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.

 

 

Embedding Technology in the Early Years and KS1

Remote Control Toys

Children love remote control toys and they provide an easy and fun way of including technology into the classroom. These toys could be left out for children to freely access and explore, or challenges could be set up, for example: have a list of instructions suitable for the children to follow e.g. state a starting point, 10 fairy steps forwards, turn left, 15 fairy steps forward, turn right – where am I? Alternatively, the children could right their own instructions. This will contribute to the children’s understanding of direction, distance and spatial awareness.

Embedding ICT across all areas of learning

ICT can be used in a dynamic way to raise standards of learning, and this video demonstrates how everyday technology can be used with children:

Household technology such as microwaves will look familiar to young children but many of them will not have had the opportunity to use one. I think it is a great idea to bring one into the classroom and involve children in cooking their own snack; this will cover many areas of learning including mathematics as they will be using the timer on the microwave. Teachers can reinforce the technical language for such appliances and the children will be more likely to remember this as they are using it in a meaningful context as well as being physically engaged.

Sparklebox provide a play dough recipe suitable for microwave use, the children could learn how to make play dough and enjoy playing with something they have created themselves:

Whilst such learning is taking place, I would also use digital cameras, voice/video recorders with the children to capture their learning which provides great evidence for assessment. The children could also help to download photographs or even edit videos or create digital stories about their experience.

ICT can be used to extend the learning that is already taking place or to link familiar experiences with new ones e.g. children are familiar with a story; their learning could be extended by providing them with props and a video recording device (webcam, ipad, video recorder) enabling them to instantly play their performance back; they will love seeing themselves on the screen and this will also reinforce the language used in the story.

Multimodal Texts

Scholastic provide free resources for multimodal texts which are advocated to be used during the teaching of literacy through the use of the internet, digital cameras, sound recorders and presentation software. Children can be encouraged to listen to instructions whilst making something, such as puppets. They can pause after each instruction which allows for differentiation; children are able to work at a pace suitable for them. The children could then make their own sound recorded instructions – this could be done in pairs and once complete, they could swap sound recordings with another pair and try them out!

Alternatively, videos can be used (without verbal sound – it may have instrumental music playing as a sound-over) so the children can make their own written commentary; through not having verbal sound to accompany the video, the children will be using their imagination and developing their creativity more than if they were provided with key vocabulary.

A Great Example of Multimedia Instructions

I recently attended a Theatrical Dance course where I was taught how to teach children dance routines to accompany musicals. For the chorus, all the children dance the same moves and for each verse the children are free to make up their own routines. High School Musical has a great video which breaks down the dance moves to make the routine more manageable to learn, and the advantage is that is can be skipped back and played as many times as necessary.

However, this is just an idea… children could video record their instructions for anything they wanted to and these could be used to teach other children.

 I am now more aware of how technology, beyond the use of computers, can be embedded into the EYFS and KS1 to enhance children’s learning and also to directly teach children how to use technology itself. The drawbacks may include lack of resources so finding suitable alternatives would be necessary and making justified suggestions to the ICT coordinator could make a difference to the children’s experiences.

Inspirational ideas for ICT in the classroom

I’m trying to think of all the ICT equipment I have ever encountered in classroom, as a student myself and whilst working in primary schools. Powerpoint presentations spring to mind the most (as an adult learner) and Interactive Whiteboards are probably what I have seen most frequently used with children along with digital cameras, PC’s for word processing, games and research, video recording children’s performances and using floor robots.

This short video – only 1:15mins long – is an excellent summary of how rapidly ICT is evolving in the classroom, and it’s us, as teachers, who have to keep up!

ICT in the Early Years shows a lovely video of how ICT can be integrated into the EYFS. The children are encouraged to independently access IT equipment e.g. digital cameras, the children all have their own floppy disk (which can be identified by the child’s photograph on the front) so they can download the photo’s they take, and print them. ICT is also used as much as possible in the role play area e.g. a hospital will have a laptop, a light box to use as an x-ray machine and a telephone. This site offers a range of resources and planning materials – it’s well worth a look!
I came across the Hot Potatoes suite which enables you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for use with children. It is free and can be adapted to suit any project.

Good use of ICT not only enhances experience for students, but the outcomes they generate too.” – Mark Anderson

Peers can be the best teachers, because they’re the ones that remember what it’s like to not understand.” Peter Norvig. His video is really interesting and you can relate to it… I found myself nodding in agreement to my laptop! Worth watching: http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_norvig_the_100_000_student_classroom.html?quote=1698

This video shares 5 ways in which ICT can be used within the classroom:

‘Building’ a PC with Year 5 – Chris Leach. This idea involving the children ‘becoming’ the components of a computer is a super idea, the active learning will certainly help them to remember the different components of a PC. This ICT lesson was taught through the use of freeze framing, much more fun than a worksheet!

NAACE offer workshops for Teachers, Subject Leaders etc to help plan for “full integration of ICT into all aspects of school life”. They are a professional association concerned with improving education through ICT.

Reflection:

This first session has opened my eyes to actually how much ICT is actually involved  in schools; until now, I was only aware of the basics. Having divulged into the ‘Browsing and Reading section’ for session 1 I am more aware of how ICT is, and can be, used in the primary school. I am keen to continue researching resources to use in the classroom whilst enhancing my personal ICT skills at the same time. I have also ordered ‘The Really Useful Book of ICT in the Early Years’ by Harriet Price.

 

My First Blog

Starting to blog as of today! 🙂

How ICT is used in the Foundation Stage:

  • PC’s – websites, software e.g. word processing
  • Floor Turtles
  • Digital Cameras – photographer of the day, use during outings, evidence of progress/achievement
  • Camcorders
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Music
  • iPads/tablets – apps
  • Visualiser to show children’s work
  • Mobile phones – text parents for achievements

Although I know of quite a few ways in which ICT is currently used in the classroom, I do not know how to use this equipment to it’s full potential, or have many ideas for use with children. Therefore these ICT sessions will really benefit me and I’m really looking forward to finding out more.

Also, you will see that I didnt list ‘blogging’ this is because I’d never heard of blogs being used in the classroom; I will certainly be researching into this over the next few months.