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Computing session 3 – Mobile Technologies and ICT Outdoors

I’m sure many of us are familiar with QR codes (Quick Response Codes) from using them on our smart phones nowadays. QR code is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode). A barcode is an optically machine-readable label that is attached to an item and that records information related to that item.
The advantage to using QR codes in schools is that it not only keep children up to date with modern technology (something that is moving very fast) but it also engages the children as it is something different and interesting.
Below is a QR code that will take you to a youtube clip. This is a simple idea that you can use with children – they scan the QR code (unknowing what it will take them to) and then watch the youtube clip, and can go on to do a piece of work after.

It is so simple and quick to generate a QR code, so doesn’t create any extra work for teachers, but will interest the children no end.

Scan me is the website that I used to generate my code, but there are many others, such as QR Stuff and QR code.

Ideas of how to use QR codes in schools:

  • Take children to a website/youtube clip
  • Create codes that show children a mathematical problem that they need to solve (Put the codes all around the classroom or school, so they are up out of their seats while working)
  • To introduce an artist, showing a range of their work
  • Use a code at the start of the lesson that takes the children to an explanation of what they are going to do.

All the above ideas are very simple and just make your lesson that bit more interesting for the children. There are further ideas on Pinterest about how to use QR codes in your classroom.

Purple Mash is an online space created for children ages 3-11. It consists of educational activities in the form of apps, tool, games and projects from every curriculum subject. They do a 30 day free trail, so I would suggest signing up for 30 days, giving it a go and then pester your head teacher to get them to allow your school a subscription!

Below I have used the ‘2graph’ section and created both a pie chart and a bar chart about children’s shoe sizes in a class. It is so simple to do, you literally input the information on the side and the graph creates itself. There are a range of graphs to choose from up the top which allows you to compare how data is displayed in different graph types – an excellent cross curricular link to maths!

The space could be used during children’s choosing time at school, as everything is done in a fun but educational way. Children can select their age group and then everything under that section is suitable for them. Or, you could use it as an introduction to the lesson.

Activities from Purple Mash can be printed off and used in the classroom too, or sent home for homework – the options really are endless.

There is also a Teacher’s section on there, which has lots of ideas of how to use the activities on Purple Mash.
As I said, if your school doesn’t currently have Purple Mash for your students, I would highly recommend it. Giving children their own log in allows them to use it at home as well.

I’ve discussed a range of media ideas with you now, such as Prezi, Make dice lite, iMovies, animation, Photo peach and Animoto. All of them have benefits when used well in the classroom.

What I like most about all of them is how easy they are to use. You don’t have to be a technology genius (thank goodness) to be able to incorporate them into your lessons.
Below is a small chart of the positives and negatives of using technology and media in the classroom.

Positives

Negatives

Fun and engaging

Children still need to learn to write and there is a worry that too much use of technology will increase illiteracy

Can be used to reinforce the learning

Allows all children to achieve and be involved

students who are handicapped can also make use of assistive technology, which can allow them to communicate better

Some students will explore beyond the bounds and parameters of the project and become distracted by other activities that they find on the Internet.

Technology in the classroom is not just for students. Teachers can use the technology to keep student records, plan lessons and communicate with parents.

Finding the right materials online to integrate into a lesson is not always easy

It is costly to have a wide range of technology and also timely and costly for staff to be trained on them

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