Emily Bailey's Blog

Vision Statement

November 5, 2014 | Leave a Comment


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

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