Comupting #2

In session 7, we were again able to look at computing. In this session i looked at a different game Kodu. This hyperlink shows you features to the game but also an overview of whole game. To get myself started with this game, i had to sit and watch the tutorials, which although quite boring these gave me the vital information and basic skills for the game.

The screenshots below, show some steps which i went through during exploring this game. The first print screen shows what i see when right clicking on my kodu, once clicking on program it takes you to print screen two, this is an example of the commands which i gave my Kodu, for example when bumping into a apple collect 1 point and when bumping into a coin collect 100 points. Similarly, on print screen 3 i have given some commands to the fish. The last screen shot and video below both show me playing the game!


If you want to check out another game, i suggest you check out jasmine blog! She loves this kinda of thing so it will obviously be good! http://mypad.northampton.ac.uk/jazzytay/

Two good videos on games with children, links are below:

http://www.ted.com/talks/gabe_zichermann_how_games_make_kids_smarter.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html

Scratch

In session 6, we looked at a computing programme called “scratch”.
For this session we had to make our own game, i decided to make a game similar to a touch game ‘fruit ninja’: my game included the elephant collecting the fruit. The software is free to download from: http://scratch.mit.edu/, the website states that it is mainly for children aged 8-16 but both younger children and older adults are able to use the software. Once signing up to the website, children are able to upload and share scratch projects. Scratch provide a ‘getting started’ pdf file, which is 14 pages long and gives a step to step introduction to using the software. These include:

  • Start moving
  • Add sound
  • Start a dance
  • Again & again
  • Green flag
  • Change colour
  • Key press
  • Add sprite &
  • Explore

Obviously, not all of these sections will be used when greeting a game with children but, it provides a clear understanding to either the teacher or children to how to make something move or repeat itself. The two image below an examples of what the software looks like, within the picture there are commands for the game; these will the sprites what to do during the game. Also below the images is an example of my game.

Learn more about this project

Micheal Gove is currently in discussion about at adding in computing into ICT national curriculum, this is due to the country not producing enough people able to work with computer programming. Therefore children will be able to design and create their own games which can link to any part of the curriculum, not just ICT. If you would like to know more about this then read here.

In July 2009,  ScratchEd was launched, this is a online community where educators share stories, exchange resources, ask questions, and find other Scratch educators. The video below shows some examples of what you can use ScratchEd for.

When looking at wider reading i found that, Futurelab provide a handbook about computer games and learning which is download-able as a PDF file. As the term ‘game’ is very board the document gives definitions on different games, and has game elements which can all be explored during a lesson. Also within this there is a large section on ‘games in school’ looking at the following areas:

  • Role of teachers,
  • Using game as a stimulus,
  • Using games to teach &
  • Creating games and others.

If you want to learn more about games within the classroom, i suggest to read it!

When visiting techradar.computing, one school which is keeping their children up to date with technology is Cedars School of Excellence. This school in Greenock, Scotland has provided each child with an ipad. They were first looking at getting children an ipod touch but then realised that the keypad would be small and it couldn’t be projected on a whiteboard. A quote from the article states that “on the first day, it ran and ran. I couldn’t make the battery die, and I realised this alone would transform the technology experience in the classroom. Even teachers who weren’t confident with technology and didn’t see a place for their laptops in school started bringing their iPads with them every day, and everyone found different ways for Apple’s tablet to enhance their classes” This shows that technology is getting easy to use and that all people are able to use and teach with the simplest things, and also if charged correctly they can be used throughout the day! So therefore teachers shouldn’t be scared when using new technology. For more on this article, read here.

Interactive Whiteboard

Today we had a chance to explore the Interactive Whiteboard, also known as IWB’s, although you may already know a interactive whiteboard is a large display board which is similar to a normal ‘whiteboard’ with a difference, they have a projector which you can use to show children different material. The interactive whiteboards allow you to write on a blank page or onto of something which you are showing, you can edit these through using your finger directly on the board or a special pen. For example using the whiteboard you can write up rules for a lesson, so for example rules for a science experiment – e.g ’do not run’ and many others. These can all be permanently saved as an edit to your document, its so simple!

Also connected to the interactive whiteboard, is a camera which allows you to have certain things, which may be small, bigger on the board. For example when reading a book or looking at a specific object which you don’t want the children to touch. Many teachers and pupils use IWB’s on a daily basis. For example to show things to children such as pictures or a PowerPoint or to get the involved with games.

We started off with looking at the interactive software on the computers ‘Smart Netbook 11′, which you can download for free on a 30 day trail run. On this, there were many games for example word guessing, matching words and images and many other things! Whilst we were doing this I had a look on ‘The Human Body’. This allowed me to look at the different skeletons (as shown below), there was also games that I could use with children. For example; matching games or getting them to put it in the correct section of the body. When using this on the large interactive whiteboard as stated earlier you can get the children to use either their fingers or the pens.

On the Website ‘http://exchange.smarttech.com/search.html?subject=Science‘, it has many different sections that you can click on, you can search for specific subjects or year groups. In the science section there are solar systems, the water cycle and food chains. So if you want to get ICT involved in your lessons, have a look! There might just be something for you.

During this lesson, we also had to make up a game! I chose to have a matching game, this included having a picture of an animal and the name. The task for the children would be for them to match it, as shown on the image below.

We had the pleasure of Pei’s son Logan being in the class today and he very much enjoyed having a play around on the interactive whiteboard. This just shows that any children from aged 3+ can play even if it is just drawing images as he worked out how to change the colours via the bottom of the whiteboard and that by connecting the pen to the board he was able to draw pictures. They can draw things related to the subject in nursery. The image below shows Logan having a play around on the interactive whiteboard.

IWB’s are used across the curriculum and are used on daily bases which are very useful for children’s learning because they can get the children involved. With interactive whiteboards there are always pro’s and con’s, the benefits of them are as follows:

  • They allow children to get involved.
  • All children will be able to see what is being shown as a group.
  • They can store information and enhance presentation- for example class rules on the board during an experiment or tasks whilst children are working.
  • Research shows that they can be very useful when incorporated into the school day properly.
  • They are easy to use and be used in different lessons not just ICT.

The disadvantages include:

  • Technology can crash.
  • They are not cheap.
  • Small users may not be able to reach the top; this is because they are always fixed at a certain height.
  • Care is needed as they are easy to damage. So therefore no sticking blue tack on them.

More information about whiteboards in education is on the following web address: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/Interactivewhiteboards.pdf. This PDF file includes what are they, pro’s and con’s, how they work, issues, when and where they should be used, alternatives devices and many others. Other websites which are useful are: http://www.teacherled.com/all-interactive-whiteboard-resources/, this website has many different resources which you can use on the interactive whiteboards for example for maths- general maths, space, measurement, solving problems,  numbers and many more. Another website which has useful help is: http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/kentict/kentict_iwb_home.cfm, this gives you information about how to use them, different types of whiteboards, and healthy and safety issues.

Within my school placement, I used a interactive whiteboard with my year 1 class during a PSHE lesson, I was using a CD disk which included a question and four different answers. The children were too able to click on an answer to see if it was correct or incorrect. Another game which the children participated in was a phonics game, they children had to use the pen to put the word into the bin or treasure chest.

Hope this helps,

See you soon!