be online and this needs to be effectively protected and what they see needs to be effectively monitored.

What do I think?

I can definitely see the benefits of using iPads for children’s education. Children are interested in iPads so will be more likely to want to get involved. I have seen the benefit they have for children with behavioural difficulties or SEN, whilst on placement 2a a particularly disruptive child was taken out of the classroom with a TA. He was very interested in iPads, often he wouldn’t converse with you but once I got him talking about iPads there was no end to our conversation! He also responded well to activities on it, willing to take part which was not always the case for other activities. It is good that teachers have more time and are able to focus on children more, which is a constant issue.

However, if children use iPads in their education everyday who’s to say the novelty will not wear off? I love thinking up creative and interactive lessons and I think it would be a shame to lose this to technology. Though I believe iPads and ICT should be thoroughly involved in the curriculum I don’t feel it’s effective to base a whole school education plan on them. It will be interesting to see the results!


What do you think?

I would love to know fellow teachers/trainee teachers/parents opinions on this so please feel free to add words to the answer garden or leave a comment!


What is your opinion of Steve Jobs Schools?… at AnswerGarden.ch.


Marsh, S. (2014) Inside Steve Jobs Schools: swapping books for iPads. [online] Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/oct/07/text-books-school-ipad-steve-jobs-classrooms [Accessed: 31/10/14].

In this session we explored computing and it’s place in the Revised National Curriculum. In Key Stage 1 pupils are expected to:

  • understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • create and debug simple programs
  •  use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
  • use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
  • recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
  •  use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies (DfE, 2013)

Click here to access the programme of study for Key Stage 1 and 2

I will admit, although I feel quite confident with ICT the words algorithms, progamming and debug frightened me…I thought perhaps computing wouldn’t be my thing. Those words, to me, made it sound complicated and boring. However as Helen began to explain all the different resources and activities involving programming I realised that it can be easy and it can be enjoyable.

Before I delve into the different programs I’m going to put some definitions for my tricky computing words.

Bird et al. (2014) note that ‘The terms algorithm and computational thinking are not new and don’t have to represent difficult concepts.’ They consider how technical terminology is understandable to children when used in the correct context, for example children are able to successfully understand and use phonic terminology that their parents do not necessarily understand. This can be suggested as evidence towards children being effectively able to use these words. As teachers we have to understand them in order to explain them…

Algorithm; a process or set of rules that are followed in problem solving operations. I found the video below helped me understand this, this is a good example of computing unplugged- essentially you have to give a set of instructions for the computer to follow.

Programming; the process of writing computer programs. Now even with the definition it still seems scary but in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 this will just be very simple computer programming that you will see below. The apps and step by step programmes make it easier!

Debug; this just means finding any errors in the computer programming and removing or fixing them. Again, this will become clearer and easier within the programmes and apps available- I especially found Purple Mash good for this.

Now for the helpful resources…

Purple mash–> Clicking the 2Code section on Purple Mash there are a wide variety of activities that can be used. At the top there are tutorials that either you as the teacher can use before a lesson or that the children can use (could be more appropriate for older children) then below the activities rank in ease of use. Generally you would probably choose several of these over a number of sessions to build children’s understanding and knowledge of computing. I decided to go on the princess and the frog programme and hope to pick it up quickly. Luckily it was step by step which I liked, it talks you through it and you end up with a long code that you’ve created which I thought would be easier for young children as it’s quite simplified. It then goes on to children debugging the programme- a monkey has done part of the story wrong and the children have to fix the bug. By this point, after the steps the children should feel confident enough to do this. Here’s my computing skills below… (Click the princess to get started!)

The problem with using purple mash for computing is that the children have to be able to read to follow the instructions etc. and I think it’s quite limited in terms of linking it throughout the curriculum. Although, saying that you can easily link this with Literacy for story telling, the children would probably be familiar with this story.

Scratch–>I tried to get onto the app called Scratch Junior on the iPad but, as sometimes is an issue with using technology, it wasn’t working so I just went onto the Scratch website. Unfortunately this one isn’t as appropriate for younger children but it still gave me a feel for the kinds of things you can do on Scratch. It has a handy tutorial that teachers can use to get to grips with it. This was handy for me because I found it very confusing. There are some handy instruction cards that you can print and laminate for children to follow however. Children would need a deep understanding of coding to use this version of Scratch successfully or a step by step instruction, Scratch Junior would be more appropriate for the Early Years because there’s not a lot of text the children have to read. If you were to use this with younger children it would require a lot of scaffolding and you would perhaps give them a ready made programme that they have to add to or change, it would be easier for them to change little bits rather than starting from scratch. Scratch is a very open ended programme, it can be used across the curriculum easily as you have a lot of freedom as to what to do with the characters, what backgrounds to have etc. You’re also able to go onto examples and edit it to your liking so as a teacher you wouldn’t necessarily have to create one for the children to change if you could find an appropriate one.

This is one I particularly like, it can help children’s gross motor skills as they try to keep the pizza dough in the air! Click the picture to visit the game.








Bee-bots (ipad app)–> This is good for algorithms, I found that if you try to do the whole maze in one set of directions it doesn’t work out well! You have to make sure you’re going in the right direction- it can be quite hard to tell when the beebot is changing directions. Also, something I found difficult and I think children would too, is that the up arrow means forward so when you want the beebot to move forwards you press up even if it’s facing downward. When completing the maze in separate sets of directions you must remember to clear it, ensure children know this and keep reminding them. The beebot app can support children’s positional language skills as they use words like forward, backwards, left, right etc. This is good for transition from using a physical bee-bot.

Physical Bee-bot–> Bee-bots can be used across many different subject areas; phonics, mathematics and expressive arts and design. You can attach a pen to the Beebot and try to draw a specific picture or to write letters, in phonics you can have the beebot on a letter mat going over each of the sounds, you could put it on a number line…the possibilities are endless! I particularly like this video of dancing Bee-bots! The use of physical bee-bots can be a good transition from unplugged using people.

On my 2b placement I have seen Bee-bots being used in a Nursery, they were just set out as part of the continuous provision and we provided ramps for the children to go up and down but I wish I had thought more about how else I could have used them because I observed lots of children becoming involved with the Bee-bots.

I’ve saved a really good guide to using bee-bots in the classroom, it gives you lots of great ideas for using bee-bots in the Early Years that are easily linked to different curriculum areas. Click the beebot to visit the guide.

Bee-Bot User Guide

Bee-bot User Guide







Cato’s Hike–> This is a fairly similar app to Bee-bots, it provides an alternative to it. However with this app I found I was only able to do the tutorial as you had to purchase the different levels. I also felt that it might be a bit confusing because there’s more demands, the bee-bots app just have the simple arrows but the thumbnails were quite different. I would probably only introduce this after the children had a firm understanding of using apps like this, something for continuous provision to reinforce their understanding and confidence in computing. This wouldn’t be my first choice because I believe there are other apps that are more user friendly. In the picture below you can see the different icons used in the app.






For the final part of the session we each looked at a different activity on Barefoot computing, the site contains ideas for activities in the classroom and includes assessment ideas and downloadable resources…all for free!

Visit the site yourself

Visit the site yourself

We looked at Bee-Bots Tinkering. You need a log in but registering is free, quick and easy. The activities are very detailed, easily transferred into a comprehensive lesson plan- they give you the recommended age range, time needed, curriculum links, an introduction to what it involves, objectives accessible to children, resources needed, what to consider before starting, whole class introduction, the main task, plenary, points to consider for differentiation, assessment opportunities, teaching notes, notes about the concepts and approaches (in this case tinkering and programming), digital devices, taking it further- other programmes that can be used for future lessons, further reading and related activities within the site (enough to write an extensive lesson plan!) Even if you’re not completely confident with computing the information provided can allow you to go into the lesson feeling confident and secure about teaching it. It even has prompts to direct you as to what sort of questions to ask.

The Bee-Bots Tinkering lesson involved the skills tinkering and programming. The main task of this was to allow the children to tinker with the Bee-bots, the teacher provides the children with word cards that can be downloaded and printed from the site and it suggests a number of open-ended questions.It’s also suggested you discuss as a class what the children already know about the bee-bots. We thought this was quite a good activity because children generally want to tinker away anyway, they will naturally do it so you don’t really have to prompt them to do it too much at this young age.

Teacher’s Standards–> this can support TS3 having a secure knowledge of the relevant subjects and curriculum areas, maintaining pupils’ interest in the subject and address misunderstandings. It can also support TS4 promoting the lovely of learning and pupils’ intellectual curiosity.


Bird, J., Caldwell, H. and Mayne, P. (2014) Lessons in Teaching Primary Computing. Sage, London.

To explore our storytelling more we chose the app Tellegami to interview Batman about his experience saving the day. We took a picture of the Batman figure against a background- we chose a beach theme as Batman likes his identity to be hidden so we thought a secluded scene would be appropriate. At first we found the app quite difficult to use, we were unsure whether you could pause and continue when recording, as it turns out you can’t so it took us several attempts to get it right. Below is our finished product. (I don’t think Hayley would get a job as an enthusiastic reporter somehow and I don’t think I sound too convincing as a modern day hero but it was fun to create!)

I do think this app could be used with young children but I think it would require a lot of supervision- if you set up the ipad and just told them to begin speaking it could work. The finished product would be worth the difficulty, I believe the children would find them being turned into a sort of cartoon character to be very exciting.

As well as an interview tellegami could be used to introduce a story, speak as a character from a story, present real life mathematics problems, speak as a character from history, speak from another town, city, country or planet. it can be used in a PSE activity- a way for children to express their feelings….there are many creative possibilities to be explored.

I found an online article written by Richard Byrne (2013) called ‘A Handful of Ideas for Using Tellegami in School’  some of his were similar to my ideas but there some I hadn’t thought of which shows the adversity of the app:

  • Have your character tell a story.
  • Pick a person in history and have them introduce themselves
  • Use a plant cell as the background and have the avatar name and discuss the function of each part of the cell.
  • Recite a famous poem or speech
  • Read a poem they wrote
  • Take a trip or go back in time and describe where the location/time period
  • Speak in Spanish, French, Mandarin or any language

I really liked this quote from the article which I think sums up the apps positives nicely; ‘Using animation with your students can have a profound effect on how they participate in a project. Their work can be liberated when they have the opportunity to separate themselves from the physical world, removing concerns about appearance and general physics. Students who are usually introverted tend to really shine with animation. It makes them feel safer and more willing to “put their work out there.” To quote one of their emails, “It’s Gamilicious!” ‘

To end this post I will leave you with a video which uses tellegami to convey how important technology is and how it can be used by teachers all across the globe. It’s quite long but the first few minutes will give you an insight.


Our final year began with a Monday morning ICT session, I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling particularly excited for all the hard work this year. However when I walked into the room and saw all the different technology and resources laid out it reminded how enjoyable seminars can be; particularly when we get to explore new apps and technology. The session started with a discussion about what our assignment would be for this module- I was pleased to hear it would be blogging again!

Then we delved into the wide world of story telling through technology. Story telling is an important tool in teaching and engaging young children, it can evoke their imagination and improve their confidence. This is why it’s so important to keep the methods of telling stories fresh, new and exciting for young children in order to keep them motivated. Technology is a great way to find new ways of telling stories because of the depth of options available.

We touched upon a handful of different programmes and apps including strip designer where you can create comic like strips which I believe would particularly appeal to young boys. Below is an example and this would link with a science topic too, technology like this can allow for cross-curricular links.







There were many technologies available to make an ebook including storyjumper, storybird, purple mash which are available on the web and 2Createastory which is available in the app store. One that looked really interesting to me was Tellagami, we watched a video with an avatar present. This looks very complicated but once set up it could easily be used with children as you just stand in front of a green screen and press record. You can do so many things with a green screen; interview characters, become characters, visit another country/town/planet…this can really let the children’s imaginations run wild!




Below is a quick example of tellegami I found by searching on youtube, there were lots to choose from.


We also explored the idea of linking technology to the real world. Whilst it is important for children to utilise technology they must also be confident exploring and using real life objects etc. We discussed how light boxes can be used with lots of different natural materials including sand, creating pictures from crafts and one I particularly thought was very good, using green shaving foam to create a sea of monsters. Much of the ideas can be found by clicking on this site.

I also really liked the idea of using ‘Little People Project’ and creating stories with them. Chris Dicken took pictures of scenes from far away and then went close up to allow the children to experience different points of view and create stories for these little people. Below is ‘The Great Wall’.

Great Wall 1b blog

In my pair we decided to take inspiration from this to create our story. We also used the web tool storyjumper to input our story and display it. Hayley and I chose some little people to use in our story, a man, a woman, a horse and batman. We then went out around the uni to find a suitable place to create our story. We decided near a tree would be good because it allowed people to effectively see the proportion of the people, seeing them from different perspectives. Our book can be viewed below- it’s not quite as creative as Dicken’s but we had fun creating it!

Book titled 'Citizens in Danger...'

We found story StoryJumper to be an incredibly easy tool to use, there are pictures next to each heading of what you would like to add which can be easily understood by younger children who may struggle with reading. You don’t have to add text to your story, a picture book can be created so it could be used to display children’s work.

This could easily be adapted for use in the classroom as you do not need an ipad to use it- just a computer. It’s easily transferable to use with other subjects. For CL+L/Literacy it can easily be used to consolidate beginning, middle and end of a story, increase their vocabulary by telling them they need to use 5 adjectives for examples. It’s also a good tool to support team work, you could give children particular jobs for example photographer, writer, organiser etc., this could induce feelings of pride when they see the finished product.

A post by carolb (2011) on 123ict states ‘Story Jumper is a great place to create and discover children’s stories. There is lots of help for teachers in the whole process of story writing and the website has some wonderful inspiring ideas to motivate all primary ages.’ After using it I would definitely agree that it’s incredibly easy to use and I would definitely take this into the classroom.

After a stressful term and a few weeks without lectures I am very excited to get into placement and put this new ICT knowledge into practice!

As I was browsing my placement school’s website I discovered they used blogging as a tool for their classes. They blog about what the children have been doing and have posted videos to support them. You can view the blog for my upcoming class here. This got me thinking about how accessible blogs are for use in schools and the positives in using them.

I found this mindmap on Sue Water’s Blog which you can visit by clicking on the picture, it nicely pinpoint the many advantages of having a blog.



We also recently had an Art Session where we were joined by a group of children and their class teacher from a local Primary School. It was a lovely session and reminded us all why we are working so hard. The teacher discussed with us about their art project and explained it was displayed and discussed on their class blog. She went on to show us the blog which was full of pictures for parents to see. She also told us she had a blog for each of the children that acted as their learning journey, parents could access it as and when they wished.

I thought this was a great idea as it can save teachers, who have a limited amount of time as it is, a lot of time! As you just take a few snaps of what they’ve done and upload them with a quick comment. There are also apps available you could use which allow you to add multiple pictures, headings and text surrounding them which you could just quickly add to the blog.

It’s also handy for parents to look at at their leisure as their lives can be very busy which can make it difficult for them to have long discussions with class teachers. This enables them to keep up-to-date with what their children are doing and how they’re progressing which can support them in supporting their children.

From an environmental point of view, it also saves a lot of paper and printing that’s required for hard copies! These can also be lost or damaged whereas, as discussed previously, once these are on the web, they’re there and accessible forever. It would be nice for children to look back at as they grow up and develop further.

Below is a lovely video I found which broadcasts year 6 children’s opinions of why they love blogging



I hope to be able to use my new ICT knowledge, where relevant, on this placement and will blog about any experiences!



In the last session, because my group had finished earlier, we were able to explore the apps or purple mash in more detail. I chose to explore purple mash and have decided that this website, with it’s wealth of resources, deserved a blog post to itself. I’ll include a small sample of the activities because there are far too many to put onto here; we’d be here all day!

Click to visit the site yourself...

Click to visit the site yourself…

The site has a toolbar to help you navigate around the hundreds of available activities and resources including themes, creative tools and games. The themes section is separated into the individual subject areas and specific themes to make it easier to find what you want. There is also a section for the teacher which shows you how to utilise the site.


Lots of the areas contain writing activities, where others are more creative. I had particular fun on something called ‘mashcam’, where children can put a picture of themselves on some sort of figures body, they can either record themselves saying something about who they are or write about it. This would be good to use if the children are learning about a particular profession, famous person or time period. There’s a quick example below!

Click to go to the RoyalCam!

Click to go to the RoyalCam!

Children’s confidence and knowledge of storyboards can be improved by using the sites 2animate feature. You can create drawings with tools similar to paint and then slightly change something in your next scene, here’s an example of one I made when playing around with it.


Within the seaside theme, which is often explored in Early Years settings, there are many writing activities, postcards and painting activities. There is one where you can create your own fish which would link nicely with the story the Rainbow Fish. You can choose to have it so it doesn’t colour outside the lines or allow it so that it does. The children can type their name at the bottom and they can then print them off to have up on display, which you  could create an aquarium from. There are other paint projects the children could complete so you could create a beach display. There’s an example of a fish I did below.

Click to create your own fish!

Click to create your own fish!


There is also a section on the site for games…what fun! (Educational Games of course) There’s a section on the games for teacher’s to click to find prompts they could use.

One game I found was based on a fruit and vegetable shop, you create it yourself first, adding the fruit and the prices. Then on the next part you select the fruit or vegetables you’re buying and put them in your trolley, it comes up with how many 1p coins would be used and adds it up for you at the side. In the next part you pay for your items using either 1p 2p or 5p coins. There’s an example of me playing it below. This could be used to support the use of a fruit and vegetable role play area. It will also support children’s knowledge of different fruits and vegetables.


In a nutshell, this is a great site to use if your school has access to it, it can allow teachers to link ICT into many of the curriculum areas and make for more interactive and enjoyable lessons. It’s also a good site for children to be able to access during free flow, they will be engaged with the interactivity and technology of it and also learn (sometimes with a little guidance)!






In this final ICT session each group showed and explained what they had been working on over the past two weeks. Everyone had clearly enjoyed what they’d done and the finished projects were brilliant.

I particularly liked Sarah, Hayley and Hayley’s activities. They used PuppetPals too, doing a retelling of the book Hairy Mclary. I wasn’t familiar with the book prior to this so this also peaked my interest. What I liked was the use of Sarah’s son to tell the story, this gave the perspective of how it would work with young children. He did a great job reading and this would have aided his reading skills and understanding of the story. The movement of the cartoon dogs as the story went on was done well too. They also took pictures of the surrounding Northampton area to use in their activities which I thought incorporated Geography nicely into it.

Hairy Mclary Book used by the group.

Hairy Mclary Book used by the group.


A lot of the groups had opted for Puppet Pals or iMovie, this is unsurprising as they’re such fun and interesting apps!


We used PowerPoint to explain our choices and present our projects to the group. Alyson was absent for this session so myself and Katie just took it in turns to speak. The group appeared to enjoy our projects and had some positive feedback. The one issue that was raised was that our PuppetPals didn’t flow because of the advertisement picture popping up as each scene changed, we knew this was an issue and noted that we’d make sure to know how to use apps before diving in to use them! They also would have liked us to have had the book with us on the day of the presentation (my bad!) as they weren’t all familiar with the story.

You can view our powerpoint here- What-the-Ladybird-heard-Alyson-Emily-and-Katie-1kevlvl

Powerpoint Presentation

Powerpoint Presentation

These three sessions have caused me to consider buying an iPad. I’ve never considered myself to be much of a techwizard and I’m not particularly bothered by new gadgets coming out. I have an iPhone but I’m not one to read up about the updates and get excited about them, I just click update and discover the changes myself. I have a kindle, one of the oldest one, but I don’t care because it fulfills it’s purpose, I can read from it! However, these sessions have highlighted to me how beneficial using an iPad can be and just how many apps there are available.

This want was further consolidated when I read Mr William’s blog post about using iPads as a tool for observation. I enjoy interacting with children and hearing what they have to say but I must admit that I find observation to be quite a tedious task, particularly narrative and snapshot! The app mentioned here looks brilliant and much easier than sitting there with a stack of post-its scribbling unintelligible notes as the children talk at high speeds.  The app is called 2Simple Early Years.


Link to blog

Click to see blog


Here is a picture from the blog explaining how it works briefly!

Step by Step

Step by Step

If you download the full app there is an option to sync the data which means even if there’s a technology failure-as there so often is- your data will not be lost. You would have to ensure all devices were password protected and emails sent from it can also be password protected to prevent it being opened should it be sent to the wrong address.

Now I definitely want an iPad when I have my own class!

This use of iPads for observations links well with the fact that we will be teaching 21st Century children, used to using modern technologies and expecting to be engaged and interested as they are by these. This video sums it up nicely!

Although it is a scary thought, it’s very true that we must be the ones to keep up with the children, not the other way around! We must be up-to-date with what the children are interested in and playing with and utilise these in our lessons in order to engage and interest. Technology should not be something that’s shied away from within schools, it should be celebrated and welcomed.





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