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.