Art Trip- National Gallery, London

This post is not directly related to either computing or RE however as a directed task for Art we had to look at a visit to an Art trip and the potential links for computing that this has. Unfortunately due to assignment deadlines I was not able to attend the trip to Compton Verney in November however in order to make sure that I was able to complete the tasks required I decided to visit the National Gallery in London. The reason for this is because it is a world famous gallery and I was also fortunate to visit the National Gallery as part of an Art trip when I was in primary school so I thought it would be great to visit again! My first was to document my visit using digital technology, I had planned to do this through taking photographs of the paintings that can be found in the National Gallery. However, visitors are not allowed to take photographs during visitor opening hours, only during the photography sessions can they be taken! A fact I was not aware of. Therefore during my time at the National Gallery I was unable to take photographs of the experience however photographs of the paintings can be found on the National Gallery website which can be found at the following web link: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/. An image of the web site can be seen below:

National Gallery

Another task was to explore the website in detail and document any educational packs that are available to schools and reflect on how they could be used in schools. One resource that I found on the website which I really liked and could see myself using in school, was the primary teacher’s notes. I found this particularly useful for myself because my subject knowledge of paintings is not what it should be and therefore the teachers notes provides a basic introduction to the painting, as well as providing ideas as to how it could be used in the classroom and includes cross-curricular links to other subjects.

It is important to consider how a visit to the National Gallery may enhance both teaching and learning, I think this can be achieved as it allows children to experience art first hand, something they may never have the opportunity to experience themselves without an educational visit to a gallery. I also think that visiting the National Gallery also not only gives them the opportunity to experience art first hand but it also gives them the opportunity to learn about religion and culture.

My final task was to reflect on how the website encourages users to engage with both art and digital media. I think the National Gallery is an excellent example of how this can be achieved, as there are links on the website to a virtual tour, 360 degrees spin of each room (digital media). The website then encourages users to engage with the art through them being able to look at the paintings close up, and zoom in and out on them as well as to find out any information about the gallery.

To conclude, I found my visit to the National Gallery very inspiring and learnt a lot during my visit. If I had the opportunity it is definitely a place where I would take children to visit and experience the art and culture that can be found there.

 

Final Computing Session- E-Safety

My very very final post in computing this year will cover a very important topic which should be covered in schools- E-Safety. Last year, I also blogged about E-Safety however this year it has been revealed that E-Safety is an important aspect of the new National Curriculum under computing. I think this is extremely important, and I’m hoping that because it will now be statutory to teach about E-Safety that both children and teachers will be more aware of this issue, and report anything that they find to be suspicious. I felt it important to re-embed a video that I included in my blog post last year as I think it is a tool that can be used in schools and it is something that sums up the importance of internet safety well. The video can be found below:

Whilst the internet is a great tool that is often used both inside and outside of school, it is important that children know how to stay safe online. This is particularly true, with there being more and more horror stories on the news about cyber bullying and the frequency of this increasing. Last year I explored some tools, which I still believe to be relevant to help achieve safety online. The one I felt to be most effective was Hector the dolphin, which is a button that children can press if they feel unsafe or threatened when using the internet and an adult will come to help to rectify the problem.

As part of this post on e-safety I also decided to explore some links that had been outlined in the module handbook. The first of which was the CEOP (child exploitation and online protection) website which can be found at: http://ceop.police.uk/. CEOP are responsible for creating the video which can be found above. I found the website to be useful for providing teachers, parents/guardians and children with information about online safety. An image of the website can be seen below:

CEOP- e-safety session

A final web link I decided to explore was titled ‘cyber angels’ and the website can be found at: http://www.cyberangels.org/about.php. It is a very well known and respected website which is an education program about online safety. The website contains a lot of information for both teachers and parents/guardians about keeping children safe when using the internet. An image of the website can be seen below:

cyber angels- e-safety session

On my current placement, e-safety is a real focus as is spreading awareness about the dangers of using the internet and the importance of staying safe online. I took a photograph of one of the schools displays about e-safety including potential dangers and what to do if you see something which concerns you. An image of the display can be seen below:

e-safety poster

This concludes my blog posting for year 2! I have really enjoyed blogging this year, I feel that I have not only learnt a lot but I have also developed and refined my skills from my blog in my first year of my training, and hopefully this blog reflects that! I can’t wait to start blogging again in year 3!

RE Session 6: Assessing RE, Reviewing Planning and PSHE

Our objectives for our final session of RE were to know about assessment in RE. Our second objective was to be able to evaluate planning to include assessment.

Our first activity was to discuss how teachers and parents feel about RE, within our table groups before then feeding back to the rest of the group. I think that we came to a group consensus, that the majority of parents are a bit unsure when it comes to their understanding of religious. We felt that parents don’t always understand the importance of RE being taught in school and that they may also be unsure what the teaching of RE entails. We also agreed that with teachers there may also be a degree of uncertainty when it comes to religious education. One reason for this is because a teacher may have taken either a PGCE degree or a GTP in which case they won’t have had as much training about RE and therefore may not be familiar with everything that the teaching of RE covers, in comparison to a BA Primary Ed student where they have three years of training and therefore may feel more secure within their knowledge and teaching of RE.

After that, we then moved on to discuss the question ‘Is Religious Education hindered, or at an advantage, as an academic subject because it is not regulated in the same way as other curriculum subjects?’ Overall everyone agreed that it was a bit of both (a hindrance and an advantage). It can be viewed as an advantage, because it means that teachers have a degree of freedom in the way in which they teach and assess RE. However, it can also be a hindrance because it is not a part of the National Curriculum it is often disregarded as not being an important subject because of this, which is not the case! We also discussed that from observations on placements we have noticed that RE is often taught by TAs in PPA time, which again shows complete disregard for RE as an important academic subject.

It is then important to consider what comes first… Plan? Assess? Or Teach?

We had the task to discuss this on our table I said assess because you can’t plan without taking into consideration children’s prior learning (which is gained from assessment). However, some other people believe that planning or teaching comes first. I think that there are arguments to support all of them coming first i.e. you can’t teach without planning first, and you can’t assess without first teaching a lesson. Although this is the case, we eventually came to the consensus that assessment comes first as you can’t plan without looking at assessment data, similarly you can’t teach without planning.

So we were then posed with the next question… how do you assess in RE?

The suggestions that we came up with as a whole group are:

–       Marking the children’s written work

–       Questioning

–       Observation

–       Discussion

–       Debates

–       Sequencing of stories

–       Group work

–       Role play

After this, we watched a clip of a successful RE lesson where its focus was about being reflective. The lesson was really fantastic to watch, particularly from my perspective as I haven’t had the opportunity to observe any RE on placement yet. It also gave me some ideas that I could take away and use in my own teaching practice, this is particularly the case as the lesson focused on meeting requirements from AT2 and I was unsure how to go about this, however I now have a better understanding of how it can be drawn into an RE lesson.

teachers media- session 6

Our next task was to go back to what we had looked at with regard to assessment, and look at a variety of different types of level descriptors that are available or used in schools as a method of assessing RE. We had to work individually to decide what descriptors we would prefer to use and why before then sharing our ideas with the rest of the group. We all agreed that we preferred the idea of using a grid format as it was clearly laid out and easy to read the information, I also found that with this example the examples given were more specific not just general statements. I thought that because of this they could therefore be applied to the classroom situation easily in comparison to the descriptors that were just ‘sweeping’ statements. We then had the opportunity to put our knowledge of the level descriptors to the test and have a go at looking at how another teacher has assessed some children’s work and decide whether or not we agreed or disagreed with the level that they had been given. I thought that the levels which had been given were pretty accurate and were a reflection of both the child’s work and the level descriptors. Reflecting on this task though, I was surprised at how difficult it could be to assess a child’s work within RE particularly if they had expressed their understanding through a drawing. However, I can take away from this that I would need to get to grips more with the level descriptors and how to assess work in RE, something which I currently have had no experience with.

Finally, for this session we discussed PSHE and its place within the new National Curriculum. Which unfortunately it seems to have little place… something which I was not aware of before the start of this session. In the new National Curriculum all that can be found for PSHE is a very small statement. There is no guidance on what children should be taught and what progression they should make as they pass through primary school. Ultimately it can be said, that the government believes that PSHE should be taught in schools, however it is completely up to the teacher how they go about teaching it.

To conclude, I have reached the end of my RE section of my blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed my RE sessions this year, I feel like I have covered a lot of information in a short space of time however I have learnt a lot from that, and hopefully this blog shows the progression that I have made this year. I can’t wait to get into the classroom either on placement or in my future career and put what I have learned in RE into practise.

Computing Session 6- Extending Computing at Key Stage Two

The objectives for our final computing session of the year were to; look at creative computing as part of a suite of digital technologies. Build an understanding of computational thinking through plugged, unplugged and real world examples. To look at the relationship between control technology and constructionist learning theories. And finally to look at physical computing as an educational tool making the connections between the physical and the virtual.

We began this session by looking at the place of computing within the new National Curriculum. Computing has been added into the curriculum in order to replace ICT, as mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I thought this was simply a name change. However it is not, the changes are a lot more complex than first thought. Admittedly, I did panic when I read the computing section as I thought it was too complicated for children in either key stage one or two. However, I think that times are changing and children are a lot more familiar with technology in comparison to my generation. Therefore this new computing section of the curriculum could be a perfect way to challenge them and develop their technological skills.

In our computing sessions so far this term, we have already looked at tools which can be used to teach children the computing skills that they need and these where considered again briefly in today’s session (further details of them can be seen in sessions 4 and 5). However today’s session was about tools that can be used in the classroom to extend these computing skills. Three tools were explored: Raspberry Pi, Lego We do and Makey Makey and I have explained what we did with them in detail below.

Raspberry Pi

Initially, this was a tool that completely baffled me! I didn’t understand what it was or what it would be used for in the classroom. However, after a lot of research and discussion I finally understood. The device itself is very small, only the size of a computer mouse! The device has an SD card slot (to store information), an Ethernet port (to connect to the internet), a HDMI cable (for high tech display and sound), 2 USB ports (can be used to connect a mouse, keyboard or memory stick). The device even has a slot for headphones! Considering all of that, it came as a huge surprise to me to discover that this device is available at a small cost with the lowest price being £25. As well as this there is also the option to attach other features to the device such as a camera. I think that this resource is a great device to use in schools considering how cost effective it is, however it is also important to think about the added extras such as all of the cables to enable the device to work to its best. The device is also a great tool, as it already comes installed with programming tools such as scratch as well as tools to teach programming language for example adults can learn the most complex programming language on this little device (python). Images of the Raspberry Pi software can be seen below:

raspberry pi- session 6

raspberry pi 2- session 6

Lego We Do

This was my favourite tool that we explored in this final session! I thought it was a brilliant concept and a fantastic way to extend children’s knowledge in computer programming. From the title, you may have already guessed that this product has been created by the well-known children’s toy manufacturer Lego. The product works by the user following an on screen tutorial in order to build the Lego creation, this can take up to thirty minutes however this depends on the age range of the children and their ability. After that, the user is then shown the best way to move the sensors (either light or motion) which are placed on the Lego creation. The sensors are then plugged into the computer via USB ports. The children can then complete the sequence as much as they like. I have uploaded a video of the Lego We Do below:

Makey Makey

This is the final tool we looked at this session, to explore methods of extending children’s computing ability. Makey Makey works by being plugged into the computer, via a USB port. Cables can then be plugged into the Makey Makey to control various elements of the computer such as the arrow keys on the keyboard, clicker of the mouse etc. This works with someone holding the Earth wire, when the cables are plugged into the Makey Makey the other end of the cable can be plugged into other materials such as fruit and vegetables, we used carrots in our session! When myself, Firouzeh Kern and Emma Perring had a go at using Makey Makey we decided to use a tool that someone else created on scratch involving a piano. This meant that all we had to do was lift up the carrots to play a tune! I think this is a great way of achieving computer programming with younger children as well as having many cross-curricular links to Music. A video of the Makey Makey in action can be seen below:

I have also included images of me having a go at piecing together the Makey Makey:

Makey Makey 2

Makey Makey 1

As part of my extra reading for this session, when I saw a clip related to the American sitcom ‘Big Bang Theory’ I had to watch it. As soon as the clip started playing I recognised the episode straight away, and thought that it was a brilliant way to show a flow chart that controls a program. However, although this is the case it is not a clip I would use with children in primary school, but I think it would be a good clip to use in early secondary school to recap computer programming. The link to the video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0xgjUhEG3U&feature=youtu.be and the video itself has been embedded below:

A final piece of extra reading I undertook was an article titled ‘Does ICT improve learning?’ this was an interesting read that debated arguments for and against ICT improving learning. The article overall concluded that the use of ICT does help to improve learning as long as it is used within the correct context and is accessible for all children. The article can be found at: http://www.ictineducation.org/home-page/2010/7/8/does-ict-improve-learning.html. An image of the article can be seen below:

article- session 6

To conclude, even though I spent a lot of this session feeling rather confused, I feel like I did learn a lot about the different resources that are out there to help extend children’s knowledge of computing at key stage two. Especially as I had never heard of any of these tools before! My favourite tool was the Lego We do, I thought this was a great way of getting children excited about computing and programming especially as it is set within a context of which they are familiar.

 

 

 

 

RE Session 5: Visits and Visitors

Our objectives for this session were to consider the use of educational visits and visitors as resources to support children’s learning. The second objective was to discuss the benefits and difficulties associated with organising and running visits.

Our first task was to work in small groups to discuss; the benefits of having visitors, the issues or difficulties of having visitors and considerations when planning for a visitor. I worked with Emma Perring and our discussion about what fits into each of these categories can be seen below:

Benefits:

–       1st hand experience

–       Engages children

–       They have good subject knowledge and are classified as an ‘expert’ within their particular religion

–       Bring artefacts or objects to share with the children

Issues:

–       Could potentially be thrown into an RE lesson just for the sake of it- this should not happen!

–       It is important that they teach the children about their religion, not preach to the children or try to convert them- this is not appropriate!

–       Cost effective

–       Time consuming

Considerations for planning:

–       What time are they going to be visiting?- will the children be engaged, distracted, bored, hungry etc.

–       Prepare the children- show respect, listen carefully, save questions till the speaker has finished talking

–       Talk to the visitor beforehand- ensure that they do not preach!

–       Make sure there is a clear objective

–       How many visitors will be visiting?

–       Children to think of questions to ask beforehand

–       Notify parents beforehand

After this activity we then listened to the other groups suggestions as well as contributing our own.

We then moved on to look at educational visits to a place of worship. Trips such as these have been described as a valuable educational experience and it gives them a fantastic opportunity to put the religion being studied into a religious context. Good visits are said to have the following characteristics: build positive attitudes, planned in a sensitive manner, build on work which has been prepared beforehand, they are interesting and engaging and finally they relate to the programmes of study found within the local agreed syllabus.

Below is a link to a useful website which provides a range of information about all six religions as well as suggestions to take into consideration when planning a visit to one of the places of worship. The website is also useful as it has a variety of videos of virtual tours.

http://www.reonline.org.uk/specials/places-of-worship/

An image of the website:

re session 4 re online 2

Our next task was an individual one, and that was to consider our own experience of an educational visit. After having to think quite hard back to my school days the majority of the trips I recalled were residential trips and they were often at the end of the school year as a reward- not for educational purposes! However, after much thought I did manage to come up with the Black Country Museum in Birmingham. I remember this was a trip I undertook in year 6 in order to learn and consolidate our knowledge of the Victorians. This trip was such a memorable experience because whilst it was educational it was also a lot of fun! I think that this is one of the reasons why many years later I can still recall details from the trip such as exploring the coal mines and trying Victorian style sweets. After thinking about this, my next thought was about how great it would be if children could also have this memorable experience and even better if it was a trip to a place of religious worship!

In our session we also looked at a useful link to browse through when planning an educational visit for RE. The first of which was a link to webpage about how to deal with parents who may object to their child’s participation:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20090608182316/standards.dfes.gov.uk/schemes2/religion/rel2d/

Our next task, as a whole group was to watch a video of an educational visit to the Manchester Jewish Museum (formally a synagogue) and a visit to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. The video was very interesting and linked well to the benefits we discussed for taking children on educational visits. In my opinion, I preferred the trip to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall I felt that this trip was more beneficial for the children and it was clear from the video how engaged the children were and how they benefited from it. However, that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t consider taking children to the Manchester Jewish Museum as I think that would be a beneficial trip for children for different reasons. The link to the video can be found below:

http://archive.teachfind.com/ttv/www.teachers.tv/videos/the-manchester-jewish-museum.html

Our next task was to work in small groups to prepare a visit to a religious place of worship and to think carefully about what we would need to take into consideration before the trip took place, what activities we would want the children to do at the site as well as what they would learn from that and what we would expect from the children once they returned from the trip. I worked with Emma Perring and we decided on St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Our suggestions for each of these categories can be seen below:

Before:

–       Pre-visit for the teacher to get an idea of the place and complete a risk assessment

–       Make sure that children have a firm understanding of the religion or topic beforehand (Christianity)

–       Make sure that children are aware of the high expectations of behavior that they should uphold throughout the duration of the visit

–       Get the children to prepare any questions, or to think of any information they want to find out on the trip

–       Gain parental consent, and pay for costs etc.

Tasks and activities during the visit:

–       Explore the different chapels

–       Tour of the cathedral

–       Look at the art, architecture and mosaics (cross-curricular link to Art)

–       Guided tour of the cathedral (cross-curricular link to history)

–       Activity workshops run by the cathedral: for example design and make mosaics

–       Option to meet a priest

–       Reflection session held at the cathedral with a lighted candle

After the visit:

–       Children to discuss what the learnt/found out at the cathedral about Christianity that they didn’t know beforehand

–       Children to reflect and discuss what they have learnt

–       Answer further questions that the children may have

Aims of the visit: to bring the cathedral ‘alive’ to children as a place of prayer and worship.

St pauls cathedral- session 5

Directed task:

 

The big debate: what were the main points, and what were your opinions?

The link to the video is: http://www.teachersmedia.co.uk/videos/religion-in-schools.

The main points from the video were:

–       Religion in schools is controversial

–       Big debate: what is the place of religion in a 21st century education system?

–       Faith schools: are they the way forward?

–       Important that children should learn about religion: however disagree with children being labelled with their parents religion when they are to young to understand those religious beliefs

–       Do all faiths have the right to attend a faith school?

–       Faith schools damage social cohesion: segregating children

–       Faith should come from the home, not within school

–       Children at faith schools are far more likely to go on to higher education? No evidence to suggest this is the case

–       RE not on the National Curriculum- makes it difficult to regulate

big debate- session 5

In my opinion, the debate on the issue of the teaching of religious education in schools was not resolved in this debate. It is a fact that there are many people out there who have their differing views about RE being taught in schools however I believe that even though RE is not a part of the National Curriculum, it is still statutory in schools and therefore should be viewed as an important subject whether or not the school is a faith school or comprehensive school. At the end of the day children should still be taught about all six religions no matter what is the personal belief of the teacher teaching RE or the beliefs of the pupils in the class.

 

Computing Session 5- Beginning Computing at Key Stage Two

Our objectives for our fifth computing session were to cover the following key questions; where does computer science fit into the curriculum? How can we introduce computing skills to children? What are the practical implications of teaching programming? How can programming promote higher order thinking and problem solving?

Initially before this session, I felt a bit anxious about computing as although I had got to grips with it in session 4 for children who are in key stage one, I felt unsure about how the expectations could be upped in key stage two particularly as to me as I associate the idea of computing as being quite complex. However after this session I know longer feel that this is the case.

The resources we explored in the session are as follows:

–       Purple mash: website with a variety of topic based interactive activities

–       Kodu: allows children to create games using simple programming language

–       Cargo bot: computing programming game for children

–       Daisy the dinosaur: an application that introduces children to basic computer programming

–       A.L.E.X: puzzle and brain training game

–       Hopscotch: an application that teaches children to code using building blocks

–       Cato’s Hike: a programming application for children

–       Bee-bots: a programmable floor robot that teaches programming and directional language

–       Move the turtle: an application to teach children the basics of programming

–       Eden: an app that allows the user to build their own world

–       Toca boca builder: allows the user to create a new world using blocks

–       Creator verse: enables the unique to become an inventor, and set their unique creations in motion

–       Monster verse: an application full of monster verse comics

–       Sketch nation: a drawing application

–       Scratch: programming language that allows you to create your own stories

It is important that when the practitioner looks at planning for key stage two they think about; using talk productively, developing problem solving skills, the make-test debug sequence, ensuring challenge for all, promoting independence, opportunities for peer review and feedback and finally, opportunities for assessment.

In this session both myself, Firouzeh Kern and Emma Perring had a go at using the programming software scratch. I recall using scratch in my first year blog, however it was a programme that was installed on the computer in the ICT suite. This time, scratch is now available as a free resource online, all the user needs to do is sign up. We decided that we would have a go at trying to create something using the scratch resource cards that can be downloaded from the website. An image of the card we had a go at using in the session can be seen below:

scratch- session 5

I felt that the resource cards were very effective as they are straight forward and easy to follow, something that a child in either key stage one or two could use in order to create something using their computing programming skills.  After further research I discovered that on the card there is a number which indicates the level of difficulty for the programme. This means that the teacher can differentiate within their lesson depending on the level of difficulty they want the children to be working at or whether or not they want to give them a higher level of difficulty to extend their programming skills.

We created the program by following the step-by-step instructions on the resource card. Once we had completed the program, we realised that it was quite short in terms of length (only lasting a couple of seconds) we therefore decided to repeat the instructions a few times in order to lengthen the program. What we created can be seen below:

My directed study for this session was to document the development of my programming skills and how they have changed since undertaking these computer sessions in year two as well as to discuss how programming can be used to enhance teaching and learning. I feel that in my computing sessions so far this year my major development in programming is learning how to programme itself. This is because, before my sessions covering programming I was completely unfamiliar with programming and felt very anxious because of this! As mentioned previously, I recalled using scratch however I didn’t really view this as ‘programming’ I also found using scratch last year a lot more complicated. I feel that moving on from programming it is now something I feel more confident with and have a better understanding of computer programming. Although this is the case it is not something which I feel 100% confident to teach in the classroom yet, however this is nothing that can’t be fixed with looking at further resources and tools that are out there to support me. As well as just having a go and trying out using programming in the school!

After this session I decided to further explore some of the tools in the session to develop my subject knowledge. The first of which was the application move the turtle, a programming tool for children. The app aims to be suitable for children aged 5+ and is said to be an introduction to computer programming. When using this app, I found it easy once I got the hang of it I also feel unsure as to whether or not this app would be appropriate for children aged 5, whilst it is relatively simple I think this would be better suited as a beginner application to computer programming for children aged 7+. An image of me having a go at move the turtle can be seen below:

Move the turtle- session 5

Another tool I decided to explore was sketch nation, this is a tool that I am unfamiliar with as it is not something which I had heard of before or seen used in schools. The application can be downloaded onto iphones or ipads for free. The app, wasn’t what I expected it to be although admittedly I was hesitant as to how a sketching game can be used to teach children the skills of computer programming. However the app allows you to program and therefore create your own game based around what you sketch. I really enjoyed using this app and can see that it would be great fun for children to have a go at using, an image of me playing the game I created ‘jumping fun’ can be seen below:

sketch nation- session 5

As part of my extra reading for this week I decided to explore I decided to explore another article that can be found online titled ‘computer science Vs. ICT’. I chose this article because I thought it was a highly relevant and interesting topic particularly with the new National Curriculum coming into practice this year and ICT no longer existing in the National Curriculum as it has been replaced with computing, I thought this to be a good read. The article discusses how computer science is different to ICT as well as providing useful sessions for how computing can be taught without the use of computers. The article can be found at the following web address: http://www.resources.digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/recommended-reading/174-dsh-recommended-computing. An image of the article can be seen below:

article 1- session 5

The final piece of extra reading I undertook was of another article, which again can be found online. This article was titled ‘what do we need our teachers to be?’ and it contained a variety of skills and qualities that are essential for all teachers to possess. As well as this the article also discussed things that teachers need to think about as we move further into the 21st century. Overall, an interesting read that questions teachers to think about the skills they hold. The article can be found at the following web address: http://plpnetwork.com/2012/03/02/what-do-we-need-our-teachers-to-be/. An image of the article can be seen below:

article 2- session 5

To conclude, I feel I have learnt a lot in this weeks this session and the prospect of teaching computing no longer feels as daunting! I also enjoyed having the opportunity to revisit scratch this week and I feel that I have developed my skills a lot as well as exploring some of the other resources available.

Computing Session 4: Extending Computing in Key Stage 1

Our objectives for today’s session were to establish ‘where does computer science fit into the curriculum?’, ‘How can we introduce computing skills to children?’, ‘What are the practical implications of teaching programming?’, ‘How can programming promote higher order thinking and problem solving?’

When I first looked at the National Curriculum and saw that ICT had been changed to computing, I initially thought it was just a change in title. However, before this session I also believed that in order for the requirements of the National Curriculum to be met in computing I also thought that this would be achieved through the children working on a computer. However, whilst this is true in the majority of cases it is also important to note that computing does not have to be achieved just through children using the computer, something which I soon discovered and learnt at the beginning of this session.

Elements of computing can be achieved either with or without the use of computing, in this session we explored how computing can be achieved through control programs both on and off the computer. From a pedagogical perspective, in the session we were informed that when starting to look at control programming with younger children (foundation and key stage one) it is best if they have opportunities to experience this through games and activities. This would include games such as simon says, everybody do this, head and shoulders and following directions in PE (cross-curricular approach). It is also important that from a young age, children are made aware of how they experience control within their own environment. This would include features such as: pelican crossings, light in the fridge, security lights, room thermostats, microwave and car park barriers.

Some of the control programming tools, applications and resources we looked at in the session have been listed below, I have spilt them into categories in order to establish the purpose the feature is used for:

–       Patterns and sequences:

–       Incredibox: online music game that allows the user to become a conductor of a group of human beat box

–       isle of tune: an application that allows the user to create an island of music

–       Floor robots:

–       Bee-bots: a programmable floor robot that teaches programming skills and directional language

–       Purple mash:

–       2 DIY: allows the user to create their own interactive flash resources, games, puzzles, activities etc.

–       2 animate: draw, scan or capture images to then create an animation and watch it back

–       Screen robots:

–       Textease turtle: logo program allowing the user to give instructions that are used to control floor robots

–       MSW logo: is an educational programming language

–       Imagine logo: used to control on-screen turtles, create procedures and build activities

–       Ipad apps:

–       Cato’s Hike: a programming application

–       Daisy the dinosaur: an application that introduces children to basic computer programming

–       Monster physics: an activity where the user has to design different ways of propelling objects e.g. rope, joints etc. and they then have to use these to complete missions such as get the fruit to the monster

–       Move the turtle: an application to teach children the basics of programming

–       Toca boca builder: allows the user to create a new world using blocks

–       Hop scotch: an application that teaches children to code using building blocks

Our task for today’s session was to create a lesson idea that combines an unplugged activity, a plugged activity and a real world activity. Both myself and Firouzeh Kern decided to work together to complete this task. We decided that our unplugged activity was going to link to the design and technology section of the curriculum through food and nutrition with the children having a go at making jam sandwiches. They would do this activity in groups with some of the children physically making the sandwich with other children recording each part of the process. After this, the children would then complete a plugged activity by typing up the processes into a flow chart to convey the process of making a jam sandwich. Finally, the children could have another go at making jam sandwiches by following another groups flow chart to see if they can create the sandwich or if steps have been missed out and the sandwich cannot be made because important steps are missing, e.g. using the knife get a small amount of butter out of the container. The reason we came up with activity, was to ensure that children were aware of control processes both on and off the computer. This activity also ensures that children become aware that the processes on and off the computer are linked, and that you need both in order for the whole process to be complete.

Our inspiration for this teaching idea came from the video that we watched at the beginning, which a teacher had used with his class. The video has been included below:

After today’s session I decided to explore some of the tools that were looked at during the session one of which was Bee-bots. This is an application that can be downloaded which corresponds with the floor robots programme Bee-bots. The app is free to download, and works by the user having to control the bee-bot to reach the flower through using the arrow keys displayed on the screen. The levels start off very basic and then progressively get harder. I think this is a great game for children who have not experienced computer programming before and children who may be slightly more advanced in order to provide them with a challenge (particularly on the higher levels!). An image of me having a go can be seen below:

bee bots- session 4

I also had the opportunity to explore the application Cato’s Hike, the reason being I began to explore this app towards the end of this computing session and didn’t properly get the hang of it so I wanted to have a second attempt. The game is another one which can be used by children to teach them how to control programs, it is a game I would not recommend to children who are knew to programming, as I myself found it quite difficult to understand the game and understand how it worked. However that being said, I think it would be a perfect application that could be used for upper key stage 2 and an activity to further more able children’s abilities. Although this is the case, I still prefer applications such as Bee-bot as I think they are a lot easier to navigate and more user friendly. An image of me trying out Cato’s Hike can be seen below:

catos hike-session 4

As some extra reading after the session I decided to read an article which can be accessed via the following web link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/17/to-encourage-creativity-mr-gove-understand. This was an interesting article about the importance of having creativity within school, another interesting fact discussed in the article is the fact that Michael Gove (Secretary for education) is supportive of children being creative, yet with him wanting children to learn everything by rote it is very ironic that that is the case! This a theme that is discussed further within the article it also goes on to discuss how creativity can be achieved within the classroom. An image of the article can be seen below:

article 1- session 4

The second piece of extra reading I decided to conduct was another article which can be found from: http://readwrite.com/2012/05/17/computer-programming-for-all-a-new-standard-of-literacy#awesm=~ovcEWElHjpNQlk. The article was very topical covering an issue which is becoming increasingly more debated within schools ‘computer programming for all: the next literacy?’ The article discusses whether or not computer programming will be viewed of equal importance as literacy in the near future as it is becoming increasingly more important for future generations to have this skill before they go into employment. I felt that this was a very relevant issue, although only time will tell whether or not this will happen in the future, particularly with computer programming making up a good part of the new National Curriculum. Overall I think this an issue that will continue to be debated over the next few years. An image of the article can be seen below:

article 2- session 4

To conclude, before this session I was sceptical as to how computing could be achieved in Key Stage 1 as the idea of Computing is a complex idea. I therefore feel that in order for me to teach what we have learnt in this session well, I need to do more research and have more of a practice at using some of the tools looked at today. However I have enjoyed looking at the variety of tools that are out there to support both pupils and teachers.

 

 

 

Computing Session 3: Beyond The Classroom

The objectives for our third computing session were to: explore ways of using technology to enhance learning outdoors. To think about bringing the outside in and connecting with people and places. To explore the use of date handling, modelling and simulation and relate these ideas to the computing curriculum. And finally to think about assessment and progression.

During the session we were talked through a variety of applications, tools and resources which could be used to take ICT beyond the session. I have split them into categories, with the tools that can be used to support that category labelled next to them.

–       QR codes: similar to barcodes, user can scan the code using an application and it will bring up a web page or information

–       Making books come to life:

–       Aurasma: an application with image recognition technology that recognises real life images and overlays media over the top

–       Chart and data tools:

–       Excel: a spreadsheet tool created by Microsoft office

–       purple mash: website with a variety of topic based interactive activities

–       Green screen:

–       Green screen FX: an application that allows the user to creates special effects behind photographs or videos

–       touch cast: an application where you create a video and it applies multimedia over the top

–       Exploring through simulations:

–       2 simulate: part of the 2DIY software

–       Topia: an application which lets you design and create a world

–       Recce: an application which is used to explore London

–       epic citadel: an application that allows the user to explore a fantasy town

–       animal creator: website which allows the user to mix animal parts to create their own unique animal

–       create a monster: website which allows the user to create their own monster

–       creatorverse: enables the user to become an inventor and create their own unique creations and set them in motion

–       kids paint: a painting application for children

–       Cross-curricular/linked learning:

–       Collins big cat books: website full of books that children can read online either independently or with a parent/guardian or teacher.

–       night zoo keeper: create art and write stories about unique animals

–       Interactive books:

–       toy-story read along: an application that is an interactive read along tool

–       me books: lets you create personal editions of popular books which have been published

–       Key stage one:

–       Jelly bean count: an application where a variety of jelly beans will appear, there are four different colours and the user has to count how many of each colour there are.

–       Spellosaur: an application to help with spelling

–       felt board: allows the user to create stories that are made out of ‘felt’

–       letter school: an application to help with letter and number formation

–       kodable: a game that introduces children to programming concepts.

In the session and as part of my directed study I had the opportunity to explore a variety of these tools.

After this session I decided to explore some more of the tools looked at in the session. The first one I decided to explore was the maths game suitable for primary school children titled ‘jelly bean count’. I found the game to be very straightforward, the user is simply presented with an option to choose the difficulty setting; easy, medium and hard. They are shown a screen of jelly beans and have as many seconds as necessary to count the jelly beans, they then press answer and type the answer in to the key pad. If they get the answer correct, the user then has the opportunity to move on to the next level and so on and so forth. Overall, I thought this was a really good educational game suitable for both primary key stages as children in key stage one can use it to aid their counting skills whilst children in key stage two can use it to improve the speed at which they count. I feel the game can also be used to help children’s subitising skills in maths and to help them to see patterns. A screen shot of me playing the game can be seen below:

jelly bean-session 3

Another tool that we looked at that I decided to explore further was spellosaur. This was another application that I decided to explore after the session. This is a game for spelling, it has various options the parent or teacher can begin by typing in the words that they want the child to learn, the child then has to complete a series of activities in order to learn the spelling before they then complete a spelling test at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed using this application, I found it was a great tool to help children learn spellings but it was also very engaging through its interactivity and the fact that there was dinosaur theme and motif used throughout. I took a screen shot whilst playing the game and this can be seen below:

Spellosaur-Session 3

After this session I also decided to undertake some extra reading, which can be found on the following web link: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/117304765267049745/. I found this an exciting resource that a mum of two had created for her children. The activity worked by her taking photographs of their toys all categorised; lego, toy story etc. She then took photos of the individual toys that were in the photographs. After all that photography she then got the photographs printed and put the photographs with the toy scene on the right hand side of a page of a photo album. On the left hand side she then put the individual items along with text asking the children to find things such as ‘can you find 3 buzz light years?’ Therefore she had created a personalised activity book for both of her children! I think this a fantastic idea that could be adapted within the classroom or even for parents to try at home to keep their kids entertained on a long trip! Either way it is a genius way to use ICT outside of the classroom. An image of the page can be seen below:

pinterest- session 3

My directed study was to reflect on the pros and cons of mobile technologies. What I have come up with can be seen below:

Pros:

–       effective tool for education because they engage children

–       not only are they educational but they are also entertaining

–       teachers can use apps as part of their day to day school life to free up some of their time

–       sustainable in comparison to traditional educational methods e.g. pen and paper

Cons:

–       limited to use on only a phone or a tablet, can be a problem if a school does not have access to these resources

–       lots of good educational apps cost money

In summary, there are more pros for the use of mobile technologies in classrooms in comparison to the cons where there is not many. Therefore it can be said that there are more reasons to use apps within an educational setting than not. Whilst I have not seen any apps being used within the classroom on my recent school placements, I am keen to have a go at using them in my up and coming placements and within my own practice in future.

To conclude this session, I found it really interesting to consider how both computing and ICT can be used outside of the classroom. It allows great opportunities for children to continue to develop and refine their ICT skills without being in the classroom environment.

Computing Session 2- Images and Animation

In our second computing and digital literacy session our objectives were to look at the role of presentation software and digital storytelling. To explore techniques and to create and share a resource. I recall doing an ICT session last year which also focused on animation, in which I explored a variety of resources such as; monkey jam, go animate, google art project and pixton. I remember feeling anxious before this session as whilst I had seen a lot of animation work both in and out of school, I was not familiar with how to go about using animation or what animation were available for teachers to use to create resources. I therefore felt much better about this session, this year after having gained some experience from my first year of training.

In our animation session we explored a variety of tools, programs and applications which I have discussed below, they have been split into categories in order to suit the animation tools purpose:

–       Organising and presenting ideas: prezi: interactive online presentation tool

–       Slideshows:

–       Photopeach: online slide show creator

–       Animoto: video creation service, that creates videos from photographs

–       snap guide: an application that lets you share and view ‘how-to guides’

–       haiku deck: presentation and slideshow maker

–       Stories:

–       five frame flickr: a tool which allows you to tell a story in five frames

–       scribble press: an application that lets you create your own books

–       scribble my story: an application which is a junior version of scribble press

–       Storytelling:

–       smart notebook: software which is a part of the smart interactive whiteboards, allows the user to create resources which can be displayed on the interactive whiteboard

–       power point: a tool created by Microsoft allowing the user to create power points

–       Ebooks:

–       story bird: art inspired stories which can be made and shared on any device

–       story jumper: a tool enabling you to publish your own children’s book

–       purple mash: website with a variety of topic based interactive activities

–        2 create a story: website where children can create their own stories

–        2 create a super story: a tool to create a personalised multimedia story

–        book creator: an application that allows you to create and publish your own books

–        story patch: an application that children can use to write stories

–        story buddy 2: an app that lets the user create, read and share stories

–       Comic strips:

–        strip designer: an application that allows the user to create comic strips

–        comic life: an application that lets you turn your photos into a comic

–        pic collage: an application that lets you create a collage using photographs

–        Skitch: allows you to ‘snap’ an idea and mark it

–       Stop motion:

–       Pivot: an animation tool that allows you to create an animation using a stick man

–       monkey jam: an animation programme that allows the user to create an animation through photographs (frames) they have taken

Before we had the chance to explore some of these tools, we had a look at animation in practice through the very current (and relevant to time of year) John Lewis Christmas advert. A video of the animation being created can be seen below:

We then had the opportunity to watch the full advert (which I love!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqWig2WARb0

Throughout the session and afterwards, I had the opportunity to explore
a variety of the animation tools which were looked at, at the beginning of the
session which will be discussed further. In the computing session, our task was
to create a digital artefact. Myself and my colleague, Firouzeh Kern decided to
work together to create a project using the website purple mash. We were given
a curriculum theme and the aim was to create a resource which tells the
curriculum story. We used a QR scanner application on the iPads to scan and
pick our curriculum theme.  A way in
which these could be used is to make a treasure trail around the school
environment where the pupils have to scan the codes to find the clue about
where to go next. Our Curriculum theme was Design and Technology. We chose
“2design and make” software on Purple mash website. We chose the option
“house” and altered the lines and anchor points to make our own
design, observing the change of the spinning 3d model and the net. We then
painted our house, printed the net and put it together with glue. This is a very
good tool to be used in both key stage one and two as it offers a range of
choices from simple to challenging projects. As children design their object,
they get to see the shape in 3D which is very helpful when they make it. The
frames can be printed on different materials and can be put together using
different materials so children can compare and contrast and evaluate their
final works on the bases of strength and stability. Images
of the design process and our final creation can be seen below:

purple mash 1-session 2

purple mash 2- session 2

purple mash 3- session 2

purple mash 4- session 2

After the session, I decided to explore prezi in further detail. I achieved this by having a go at creating my own prezi! I decided to create a prezi based on a science topic which can be found within the National Curriculum: food and nutrition. On reflection, I really enjoyed my experience of using prezi, I found it very easy and straight forward to use as well as it being a fantastic tool to create fancy and engaging power points over than me using Microsoft power point all the time! The link to the prezi which I created can be seen below:

http://prezi.com/ch5slku3bt7u/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

prezi- session 2

I was really pleased with the Prezi which I created, I therefore decided to post it on the Resource bank page, the link to which is: http://mypad.northampton.ac.uk/resourcebank/2014/02/15/prezi-balanced-diet-and-nutrition/

prezi resource bank

I also had the opportunity to explore another tool that we looked at during the session and this was the smart notebook software. I have used the smart notebook software on my recent school placements, however I found that the majority of my experience working with the software was mainly just writing on the interactive whiteboard not using the tools that the software comes with. I had a go at retelling a story using the images available on the software, a screen shot of what I created can be seen below, I created it for a key stage one class in order to be used to tell the story of ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’.

smartnotebook- session 2

Our directed task for this session was to comment on any blogs/hash tags/groups/communities of practice you have found useful. One of which is the social networking site Twitter, I decided to join Twitter after last year’s ICT session in order to see what all the fuss was about! Other than being a social networking site, Twitter also has groups of people on it who have formed education communities. These communities can be very useful for trainee teachers such as myself as it provides helpful and insightful information regarding tips for teaching as well as useful resources than can be used in the classroom. An image of one of these community pages can be seen below:

twitter- session 2

As well as discussing the primary education page on twitter, I also thought it would be good to talk about pinterest page. As placement is drawing closer and closer I am absolutely obsessed with getting teaching ideas and resources of off the pinterest page. I cannot talk highly enough about this site, it is an absolutely fantastic resource for all teachers and some of the resources I have managed to find most recently can be seen on the image inserted below:

pinterest- session 2

 

There are many benefits to using animation in primary schools, one of which is the fact that animation is very exciting and engaging for children. It gives them the opportunity to learn a concept without actually realising that they are learning. Animation is also important because it is something which is adaptable to more than one subject, it is not just a skill which can be applied to a particular subject or a particular concept it is something which can be used in any subject which in itself leads to the subject being more creative and engaging for the children.

As part of my extra reading, I decided to explore the following website: http://www.animationchefs.com/. The website is based on a company who are giving away cash or prizes such as ipods for children who create animation videos using playdough and lego pieces to create their videos and then upload them to the site. In school, children can explore the site in their computing sessions to give them inspiration for animation videos which they create. I think that this is a fantastic idea, and a great way to get children involved in animation. An image of the site can be seen below:

animation chef- session 2

Another web link which I had the opportunity to explore as part of my extra reading is as follows: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21947086. This link takes the user to an article on the BBC news page. The article is titled ‘Has drawing been erased from animation?’ and I found it a very interesting article relating to how animation films are now created without the element of drawing or with less drawing being used in them. It goes on to discuss how animation has changed over time and considers where animation will be in the future. Overall, I found this a very interesting read and it has given me something to think about when using animation within the classroom.

bbc news- session 2

To conclude, I have really enjoyed re-capping about animation this week. I also feel that I have explored a variety of new tools and applications that are out there available for use in school and can’t wait to have the opportunity to put them into practice in school!

 

Computing session 1: Manipulating Media

The objectives for the first computing session were to explore the role of media as a presentation and creative tool. To explore sound and video editing tools. And finally to develop a media resource.

When creating a media resource, it is important that both audience and purpose are considered. Media is a fantastic way of expressing ideas, however it should be made suitable for the age range it is being used for in order to support the successful teaching of a concept. For example, using a media tool available online it might have been possible for the teacher to create a poster with diagrams to display a concept. However whilst this is could be very useful for children being taught in upper key stage two it would not be appropriate for children in lower key stage two or even key stage one. This is also true of purpose, if the teacher was teaching a class of children about the concept of gravity it would not be appropriate to have information about life cycles on the same resource for example.

Examples of the different tools which can be used to create a media resource include:

–       imovie projects and trailers: video editing software application

–       movie maker: video editing software, available on windows computers

–       videoscribe: a tool to create animated text over a video

–       tellegami app: an app that lets you create an animated video

–       touchcast: an application where you create a video and it becomes mixed with multimedia

–       popplet: a tool to share ideas in the form of a thought shower

–       make dice lite: uses the ipad as a dice roller, the teacher can change what is on the faces of the die

–       infant encyclopaedia: a website with a variety of information about different topics

–       2 simple city: website with an animated city, which children can explore

–       Purple mash: website with a variety of topic based interactive activities

–       2 create a story: website where children can create their own stories

–       Puppet pals: application that lets the user create their own videos using the characters

–       Media collages: website containing tutorials for different media programmes

–       Morfo: making characters talk with apps, making books talk, adding sound to images, talking stories, talking pictures

–       Apps for making ebooks

–       Layering apps: an application that allows more than one photograph to be layered over the top of each other

–       Pinterest: a website where users can ‘pin’ resources to their page so that they can find them easily and use again at a later date.

Our task in this session was to choose one of the tools listed above as a starting point for developing a media resource and activity idea. I got into a group with Firouzeh Kern. We decided to create a resource using the online website popplet: http://popplet.com/

Our resource was based around a science topic which will be taught in year six in order to meet the National Curriculum requirements- the human body. We decided to use popplet as we thought it was a fantastic way of conveying information to a group of children about a topic. We also thought that this is a good resource that children could use in school in order to create a class popplet about a topic in order to share all of their information. The only downside to this resource is that whilst it is free to sign up the user only gets five popplets for free, after that you have to pay in order to use the resource. However it is an excellent resource, and it is a possibility that many schools could sign up to a subscription to use the resource.

The resource we created can be seen below:

http://popplet.com/app/#/1427939

popplet- session 1

Me and Firouzeh decided that we thought our popplet was such as fantastic resource that it should be uploaded to the resource bank, a link to which can be found below:

http://mypad.northampton.ac.uk/resourcebank/2014/02/15/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-circulatory-system/

popplet resource bank

After the session, I decided to further explore some of the resources that we looked at in the session. The first one I decided to explore was morfo, I liked the idea of this application when I decided to download it onto my iphone. I was planning on using one of the many characters that the application came with and using them to retell a story for children. The app itself is very easy to get the hang of and manipulate the character however I was not able to access any other characters that the app came with other than the one that came up automatically, if I wanted to access other characters or additional features I had to pay an extra cost. Although this is the case, I did still think it was a good application to use and I could understand why its use is becoming more popular in schools. An image of what I did manage to create using the application can be seen below:

morfo

 

Another resource that I had the opportunity to explore is pinterest. After blogging last year, I decided to sign up for a pinterest account as I really liked the idea of the website after viewing Helen’s page. On my pinterest I have created a variety of different boards which are titled by the curriculum subjects. Therefore every time I browse the education category on pinterest I can ‘pin’ teaching ideas or resources onto the corresponding category and then can access them at any time when planning or teaching ideas. I absolute love this resource, I think it is fantastic for any teacher and cannot recommend it highly enough! An image of one of my education pages from pinterest can be seen below:

pinterest page

A directed task for this session was to reflect on the pros and cons of using media in my blog folio.

Pros:

–       Engages the reader

–       Can convey a lot of information using a small amount of space

–       Makes the blog folio aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

–       Can be difficult to add media to the blogs

–       It can also be difficult to manipulate the media around the text in the media

I think it is clear to see that the pros of using media within my blogfolio definitely outweighs the cons, media is therefore something I will continue to use throughout my blog posts as I think it is a fantastic tool to make the blogs look more aesthetically pleasing to the reader.

After my first computing and digital literacy session I also did some extra reading. The first was a prezi presentation created by Helen Caldwell, http://prezi.com/c5qh_uaoxe0p/ict-what-do-teachers-need-to-know/ the presentation is titled ICT: what do teachers need to know? I chose to link at this particular resource because I have seen prezi used on many occasions and think that they are a great way of conveying information in an exciting version of what is essentially powerpoint. The prezi provides information itself about how teachers can use ICT across all subjects that make up the primary National Curriculum. An image of the prezi can be seen below:

prezi

The second piece of extra reading I did, was an insightful article online about how a variety of activities that can be used in the classroom to engage children with digital literacy. Some of the suggestions written by the author include: summarise the media by identifying three to five of its most important events and analyse the structure of the media and determine its impact on its purpose. The web link to the article is: http://www.teachthought.com/trending/50-activities-to-promote-digital-media-literacy-in-students/. An image of the article can be seen below:

article

This concludes this weeks blog post! Hopefully through my blog post I have established the importance of using media within schools as well as the variety of tools that are out there to achieve this!