Art & ICT


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Art, Children's Learning, Early Years, ICT outdoors | Posted on February 20, 2014

ICT can be linked with so many different curriculum areas. We recently used ICT to link with outdoor art within the forest school. It was amazing! We were introduced to some artists in the first part of the lecture who create large art pieces outdoors, often using only natural resources. We looked at pictures and discussed our likes and dislikes and thought about how we could recreate some of these art pieces or create our own with children outside of the classroom. We were introduced to Richard Shilling and Andy Goldsworthy and were told to find some images of their work on the ipads. We were then told to collect any resources we may wish to use from the classroom and we went to the forest school still armed with the ipads. We were instructed to create our own outdoor art installation using either the artists works and ideas to guide us, or to create a completely original piece. We chose to use a piece by the artist Richard Shilling as pour inspiration and cfeate our own version of this. It was great to have the iPad to refer to when looking at the picture the artist had created. The iPad was also used to document the stages of our creation by using photographs. This is a great way children can keep record of how they created their art piece, and they could then use these pictures to share the process with others. It would also allow the teacher to documnet the learning and creatiomn processes that took place.

These are pictures which documented the creation process our group went through in creating our art piece.

photo (8)    photo (5) photo (3) 





The iPads were then used to take photographs of the finished art pieces that everybody had created. This is obviously importnt as the art was left to nature and this is a permanent record of the work the children can keep.

This is the piece we used on the ipad as our inspiration alongside our finished product. We were extremely pleased with the result!



It was really great to use ICT for this activity. The children could further use ICT in this learning by recording rhemselves talking about their creative processes or creating a powerpoint to share their work. The whole creative process could also be videoed by the children. Its really good to have the opportunity to combine ICT and other subjects in this way, and it helps you to understand the positives of linking the two subjects together further.

Blogging in schools?


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 20, 2014

Many schools have now started blogging from the classroom. This allows parents and carers to keep updated on special events, learning that is taking place or any other special news the class wishes to share with parents. From a parents perspective this is great! My child in year 4 had recently taken to blogging and enthusiastically comes home from school asking to post a comment about his day on the blog. The class teacher also poses questions on the blog at the end of the day for the children to answer, and I can see how this could be used as an assessment tool to evaluate the level of understanding about the days learning. So far I have been able to see pictures and learn about the football trainig the class recieved in PE, learnt all about their homework projects and got to find out how the trip to Cadbury’s World went! All comments are moderated by the teacher to ensure they are appropriate, and parents are able to comment too. It was nice to provide the entire class with some feedabck after looking at the pictures of the homework projects.


A negative to the blogging however could be some parents may not have the time or the facilitites to access the class blog, meaning they are missing out on opportunitites to see what the children are doing. The majority of families do have access to the internet, but there are some who don’t or who may feel excluded because they are not computer literate. Confidentiality may also be an issue as some blogs are not private.

After speaking with the class teacher about the class blog, she suggested that it is only some children who access and comment upon it frequently and not the entire class. She also explained conversations can occasionally occur in the comments which go completely off track from the original post. The blogs are something that are currently being developed further in the school and all classes are yet to have them up and running properly, but I do think they are a fantastic way to communicate with parents.

To take a look at my sons class blog, and get a feel for how they can support learning and involve parents click on the link below

My sons year 4 class blog

Blogging is something I will definately consider using within my class. I will think about making it accesible to all parents and maybe look at holding a session every so often after school for parents who have no internet access to take a look. Obviously this will be time providing! I think if used well and kept up to date it can be a very valuable resource for sharing with families their childs progress and achievements.



Placement Begins!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, placement | Posted on February 20, 2014

I’ve now gone into my next teaching placement and I’m in a reception class. There is an interactive whiteboard on the wall in the carpet atrea, and two computers at a work area. The school also has a computer suite but I have yet to visit this or see it in use with my class. I’ve seen the teacher use the interactive whiteboard for teaching, and it was only used to take the register in the morning. It would be really great to see how the teacher uses this to incorporate ICT  into the learning, and hopefully gain some more ideas on ways to use it.  The computers within the classroom were not accessed during my first two days, and again I would love to see how the teacher allows access to these, and the types of learning that they are used for. I would like to see whether they are used to access learning based programs, or if children just access them to draw for example. I did see an Ipad being used within the classroom. The children accessed it in pairs with the teachers permission and were mainly using a drawing app. I would really like the oppportunity to see what apps the teacher uses with the children when they access the Ipad. The teacher did use an app which allowed her to access the camera and fly a pterodactyl across the screen. This then landed on a child on the screen and the teacher chose that particular child to put on their coat for playtime. The children really liked this app, and the teacher explained it was great for allowing her to choose children in a random order. This is something I would definately consider using within the classroom. I still have five weeks on my placement and really hope to get the opportunity to include ICT within my teaching and also see it more used within the classroom.

Is It Important to Teach ICT in Primary Schools?


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 10, 2014

I’m looking to get some views on whether people think teaching ICT in Primary Schools is important. Please insert  up to 20 characters to post your answer. Please note, you can write in an answer that has already been submitted.

Is it important to teach ICT in Primary Schools?… at


Shutdown or Restart? A Report on Computing in UK Schools.


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, National Curriculum, Uncategorized | Posted on February 10, 2014

The Royal Society


I have just read a report on the future teaching of ICT in schools and it was really interesting. The report was published by The Royal Society and looked at whether the teaching of ICT needs to be revamped to better support pupils, or whether it is relevant to be taught in schools. It was interesting to read the views on using the term ICT in the National Curriulum. I have often thought that ICT is a very broad area and gives much flexibility to teachers to use it as they choose. I agree with the point made in this report that because it is such a broad description, it does allow teachers to deliver it at the lowest possible stage and I have seen this in practice. Due to the teachers lack of confidence in using the technologies it was not something that was often present within the classroom. Visits to the computer suite were short, brief and didnt appear particularly of value as the children were completing work they could freely access in the classroom on the PC’s that were available. There were no new skills being developed and no guidance to access new programmes or software. With this is mind I agree with the points made in this report that suggests teachers need to have structured training and Continuing Professional Development to improve subject knowledge, skills and confidence. However I think this training needs to be carefully managed to appreciate the lack of confidence some teachers have around ICT. Resources within the schools could also prove to be a hinderance to providing computing in some schools. Schools are currently managing tight budgets and may not have endless funds available to constantly update technology hardwares and networks. The report suggests working with businesses and individuals to improve both skills and resources within our schools.

I found this report quite interesting to read, and the recomendations all seemed to make sense. I have written previously in my blog about my worries about having to teach Computing as a subject rather than ICT in its current form. Reading these recomendations in this report I can still see the positives of teaching computing, and the benefits to our children in later life, and if these recommendations are taken onboard it would make it a little less daunting.  I can also see the points that are made by traditionalists about not allocating time to Computing and instead focussing on other subjects such as Mathematics. Unfortunately the world we live in is racing forwards at great speed when it comes to technology, computing and ICT and the need is definately there to try to keep our children up to speed. With trading and business frequently carried out online, with cars for example becoming more computerised and with more use of robotics, we need to ensure our children have an understanding to allow them to compete with thier peers from across the world in later life. i’m yet to be convinced children as young as 5 need to be taught about programming, but with time and seeing the benefits within the classroom this view may change.

If you would like to read the report summary, Please click on the image below for the link.


I have also included a brief video clip of an interview with Professor Steve Furber FRS talking about Computing in UK schools.





Computer Masters to Teach the Teachers


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, National Curriculum, Uncategorized | Posted on February 9, 2014




After my previous blog post, I found a recent article about how the Government will employ Computer Masters to teach the teachers in preparation for the delivery of Computing lessons in primary schools and Computer Science in secondary schools. The article doesn’t really explain exactly how the teachers will be taught about computer programming, but it does allay some fears I have about teaching this in the new curriculum. I would still be interested in hearing the views of other trainee teachers or teachers about how they feel about teaching this new subject. Is it really going to be much different from how we use and teach ICT in schools now? Or is it just the name and the language the curriculum is written in that makes it more scary? To read the article, click on the image above.

Computing in the New National Curriculum


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, National Curriculum, Uncategorized | Posted on February 9, 2014

Just taken a look at how Computing features within the new National Curriculum from 2014. I have to say I find this extremely daunting! As somebody who left education a number of years ago, computing is something I have had to almost teach myself as the technologies have changed. I haven’t been able to come from school, where we used smartboards, laptops and iPads knowing exactly how to use these resources and hardwares. Looking at the language which is used is in itself really quite frightening to me, let alone the thought of actually having to teach it! Some of the points in the curriculum such as staying safe and storing and retrieving data I do all the time, but Algorithms and debugging simple programs? Pass! It does worry me slightly that a lot of learning is becoming very ICT based and that traditional skills are being lost. I wonder how many children understand the process of writing and posting a letter? I’ll bet most children understand how to write and send an email! I’ve linked the National Curriculum page to this blog for you to take a look at what is expected to be taught. I’d be interested in other peoples thoughts on what’s involved, and how people feel about potentially teaching it. Click on the Department for Education logo for the link.

ICT to Support Personal, Social and Emotional Development.


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, PSE, Story Telling | Posted on February 9, 2014

Whilst writing an assignment as part of the Children in Their Worlds module, I came upon what I thought was a fantastic tool to support children in writing about themselves. I discovered a section on the Cbeebies website which allows the child to create a story about themselves. This web based game allow the child to talk about their dislikes and likes and to create a mini profile. This web based game could be particularly useful to children who have English as an additional language or who may find it difficult to write much text. Children can select pages in the book to complete for example based upon their favourite foods, their friends and their family. Included are pictures to assist with completing the information, children can drag and click the appropriate picture onto the page. Children can also input some text onto the pages if they wish. This activity would also support communication development if it was completed in pairs or with the support of a teacher or adult. I liked that the options included lots of multi cultural foods and activities which helps to make the activity more inclusive. Children are also able to create stickers and upload thier own photographs onto the pages. This would allow for the use of various types of technology to be used. This web based resource could also be used to create a story about an imaginary character or perhaps a class teddy bear, allowing for lots of imaginative thinking and discussion. I really liked this resource and would certainly consider using this within my classroom to write personal profiles for the children.

Click on the link below to take a look for yourself to discover how you could use the app.

Cbeebies My Story Maker Game

Evaluating and Sharing our Story!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, Story Telling, Uncategorized | Posted on February 9, 2014

The last lecture of year 2 was the session I was most looking forward to. As a group we had completed our story ICT product and were really looking forward to sharing it with the other students. Before the students shared our work we took a look at a few more applications and website resources that could be useful when using ICT in the classroom. We had been introduced briefly to Purple Mash in Year 1 and it was good to get a refresher on how this website worked. It was great to see how Purple Mash could be used to support many areas of the curriculum, including Science, Maths and Design & Technology. Upon reflection it is great to see the positive benefits of using ICt to support all areas of the curriculum. Some children may not enjoy the traditional methods of learning and teaching, but they may find learning about subjects through ICT resources and hardware more engaging. I have included a short video clip below giving an overview of Purple Mash and how it can be used to support learning.

After taking a look at the different websites and applications it was finally time to share our work! Each group took it in turns to present to the class the story they had produced. It was really interesting to see how many of the different apps and resources had been used to make the different tellings of the stories. Some groups had used puppet pals like ourselves to produce their story. Another group had used Monkey Jam to make a short video telling of their story, and others had made trailers for their stories using iMovie. On the whole each groups presentation was very well thought out, and it was clearly explained how they felt the story would support further learning within the Early Years. Groups suggested it could be a link for Literacy whereas others noted how the story could be used as the hook into learning about Geography for example.

Our presentation felt as though it went well. We explained our choice of story, in that we felt it was a well known story, with characters that children find appealing and it had some repetitive parts that children could join in with as the story progressed. We shared with the other groups our thoughts on how easy or difficult we found the different apps to use, and how we would amend our piece if we repeated the task. Feedback provided by the group was on the whole very positive, and it was commented upon that they liked the use of a child telling the story. Proud Mum moment for me as my son had read the story very well!

It was great to get the opportunity to work with a group to produce our own version of a well known and much loved story, and share our work with our friends. We also uploaded our video to the universities resource bank site, to allow other students to freely access our story.

So here it is! Our version of Hairy MacLary! Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Lets Make A Story Movie!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, Story Telling | Posted on February 9, 2014

The second of our ICT lectures again filled me with slight apprehension to begin with. I worried I would find it as challenging as the previous week. This lecture our main focus was on looking at some of the educational applications and programmes that could be used within the classroom to support learning. The focus of the session was how we could use multimedia and ICT to create our own version of a story within our groups. It was great to have a look at some apps and online programs such as the Night Zoo Keeper and Morfo to get some ideas on the different apps and programs we could use, and the kind of products we could create. Both of these were new to me and it was interesting to be introduced to programs and apps which are suitable for use in the Early Years. There is such wide range of products available it is good to have some recommendations, and see how they can benefit learning. Below is a brief video clip to show how Night Zookeeper works and how it can be used within the classroom to stimulate literacy and storytelling.

Powerpoint is another program that can be used to create stories and this was the format I was most aware and confident in using. I have seen interactive whiteboard and smart board programs being used in previous placements, and again I felt more comfortable with these. I love the idea of using popplet as a way to create a spider diagram of ideas with children. Not only does it allow the children to share their ideas, for the teacher to see what ideas are ptresent in the classroom, but it allows the children to use ICT at every stage of the storytelling process.  We were introduced to Puppet Pals, which is an app on the Ipad which was great for creating your own version of stories, or telling your own tales. This app allows you to use photographs that are then cut to create characters and backgrounds for your piece. I really enjoyed this app as it was simple to use and I liked the fact you could photograph people to include them within the story. This would allow the children to photograph themselves to play the main roles in their retelling. I did find cutting out the characters a little tricky, and moving the characters across screen can be a little fiddly. It’s very easy to move them too fast! However, both of these techniques could be of benefit to developing a child’s fine motor skills. The recording of sound was also a little tricky as you have to record it at the same time as moving the characters across the screen. We were shown how to multi-layer apps and export the completed video into another app called Imovie and this made the whole process of editing your film much easier. It was easier to record the sound as your clip was playing and it could be re-recorded if needed. You were also able to alter the speed, add sounds or music and cut bits from your clip to create a finished resource or piece of work. I really liked the feature that allowed you to make either a film or a movie trailer, but felt that with the trailers you had very specific things you had to do to complete it. You didnt have as much flexibility with creating a trailer as you had to have a set amount of clips.


Within our group we decided to retell the story of Hairy MacLary using Puppet Pals to create our original piece and then as shown in our lecture, we would multi-layer it into iMovie. As a group we used puppet pals to create our first take of  our story. We discovered as described before, it could be a little fiddly but it was extremely enjoyable! It was discussed how we would read the story, and after consideration we decided to ask my son to be the narrator. As a group we felt this offered something different, and it may appeal to children to hear another child reading. We also felt this allowed us to demonstrate to the other groups how a child could be involved in the process of telling a story using ICT.

This lecture was not as daunting as the first session had been. I felt I had  a better awareness of what we were learning about and about the technologies we were using. Having borrowed an iPad inbetween lectures to get to grips with how they worked really helped and definately helped to build my confidence. I feel I broadened my understanding of how ICt can be used in the Early Years, and how it can be linked to literacy in many different ways. I was really looking forward to sharing with the group our finished story!