My Early Years Blog Goes World Wide!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, My interest | Posted on January 21, 2014

While I was updating my blog today I thought I would take a look at my mapping tool showing me where the different visitors to my blog have come from. I was so surprised to discover my blog has been visted by people in 33 different countries!

To me this suggests Early Years Education  and ICT must be a topic of discussion all over the world, as we all want the best educational start for our children no matter where we are. Hopefully people are finding my blog interesting or informative and are finding some of my thoughts about ICT use in the Early Years interesting. It would be great to get some thoughts from around the world on ICT use in the Early Years, so if you could leave any comments on your own experiences or ideas for using ICT in teaching that would be fantastic!

First Hand Experience of ICT Engaging Learners!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning | Posted on January 21, 2014

In my previous post I mentioned how my reluctant son had used ICT to complete his homework and I thought I would share the results. The challenge was to be a poetry detective. The children were asked to look around their homes to find any words that rhyme, then present their findings to the class. My son decided that rather than just write a list and read them out, he would use the borrowed Ipad to photograph the items and things in our home that rhymed. He would then put these pictures onto a powerpoint presentation to share with his class. Sounded simple enough, but when you confess to being an Ipad novice, and Powerpoint isn’t your thing its a challenge! I decided to let my son take the lead as he was very enagaged and excited by what he was planning to do, and in no time at all we had our photographs and they had been sent to the laptop. Powerpoint presentation construction commenced and in around half an hour we were done! It was great to see first hand how ICT inspired a child to complete a piece of work that they didnt want to particularly do, and it was also great to get some tips on how to do these things. I was so inspired by the enthusiasm and positive benefits of ICT, I went out and purchased my own Ipad that I intend to use for my own benefit and that of my children and those I teach. Its already had so much usage and is already packed with recommended apps to use with children in the Early Years! I’ll write a post and talk about a few of the great apps a bit later.

To view the powerpoint presentation completed, please click this link. Literacy homework

Feeling Daunted by the ICT in Year 2!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning | Posted on January 21, 2014

Thank goodness that lecture is over was my first feeling after the first ICT class of my second year of teacher training! Everything just seemed to go way too fast for my untechnological brain to keep up with! Initially I left feeling confused, lost as to what I was supposed to have learnt and feeling totally frazzled! I don’t confess to being totally up to speed with ICT in schools or at home. In my days at school it was text books not powerpoints, blackboards not interactive whiteboards and we were lucky if we had one computer in the class that took an age to boot and load anything! Ipads and computer suites, what were those?! However, knowing this isn’t my strongest area I’ve made the concious effort to get up to speed a little bit more, even taking ICT lessons from my 9 year old! Even though I struggle with getting my head around some of the technology and terminology, I do see the value that having ICT as a teaching tool has in the Early Years and throughout education. Watching a short clip that children have made using an app on the Ipad to record their own work was brilliant, and very inspiring. Not only do those children get to use the technology for themselves, but it can be shared with parents and others as well as providing the teacher with an excellent source for assessment. This method is very interactive and engaging. It is a common theory many children especially boys, do not enjoy picking up a pen or pencil and recording their work in that way. If using an Ipad or camera to record the children’s work and learning gets them more engaged and excited by what they are doing, then I think its great to support this. However, I firmly believe that traditional methods such as writing are also critical for a childs development. Using ICT is a fantastic way to compliment the more traditional styles of teaching and introducing children to a theme or topic.

                                                                                                                                                                             

 

We were introduced to the idea of using ICT alongside a traditional story. For example, the teacher could read the story using the book then later reinforce this learning using maybe a video or pictures on an online source, for example Youtube if it is permitted in the school. Digital pictures could be used to instigate discussions around a new learning theme, whilst visual items that can be handled are also provided within the classroom to support the learning. Combining ICT with other teaching strategies could lead to more engagement amongst those who are maybe more distracted during learning, and it gives children the opportunity to see technology in action. It also helps the teacher tailor the learning to meet the varying learning styles that may be present in the classroom. Some children may find listening to instructions the best way for them to learn, whereas others may find they need to be more involved in the learning or need more visual instruction. ICT allows the teacher to provide for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners all at the same time.

During the lecture we were introduced to the idea of how ICT use can be beneficial in storytelling. We were shown examples of how this can be used and were introduced to the online resource bank which contains a variety of ICT based storytelling resources created by students. This was a very valuable experience and it was really positive to see how other students had embraced the use of ICT for storytelling, and provided us with some great ideas. We looked at how we can use sounds, pictures, painting apps and programs on both computers and mobile devides such as the Ipad, and how these could be used to support children’s learning about literature.

All in all, although I found the session daunting and I did leave feeling so confused by it all, upon reflection I felt I learnt a lot. I  borrowed a friends Ipad and played around on that for a while learning how to use it, download apps etc as I felt quite unconfident with that. It really helped and I even managed to get my reluctant child to complete his homework using the Ipad to take pictures to go onto a powerpoint presentation at his suggestion! His teacher was really pleased with the effort he put in as his was the most unique piece submitted, and he was awarded house points as a result. The result for me however was feeling a bit more confident in my capabilities and understanding, and also seeing first hand how ICT can be incorporated into successful and engaging learning!

Now came the challenge to create our own ICT resource to use to tell a story in the Early Years. We had a group, we had a story, next we just needed a plan of action! Find out a bit later how the plan came together, and how our resource began to take shape!