Session 8: eSafety

So, to finish off Year 1’s blog posts, I am writing a post about eSafety! And to open this blog post, here is a beautiful link to a beautiful song about eSafety created by CBBC. Even though it is really embarrassingly cheesy, it will prove pretty useful when teaching children about eSafety – and provides a little light entertainment before writing my last year 1 blog post on such a heavy subject!

So some important things to take from that video:

  • Don’t give away your address on a public forum
  • It is preferred that children don’t give away their full name – and teachers are often advised against giving their professional name too!
  • Be careful who you are talking to..
  • And if on a public forum – make sure your information is private at all times! Otherwise ‘nasties’ may end up knowing everything about you…

We have to remember that the Internet is a really important part of our lives these days, but it is a very public medium, which anyone can use and almost everything is available for us to access at any one time. It has many good uses but also, a lot of bad uses. For example, it is so easy for a child to accidentally come across sites with pornographic adverts, or with vulgar language being used. Here is a particular example of a case: an article about an 11 y.o. finding a nasty video.

It’s important to teach children eSafety because of the very public and accessible nature of the World Wide Web, and also because so many children are using social networking these days. I found that this KidsHealth website provides children with further information about what the Internet is, and is useful to give them background knowledge about what it is they are using. I think that sometimes, it’s better to actually give something like the Internet a definition so that we don’t take it for granted.

Unfortunately, social networking can cause a lot of worry for parents of young children. Sites like Facebook and Twitter give people opportunities to cyber-bully and have access to the public profiles of other people, who they may not know.

It is quite dangerous, sometimes, to use social networking sites, as strangers may talk to children, and pretend that they are somebody who they are not. It is very easy to trust said-strangers so we need to learn to be very wary about who we speak to!

On the other hand, however, the internet and social networking sites can be really great! I keep up to date with friends all over the UK and the world. One of my friends is from New Zealand, and, although I haven’t seen her since she left whilst we were in Year 6, I can tell you what she’s been doing for the last 10 years, because of Facebook updates and emails.

Twitter is one of my recent most favourite social networking sites as there is so much you can learn from there. Again, it can be dangerous if you’re not careful with it – but there are ways to make the site more… ‘Child Friendly’ I suppose you could call it. Privacy settings can always be changed to stop children from seeing things they shouldn’t be seeing. The Langwitches Blog has a great post about what to be wary of in Twitter, but also talks about the good things that Twitter brings – especially to education!

Anyway, to summarise this intense blog, I think it is important to teach children the ins and outs of the internet, and it is important for children to actually use the internet – but it is almost primarily important to make sure they are always safe. This means keeping personal details safe, not talking to strangers and definitely keeping to child-safe sites!

Jaz~

 

Session 7: Computing

I’ve always enjoyed playing around with computer programs, their coding and HTML coding to see how different programs work. A little bit nerdy, I know, but it’s something that’s always interested me – even from a young age! I was disappointed to have missed out on last week’s session but I managed to catch up by working from my laptop at home, using the class blog and directed tasks.

Scratch was interesting to play around with. I enjoyed looking at examples of Scratch projects, and attempting to make my own Easter Bunny Easter Egg game, but found it difficult to actually produce a working game. I was able to make the bunny move, and hide the eggs, but they just wouldn’t appear again – even when the bunny had found them! So irritating..

Session 7 was a follow on from last week’s session, actually, looking at gaming again. Like I’ve said before, play is so important to learning – especially in younger children! And, it seems, in boys. This link provides stimulating material to get boys creative writing juices flowing by using an game on the iPad about Motorcycle Daredevils on iPads.

Derek Robertson’s blog is also an interesting read, and has some inspiring posts which can promote gaming in education. For example, one post I read was about dancing games, and this kind of game could be used to enhance learning in PE maybe, or Music!

Anywho! This week, we look at Kodu! The website hyperlinked has some great videos showing an overview of Kodu Game Lab.

I was hoping for this program to be a little bit easier to grasp within the time limit I had.

I am a great lover of the XBox Kinect. At home I play all sorts of games like Star Wars Kinect, Dance Central and Kinect Adventures. They are so much fun, and really get you up on your feet rather than just sitting down and pressing buttons on a controller.

This programming software also works with the Kinect – you can play as Kodu using it! It was a shame I didn’t have my Kinect in lesson.

I started using Kodu Game Lab by, to my dismay, using a tutorial. I hate tutorials at the best of times, but I needed to learn the basic skills before I went in so I could have the foundations to explore the software in more depth.

It was a bit frustrating at first, because I couldn’t understand why my Kodu would not eat apples that I had given to him (!!!) but once I got over the first ridiculous hurdle I managed to work out how to use the programme.

Here is a game I made. It’s called… Evil Tree. I programmed the tree so that whenever Kodu touches it, the tree shoots weird pink things at him.

Personally, I would use Kodu in a classroom environment over Scratch – or perhaps introduce Kodu first. Kodu’s interface is much more basic than that of Scratch, but still teaches the children about programming. It’s also fun to be able to play the game easily by just leaving the editing screen.

I also think that Kodu is more suitable for both Key Stage 1 and 2 children, as opposed to Scratch which I feel is more suitable for Key Stage 2. If I was to integrate this program into a lesson, which I most like would do to teach Computing, as per usual I would need a TA on hand to help any children who have difficulty reading the words, or understanding how the program works. Kodu is pretty straight forward, but some lower ability children may be stuck with creating commands or even creating the game. There is, as I complained about before, a tutorial which gives a step by step guide into the basics which all of the children should watch, but there are also templates which, again, could be vital to helping children explore.

Back onto the subject of the Kinect though, I would actually like to use the XBox Kinect in my lessons. The Kinect promotes a very hands-on approach to learning. The XBox website actually says that the Kinect should be used in classrooms, as it creates a whole new experience for kids. I think these games would be good:

  • Kinectimals
  • Kinect Sports
  • Kinect Sesame Street TV (for the younger ones)
  • Body and Brain Connection

I’d like to be experimental with the Kinect.. but maybe I’m being too adventurous. We’ll see!

Anyway, that’s all for today! Tune in next week for… eSAFETY!

Jaz~

Session 6: The Intro to Computing … & Game Based Learning!

Unfortunately, I missed this session due to timetabling issues, but when I saw the session title which I had missed in the ICT handbook, I almost cried. (That’s an exaggeration of course.)

GAME BASED LEARNING?! But that’s my speciality! Gaming is something I love doing so much I actually lose sleep over it when engrossed in a game I am addicted to… (e.g. The Sims 3 – when I get to the point where I watch my latest Sims  sleep and notice it’s 3am, I know I really should be cutting down on playing it. See image…)

I did a little background reading on game-based learning by researching on t’internet, and whilst watching different talks from the ICT Handbook, and skim-reading blogs, one thing remained at the front of my mind: LeapFrog.

Every Sunday at Church, there’s one particular adorable 5 y.o. boy who has a little “LeapsterGS” thingie-majiggie. He got it for Christmas because his older brother and sister have Nintendo DSs. He was showing me how to use it, and I was impressed by how much he hd learnt through it – especially on his Disney’s Cars game.

It actually quite incredible how much children learn through play – and I really believe there isn’t much wrong with young people gaming. Of course, there is this issue with super-violent game which look at the themes of sex, drugs & rock’n’roll. I wouldn’t let an 18 y.o. play it, let alone an 8 y.o. but even the most violent games can be educational. For example, Grand Theft Auto teaches young people about crime, and what is considered to be illegal – like mutilating an innocent old lady and nicking her car. I wouldn’t let kids play it though…

Grand Theft Auto is actually available on iPhone, Android and iPad now, which makes it even more accessible to the wrong kinds of people but never mind! iPads, though, are generally fantastic for using in schools. In fact, a lot of schools are investing in them to enhance the learning experience. This website is an interesting read to give a little insight into how teachers can use iPads.

I think iPads are great for using in schools throughout all the curriculum. I used iPads in other lessons like Art and Music. In Art, we created images on the iPads, and in Music, we, obviously, made music. They were great to play around with and simple to use, whilst being educational. Personally, I feel that all schools should have some kind of tablet, as they are seemingly the way forward at the moment. A lot of people these days own one and use it a lot as their form of IT – sometimes instead of a laptop or computer.

Fraser Spiers, Head of Computing in a school in Scotland, gave a very interesting statement in Craig Grannell’s blog which also backs up my view of bringing iPads to all schools. He describes the iPad to be “not just a textbook or an instrument, or a set of art tools – it’s all of those things and more”.

Anyway, moving on. The programme this Session looked at in particular was Scratch. Using Scratch as an introduction to computing is a good way to ease children into it. The interface is easy to handle and you can achieve some great results through using it, without much effort at all. Above all, though, Scratch helps the user create a cute little game that anyone can play!

Whilst I was messing around with it, discovering what it can do, I decided to make an Easter Bunny Easter Egg Hunt Game (Yay! Bunnies!). Of course, Easter related because, well, it’s Easter time (ish). The aim of the game was to drag Mr Easter Bunny about a woodland area backdrop and try and get the beautifully coloured Easter Eggs to appear. Cute, huh?

The process of making it wasn’t cute though.

To be quite honest, I found it a bit of a struggle to use the bloomin’ thing. Dragging and dropping commands into the script window, and trying to get the rabbit to move about without giving myself an epileptic fit. The eggs wouldn’t appear, even though I knew where they were! I will probably have to come back to that one and try it again in the future.

I think in order to be able to teach this, I would probably need a little bit more practice and research into how Scratch works. From looking at the examples, I get inspired to create something beautiful! Yet I couldn’t quite make something of good quality this time round. Never mind. In Primary Education, however, we are always learning, so I may just learn so many more things, whilst teaching myself how to use the basics of Scratch.

Similarly, I would need to think about differentiation. This is quite a challenging program so I would definitely need to be on hand, as well as a TA, for all children, and, more importantly, those children who are less able. Early Years, Key Stage 1 less able children and children with EAL also may find it difficult to read commands which you can use for the script of the game, so it would be very important to make sure there is additional support there at all times. I wouldn’t really recommend the program for use with Early Years or KS1 students anyway, as it is far too complicated, but could prove a challenge for those children who are particularly able! I think a template would be needed here to introduce the program to the children, but, as they become more familiar with it, they should get the opportunity to experiment using their own sprites and ideas for games.

I’m going to go away and watch these little lessons now… click here to see them

And so.. the finished product:

Learn more about this project

Admittedly, my finished project is a little disappointing, but never mind. If you have epilepsy, I am very sorry! This game is not for you, I am afraid. Anyway, for those of you who aren’t having fits – that’s all for now! Goodbye.

Jaz~

Session 5: …Data ‘n’ fingz

Data. Not one of my favourite subjects. The word haunts me in my darkest nightmares. Even the sound of it just screams “extreme boredom”. I had to get over it for this session, though. Especially considering it was what it was based around.

Actually, the title of the session was, more accurately, ‘Data, Modelling & Simulations’. Fortunately, it was more down my street than I expected. Infographics! I love design, and creating digital graphics, so I was happy.

An Infographic is, basically, a graphic that provides information on a particular topic. Being a Pinterest user, I was used to seeing this kind of thing. As seen in the 1st two pictures I’ve inserted onto this blog post, they can be either quite amusing and used for comedic effect, or are genuinely created to show information which can usually be interesting! I’m a coffee fiend so I find the 2nd picture quite interesting to read.

We got the chance to make our own today and began by looking at some websites provided through Helen’s Pinterest Board for Infographics and Data.

First, my group started off playing around with a chart tool called the Pictograph Creator. This was fun, but very simple, and only a low level of customization. I like to have full control when designing graphics so was disappointed.

Moving swiftly on from that, we began using Piktochart. Piktochart was fun to use, although the free templates weren’t exactly inspiring! As you might have picked up on, I’m quite the critic when it comes to design. Which isn’t really all that necessary considering the career I’m going into. Though it could be argued that this could help to create a new breed of super creative teachers with an eye for design and technology! Maybe I should begin recruiting…

But I digress.

To create the Infographic, we had a bit of a mindmap and decided to ask the question “What is the most popular favourite colour in Group 4?” Although it wasn’t particularly original, it was something we could work with and could provide us with the freedom to explore all that Piktochart and Pictograph Creator could do. This was the outcome of our project:

Wasn’t quite finished by the end of the session, but I think it was close enough to upload! We not only played about with the infographic creator, but we also wrote about what steps we had used, and how we’d gone about achieving those steps.

If I were to use infographics in lessons, I think I would make one from scratch, if I had the time, using Adobe Photoshop/InDesign/the like. The websites, however, are very good for a quick fix if time-limited! I like this idea of using an infographic to put across information to the class.

Infographics really provide so much opportunity as a stimulus or just to enhance the learning process. They could also work well in differentiation if the children got an opportunity to make one themselves. Children who were more able could explore all the websites making infographics, and children who find using technology more difficult could use the more simple websites, like Pictograph Creator – which is simple but definitely effective!

Whilst doing some further reading, I found Tony Vincent’s Pinterest Boards interesting for other ways using data in the classroom – which is worth a browse! He, with some other people, have pinned some great websites. Similarly, by reading TechChef4U’s blog, I picked up lots more inspiration for creating infographics, and built on my resources by browsing the links that the writer had inserted. I was aware of some of the websites already, like Visual.ly and Edmodo (the latter mainly from Tony Vincent’s Pinterest).

So, all in all, I had my eyes opened in this session to the variety of things I could do with data in lessons. Maybe I should be open-minded more frequently…

Jaz~

A Techno-Music Lesson

We had 4 sessions on Music and the final one focussed on using ICT! Which was very exciting because I LOVE THE INTEGRATION OF MUSIC AND ICT.

I really enjoy listening to music, playing music, singing music and performing music. I am a guitarist, a singer, a saxophonist and an avid GarageBand-ist. Fortunately, at the beginning of the lesson, I could use GarageBand, as I’d brought my laptop along and everyone was encouraged to use Audacity.

I don’t really like the interface of Audacity as much as GarageBand, because, in my opinion, I think it looks clunky. GarageBand has a cool, modern look and I find it a lot easier to create a decent bit of music on it than Audacity, which has so many ridiculous buttons which don’t really make much difference.

Here is a ridiculous video I made about 5 years ago now (originally I wrote 3 years ago, but the video said I uploaded on 2008. Wow. Time flies). The song I created using loops on GarageBand and based the song around the ‘Downtempo Sexy Bass’ loop, which you can hear throughout the song. It was a lot of fun but it really does not make any sense.

I hope you enjoyed that little nugget of happiness! I think this kind of thing might be both fun and entertaining in a classroom environment – making music then creating a music video… There’s also an app for that – VidRhythm <– this app is seriously so much fun! You just record what the app tells you to using whatever you want (I used mainly voice) and it turns it into a cool little video! I wish I had an iPad…

So anyway… we were introduced to Tiger in a Tropical Storm by Rousseau. I recognised it from previously lessons I’d attended for other subjects – it’s quite a widely used painting. In groups, we had to create a sound landscape to represent the painting. This means to create lots of sounds at the same time to create a ‘landscape effect’ and represent the painting as we saw fit in a musical way. Here is our finished product!

I think it’s very tigery myself. Created by myself, Katie Stanbrook and Bethany Mendham – upcoming experimentalist artists! Watch out…

Recording voices on Audacity or GarageBand can be really helpful for children, as they can come to terms with the sounds that they can make. Music making, too, is a great expression of creativity that children can immerse themselves in, so I think sound landscapes provide a great opportunity to enhance learning.

We moved swiftly onto working with iPads, and looked at Music related apps which we could use in the classroom. First of all, my group looked and experimented with VidRhythm, and after that Virtuoso.

Virtuoso is a great free iPad app: it is basically a transportable dual-layer keyboard, and could be used in the classroom to get the children started with playing some music! GarageBand for iPad is very similar, and both are great to inspire children to get playing.

I also looked at the Drum Kit app for iPad. I’m not really a drummer so haven’t played around with a drum kit before, but the app gave me that experience to explore the different sounds that the kit makes. I think it is also important for kids to explore that aspect of the drum kit, as they may never get the experience to explore a real drum kit – but who knows. This app could be used in an Early Years setting for a Phonics session, as children can explore the sounds that each piece of the kit makes, and part of Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds is to learn about all the sounds made by the things around them.

Here is a selection of reviews I found for different musical apps on the iPad.

That’s all from me today.

Adios!

Jaz~

Session 4: Curriculum Applications

This session touched on using interactivity through ICT across the curriculum, and I got the opportunity to either create another animation, Smart Board activity,  or use one of the three websites that we got introduced to at the beginning of the lesson. The websites we explored were Storybird, StoryJumper and Animoto.

Storybird & StoryJumper are, you guessed it, story-based websites; on these websites you can create your own electronic picture books – now beginning to be called flickbooks. Storybird has a simpler system, where you can choose from sets and ‘unlock the story’ by typing captions next to, above or underneath a picture which you place on each page. StoryJumper is a lot more interactive, and you can edit the images in the book, and even place your own face on one of the pages – so you can really ‘get lost in a book’ – hehehehe, pun intended.

When first introduced to Storyjumper what I was most excited about was MAKING A TREASURE MAP. I was overwhelmed with anticipation, even before I found out I could be a real life pirate! YEEEEAAAAHHH!

Here is a sample of work Fabi and myself made on on StoryJumper. The story is called The Greedy Cap’n and His Mates:

Read it here

Was great fun making this book. Except I never got round to finishing it. This website would be brilliant to use in classrooms in Literacy, as it provides children the opportunity to actually make their own books thus using their creativity to its full!

I had a browse on Storybird, and I liked the interface. It’s the same concept as Storyjumper, but there are templates for the authors to create their stories. The user can select a set of pictures and make a story out of it. It’s a lot less customisable than StoryJumper, however, which, for me, gives it a lower mark out of 10!

The one website I personally had an aversion to was Animoto. Admittedly, it’s design and simplicity is impressive, but overall, I really dislike it. That’s coming from someone who is very much a techno geek and could do that kind of thing myself in about 30 seconds. Not blowing my own trumpet, but have had a lot of practice prior to Uni!

Of course, for those teachers who don’t particularly get along with video making software, or trying to make a more classy slideshow, this website is perfect. It could be used across the curriculum in so many different areas – but that goes for most visuals in general. Similarly, the website is simple enough for all children to have a play around with so would be useful as a tool to aid learning.

There’s always the issue of differentiation that needs to be taken in account in all areas of the curriculum, however, so it’s important to bare that in mind for lessons which involve activities like this. StoryBird and StoryJumper are great for creating stories, but it’s important to make sure that there is always a teacher or TA available to help all children with spelling or grammar – not just those of a lower ability.

I think StoryBird is a great example to use with less able children as, straight away, the children get a model to write a story round. Some children really struggle with creativity when they have nothing to inspire them, but StoryBird provides a stimulus for creating a fantastic story! I would recommend you use it more in Key Stage 1, though, as it could be more helpful to introduce creative writing, rather than building on those skills.

StoryJumper is best for Key Stage 2, in my opinion. Again, templates for inspiring a fantastic piece of creative writing, but this time it is more customisable and gives children more freedom. Here, higher ability pupils can have that little extra challenge to create something fantastic and play around with the customisable interface of StoryJumper to make something personal and of great quality!

There are so many possibilities you could use these two websites for, and similarly Animoto could be potentially a great way to introduce children to making a presentation. It’s very easy to use, which is great for children in Key Stage 1 and 2, but I would recommend it more for Key Stage 2. It could be used, for example, in a History Topic, where children are asked to do some research then report back on findings of a particular age.

Considering the importance of ICT being used across the curriculum, it would be useful to start researching for resources on the web to be used in lessons. There are ways to enhance learning in all areas using just websites on the internet. I’ve got a whole Pinterest board on them!

Browsing Susan Brooke-Young’s blog made me think about how I could use my skills in ICT in all lessons. Obviously, video is great for visual learners, and so are infographics (edit: these are looked at in the next session) and ‘photo stories’ – which we kind of looked at today.

I will continue researching and building on my ICT resources and will report back in later blogs!

Laters

Jaz~

 

Session 3: Animation

OK, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: This session was awesome!

I know – not very academic of me, but the rest of my blog doesn’t seem to be reading that way, so why upset the style?

Session 3 was on Animation. And yes, it was awesome. We learnt how to play around with some software called “MonkeyJam”, which, for a Media nerd like myself, didn’t really look too difficult to handle. It wasn’t, and I had a lot of fun playing around with it.

Joint with my partner in crime, Fabi Reid, we produced this box-office blowout:

I know what you’re thinking: incredible. A masterpiece. A work of art.

But, seriously. MonkeyJam is an easy-to-use bit of software that could be used to make a visual stimulus or teaching point for children. In fact, children themselves could useit for educational purposes within ICT or across the curriculum.

Obviously, you would have to consider the level which the children are at according to their ability, as it may be quite difficult for children to a) come up with a creative idea to animate or b) work out how to use the program altogether. With use of the TA, children of lower ability will, potentially, find using the program easier, but still, the creativity issue remains. I think what could be a good idea is to link this lesson to English and have an activity where the children create a storyboard which they can animate using MonkeyJam with a model they are given. Giving the children a model to write a storyboard around will help stimulate them. It could be a good idea to start off these children with a template to base their ideas around – dependent on what Key Stage they are in, of course! Children of a higher ability will need freedom to explore MonkeyJam’s possibilities, so a template won’t be as necessary.

The possibilities are truly endless with MonkeyJam, and I personally will be using it to its full potential in schools I work at in the future.

Oh, and the fact that it’s free makes it even better. I’ve played around with Adobe Dreamweaver and that program is definitely not worth the money you have to fork out for it these days. Daylight robbery.

Outside of session, I did some of the reading set for us in our ICT booklet. I read up on this idea of ‘This Exquisite Forest’ which is a project by Google and Tate: Exquisite Forest The idea is for people to add an animation to the tree so that each builds on each other by using the ideas from the people before. It’s actually fascinating looking at each animation, then seeing it’s current ‘end product’. The idea is incredible and I really think it could inspire children’s creativity if used in an Art or ICT lesson.

Another thing that caught my eye in the reading was this article:

Cool article link.

Now, I know I can certainly be considered as a ‘techie’ teacher, and this article is music to my ears. If only other teachers could feel the same! Technology is a huge part of our lives now – it is used in almost every aspect of our day to day routine and we depend on it more than we’d like to think. Personally, I am interested to see whether the pencil will be overruled by the keyboard now, considering every where is trying to ‘go digital’, and people are dropping their pencils when they leave school, to begin typing for the rest of their careers.

Reading this article made me think, ‘how could I integrate technology into my classroom – without it getting in the way of other important skills, like fine motor, and, the most obvious, writing?’. My problem is finding the balance. I would love to use my video camera and video editing skills to produce wonderful stimulus and work from the children every lesson. I would also love to use iPads to their full extent, too – (though I know they are a little too expensive for most schools). I just have to find out a way of doing this appropriately, whilst not forgetting the old ways of learning too. As is a common quote from James Bond’s Skyfall: “The old ways are sometimes the best.”

(Sorry – fiancé bought the DVD a few days ago and watched it last night. But it’s relevant.)

Anyway; to summarise!

1) Animation is cool

2) Technology is a real advantage to teacher when integrated and used appropriately in lessons

3) James Bond quotes are often relevant to make a point

4) I tend to babble on

Sayonara.

Jaz~

Session 2: “Looking at IWBs” – What?!

You’ll find in a lot of schools the term: ‘IWB’.

 “ICT cross-curricular links? Say no more. I’ve got an IWB in my classroom.”

“Just turn on the IWB for me, would you, please?”

“Can someone come and please fix this wretched IWB?!!”

(BTW the image is meant to represent the feelings of a crazed teacher, stressed to the eyeballs at the IT department in a Primary School)

Obviously, if you know what IWB means, then all is well, and the above quotes make perfect sense. However, for those of you that don’t:

An IWB stands for Interactive Whiteboard. They are essentially whiteboards, which are – you guessed it – interactive. Teachers throughout Britain are using IWBs these days; they can use the IWB to project their computers onto it to show their class PowerPoints, websites, videos or use it instead of a normal whiteboard – except you can keep a permanent record of the notes you write on it!

IWBs are actually really quite incredible inventions. Personally, I think they are revolutionary – you can do anything with them! There is so much more opportunity with IWBs than there are with normal whiteboards. In Session 2 of ICT, we had the opportunity to explore an IWB. It was fun to explore different programs, and how to use them on the IWB, but the highlight of my Session was Logan.

My friend and classmate, Pei, is mother to Logan (above), who is 3 years old. He was totally engrossed by the IWB. It was very early on in using the IWB that he worked out how to change the colour on the dashboard on the bottom of it, and how to move his doodles about which he had drawn on. It truly was magical watching him play, and is a perfect example of how children learn to become IT literate from a young age – through not only education, but also play and general exploration.

But, despite me arguing that the IWB is a fantastic piece of kit, it is also a hindrance to many teachers. Maybe it’s a little too early to make this assumption, but it seems most teachers and lecturers, who aren’t ICT specialists, I’ve come across so far just can not get along with IWBs. For some reason, IWBs seem to ‘break’ on them or are too complicated to use.

So far, I have only used an IWB once whilst being in the role of a teacher. I used one to show a PowerPoint about Hinduism to a class of Year 2’s whilst on placement, and it worked very well. Using the IWB in the lesson wasn’t particularly vital, but it enhanced the learning experience. In reflection, I think I could have utilized the board more in the lesson by, perhaps, showing a video, or getting the kids involved in its interactivity – maybe with a quiz or a game of some sort.

In fact, in this session of ICT, we made IWB games, too. Had I known about this whilst on my first School Placement, I probably would have attempted to make an interactive quiz, as we did ask the class questions at the end of the session to test their knowledge and understanding.

Whilst doing some of the further reading for the session, I came across all sorts of other resources for the IWB which I thought were useful. TeacherLED had some great IWB actvities to be used in English, Maths and Geography. In Maths, there were adjustable clock activites, and an interactive 100 Square which could be useful, in English, an interactive Vowel Digraphs activity and in Geography there were some interactive maps for the IWB.

The interactive Vowel Digraphs activity was something that particularly interested me, as most of my Year 1 Core English course was based around early reading a phonics. This resource would be very useful to implement in a Phonics lesson, so I’ll bare that one in mind when it comes round to my next placement…

In all of these resources, there was space to differentiate in the classroom. Obviously, with use of the the TA, children of a lower ability would have their learning enhanced, but there were activities for all kinda of different levels of learning. Similarly I saw some more complicated activities on there which would enhance children of a higher ability’s learning. For example, the Vowel Digraph activity had different stages that the children could play with, depending on what Phase of Phonics they were at.

Kent ICT, similarly, has some good resources, but what interested me about this website is that it provides information to teachers about the types of IWBs you can get. There are a lot of people who are under the impression that the SMART board is one of the main IWBs you can get, but there are others like the Hitachi board, which can be considered a cheaper alternative to boards such as the Promethean board. This link gives the low-down on the variety of IWBs you can get, and gives information about other things to do with the IWB in general too.

Although not all of the links worked (gah!), there were other interesting links in the Directed Reading which caught my interest, like Wokingham Primary’s Schemes of Work,  and a website which looks at ICT in the Early Years.

A site that was particularly interesting to me, but wasn’t so much discussing IWBs, was the “25 Features of Outstanding ICT Lessons” – purely because it is a list. I love lists. Lists are nice to read. What I also like about this particular list is that is looks at ICT lessons (obviously) and says plenty of things which I agree with. However, I think the list should be implemented in other subjects, too. For example, it talks about the teacher’s flexibility, appropriate use of ICT in the lesson, and plenty of questioning being vital ingredients in a scrummy lesson gateaux (and yes, the metaphor was totally necessary. I felt I wasn’t being creative enough in my writing.)

Anyway, that’s ’nuff of me babbling on.

Jaz~

I am ‘Pinspirational’

I love Pinterest.

I literally love everything about it. From the cuddley bunny photos all the way down to the stupid, self-centred inspirational quotes. It’s an addiction I just can’t shift. Recently, my most commonly posted on board is my board entitled: “I’m Getting Married!” – you can imagine what that board entails.

The website, despite the fact that it is one of the most confusing websites to get your head round within the 2 hours of registering, is an incredible source of inspiration (or as users seem to call it, Pinpiration) and the centre of all my brainstorming. When I say ‘brainstorming’, I actually mean ‘procrastinating’.

But all joking aside, it’s really helpful for interesting recipes, DIY and craft ideas and teaching stimulus! For example, if I want to teach a lesson on word classes, or most specifically adjectives (describing words) and verbs (words which suggest action or state), I could go either search ‘teaching adjectives and verbs’ or browse the ‘Education’ area through selecting it from the drop down menu. Et voila – stimulus and resources!

But admittedly, my main focus when using Pinterest is looking at cute fluffy things. Like baby bunnies. Like this little guy

Cuddley! Anyway, this is a link to my Pinterest site. It may or may not be useful to you, but who knows. Enjoy!

Anyway, end of post.

Jaz~

Hi – Jaz here!

Hey guys. It’s Jaz. Welcome to my blog. I can assure you it will be quite insightful, reflective on sessions I have attended at University and full of great ideas for ICT. Here are a three facts about myself before we get started:

1) I will be married on the 2nd of August 2014.

2) I love rabbits

3) For a long time, I pursued a career in the film industry, so I have a lot of background in video production. I initially wanted to be a video editor.

Here is another 5 facts about me, if you really wish to know them, which I told YouTube around about 5 or 6 years ago, in video form.

Hopefully, you will see little (more EDUCATIONAL!!) videos popping up on this blog.

Anyway, on the subject of ICT, I don’t tend to use Windows computers, unless I’m online gaming. Normally, I use a MacBook Pro. It has 120gb of space, but is pretty much full of huge video files, and RAW image files I’ve taken on my D-SLR camera. I tend to use laptops a lot, and in the past have done temping based on computers in office environments, and working from home.

I have a lot of experience on the Microsoft Office package, the Adobe package (including InDesign, Flash, Photoshop and Illustrator) and am fully proficient with Final Cut Pro packages, and Motion. I am pretty computer literate in general, and really enjoy learning new programs on the computer.

I hope to use all of these skills in all of my teaching.

Here is a link to my Pinterest site for teaching resources:

http://pinterest.com/megahhbyte/teach/

Here’s a picture of my bunny, Barney:

See ya around

Jaz~