Placement 2A – putting my uni work into practice

I’ve decided to create a blog post so I can keep a record of any ICT that I use whilst on placement. I already know that they will be following a Pirate themed curriculum, for which I have created a topic web using Popplet:

I came across a website called Teachers Direct and found many useful resources and website links on there. I was able to create a word-search for the pirate theme; I simply had to follow these short steps:

It allows you to preview the word search and identifies any words it has not been able to place to enable adjustments to be made if necessary. Then, it creates a print version and an interactive version if you selected that you wanted one. The only drawback I found was that you had to have a grid size of at least 15×15 for the interactive word search.

Although the interactive word search is great – enabling children to engage with the technology, it is a shame that the grid size has to be a minimum of 15×15 as this may be unsuitable for year 1 children – I wouldn’t use any larger than 8×8; but this would have to be a printed version, such as: wordsearch-pirates. However, the teacher of Y1 on my placement agrees that 15×15 may be difficult for the children but has suggested we post a link for the interactive wordsearch on the school website for the children to access at home; they may enjoy the challenge with their family.

Additionally, on Teachers Direct you can browse web resources and apply filters to make the search more specific:

I’m really looking forward to starting placement and finding out how the school create a balance between ‘computing’ and embedding ICT throughout other subjects and also how the school plan to address the new National Curriculum. I also want to hear teachers’ perspectives about enhancing pedagogies through the use of technology and how ‘digital literacy’, ‘technology enhanced learning’ and ‘computer science’ is evolving. Watch this space!

Meeting the Schools’ ICT Coordinator

Having had the opportunity to meet with the schools’ ICT coordinator I am aware that the children’s ICT skills, such as using a keyboards and a mouse, are facilitated right from YR and built upon as they progress throughout the years. Initially the children will have access to PC’s to play educational games and use Beebots to program simple commands. The children regularly use software such as PowerPoint for presenting their work to each other and Word for word processing and editing their work. However, it is acknowledged that these are too frequently used and the ratio of ’embedded ICT’ and ‘computing’ is currently off balance.

The new National Curriculum has made it a statutory requirement for KS1 and KS2 children to learn ‘computing’ and the ICT coordinator is currently planning to develop the technological skills of children by teaching them how to make digital products as apposed to passively consuming devices. One of the methods in which they plan to support this development is to invest in Raspberry Pi’s. These are inexpensive products (approx. £22) that can teach children to program e.g. enabling them to create a computer game character to perform commandments. I can appreciate how engaging this will be for children, especially boys, as most children love computer games and take to using technology like a duck to water. The implementation of Raspberry Pi’s in the school will provide children with an understanding of what is behind the gaming material without needing to be an expert in programming. This short video provides a quick insight to Raspberry Pi. This short video provides more of a practical demonstration:

Additionally, there are currently a set of iPads being ordered to provide each class with one of their own. This is a great stepping stone towards enhancing children’s technological skills as I have demonstrated in previous posts. The school is also liaising with a local secondary school, building a partnership that will hopefully enable groups of primary school children to visit the secondary school to have the opportunity to use their equipment. This saves on cost, storage space and could also mean there will be an expert in available to educate the children and even the teachers; contributing to their continuous professional development.

Over all, it is clear that the school are being proactive as they have identified where improvements need to made and have secure plans to improve the children’s education in computing and embedded ICT, with some plans currently underway! Through this discussion it has become clear to me the different between ‘computing’ and ’embedding ICT’ and also the requirements of the new National Curriculum and how to facilitate this. I think building a partnership with a local secondary school is a brilliant idea where resources are lacking, and it also has the advantage of having additional staff for support.



Moving with the times… Gaming in the Classroom

As a trainee teacher I believe it is important for me to act on the fact that ICT is a broad and continuously evolving subject. I have never been overly keen on technology; but have kept up to date with the basics, just not in any depth of knowledge. But I am keen to learn about the current technology available for classroom use and I believe it is important that I can provide children with quality opportunities to learn about technology whilst being made aware of the purpose of any task they carry out. I’m aware that most children engage in a diverse range of ICT activities at school and at home; this interest can be used in the classroom to motivate the children to learn and can be used to teach the content of a subject and also social skills.

Gaming could be used to help build postive relationships between teachers, children and their parents by inviting them to a ‘getting to know eachother session’ where you can all play games together.

It was interesting to read Futurelab’s ‘Computer Games and learning handbook’ which provides both reasons for and against gaming. I agree with the suggestion that there seems to be a widespread agreement that games are a significant cultural force in children’s lives. It is regularly claimed that they are more motivating, challenging and engaging than the ‘normal’ teaching styles, and also that they provide more authentic learning experiences. However, the most well-known counter-argument against computer games is that they can contribute to aggressive and antisocial behaviour. The mainstream media has also been attracted to the idea that computer games are addictive and that they are associated with increasingly sedentary youth lifestyles and obesity. is a useful website which explains how experiments show how technology supports learning, with the potential to increase student engagement and motivation. Games target all kinds of subjects and age groups, with different types of gaming from strategy to simulations to hard-core curriculum topics.

Here are some sites that I think offer suitable online games for use with Early Years and Primary children:
Offer resources for teachers, parents and children. Here is an example of one of the games that requires the animals to be placed in their correct home:
This site offers Numeracy, Literacy and other Topic games for infant children.

Children can also enhance their creativity skills by producing their own games, Squidoo make a fair comment which I agree with:

“Whatever you think of playing computer games, making computer games is a creative effort on par with composing music or writing novels.  All creative efforts require a substantial degree of intuition, logic, problem solving, and fun. ”


Many gaming apps are available for iPads, “computer games lead to increased levels of engagement and problem solving skills” list a few that are available and I have shared some that can be used academically:

Hangman will enable children to practise their spelling skills


This ‘Pirate Treasure Hunt’ game requires problem solving skills, maths and literacy to be used.


Little Game enhances social, emotional and intellectual development of children.



YoyoGames offer a free game-creating software which offers integrated tutorials and demo’s. It suggests you can create a very basic game in 30 minutes, however when I attempted to follow the tutorial it took me at least an hour and still didn’t work 🙁

If you want to try it, please let me know how you get on!





Jesse Schell: When games invade real life

I found this talk very interesting. The Facebook user figures are amazing, it really puts it into perspective of how big Facebook/gaming actually is.

Reflection on Gaming:

I think gaming can be used to an advantage in education if planned and used appropriately; I do believe it is vital to get the balance right. I recently watched a documentry which included a section about how children, mainly older children, abuse computer games; constantly on them, even throughout the night meaning they had insufficient sleep which in turn had a negative effect on their social behaviour and academic abilities. I think it it the role of the adult, whether they are a parent/guardian or teacher or any other role model in a child’s life, to demonstrate appropriate use of video games and set a clear time constraint that is reinforced.