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.

 

 

Creating resources collaboratively with a time constraint


In groups we were given the task of creating some ICT resources to explore a story book with children.
There were 4 people in my group and we decided to use ‘Walking Through the Jungle’ as a base for our resources. We only had one hour to decide what we were going to do and create the resources ready to present to the rest of the class. Firstly, we had a brief discussion to share and combine our ideas; we all have different strengths, weaknesses and qualities, therefore you get the best outcome when you work collaboratively and we all enhanced our own skills from eachother.

We agreed that our resources should meet the following criteria:

  • be interactive to engage and involve the children as much as possible
  • be appropriate for their age; we decided to aim ours at FS2
  • have a purpose; be an effective resource to have an impact on learning to ‘move the children on’
  • demonstrate ICT skills
  • be fun! – to find out if we have been successful here, we would ask the children for their feedback about the resources.

Using a Popplet, the ideas were mind-mapped:

It was decided that to get the children to ‘tune in’ we would ask them to close their eyes and listen to a music clip of a jungle whilst the teacher asks thought-provoking questions. Once they have listened to a bit of the music, the next slide could be opened to support the discussion of different habitats and to help the children determine where the music is from.

Jungle Presentation

Monkeyjam was used to create a stop frame animation, this is a great activity to carry out with the children. We used it to sequence the story:

It would be great to share children’s animations on a class blog, in assembly or to have playing during parents’ evening.

A resource about jungles was created for use with an IWB. There is a jungle image with shapes hiding animals, the teacher can move the shapes to reveal as much or as little of the animal for the children to guess what it is. Alternatively, the children could be asked to find out what is behind a specific shape which will also be linking the jungle theme to mathematics.

I would have been happy carrying on all day creating resources to extend this topic, but I was impressed with the amount we created in just 1 hour. I have added an additional activity to the IWB resource as I was exploring what could be done with this software package. The activity is for children to use by themselves; they have to sort the animals into ‘jungle animals’ and ‘not jungle animals’ and they can ‘check’ how they performed too. Take a look….

Interactive smart board jungle activities

One of my favourite nursery songs is suitable for use with this theme too: TEASING MR CROCODILE

Teasing Mr Crocodile

This song is one I used in a Story Sack I created for Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile” which also has a Jungle theme, here are a few of the resources I created for this story sack including masks and a glove puppet with felt monkeys attached and a scene setting and main characters for the book:

Innovative ways to use ICT in the Primary Classroom & Blogging Tools

I was very interested to read about the 25 Features of Outstanding ICT Lessons by Terry Freedman, as a lot of people do perceive ICT as ‘boring’.

These are some of the ideas I felt were very useful:

As a pupil, did you ever think “What is the point in doing this?”

I believe it is important for the teacher to spend time at the start of any session letting pupils into the “secret” of what the objectives (intended learning outcomes) of the lesson are, i.e. what is intended to be achieved by the end, and how this lesson fits in with the preceding and following lessons.  I remember when I was at school, and in work too, on various occasions thinking “what is the point of doing this?” Some tasks seemed pointless, without a focus and this did not motivate me… I certainly agree with Terry Freedman here and will prepare children by letting them know the learning objectives to give them a real purpose for their task which will hopefully motivate them.

Print your work and log off…. is that it????

Terry Freedman also explains how allowing plenty of time for a plenary is essential; it is useful for checking what learning has taken place, it consolidates learning and also prepares pupils for the next stage. Avoid the “Print your work and log off” approach.

Can the pupils use technology… appropriately?

Children need to know how to use technology and how to use it appropriately, so it is essential to provide plenty of time for discussion and reflection in lessons. There are many ways I am aware of to include this in the lesson, such as: partner/group/whole class discussions, group presentations, even role playing or freeze framing something they have learnt.

Experimenting with blogging tools:

I came across the ‘Popplet’ tool and thought it looked very useful for using as a mind map, so I decided to create one, just to try it out, using ‘ICT in the classroom’ as the focus for ideas. The popplet was incredibly easy to create; you need to sign up so you can log in to update your popplet at any time. It also allows you to upload documents and files from your computer or from various websites and to share your popplet.

There is also a wide variety of ‘Public Popplets’ that are already made for anyone to view and use.

Padlet is a great tool to collaborate information. It provides you with a blank wall where you can edit the background, give it a title and alter the layout. The ‘wall’ you create can be public or private (only people with a password can see it and add to it). So once it’s ready people can add their own information, I made an example that could be used as a ‘getting to know eachother’ exercise, it may be good to use in the classroom at the start of a new academic year:

Padlets could also be a useful tool for planning, as the notes you pin to your wall can be moved around, edited and removed.

PrimaryPad  is a web-based word processor designed for schools that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time.” Having read about this tool, and watched the demo video, which enables teachers and children to work collaboratively to draft out their ideas I would love to see this in use in schools to get a real feel for it’s qualities.

Storybird enables you to create digital books, there is a bank of images and layouts to try and you can add as many pages as you need. This could be used during literacy lessons with children. It is really easy to use, I created a short book ‘Back to School’  just to try it out:

I’ve really enjoyed exploring the various tools that are suitable for use in classrooms, I will continue to search for these and try them out so I’ve got a good bank of them to use in the future.