Kids Apps, Good or Bad For Our Children?

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, Early Years, My interest | Posted on February 28, 2013

We were asked to wrote a piece about something that interested us. I decided to stick with the theme of ICT and look at an issue which was being featured frequently in the media. It is also something I have some personal experience of.

There has been an explosion in apps flooding onto the market place for mobile phones and tablets all aimed at our children, but how good are they for our children to be using?
It’s amazing how many children are able to pick up the latest phone or tablet and begin swiping away to access games and apps on the devices. Even the youngest children appear to have developed the ability to swipe the screen as soon as they are able to get their hands on a device! This video demonstrates this!

Many of these apps are marketed as being of educational value to our children, but are they really a good thing? The use of these apps and games is dramatically increasing the amount of screen time our children are getting. Is this preventing them from developing other skills and interests such as being outdoors or reading? Are adults partly to blame for this rise in screen time if they themselves are role modelling the frequent use of these devices and apps?
Professionals have been warning for a number of years that the amount of time children are spending in front of televisions and DVD’s has been increasing, and now they are warning that the new generation of gadgets is increasing this further. I read a very interesting article recently which discussed the rise of children’s apps on the markets. Part of the article discussed research carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggested for children 2 years or younger all those screens can have a negative impact upon children’s development. It suggested unplanned play is a better brain booster for our youngest children in society.
Many parents admit that providing their child with the opportunity to play on a tablet or phone, they are able to take care of other tasks they may need to do for example cooking the dinner. But should we be allowing these gadgets to become babysitting devices and does this increase both the child and adult’s dependence upon them? I admit I have allowed my children time on their tablet and games console to get work done and it is very easy to allow these play times to go on for longer than originally planned because it’s keeping them quiet. However as a parent I also see the importance of my children playing in the garden, being creative and sitting quietly reading. I can see how a child sitting for hours on end could impact upon other areas of their development for example physical development, but I can also see the benefits too. Both my children enjoy being able to use the Internet, my oldest son to do maths homework online for example and the younger one to access CBeebies to practice his phonics.
If you go online for example to the Google store or Apple store it is quite obvious just how many apps are available for children. There is everything from teaching your baby words in other languages to nursery rhymes and story telling apps. It is interesting that some apps which may be considered adult apps are advertised alongside our children’s apps such as Angry Birds.

   
There have also been recent articles in the media about parents receiving huge bills for apps children have downloaded themselves whilst using smart devices. Is it too easy for children to download these apps or is this partly the fault of the adult for not supervising enough what the child is doing? Many of the apps children are able to access entice children in with a free download but the children are encouraged to buy further parts to the game for example furniture for imaginary houses. Children are also given options to buy their way through to the next level using payments through the phone, again creating high bills for unsuspecting parents.
With more and more apps and devices hitting the market is this a trend that will continue to grow? Are we exposing our children to more ICT and technology than they actually need? And is all of what they access really a positive experience for the children? These are arguments that many people have different views upon but one thing the many agree upon, is that allowing our children to have some access and experiences with ICT is a positive thing for our children’s development as long as it is supervised and time controlled.

To access the article I read about kids apps follow this link:http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-11-17/business/35281254_1_app-stores-smartphone-samsung-galaxy

To access an article on the cost of these apps follow this link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21042379

Becoming an animator!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, Early Years, Uncategorized | Posted on February 15, 2013

The session today was all about creating animations using ICT. This was an area I have absolutely no experience in, and expected to find it quite a difficult subject with the different technologies and software’s. However, the session was amazing! It really opened my eyes even further to the endless possibilities of using ICT in the Early Years.

Using a free downloadable software called Monkey Jam, in a small group we were able to create our own short animation using stop frame filming. This is the technique of using a camera to catch individual stills which are then played in a sequence creating a film. One of the most difficult aspects of the filming process was remembering not to move your props too far in one go so that the film doesn’t appear jumpy. Some of us found keeping our hands out of shot pretty tricky too!

Monkey Jam was a fantastic piece of software to experience using, and can see a whole number of possibilities for its uses in the early years setting. The software and equipment was very simple to use and this could be easily used with even the youngest members of the class with adult support, to allow the children to create their own animations. This activity would allow for the children to be creative and use their imaginations in a fun and engaging manner. It is an activity that every child regardless of ability could engage in. It could be used to support a child with EAL in the learning of English for example.

The animations could fit into many areas of the early years curriculum and a lesson involving animation could be very cross curricular. There would also be the opportunity time permitting for the teacher to produce a small film clip to support children’s learning in the classroom.

The session was extremely interesting and very good fun, and I enjoyed it so much I even had a go at home with my own children. This was a fantastic opportunity to observe how children may use the software and hardware, and both children appeared to highly enjoy creating their own video. I can’t wait to get into the classroom and give it a go there as well!

 

Art & ICT.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Art | Posted on February 11, 2013

Todat’s Art session gave a really interesting insight into how ICT can be used for children to express themselves through Art & Design. We were given the opportunity to discuss how ICT may be used and the benefits of using ICT in Art. The students in the Early Years group came up with some really interesting ideas, and it was great to share these. One of the great things about the lesson was actually being able to have a go with the technology to create our own art. Without realising it at the time, I actually used a wide range of ICT equipment in the session either directly or indirectly. I used the smart board for watching the PowerPoint presentation, used an iPad to create  my drawing, take photos and record sounds onto, used the camera on my mobile phone to take a photograph of my created piece to include in my art portfolio and used the smart board to listen to music and watch media.

 

 

I discovered apps on the iPad to draw with which was a completely new experience to me, and I can really see how using the iPad as a resource could get children really engaged with the learning. It was great to get some ideas of how to use ICT and actually out them to practice and I feel much more confident about combining art and ICT together after the session. I feel I have now seen some of the benefits of using ICT in art lessons, and can see how it could be used in learning for all ages including in the early years. Creating the sound art and taking the photographs on the iPad is an activity I think even the youngest pupils would be capable of with some guidance, and I think they would really enjoy being able to instantly see or hear what they had created. ICT in art is definitely an exciting development and something I never really had the opportunity to use whilst at school, and I feel very positive about ICT playing a big part in my Early Years education career.

 

My children know more about PowerPoint than me!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning | Posted on February 8, 2013

I’m sat playing around with PowerPoint hoping to create a decent PowerPoint presentation about The Arctic following on from today’s ICT session, and my 5 year old points to the laptop screen and tells me, ” We have that at my school!”  This is followed by my 8 year old then telling me exactly what to do to create the PowerPoint page his teacher uses for learning objectives and success criteria in his classroom!

Another example of young children being competent and confident in using ICT and also having the knowledge and capacity to explain to an adult how to use it! Although I was aware my children used ICT in school, I perhaps naively thought my 5 year old wouldn’t recognise PowerPoint at all, and I certainly didn’t think my 8 year old would be able to use it. It was actually quite interesting to have the discussion with my oldest child  about how this software has been used with him. I discovered he had never actually used the software himself, and had picked up all his knowledge from watching the teacher at school creating a presentation even though she wasn’t  actually explaining to the children what she was doing at the time.

Answer Garden

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 8, 2013

What are the benefits of using ICT in Early Years?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

ICT Software in Early Years.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Directed Tasks, Early Years | Posted on February 8, 2013

 The topic of today’s ICT session was around the use of different software that is often used withing schools and Early Years. We were introduced to a great video clip showing how PowerPoint presentations are often overused. It really made me think that although this is a very valuable resource we can use, it can also be very ineffective if not done in an engaging manner or relied upon too frequently.

During the session we were asked to create our own PowerPoint which we could use as a resource to educate children about the Arctic. This was a great opportunity for me to improve my knowledge and understanding of this software package, as PowerPoint is not a resource I have particularly used in the past and I had little knowledge of exactly how it worked. Thanks to some excellent guidance from fellow student Drew, I managed to get the hang of what I was doing and learnt how to add each of the features we were asked to add by the tutor. We even got as far as adding my interpretation of a Polar Bear growl!

It was great to see how I will be able to use power point in the future to support the children’s learning and as a visual aid, but I can also see how I could also become too reliant on it causing the dreaded death by PowerPoint!

I really enjoyed the ICT session today, and feel my knowledge has definitely improved again. I didn’t even worry about writing this blog post which is a major improvement from last week! Now I’m off to have another experiment with PowerPoint to create my own Arctic themed presentation that I can share on my blog!

 

Awesome Arctic!

Welcome to my ICT Early Years blog!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Directed Tasks, Early Years | Posted on February 1, 2013

I’ve just had my first ICT Early Years lesson and created my first ever blog! Felt quite nervous about doing it is as I didn’t really understand exactly what I was doing, but I’m feeling quite proud of myself that I have been successful!

I’m going to use my blog to record my thoughts and experiences of learning about the use of ICT in Early Years and to reflect upon my own learning.

I feel pretty confident using ICT in teaching, and feel fairly capable of most things once I’ve been shown how to use the different softwares. I know I have one or two things I would like to improve my knowledge in, mainly because it is either technology or software I have had little experience with. Its been really interesting looking at all the different ways in which ICT is used during the Early Years, and it’s been great to share ideas amongst the rest of the Early Years group. Everybody has some really fantastic ideas for things they might do. Think I might be borrowing a few!

It’s pretty amazing to see how much young children use ICT and shows how very different it is now to when I was growing up. Computers were a special treat if we were allowed to use one of the three we had in the whole primary school, whereas now it is a large part of children’s learning. I can see the benefits but I can also see the negatives. Yes they help children learn and offer a wide range of resources, but they could also prevent children from developing skillls such as hand written work or drawing.

I am looking forward to discovering more ways to use ICT with children in the Early Years, and also in developing my knowledge and competency further.

Mind Map of ICT ideas in Early Years.