Planning For The Future – A Vision For ICT in Education.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, My interest | Posted on November 6, 2014

The world of technology is constantly evolving at a faster pace than ever. Technology doesn’t stand still. As teachers we are helping to educate the next generation using technology that may be redundant by the time the pupils leave school, and to use technology that has not yet been invented. This provides teachers with a real challenge of how we prepare our next generations for these changes.

                                                                                                                      

ICT in the Curriculum.

The importance of ICT in education is demonstrated by the inclusion of the subject in both the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the National Curriculum.  Within the EYFS ICT learning can generally be found within Understanding of the World and children should be taught the understanding that a variety technology is found and used in places such as their homes and schools. Children should also be taught how to select and use technology for a specific reason (DfE, 2014). It is never too young to introduce children to technology and ICT. Even with our youngest children ICT can help to support their learning. It can be stimulating and engaging and can provide children with an insight into the world around them. Even the youngest children will have been exposed to technology in the world around them from parents using mobile phones, to seeing cash registers whilst out shopping. Introducing technology to young children can feed their curiosity and they appear to enjoy experimenting with the hardware. Children love to take photographs, record themselves or use iPads or whiteboards for drawing for example. When the National Curriculum was amended for implementation in 2014, the role of ICT was adapted to meet the perceived changes in technology and its use in the future. Within the National Curriculum the Government suggested, “A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world” (DfE, 2013 p1). The new National Curriculum aims to provide children with a good understanding of current and future technology, computing skills and for children to be able to write and debug simple programmes. I think it is important that Computing is taught to children across all Key Stages. Teaching children more about ICT than just how to use an iPad or how to play games, should help children prepare for the future. Learning key skills such as computer coding and debugging will only aid our children in inventing and using new technology.

 E-Safety.

Internet or e-safety is a big concern for many schools, parents and children. It is essential you repeatedly reinforce eSafety messages, whilst allowing children to see there are also gains to using the internet and sharing their work with the world (Naace, 2012 p17). Cyber bullying is also a big topic due to the rise in popularity of social media platforms. Cyber bullying can take place 24 hours a day and can have more impact than face to face bullying as it is not always as visible to other people (Metcalfe et al. 2012, 123). The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) was created to help provide support to Parents, People working with children and the children themselves to help stay safe whilst on the internet, and to help prevent and provide a safe pathway for the reporting of exploitation (National  Crime Agency, 2014). I was fortunate to attend an e-safety training evening at a placement school and this offered me invaluable insight into the dangers and how to avoid them.  I believe it is important that schools have robust policies for teaching children about e-safety, and that all adults and children are taught to adhere to them rigidly. During the e-safety training I was introduced to CEOP’s website, Think U Know and Hector the dolphin. I think these are both fantastic resources for teaching children about staying safe on the internet, and I would certainly encourage the use of this kind of resource to help protect children in my care.  More on the support provided by CEOP can be found at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk. I hold the view that is also essential to ensure the safety of all adults working with the children when they are using the internet either themselves or in the classroom. I will aim to provide a safe environment where children are aware of the dangers of cyber bullying, and where they feel confident in reporting anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or hurt.

       

Digital Literacy.

Digital Literacy is something that is growing in importance. Digital Literacy can be defined as, ‘the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet’ (Cornell University, 2009). Communication through technology has massively increased and children need to be taught the ability to find and share information, as well as be able to communicate with others effectively. “Digital Literacy as important as reading and writing”, stated Gurney-Read. (Gurney-Read, 2013). I firmly believe children should be taught how to communicate through emails and messages, but I do not believe this should be taught to replace written or verbal communication. I have been part of a group who through my son’s school were communicating with a school in the USA. I saw the enjoyment that the children got from sending and receiving emails to each other as well as making video calls. This is a form of learning which can span the curriculum and this is a project I think would be really valuable to the children in my class in supporting their digital literacy and communication skills. I think creating this kind of learning within my classroom also demonstrates to children that technology and communicating through ICT is a feature of life worldwide.

ICT can be taught online or offline, and I consider that both these methods are as important as each other and will strive to support both within my classroom. I have experienced a child who didn’t know the answer to a question and when he asked his friend, the response immediately was, “use Google”.  It’s fantastic that children as young as 5 years old have this awareness of where they can source information, but I think it is important that they are taught there are alternative ways to source information. I want to teach children that ICT isn’t always about using computers or iPads, but that it can be using calculators, cameras and other forms of hardware. It can be writing codes or alogorithms on paper, or it can be giving a verbal algorithm to complete a task. It has been shown that ICT can improve thinking skills especially when relating to problem solving. Wegerif stated,” Computers can help develop children’s thinking skills when used as part of a larger dialogue about thinking and learning” (Wegerif, 2002). ICT learning should I believe be delivered through effective collaborative learning. The teacher needs to help to set the learning whilst at times allowing educational programmes and apps to support and lead to some independent learning. I aim to allow my children some freedom to explore the technology and the ways in which they can independently use it, whilst still introducing them to aspects that are important in the curriculum.

Cross Curricular Learning.

Computing within the classroom and using ICT to support cross curricular learning is something that I am very interested in. C ross curricu;ar learning using ICT can help to bring subjects to life and can offer opportunities to learn in ways that may not be possible without the technologies.  For example children can take a virtual tour of a castle, or they can use slow motion cameras to capture a seed growing in science.Using ICT or technology within the classroom can make the learning more accessible to all. ICT may engage and stimulate in subjects where a particular child does not normally show an interest. It is suggested that using ICT can engage a child in an area of learning for longer than they would normally spend on it, thus increasing learning (Higgins. no date, 8). ICT may support children who have a special educational need, perhaps for example a visual impairment or physical disability. Some children may also require their own ICT equipment to support their learning needs and access to the curriculum. It is important to create an environment that is flexible in regards to using the technologies that are required to allow some children to learn. This is a view supported by Caldwell et al who suggest that children should not feel stigmatised for being different. (Caldwell et al, 2014 p59). I think it is crucial to embrace these needs and look to provide ways of introducing learning through technology that allows these children to engage, participate and enjoy. I aim to promote the use of  ICT to support children with EAL as this could be of benefit for these children In including them in the learning. I will  look to build a collection of resources and ideas that will support the learning of English.  Simpson et al suggest “Children for whom English is an additional language will also flourish where a visual, hands-on approach and collaborative project development is encouraged” ( Simpson et al, 2012).

 

My Vision For My ICT Teaching.

 During my time at the university I feel I have learnt many valuable ideas of how to use ICT to support learning, how to keep the children and adults I work with safe and have developed a deeper understanding of the technologies available. I believe I have learnt to widen my views on what ICT and Computing actually is and the hardware needed to provide this. It doesn’t have to be all expensive computers and technologies, complicated apps and software as I first thought. I feel extremely confident about using ICT within my classroom to support and extend the learning of my class. 

I thoroughly believe that the use of ICT within the classroom has its benefits in supporting our children in learning life skills and how to prepare for the new technologies of the future. I believe that its use should be encouraged to stimulate learning and to engage with a subject. It should also be used to create new ways of learning and sourcing information to help with learning. I am of the belief ICT should enhance the learning of new skills, but it should not be used to replace traditional methods of learning completely. Children still need to be taught the skills of reading a book and written communication using pens and paper. I want children to feel safe, secure and confident about using various forms of hardware and software, and I hope to stimulate their curiosity in computing and technology evolution. I also envisgae making childrens learning visible to parents. I think it is a good idea to look at possibilities of introducing parents into the classroom to share in ICT learning to help them develop their own skills, but to also allow them to feel more confident in supporting their child. I would also like to intorduce blogginf to my classroom to allow parents and the rest of the school community to share in our learning. ICT is a very exciting area with new evolutions of technology coming thick and fast, and I am relishing the opportunity to help the next generation get the benefits of embracing computing.

References.

Caldwell, H. and Honeyford, G. (2014) Computing and Digital Literacy. In: Smith, P. and Dawes, L. Subject Teaching in Primary Education. London: Sage. p43-64.

Cornell University. (2009) Digital Literacy Is. [online]. Available from: http://digitalliteracy.cornell.edu/. [Accessed 2nd November 2014].

DfE. (2014) Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage Setting the Standards for Learning, Development and Care for Children From Birth to Five. London: Crown Publishers.

DfE. (2013) Computing Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2. [online]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239033/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Computing.pdf. [Accessed 2nd November 2014].

Gurney-Read. (2013) Digital Literacy as Important as Reading and Writing. [online[. Available from:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10436444/Digital-literacy-as-important-as-reading-and-writing.html. [Accessed 2nd November 2014].

Higgins, S. (no date) Does ICT Improve Learning and Teaching in Schools? [online]. Available from: http://dysgu.cymru.gov.uk/docs/learningwales/publications/121122ictlearningen.pdf. [Accessed 3rd November 2014].

Metcalfe, J. And Simpson, D. (2012) Learning online: the internet, social networking and e-safety. In: Simpson, D. And Toyn, M. Primary ICT Across the Curriculum. (2nd ed) London: Learning Matters.

Naace. (2012) Naace Curriculum Framework. [online]. Available from: www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum. [Accessed 2nd November 2014].

National Crime Agency (2014) About CEOP. [online]. Available from: http://ceop.police.uk/About-Us/. [Accessed 2nd November 2014].

Simpson, D., and Metcalfe, J. (2012) Creating, Processing and Manipulating Information. In: Simpson, D. and Toyn, M. (eds) Primary ICT Across the Curriculum. (2nd ed) London: Learning Matters. P52-76.

Wegerif, R (2002) Literature Review in Thinking Skills, Technology and Learning. [online]. Available from: www.futurelab.org.uk. [Accessed 2nd November 2014].

STEAM Project

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks | Posted on November 6, 2014

Following an ICT session we were given a directed task which was to watch and reflect upon a short video about a project that a loacl school had carried out. The project was called STEAM and it was conducted at Bridgewater Primary School in Northampton. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. The school focussed upon an interest that the children have in popular game Minecraft, and they developed their project based upon this to stimulate the children’s learning. The project involved lots of cross curricular learning with opportunities for children to use various ICT skills. The whole school was engaged in the project and shared their work creating a sense of shared ownership and community. On reflection I think this could be a really beneficial project to engage children in and it would be very interesting to try to initiate something similar in the future. This kind of project could stimulate children to engage in new subjects, work with different groups of children and also learn new skills.

Staying safe on the internet.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Directed Tasks | Posted on March 28, 2013

We’ve all heard the horror stories about the Internet. The people pretending to be who they are not in order to hurt children. Internet safety is something that is an absolutely essential part of ICT teaching. It is vital we do all we can to protect ourselves and our children from those looking to do harm either physically or mentally. We need to ensure what we are viewing in front of our children is appropriate, and that they do not have access to anything harmful.

All schools will produce an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)  about appropriate Internet usage detailing what the school is doing to protect every member of staff and every pupil. It explains what is allowed, what cannot be accessed, what is forbidden and details of how incidents will be dealt with. It is designed to protect and safeguard everybody using the Internet at the school. It is also designed to help educate children about safe Internet usage in their personal time as this is also extremely important. Many schools  teach lessons around the idea of Internet safety. From personal experience, my children have a lesson at the start of each year regarding safe Internet use. Children have the clear rules about what is and isn’t allowed explained to them. They are also taught what to do in the event they gain access to something that is inappropriate or that they find offensive. The children are then asked to bring home a letter for parents to read through with the child which the parent must then sign to say they have explained Internet safety to their children, and giving permission for the children to access the Internet. The schools policy on Internet usage ids available for parents to view at any time in the school office or on the schools website. The school have also created a page on their website for parents and children regarding Internet safety, showing some sites they deem safe for children to use and some links to sites to educate adults on Internet safety.

Link to the school Internet security page for pupils and parents.

Parents are also frequently reminded that they are not allowed to post any pictures showing any children other than their own onto the Internet for example on Facebook. This is to help safeguard all children and families in the school. Parents must also sign a permission slip regarding photographs being used on the schools website and Twitter page, before the school are allowed to publish any photographs of children online.

During the session we looked at some of the websites available to educate about and promote safety on the Internet. The first of these sites I explored was Think You Know. This was a great website with the information split into sections for different aged children, teenagers, parent and professionals. I found this helped to still get the importance of staying safe on the Internet across, but it used appropriate language and content for the age of the intended audience. It was bright and visually pleasing and easy to navigate. I feel this could be a very useful site for anybody of any age who is looking to be educated about Internet safety. It is provided by CEOP and provides the information and ability to report any suspicious activity or harmful content on the Internet. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another site I explored was Safe Search for Kids provided by Google. This is a search engine designed to allow children to search the Internet in a more controlled and safe environment. With built in filters it should prevent inappropriate information being displayed to the children. Sometimes even the most innocent of searches can produce harmful results.

 

Another site we were introduced to during the session was Yahoo! Kids. This site provides access to child friendly games, videos and information which is all deemed suitable for children. It is bright and visually pleasing and uses lots of characters from TV and films that children are familiar with. There is a facility to ask questions to get information using a character called Earl. However as an adult I found this feature a little disappointing as your question was not immediately answered, and after asking your question nothing appears to happen. I feel this could be a little confusing for children and disappointing of they are unable to get the answer they are looking for. I feel this site is probably of more use to Key stage 2 children and above as some of the content is a little grown up and I personally wouldn’t use this site with younger children.

       

My favourite safety tool we were shown was Hector the dolphin. This is a down loadable programme that allows a child to click on a picture of Hector causing a scene of Hector under the water to appear. This is designed to cover the screen if a child gains access to anything that they find harmful or upsetting and to alert the teacher discreetly to the issue. Covering the screen allows the screen data to be hidden from the child concerned but also the others around, as it may not be immediately possible for the teacher to get to the child and other children could be exposed too the data. As a parent this is something I would consider also downloading onto my laptop, for when my children use it at home.

 

Getting creative!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, Early Years | Posted on March 22, 2013

Working together as a staff team to use ICT is a fantastic opportunity to not only share ICT learning ideas, but also the opportunity to share knowledge and learn ICT skills from others.

In a small group we  chose the story of Peace at Last to create some ICT based learning resources around. We chose this story as we felt it was engaging, would support learning in a wide range of curriculum areas and was a story many children and teachers are familiar with. It is important when working in a group to brainstorm ideas before going off to create the resources.

After our brainstorming session we looked through the variety of ideas we had written down, and we decided to divide the resource creating so that people were using ICT equipment and programmes they were comfortable with as we felt this would be a way of making best use of our limited time. We tried to create a range of resources that would use different senses and that would be visual pleasing and engaging. We also wanted to have a wide range of learning opportunities demonstrated in our resources so we chose some interactive games, for example the sounds game and some visual learning for example the pictures of the bear around the world. We tried to create resources that would also stimulate discussions using questioning and thinking skills for example the photographs of the bear hiding around the building, or the use of foreign languages.

As a group we used a variety of ICT software including Smart board software to create interactive learning on the smart board, PowerPoint to create some pictures relating to the book and the pictures of the bear around the world with the languages. We also used an ipad to take the photographs of the bear hiding around the building, which we connected to the smart board to display them on a larger scale.

As a group we put together a short presentation of our ideas to show how our resources that we had created could be used in cross curricular learning. We suggested the idea of time could be used to support maths learning, bedtime routines to support Personal, Social and Emotional development, the languages and the photographs from around the world to support Geography.

This was a particularly engaging session which showed just how important it is to work together with other staff to create good qulaity resources, but also how easy it is to use ICT to create resources to use in the classroom. It was a good opportunity to review learning from previous sessions, and get to try some of the ICT soft wares and hard wares again. I feel I really reinforced learning from previous sessions as some of the technology used I was not particularly familiar with at the start of the course. It was great to see the ideas that other groups had  created and I felt there were ideas that they had come up with that were very engaging and that I could use to develop my own ICT resources.  It was also brilliant to receive feedback from the rest of the class, as this allows you to see from others perspectives what works, what could be better and how some of the ideas we had created could be developed further.

both ppts together Peace at last sound game

Game on!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, Early Years | Posted on March 8, 2013

Today’s ICT session was about the use of gaming in teaching. This is an area some people may not be quite as open to. People believe that gaming has no educational value or that children spend enough time playing games without taking up valuable teaching time by using them in class.

I feel there are many benefits to using gaming in the classroom as long as it is something that is not relied upon all the time and is time limited. Many of the games consoles offer opportunities for children to develop their fine and gross motor skills. For example the Wii. This is a really effective tool to get children moving and improving gross motor skills. It may get children who are not particularly active up and moving their bodies, and due to the nature of some of the actions required to pay it may aid development of gross motor skills through throwing motions for example. It can also be of benefit to fine motor skills with having to grip the controller and press the buttons. The Wii could also be used to develop communication and team work skills. Some games allow children to work together in teams  to play the game. This would mean they would need to develop the communication skills to work together properly and this would also develop language and vocabulary skills. It would also reinforce the idea of working together to achieve, and turn taking. My only fault with the Wii, is that some f the instructions for playing the game may be a little complicated for some of the younger children, but this could be solved by adult support.

Bowling on the Wii

This is also applicable to the X Box which works on a similar concept of your body being the controller. Again this would offer opportunities to work on movement and physical skills. I however am not a huge fan of the  X Box. I found this quite difficult to control using body movements and found it quite hard to get the game to do what I wanted to and this could be an issue with young children.

Gaming on the X Box

Another piece of hardware we got to experience today was the Sony Playstation with the Rock Band game. This was great fun especially as nobody wanted to the the mic! No wonder none of us could win this game. This would be a great tool to use to get children working together and communicating. It was however quite a difficult game for younger children due to lots of instructions and the songs not being very well known to them. However this console could be used with other similar games where the songs are more familiar, such as Singstar and with adult support.

The last piece of hardware I tried out was the Nintendo DS. This was a great little device and I can really see how this could be used along side some of the more educational games such as Maths Trainer to help the children learn. This offers the opportunity for individual or shared work whilst learning about a subject that is very often taught through writing sums down.

Maths training on the Nintendo DS

Me trying out the Nintendo DS

With all these consoles and devices they may allow the child opportunities to try new experiences as some of the children we teach may not have access to games consoles at home. They can be used as a tool to support children with communication delay as they are very visual and may engage children in the learning if they enjoy being more hands on rather than sitting down writing. The gaming also offers children the chance to develop their self-esteem, for example by being able to achieve the highest score in the class or teaching another child how to play the game correctly. A child who struggles with conventional maths teaching, may be more stimulated and achieve better results through using the DS for example.

It is something I would consider including in my teaching, but generally I think it would be kept as more of a treat for the children. For example if doing a topic on the seaside, allow the children at the end of the week to have a go on the Wii sports resort beach based games.  It is something that would need a degree of adult support and supervision but I think there are definite positives to using gaming. I’m sure the teachers would have as much fun as the children too!

Another aspect of the session involved looking at some games based websites which provide gaming as a learning tool. My favourite of these is the CBeebies website which can be accessed at www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies. This website provides lots of learning games using characters that many young children are familiar with. It is packed with a variety of learning games and activities, songs and is bright and very colourful in appearance.

All of the gaming consoles and websites offer opportunities for learning and development in an engaging, exciting manner and I feel as long as they are used for educational purposes and the children are receiving learning from using them why not have some gaming in the classroom. Game on!

Smartboards are really smart!

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, Early Years, Uncategorized | Posted on March 1, 2013

Today’s ICT session looked at how the use of Smart boards has developed in the classroom. Smart boards are a fairly new technology to me. I have had a little experience with them through my previous job, but they were not at any of my schools probably because the technology wasn’t available.

The smart board is a multi sensory learning aid that can be used by all the staff and the children in a class or setting. The smart board offers opportunities for whole class learning, small group learning or individual learning. It can be used in conjunction with a variety of software and other ICT hardware to enhance learning. Teachers are able to create and produce their own learning tools as well as providing opportunities for children to create their own work.

Smart boards can be an effect tool for showing video clips, creating spider diagrams of class ideas about topics or pictures for example or for playing education based games. However there is a theory that smart boards can be over used. Do the learning objectives need to be written on the board every day? Does the teacher need to demonstrate learning on the smart board or are there other ways to do this? Does it always have to be the teacher leading the learning on the smart board?

Creating an ICT based learning activity for the smart board was surprisingly easy. It was very interesting to see exactly how these games or learning activities can be created. I found the idea of showing a picture and revealing it bit by bit and writing the children’s ideas of what they thought they could see down on the board a really great idea.

The smart board can be used to help develop both fine and gross motor skills in children depending upon the activity. It could also be a great resource to use with children who need additional support with language and communication. It can be used as a visual aid to help the teaching staff or children understand what is happening in the day or in the learning.

I can see many ideas for using the smart board with even the youngest children. They could use it to view pictures and discuss, listen to sounds, play learning games and create their own artwork to name a few ideas. The smart board can definitely be used as a cross curricular resource and can be used to support the learning in any subject. I think it is definately important to ensure other resources are used to support the learning so that the excitement remains when the children get to access the smart board.

Click the link to voew some examples of smart board work that I created in the session on smart boards.smart-board-work-1k0xmj9

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!

 

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.