Computing in the New National Curriculum.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, National Curriculum | Posted on October 13, 2014

In todays ICT lecture we have been taking a look at some simple programs that can be used to introduce computing and coding to Reception children and Key Stage 1 children. The idea of computing being introduced into the curriculum was previously quite scary as I wasn’t really sure exactly what this is involved. Also some of the language associated with computing is quite scary, but when you look at the definitions it becomes a lot less daunting. The word Algorithm filled me with horror when I saw it in the new National Curriculum, but when you see it defined as a step by step set of instructions to solve a problem it suddenly seems so much friendlier.

I chose to take a look at the 2code program on Purple Mash. This offered lots of options for writing simple codes using simple game style challenges. I chose to look at the snail race. I thought this would be an idea that would appeal to many young children and it is something that you could link to other areas of the curriculum for example Science or Understanding of the World. The program itself was very bright and colourful and I thought it was visually appealing. The program itself was fairly easy to use once you understood the principles, but I can see how younger children would need the task explaining to them. This is  maybe something that could be done as a group or whole class activity to introduce the program and to explain the instructions. There were many other coding activities on Purple  Mash that could be used to introduce children to basic computing skills, and these could link to many other areas of the curriculum and also to unplugged learning.

Computing in the new Curriculum can be as simple as moving a sprite or character around a screen using a set of instructions. Children can write algorithms to move the. Bars gets around the screen often to complete a challenge such as collecting items or following a prescribed path. Good apps for introducing this type of coding from the Foundation stage include Move the Turtle or Daisy the Dinosaur. Both these apps are bright and colourful and would appeal visually to children. They are both quite used friendly and simple to use the functions. Daisy the Di issue however is only a small app and only has 5 challenges to complete and this may not stretch some children’s learning very far. Daisy also requires some reading to be able to programme the dinosaur to move, so this app may require a bit more explanation or support from the adult.

 

After today’s session I definately feel more confident in teaching computing in Key Stage 1.  I am going to further my knowledge by taking a look at the BBC Bitesize we page about computing to get some further ideas on how to introduce he subject and for some activities I can use whilst teaching.

Apps and Web Based Learning Tools.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Apps, Children's Learning, Early Years, My interest | Posted on October 11, 2014

There has been a huge increase in the number of apps and web based programmes designed to support learning both inside and outside of the classrrom. Today in our ICT lecture we took a quick toour through some of these apps and webbased programmes to discuss how they could be used and where they link to with regards to supporting children.

Having two primary aged children of my own, I have seen the increase in the amount of web based and app based learning that takes place in schools. Both of my children have recently been issued with access to a website called Reading Eggs designed to help children develop further their reading skills. This website uses games , songs, puzzles and activities to encourage children to read. My children do not access this website very frequently, but when they do they really enjoy the learning and can spend large amounts of time completing activities. Children can earn golden egg rewrads every time they complete a challenge which allows them to open up more activities.

To watch a short video about Reading Eggs, please click the link.

   

Another app and web based learning tool I have become more familiar with recently is Mathletics. Again my children have been issued with a login via their school. Mathletics allows children to complete learning tasks and then test themselves on various areas of learning in maths. The learning tests get progressively more difficult as the child moves through the learning. The children earn points as they progress through the challenges and this can be used to purchase items to adapt their profile avatar. These poi ts can also be collected and stored and when a set total is achieved, the child can print off a certificate of their achievements. Mathletics also allows children to take part in global challenges, and their is also a global score board that they can feature on if they earn enough points. This app has been particularly good for supporting my eldest sons maths development, and he will frequently access this app. As a aprent I have enjoyed using this app with him and I really like the way the app looks and fuctions. To find out more about Mathletics, click on the picture below.

 

We were introduced to apps and web based programmes that can help teaching staff create a digital learning journey for their pupils. These apps and programmes may be used intstead of the tradiotonal written versions to create an end of Foundation Stage profile for example. This is something I have never had the exeprience of using, but having spoken to teachers who have used them they would appear fairly popular. Any member of staff can access them and they are often considered quicker and easier to use as there is no loose papers to be stuck into books and they can contain video clips to show the childs progress.

 

 

Storytelling in ICT part 2

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, Story Telling | Posted on October 6, 2014

Today we are going to share our story telling creations with the rest of the class. I am really pleased with the finished product I have created. I managed to combine media from three different apps on my iPad to produce my finished product. I started by creating an avatar on Tellagami which I used to create an introduction to an imaginary lesson using ICT to tell stories. I then used an app called Puppet Edu to import photographs I had taken of the actual book to then turn it into a digital book. I really liked using the Puppet Edu app. It was simple to use and you were able to use your own photographs or pictures and backgrounds that were already stored on the app. To combine these two apps to create one story, I imported both individual pieces into iMovie. This allows the introduction to the lesson and the story to follow on from each other. To view the two alternative finished pieces please click on the links below.

This is the original version made on Shadow Puppet Edu.

 

I really enjoyed creating these resources. I think it would be a lovely idea to give children the opportunity to create their own digital books using ICT. The Shadow Puppet app was a really simple and easy app to use and I can definately see how this could be used within an Early Years setting as well as in later Key Stages. I really liked how you could choose the kinds of pictures you added to the story, and this would allow lots of flexibility to give children the choice to create their own pictures using photography or art work, or use backgrounds and pictures already stored on the app. I thought it was a really nice feature that you could also add text to the story. This will allow children to practise communication through speech if they record their story, but also to practise literacy skills to add the written text. This is an app I would like to try to use with children on my next placement if the opportunity arises. Tellagami was an interesting app to use and I could see how this could be used to introduce a lesson or a new theme to a class. I think the idea of using a Tellagami avatar to conduct interviews or pose questions to the children would be quite exciting to try. The only thing that lets this app down is that the editing choices are very limited unless you purchase upgrades to the app. There are only a few backgrounds to choose, and only a few options that can be selected to change the appearance of your avatar. However, if you are happy to purchase upgrades the options become much wider.