Holly Robertson


Ofsted & ICT in schools

Filed under: Ofsted & ICT — Holly at 4:31 pm on Friday, January 31, 2014  Tagged , , , ,


In my spare time I decided to have a look at what Ofsted thought about ICT and how it is and can be used in schools. Click on this link – ICT in schools 2008-2011 to view the document that I read.

From reading this report I can see that Ofsted believe that ICT is a specialist subject that should be carried out in all schools, including Primary, Secondary and Special schools. This report shows that in over two thirds of schools, the teaching of ICT was seen to be good, and this contrasted well with the learning of the pupils at the schools.

Ofsted reported that “The use of assessment was a considerable weakness in both the primary and secondary schools visited.”

Although I can see that some teachers may feel that there is not enough time to assess the use of ICT in schools and may not see it as being as important as assessing Maths or English, I feel that it should be assessed as there are more and more opportunities to use ICT in everyday life these days. Simple ways of assessing how children use ICT could be by screen shots of their work or by teaching them how to create a blog like we have all been doing on the Early Years Course.

From reading this report where the research was carried out between 2008 and 2011, I can see that Ofsted reported how there were not enough schools who were teaching ICT at a “good” or “outstanding” level.

I hope that since this report was written, that schools have had a chance to improve on their teaching and assessment of ICT as I personally think that it is an important subject for children to learn key skills in.

How to use Puppet Pals

Filed under: Puppet Pals,Uncategorized — Holly at 3:56 pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2014  Tagged , , , ,

After our last session when we had to decide what program to use to create our video, I had a look on youtube to see if there was any tutorials on how to use Puppet Pals as this is the program we decided we thought would be best. This video is a detailed and easy way to understand how to use Puppet Pals.


I hope you find this video useful!

Answer Garden on useful Ipad Apps for Children

Filed under: Uncategorized — Holly at 3:34 pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This answer garden is based on what apps people think children will find useful to use on the Ipads. I have started off with a couple of ideas based on creating movies. Please feel free to add some answers!



What useful Apps have you seen for children to use on the Ipads?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

Session 2 : Curriculum Applications

Filed under: Uncategorized — Holly at 3:43 pm on Saturday, October 19, 2013

For our second session of ICT in our second year, we were all desperate to get making our movies and trailers from the stories that we had selected from our previous session.

Before starting our stories, we first discussed as a group how we thought Communication, Language and Literacy could be supported by ICT. We came up with ideas such as:

  • It encourages children to speak about what they are doing.
  • Children can video what they are doing and watch or listen to themselves back with the use of ICT.
  • There are many ICT programs where children can write and create their own story.

After this discussion, we were back to our task of creating a short movie or movie trailer to match our story book. We started off by looking at the different apps available on the Ipads. We found and looked at an app called Imovie. This was a good looking app although slightly complicated but once we had a play around we decided to make a quick test video on it. The video is below. No laughing!



After making a quick test video using this application, we decided that although it would be a good way to make a movie, when making a short one we did not find it as useful. This was because it had set timings on each section of the movie which we didn’t always want to use as some sections were too long.

Once we had realised that iMovie wasn’t the application for us to use, we had a look at Puppet Pals. This looked like a much more simple program to use and we started by having a play about with it and seeing what we were able to do. We planned what we were going to do as a group and then knew what we had to do for the next session to complete our task. In my next session blog post, I hope that you will be able to see our final piece!

This session made me realise how many applications that there are to use to create a film or movie trailer by using devices such as ipads. It gave me the chance to see why you should try different programs about before deciding to use one in particular as it may not be suitable for what you want to use it for. I once again enjoyed this session and I am really looking forward to seeing everybody’s final pieces in our next session!


Further Reading

Are Ipads the future in class?

This piece of reading can be accessed by clicking here. It is an article by David Andrews who began using Ipads in his classroom last year.

Throughout this reading, David Andrews starts off by mentioning that when he first bought himself an Ipad 2, he was fascinated by it and so was his daughter. He goes on to explain how by watching his daughter using his ipad he could see the potential that these devices had to encourage children to learn how to write, add and subtract and many other things to help to improve their development in different areas. He also mentions how his daughter needed very little guidance to use the ipad and that she was having fun whilst learning at the same time.

He mentions that the pros he thought of for using the ipad were that they had easily accessible learning tools on them that both adults and children could access. The use of video and camera on the ipad are much easier to use to record children’s work and for the children to use themselves instead of trying to use a camera on a laptop. The ipad allows any subject to become creative in many different ways.

He also thought of a list of cons that could put him off of using the ipad. Flash and Java Script do not always work properly on ipads and these are what back a lot of the programs that schools use. David Andrews does however mention that there are now many apps available to schools which could be a way of getting around this problem. Word processing was also a con as it is not easy to write a word document using an ipad.

In this article he lists a number of applications that can be used with children on the ipads and I have tried some of these in the last session and this session to see what would be best for the group to make our movie trailer. The most important thing that I think David Andrews mentions is the importance of allowing staff to become use to and familiar with the ipads before them having to use them to teach children.

Session 1 – Year 2!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Holly at 2:56 pm on Wednesday, October 2, 2013  Tagged , , , ,

So today we had our first session of ICT in our second year!

Although it feels like a long time since we had ICT in our first year, I am pleased to say that I didn’t forget everything that we had learnt! This year we only have 3 sessions of ICT which although does not seem like too many at all, i’m sure will benefit us all in many different ways in order to help us progress in our skills for teaching ICT in the Early Years.

We spent this first session mainly discussing as a class what we have seen used for ICT in schools and the positives and negatives of different techniques and resources. A lot of our group agreed that yes, ICT is very useful in teaching children and that children of all abilities are able to access ICT in some way.

The positive points included:

– ICT can give children confidence to have a go at things they may not have wanted to participate in before.

– It is a useful way of recording children’s work.

– Children can record their own work and each others.

– ICT can help both fine and gross motor skills.

– There are many different ICT resources available that each child will be able to access.


The negatives that some of our group came up with were:

– Some children spend a lot of time using resources such as Ipads and Computers at home, so is this a good idea for them to then be using them in school as well?

– Not all schools will be able to have a wide range of resources.

– Some teachers will not feel confident with ICT and how to use it successfully with children.


After this discussion, we were told that our task was to, in groups, create a movie trailer or alternate ending for a story book of or choice. In the group I was in, there were 4 of us. We decided to use the book “The Ugly Duckling”.


We were able to discuss and decide as a group, exactly how we would like to go about doing this. We looked at many different resources including computers and Ipads. We decided that we thought it would be nice to use the Ipads so started to explore the different programs that we could use to create our version of the story. Some of these Ipad applications included I can animate app, Puppet Pals, Video Scribe and Comic Life. We had a look at each App and how they worked and decided to use Puppet Pals.

We chose puppet pals as it was easy to use and we thought that it would also be an easy way to show children how to remake their story. Puppet pals gives you the chance to use your own pictures and voices to create the story that you want to and you can move the pictures (puppets) around the screen whilst recording which is great!

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to make a start but we had a big discussion on how we thought this would work and are definitely looking forward to creating our video in the next session!

I thoroughly enjoyed our first session back as it was a refresher to what we had learnt in our previous sessions in year one. I am also really looking forward to beginning to create our resource in our  next session and believe that this will improve my ICT knowledge a lot.

Further Reading:

After this session, I decided to find some further reading based on how to integrate ICT into lessons in schools. I found an interesting journal article on the topic.

Goodison, T. (2003) Integrating ICT in the classroom: a case study of two contrasting lessons. British Journal of Educational Technology. 34(5), pp.549-566.

This journal explains how it is important to remember that ICT isn’t only for the school environment but that many children will also have access to different ICT resources in their home environment as well. It is important to know though, how ICT can be used for fun and compare that to the ways in which it can be used for learning. This Journal article is looking at the teaching of ICT in 2 different classrooms. It gives examples of how each lesson went and what it included and  also whether or not learning was taking place. It is clear to see from this article that ICT will only enhance children’s learning if it is carried out in a pedagogical way with factors that will teach children. If ICT is not used correctly then although the children will be having fun and enjoying the use of ICT, it does not mean they are gaining any learning or the learning intention that the class teacher had originally planned.


To add to my further reading/research I watched a video by Beeban Kidron about The Shared Wonder of Film.

In this video, Beeban Kidron who directed Bridget Jones, explains about the wonder of film and how this helps to share experiences across the world. She begins by talking about how one story can be filmed and shared in different languages in many different countries for everybody to see. She also talks about how by having film, it can raise awareness of what happens and goes on in other countries and the effects that this has on people around the world. Throughout the discussion she also mentions about FILMCLUB which she co-founded and talks about how this allows children to see all of the different films that are available out there.

I found this video an interesting one to watch as it made me realise just how useful film can be. If it wasn’t for film, then we may not know as much as we do about other places in the world and we would not have the opportunities to share stories with everybody and have these passed on.

I’ve learnt a lot…

Filed under: I've learnt a lot... — Holly at 5:50 pm on Monday, April 1, 2013

When starting ICT sessions, I will admit that I thought I was fairly confident with computers and how to work them, but from my sessions I have realised that I didn’t know half as much then as I do now! I have definitely learnt a lot from these sessions and know for sure that they will benefit me in my future.

The thing I feel that I have learnt the most is the fact that ICT doesn’t have to only revolve around computers. You can use all types of equipment such as iPads, cameras, computers and video cameras. I would never have thought of using some of these resources before.

I have also enjoyed learning how to use the interactive whiteboards successfully in a way that will engage children and help them learn. I can see that the Smart Board software can be used in many fun and interesting ways to help children of different ages, abilities and also EAL children.

I think that it is very important for practitioners and teachers to know how to use different sources of ICT and how to use them in an efficient way. Although it is important not to “over do it” by using ICT in every lesson I can now see how it is important  to help children with their life skills and give children the opportunity who may not have access to ICT at home, to have a go.

I have definitely enjoyed and learnt from my ICT sessions!

A Topic of my Choice

Filed under: A Topic of my Choice — Holly at 12:04 pm on Saturday, March 30, 2013

For one of our sessions, we were asked to write about a topic of our choice that interests us.

I found it really difficult to think of an interesting topic to blog about and after thinking for a long time about it I still wasn’t sure what I should blog about. So, I decided to think of something that I enjoy doing instead. After thinking, I decided to write this part of my blog on Spain, my favorite place to go on holiday.






To start with, I will tell you why I enjoy going to Spain so much. Of course, the weather is a big bonus when going on holiday to Spain and that is definitely my main reason for going there. I love the fact that you can wake up in the mornings, not worrying about what to wear, and just throw on some shorts and a tshirt. Nobody there is bothered about how you look and everybody seems to be so relaxed.  Another reason is the time I get to spend on the beach, sunbathing and in the sea. It’s such a fun an relaxing day out and you get to know the people around you and make new friends. Another major reason for me going to Spain is that I get to visit where my Nan use to live which means a lot to me.

So, apart from boring you with  why I like Spain, I have decided to find out some facts about the country.

I accessed the facts from http://www.10-facts-about.com/Spain/id/37 on 30th March 2013

  • The capital city of Spain is Madrid.
  • Spain is one of the top three most visited countries in the world.
  • Spain is Europe’s fourth largest country.
  • Over 98% of the Spanish population are Roman Catholic.

A useful article that I have found with random facts about Spain on the Telegraphs website is QI: Quite interesting facts about Spain. Click on the link and have a look, let me know what you think!

Below is a map of Spain.







Internet Safety – Session 8

Filed under: Internet Safety — Holly at 6:25 pm on Friday, March 29, 2013

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the session on internet safety, but from notes that I have got from class members and through my own research, I have gained a good understanding on internet safety for both children and adults.

www.allfornursing.comFrom researching on the internet I have found out about an internet safety law which is known as COPPA. This stands for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. I found this information out from visiting Kidshealth.org. The COPPA law states that websites are not able to gain a child’s information without parental consent. This law makes sure that websites display their privacy policies on sites and only lets children submit the minimal information about themselves that they need in order to play a game.

Apart from having laws about safety and children using the internet I believe that it is also very important that parents/carers talk to their children about internet safety as this could stop a lot of unnecessary problems occurring. If parents/carers were to talk to children about not giving out personal information on the internet and how it can be dangerous then children will be more wise to the troubles that can be caused and also may be more aware when asked for information over the internet.

Although the internet is great for accessing information and games quickly it is only safe when used properly and appropriately. The use of social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular and children are beginning to use these at a younger age. Some social networking sites can include Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Bebo. These are a fantastic way in which to keep in contact with friends and family who may not live nearby and also to update people with what you have been doing. But it is always important to check that your sites are private so that only people that you want to, can access them. This is usually very easily done by editing the privacy settings but some younger children may not know how to do this. As a parent or carer, if your child is using a site like this, I believe that it is very important to to ensure the privacy settings are set so that only their “friends” are able to view the child’s information.

I found a video on YouTube which shows just how important it is to know exactly who you are talking to online and how easy it is for people to find out personal information about you.

I believe that it is very important to ensure that both patents and teachers know exactly what children are doing when using the Internet as even sites that seem safe may not always be.

When it comes to being a practitioner or teacher it is also important that if you use the Internet that you are aware of who can see what you are saying and doing and also who can access pictures that you may share.  Social networking sites can be easily accessed by members of the public and all it takes is for a parent or child to look you up on a site, and lets face it… You don’t want everybody seeing your embarrassing poses from the night before!!

Creativity in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 – Session 6

Filed under: Creativity in EY and KS1 — Holly at 5:30 pm on Friday, March 29, 2013

This session was based around creativity in the Early Years and Key Stage 1.

For this session, in a small group, we had to choose a picture book and think of ways to use ICT to represent this picture book. The book that we chose to use was Funny Bones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Below is a picture of the front cover of the book. This comes from the source (http://www.coolmumhunting.com/top-tens/top-ten-childrens-halloween-books/attachment/funny-bones-janet-and-allan-ahlberg#.UVW0uRwvn9U)

We set off on our task and began by planning exactly what we wanted to do and how we were going to do this in order to use the time we had in an efficient and effective way. We came up with some ideas we could use and these included:

  • Finding a video for the children
  • Making a game using the Smart Board Software
  • Making a simple power point for the children to see and follow

As there were 2 of us, we decided that one would begin to make the powerpoint whilst the other looked for other resources and material to use. The first thing we found was a YouTube video with the repetition part of the funny bones story on it. By clicking on the link below it will enable you to watch the video that we used.

Funny Bones YouTube Video.

We agreed that this video is a good way to introduce the book to the children. It introduces them to the repetition pattern and also introduces the children to the characters that will be in the book. It may allow the children to want to know what happens next and what the characters will get up to in the story.

After we had linked the video to the powerpoint we then decided to make a game for children to use which also links in with the Funny Bones book. The idea of this game was to enable the children to look at the skeletons and put the body parts back together in the correct order. I have included a link below this paragraph for you yourself to have a go if you would like to see how it works. (you will need the Smart board software in order to open the program.)

Funny Bones Game.

Once we had made our 2 resources, we then completed the powerpoint and added animation effects to make it more interesting. We also thought of ideas which we could use in other areas of the curriculum to link with this book. Here are some of the ideas that we came up with:

  • Role play – such as a dark role play area with skeleton costumes and labels of parts on the body.
  • Art – children could make their own skeleton animals like the ones that are in the book.
  • English – looking at and naming the parts of the body and writing them down.
  • Science – the children could label a skeleton.
  • Fine motor skills – children can make their own skeleton and use their fine motor skills to put the skeleton together.

After we had thought of the above ideas, we then added these into the powerpoint as well.

Click here to see the final powerpoint!

We then presented our powerpoint and activities to the class and had the chance to see what everyone else had been doing using a different range of picture books. These were all very fun and interesting!

Looking back at this session it has helped me to learn that you can make a lot of fun and engaging resources through the use of ICT for a story book and I will definitely use what I have learnt in the future.


Reading and Browsing carried out after this session:

TED Talk by Stuart Brown: Play is more than fun



I found this video really inspiring. It’s showing how Stuart Brown left children to work out how to work a computer by themselves and then once they knew how to, they would then go on to teach other children.

I personally think that this shows how much children really are able to learn by themselves and through having the chance to “play” and experiment with technology. This to me, proves that children really can learn through play.

Gaming in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 – Session 5

Filed under: Gaming in the EY and KS1 — Holly at 4:19 pm on Friday, March 8, 2013

In today’s session, the group was looking at how gaming can help children within the Early Years settings.

As a group we came up with some of the following ideas:

  • It can boost confidence and self esteem.
  • It’s motivating – can encourage a child to work if they know they will have the treat of using a gaming resource.
  • Fine motor skills are developed.
  • Gross motor skills are developed.
  • Life skills – modern technology.
  • Increases imagination.
  • Encourages social development.

Throughout the session I was able to try out many different gaming activities. These included the Wii, Xbox, Nintendo DS and computer games on websites such as Cbeebies.

The Wii is a very useful gaming resource as it helps to develop children’s gross motor skills. They are able to have a big are to play on the console and therefore it gives them the chance to develop their gross motor skills whilst having fun.
The Xbox was useful when using the Kinect feature although the only problem was that if there were people in the background the console got “confused” as to who was playing so the games didn’t always work. This may be a down point to using it within settings that have a lot of children in although, if there was a separate room or area for it then it may work better and be more beneficial for a child’s social skills and gross motor skills.
The Nintendo DS was also a very useful resource. It helped with children’s fine motor skills as they would have to write with the stylus on the screen and press the buttons. Games such as Brain Training were very helpful as they would teach children the basic skills such as their maths, english and everyday skills. A game such as Nintendogs also helps as it is teaching children how to look after something such as a dog. The Nintendo DS also has the option to play with friends which will help with children’s social development.
Other games on the internet sites such as Cbeebies will also be important for children. A lot of the games are to do with writing letters and numbers which will help children with their learning.

Overall, I agree with gaming in the Early Years and KS1 as I believe that it gives the children the opportunity to develop their skills in all areas whilst having fun. It may also encourage some children to come to school as they will look forward to having the privileges of using the different technology which they may not get at home.  The only down point I can see of gaming is that some children may become “addicted” to it and want to go on it all of the time. This is why it is important that the use of the different consoles are limited and only used in a way in schools which is helping the children’s learning.


Reading and Browsing carried out after this session:

TED Talk by Brenda Bratihwaite: Gaming for Understanding



From watching this video I have realised that games can really have a good purpose. Brenda Bratihwaite clearly shows how she has created a game which can be played but can also be used to teach the child who is playing it something instead of them just playing a game and not learning anything from it. Some games that are aimed at children don’t always have a purpose or a meaning behind them apart from to be “fun” where as if children were to play games that they would learn from then people may not have such a negative view on using games with children and also in schools.


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