Today, on World Children’s Day, the Digital Futures Commission (DFC) has been launched to explore digital innovation with a focus on children and young people and informed by their voices. Their research focus is on:
play in a digital world
beneficial uses of education data
guidance for innovators
You can read the results of a consultation called Children and Young People’s Voices here. The report focuses on the question: what do children and young people value about the digital world and what changes do they call for? in relation to the three research focuses listed above.
Today the DFC has launched a consultation on play called ‘Free play in a Digital World’ and is seeking views from children and young people, parents and carers, and professionals who work with children.
You can download it here. The consultation opens today and runs until the end of February 2021. If you fall into any of the categories above you can join in by taking part in a 45 minute discussion online. Read more details on p4 of the document.
You can also read more about free play and why it matters here in a blog post by Dr Kate Cowan who has written a review called The Panorama of Play. As a student you would read the blog post as a way into reading the actual review, which you would find informative for your work in PDT1076.
The National Literacy Trust have recently shared some resources to support educators planning for October’s Black History Month. The resource Black Lives Matter: Book lists for ages 0 to 16+ features books by black authors and illustrators and exemplify the Black Lives Matters movement. They are organised in in lists for 0 to 4 years, 5 to 8 years, 9 to 12 years, 13 to 16 years and 16+.
Another resource, part of the Words for Life series, is called “Learn to be an anti-racist”. This collects together a number of resources to use with children in making sense of the news and hear from those who have experienced racism. These can be accessed here.
We are now accepting applications for the FDLT and BALT courses starting in September 2021. If you work in a supporting role in an educational setting and are interested in studying for a degree at the University of Northampton you are most welcome to come to our Open Day on Saturday 26th September from 10am until 2pm online.
The courses are taught on one day a week and are taught in both Northampton and Leicester venues.
You can find out more about it and book a place here.
You can find out more about the FDLT course here and the BALT course here.
There are some FAQs about the FDLT course here and about the BALT course here.
In September 2021 we teach the FDLT Year 1 course in Northampton on Mondays and in Leicester on Wednesdays; FDLT year 2 in Northampton on Thursdays and in Leicester on Tuesdays and the BALT course in Northampton on Wednesdays and Leicester on Mondays (subject to numbers).
Do come along to talk with our tutors at the upcoming Open Days or email me, email@example.com if you would like to talk about the courses further.
When you begin reading for your modules and assignments you will need to collect the details to construct Harvard references for each source that you use. Here are three tips to help you as you start out.
We are looking forward to welcoming students to the FDLT course next week (week beginning September 14th). You will have been receiving emails from us and from the university about starting the course.
What should I do before I come to the first day?
Make sure that you have completed pre-enrolment. You can find out more about this here.
Make sure you have introduced yourself to the group on your group’s getting to know you padlet. The information about this was emailed to you last week. Go back to this padlet a few times to read new posts and comment on some to start getting to know each other. You will meet each other face to face next week.
You should contact ASSIST if you have any additional needs relating to disability, medical condition, autism, specific learning differences (like dyslexia) or a mental health difficulty including if you will need assistance during arrival.
What should I bring on the first day?
When you come please make sure that you have everything you need to complete your enrolment. There is information about this here.
Bring a bag as we will be giving you things and you are likely to collect your laptop if you are enrolling as a full time student (ie with no exemptions from modules).
You should make sure that you bring a mask to wear. Information about our Covid19 precautions can be read here.
You should also bring a pen and something to make notes in.
You might like to bring a drink and snacks although there are refreshments available to buy on campus.
Where should I come to on the first day?
Both groups will be coming to the Waterside campus for the first day. The Leicester group will be based at Devonshire Place thereafter. You can find out more about the location and parking at Waterside here.
We will be meeting in the large open space on the ground floor of the Learning Hub. Look out for Abbie and Jean and email Jean if you get lost or need help.
Look out for students whose posts you have read on the getting to know you padlet as well.
On your first day you will meet the course leader, Abbie Deeming and another of the course tutors, Jean Edwards. You might already have met or talked with us at an open day or interview. We will guide you through the day.
We will first take you to enrol and you will also collect your welcome package laptop at some point in the day.
After that we will have an induction session in one of the large classrooms so we can be together as a group and still appropriately socially distanced. Abbie and I will talk you through key information about the FDLT course and you will have a chance to ask us questions.
What if I have any worries or questions?
It is natural to feel nervous when you are embarking on a new part of your life. Starting at university is a big step but you have all applied for and been offered a place on the course because it is the appropriate next step for you right now. There will be lots of people supporting you at home and at school and you will find that there are lots of people here at university to help you too, both as part of the course and in the wider organisation.
If you have any immediate concerns or questions email the Admissions Tutor, Jean Edwards, firstname.lastname@example.org
ThingLink is a digital tool available for all to use in a free and in a paid for version. The tools available through the free version are a great place to get started. Although it is available as an app it is also available online. You can access it here.
It is a tool that allows you to add tags to images and video. The tags can include text, audio, images / video and links to a wide range of other resources and tools. You can then share your ThingLink with users who can access all the materials from the one place. There are useful accessibility features that make it supportive for all users. ThingLinks can also be embedded into blogs and digital books made in BookCreator and added to Padlets.
A useful way to get started is to complete the Creating Visual Learning Materials ThingLink course in the Microsoft Educator Center. This is a comprehensive introduction for the new user but also contains information about recent changes that was helpful to me as a longtime user of ThingLink. The course contains the following:
Modules Overview – Each module has an interactive video ThingLink and helpful overview
What is ThingLink?
Your ThingLink Account
Base Images and Videos
ThingLink Creation and Tag Types
Embedding Microsoft Tag Ideas
Accessibility and Publishing
Collaboration and Teams
Support and Resources – Followed by our Quiz!
After you have completed the quiz you can download a digital badge to display on your blog or email signature.
A recent example of a ThingLink I made is this one that introduces you to the AR features in Google.
If you join ThingLink and browse existing ThingLinks you will easily find inspiration for using this tool in school. There are so many examples across all age groups and subjects.
How might you use ThingLink in your practice? Share a link to any ThingLinks you make in the comments below.
BookCreator is a digital tool available to all of us to use through Google Chrome. You can access it here.
It is a tool that allows you to create digital books of your own incorporating a very wide range of media including text, images, video and digital items from other other sources. The accessibility features make BookCreator a tool that supports inclusion for the reader.
A useful way to get started is to work through the Book Creator Certified Author Level 1 activities. These provide a comprehensive and user friendly introduction to the tool. If you have not used BookCreator before this a great introduction. I have been using BookCreator for a while and I learned a lot too, especially about the range of accessibility features available to the writer and reader.
You can see in the list on the right that each module is a short and focused introduction to an aspect of the tool. If you work your way through the items and complete a quiz you can gain a BookCreator level 1 certificate and a digital badge to display on your blog or email signature.
I have made BookCreator books with pupils and students, often to share their work on a topic or area of study. More recently I have created digital text books for students to use as the basis of university sessions. Being able to choose to have the text read them was supportive for some students who accessed the books.
This is a digital book to support a session of developing vocabulary when supporting learning in English and across the curriculum. It is written for university students in the first year of their degree. It was especially useful to be able to share information in this way when most of our study and learning took place online recently.
I also made a more practical book based around different ways of using technology in supporting learning in and teaching English. This book allowed me to collect together and share a range of other digital tools that can be used in English lessons.
As you keep up to date with the news you will no doubt be considering how we in education can work for a more fair and equal society. In classrooms using children’s literature as the basis for conversations is a good way in.
This author notes that: “Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. Children not only need to know what individual, institutional, and internalized racism looks like, they need to know what they can do about it.” (The Conscious Kid, 2019, lines 22-270).
Another great source of book recommendations in this field is from classroom teachers. Year 4 teacher, Miss Newton (@MissNewton91 on twitter) has shared this presentation of her recommended picture books. You can access it here.Going beyond sharing and talking about stories it is also vital to integrate the black experience across all the subjects that we teach. Miss Newton shared her planning for a Year 4 history unit which you can access here.
From children themselves as readers we can begin to understand how it feels to find oneself represented in the books that are around. Ananya Ganesh, a fifteen year old, had written about this in her blog post ‘We need more #ownvoices books’ which you can read here.
As well working in our individual classrooms in stories and the curriculum there are also organisations to support and develop diversity in education. One of these is BAMed:
“BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and efforts into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.
BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talent of diverse educators so they may inspire future generations and open up the possibilities within education careers.” (BAMed, 2020, lines 3-5).
BAMed is developing regional networks, resources and and a network of speakers. They have collected a useful book list which you can see here. This was curated by Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom), Kaen Sands O’Connor (@ksandsoconnor) and Books for keeps (ABooksforKeeps).
They also recommend exploring Letter Box Library which specialises in selecting and recommending books “in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity” (Letterbox Library, 2020, lines 9-10).
Now is the time to use the amazing stories, resources and networks that we have around us to educate ourselves and the children we support to take action to grow up in a more just and fair world.
If you are interested in exploring the representation of black and ethnic minorities in children’s literature this CLPE survey was published in 2018.
BAMed. (2020) About us. website [online] Available from: https://www.bameednetwork.com/about-us/ [Accessed; 03/06/2020].
Ganesh, A. (2020) We need more #ownvoices books. website. [online] Available from: https://www.ananyaganesh.com/post/we-need-more-ownvoices-books [Accessed; 3rd June 2020].
Letterbox Library (2020) Letterbox Library. website. [online] Available from: https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/ [Accessed 3rd June 2020].
The Conscious Kid. (2019) 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].
The Conscious Kid. (2019) A children’s book list for anti-racist activism (image). Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].