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: 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:


–       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


–       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!)

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:

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:

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: 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: 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:

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:

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:

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:



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.


–       Engages the reader

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

–       Makes the blog folio aesthetically pleasing


–       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, 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:


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: An image of the article can be seen below:


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!