Emily Bailey's Blog

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.

 

 



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