The objectives for our fourth RE lesson were to consider and investigate the use of ICT in the RE classroom to engage and challenge pupils, to reflect and evaluate the usefulness of a variety of ICT resources.
We began by discussing how ICT can be used to enhance RE lessons:
- Enhance teaching and learning by:
– Using a range of technologies to cater for different learning styles
– Using technology to enable learners to collaborate with peers and with partner schools and their students
- Improve administration and planning:
– For learning and teaching, reusing and adapting documents
– By using technology to access and share information and enhance your personal knowledge of RE and understanding of professional issues around the subject
- Improve assessment and reporting by:
– Recording learner achievement and attainment electronically, tracking pupil progress and using the information in assessment for learning
– Communicating with parents electronically through email and the school learning platform.
Our next task was to share our experience of ICT being used within RE lessons… From my primary school days, I can remember that it was becoming more and more common for interactive whiteboards being installed into classrooms. I can remember interactive whiteboards being used as a tool in all lessons, not just RE. Unfortunately, that is all I can remember about ICT being used within RE lessons in primary school however when I was in secondary school ICT was used in RE through the use of video clips.
It is important to consider the reasons for using ICT within an RE lesson:
– To allow pupils to investigate or be creative in ways not possible otherwise
– To facilitate safe communication with peers and other communities, locally, nationally and globally
– To provide access to authentic information, insights and resources from the world’s religious communities- bringing the world of religion into the classroom
– To engage pupils in the selection, critical use and interpretation of a wide range of information
– To help pupils to understand important, and complex ideas
– To support pupils in organising, recording, reporting and communicating findings
– To enable pupils to see patterns or behaviours more clearly
– To enhance the quality of presentations
However it is also important to consider:
– Would the RE learning outcomes be achieved as or more effectively without the use of ICT?
– When planning to use ICT in RE lessons is the use of ICT adding value to the lesson?
– Internet safety
Our next task in the session was to look at an example of how ICT can be used as part of an RE lesson through the use of a virtual tour. This was a task that we did as a whole class and the clip can be found from: http://www.reonline.org.uk/specials/places-of-worship/. After we had watched the clip in pairs we had to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using this clip the ideas we came up with can be seen below:
– Very informative
– Good for planning a visit
– Good for children who may not be able to participate in the visit
– A long clip, therefore quite time consuming
– Linking to the first point children may become disengaged/uninterested
– Doesn’t show all the features the children may have the opportunity to explore if they visited the place of worship as part of an educational trip.
An image of the website where the clip can be found is included below:
After this session, we had a series of tasks to complete as part of our directed tasks.
- You can find resources to support the teaching of Christianity on the following website, consider where and how you might use these within an RE lesson: http://www.request.org.uk.
Both myself and Firouzeh Kern decided to complete this task together we found that the website explores the Christian religion in great depth. Therefore, it is a valuable source for developing subject knowledge about Christianity. On the homepage of the website, there are 6 clickable links which highlight the important aspects of the Christian Faith including the Bible and how it is used, festival and celebrations, issues Christians face, Jesus, life as a Christian and people and places. The website also has resources to support teaching about Christianity. Clicking on the “Teachers” link on the homepage, leads to the “Teachers’ Toolkit” webpage which has a wealth of teaching resources including ideas for lessons, lesson plans, activity sheets, photos and videos suitable for both key stages one and two.
- Explore the following web links and consider how they might be used in a lesson.
As part of our directed tasks both myself and Firouzeh Kern decided to work together to explore the following web links and consider how they could be used within an RE lesson.
Both myself and Firouzeh agreed that this website was a useful resource that could be used both inside and outside of school. We felt that if this resource was to be used in school the website would be displayed on an interactive whiteboard for all the children to see. We agreed that the website would be used as part of a PSHE lesson, where poverty was the focus. On the website itself there are a variety of clips that can be shown to children to support their understanding of poverty and it also provides good examples of how the charity ‘Christian Aid’ are working to prevent poverty around the world. An image of the website can be seen below:
This next website is also run by a reputable charity, however at first glance the website can come across as very distracting and chaotic as there are a lot of buttons asking the user to donate money to the charity. Whilst there are no videos, there is a lot of useful information on the website about how the charity are working around the world to help people, particularly people who are in disaster affected countries. We believe that this would be an effective tool for children who are upper key stage two as it provides useful information about how the charity is helping countries, however we also felt that this website would be not be helpful for children in key stage one because there is a lot of information and it would be very difficult for them to comprehend all of the information given. An image of the website can be seen below:
The third and final website was very useful and again very relevant to children who are studying at primary school. Down the left hand side of the web page there are a variety of links that can used as part of either PSHE, RE or a cross-curricular topic. These included; water, poverty, peace and conflict and fair trade to name but a few. Once you’ve clicked on the link they provide a variety of information about the topic, and they also have a variety of resources relating to that topic that are classroom friendly and can be used in school, the resources are also suitable for both key stages one and two.
To conclude, there are a variety of resources and information out there relating to specific topics that may be studied as part of either RE/PSHE. The links we have explored today are just some of the many resources that are out there and that are freely available to trainee teachers and practitioners alike. An image of the website can be seen below:
Other directed tasks:
Another directed task was to discuss the benefits and constraints of using ICT.
– Enhances learning through a range of technology helping to cater to all learning styles
– For the teacher it improves both administration and planning
– For the teacher it also improves ways of recording assessment data
– Can be time consuming
– Unpredictable, technology doesn’t always work as planned!
The benefits for using ICT definitely outweigh the constraints, this suggests that ICT should be more a part of teaching within the curriculum subjects not just within RE.
As well as the directed tasks, I completed further essential reading after this session. This included reading chapters 4,5 and 8 of McCreery, E., Palmer, S. and Voiels, V. (2008) Achieving QTS: Teaching religious education.
Chapter 4- This chapter focused on the variety of different ways in which stories can be used in RE lessons, as well as looking at the benefits behind using stories and story telling.
Chapter 5- This chapter looked at the different thinking skills which are developed in RE lessons with a particular focus on critical thinking and why this is an important skill to have as well as how it can be developed through religion.
Chapter 8- This chapter was focused on planning within RE, it covered all three strands of planning (long-term, medium-term and short-term) as well as providing advice and things to take into consideration when planning an RE lesson.
McCreery, E., Palmer, S. and Voiels, V. (2008) Achieving QTS: teaching religious education. London: Sage Publications Ltd.