Education City as a Learning Resource.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years | Posted on November 6, 2014

The last session of ICT during my degree has been completed. The three years have gone very quickly but I have learnt so much!

In the final session we looked at some softwares that can be used to suport learning withing the classroom. The first of these we looked at was Education City. This was a programme I had used on a previous placement and it is a software I really like. Education City is bright and colourful and I think it is extremely appealing to children. Education City is broken down into subject areas and these are broken down further into the individual year groups and key stages. I really like how some of these activities had complete lesson plans supporting them which offered offline learning as well to support the topic. These were in the form of a written lesson plan with links to the curriculum and clearly defined outcomes and objectives. There were also printable worksheets to extend the topic as well as the actual online learning. I chose to look at a Science activity designed for a foundation stage class. Children had to complete jigsaw puzzles on screen by selecting the right tool for the job that was being completed in a garden. I thought it was very useful and inclusive that these activities had verbal as well aas written instructions. I found it a really good idea to have a timer on screen as this limits the amount of time children are able to spend completing the online activity.

I also found some nice activities on Education City designed to help develop critical thinking skills and children with EAL. Pictures were shown on the screen and children had to talk about the scenario or move the text into the right order for example. I can see how these could be used to support children’s learning.

Education City can be found at:  http://www.educationcity.com/

To watch a video showing an overview of Education City click this link http://www.educationcity.com/uk/video/showcase-educationcitycom

  

I think Education City is a very good resource and I think it is something that I would use within my classroom to support children’s learning. These kind of programmes can help stimulate learning outside of the classroom. Children enjoy engaing with these games style learning tools and may be inclined to complete more online learning outside of school. I have seent his with my own children and their own use of Mathletics as a learning resource.

 

 

Learning Across the Curriculum Using ICT

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, National Curriculum | Posted on November 3, 2014

ICT is being used more frequently across the curriculum. ICT can help stimulate any subject by being used as a starter for example maybe with a video to introduce a topice or a theme. ICT also lends itself to being used as a research tool to support the learning. Children may use iPads or computers to access infotmation on the internet to support their learning in a particular subject. ICT can also be used to create the pieces of work that children produce. Children could create pieces of art or music on a ipad, they could produce a piece of literacy on a computer or they may use pieces of technology in science as part of an experiment.

Geography is a foundation subject that lends itself very well to using ICT. Children can use Google maps for example to look at their local community, before maybe going out for a community walk and then creating their own maps.

Green screening in History would be a great way to bring the history to life. Children could be given the opportunity to record themselves using this technology standing in scenarios or locations linked to historical topics that they are learning about. This could make the learning itself more engaging to the child and could also make it appear more real. Children could interview historical figures or maybe create news reports for events that have happened in history.

 

There are lots of apps and software that are available to help with cross curricular learning using ICT. These apps could be used to record the children’s work, maybe for an observaation or to allow the children to share their work with the rest of the class later. Apps such as Shadowpuppet ed or Puppet Pals could be used to support literacy learning as children can retall their own stories. Cross curricular learning using ICT can also be done on a larger scale. Smartboard technology or websites such as Purple Mash or Education City can be used for whole class learning. These websites could be used to introduce a whole class to a theme or topic. These activities could then be left on so that children can access them on the whitebaord throughout the session to further support their learning.  Using a whiteboard can help to get a whole class involved in the learning and it could make the children more engaged. I watched a video where a teacher explained how he used the whiteboard to engage his children in a Geography lesson. The teacher explains how children can have a go, see the maps moving and how it brings the learning to life. This is definately an interesting idea that I would consider using in my teaching.

QR codes is something that what completely new to me. I had seen QR codes, I had scanned them occasionally myself but I had never considered how they could be used within the classroom. I thought this would be quite a difficult and complex task to complete but was genuinely surprised at its ease. I can see how children would really enjoy using these codes within the classroom too investigate and complete learning in adifferemt way.

  This image sums up very well exactly what I thought about QR codes prior to this session. I did some further reseravch and reading following the lesson about how to create them and came across a video showing children using them in a lesson. It was great to see how excited the children were about hunting for the codes and seeing what the code would bring up on their iPads. This video also demonstrates how even children in the foundation stage can use basic QR codes to extend their learning using technology. The idea that each one has a different job I think is a really nice theme and is something I would consider using within my classroom.

From my own experience, I have seen how much the children like to access these activities.  I have seen children engage with a topic that they may not have previously shown as much interest in. It is a way of suppporting all the learning styles in the classroom, and unlike writing answers children can easily erase any mistakes without the feeling that they are ruining their work. There is an argument that sometimes ICT can be used too frequently and can take away practise of traditional skills such as writing and drawing, but I think using ICT to support learning in all areas of the curriculum definately has its advantages. It can make the learning more inclusive and also more enagaging, but I hold the belief that ICT should enhance not replace.

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.

Using ICT in Storytelling

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, placement, Story Telling | Posted on September 30, 2014

First day back at university and its the first day of year 3, my third an final year of teacher training! First lecture back and it’s ICT. This time last year I had left the session feeling frustrated that a lot of the contecnt had gone over my head. I felt I had little confidence or experience and found some of the technology really hard to use. This year, the first ICT lecture was a completely different story! My confidence is much higher and I feel I have  much better understanding of technology, the softwares and apps and the vocabulary. Being on two further teaching placements have allowed me to use some of the technology, and see the positive benefiits and results that can be found when using it with children.

Story telling is a vital part of child development. It helps a child develop a wider vocabulary, a greater understanding of language and language comprehension and it can also help develop a childs confidence. Some children may have the most wonderful ideas when it comes to creating a story, but may struggle to get this story into a written form. This is where the use of technology becomes very useful. There are many apps on the ipads for example that can allow a child to create a story without the need for written language. Children can verbally tell the story and add their own artwork or photographs to help tell the story. My last teaching placement I was working with a child in the writing area in the nursery. The particular child had a aprticular fondness for superheros. The staff had been trying very hard over the past few weeks to encourage the child to begin to mark marks and to write his name. The child sat next to me and drew picture after picture of superhero in a notebook and it was an absolute delight to hear the child explain what was happening on each page. As the child drew, I wrote down the story he was telling to me so that we could share it with the rest of the children in the nursery at the end of the session. I explained to the child I needed him to put his name on the book so that the children knew who the very important author who wrote the book was, and the child happily obliged and attempted to copy his name from the name card on the table.  As a surprise I took photographs of the book the child had created. I then uploaded these into iMovie and shared this with the child and then the rest of the class which the child absolutely enjoyed. It was fantastic to see how the child responded to this and it was great to see him then attemot to make and write a story the next day. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to extend this learning or offer the opportunity to other children to use the technology to tell their own stories.

Below is the pictoral version of the book created by the child. He then explained as this was on what was happening in each picture to his friends.

 

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It was good to refresh our memories on some ot the apps and web based programmes available to help support children and teachers in storytelling. We were introduced to some new apps such as shadowpuppet edu on the ipad. This is an app Iam unfamiliar with but would like to experiment and learn more about in the near future.

Another method of stroytelling we were introduced to was Green Screening. This is something again I have never had the opportunity to do. I think it would be a great tool to use with children, as it would allow them to appear in their own stories and they can instantly be transported to any location using the technology to create a scene behind them.

Puppet pals is an app I really enjoy using. I find this app simple to use and understand and this is an app I have not yet had the chance to use with children on teaching practice, but would love to have a go with. I recently upgraded my app to Puppet Pals too and was really impressed with the extra features this newer app has to offer.

I really liked the idea of Tellagami. I have never seen this app but I think this would be a fantastic tool to use for introducing a new idea to the class. The teacher can create an avatar based upon either themselves, one of the children or a completely random character perhaps from another planet. I think children would find this very engaging and I imagine they would be very keen to create their own avatar to tell the story they have produced to the rest of the class. This wouold also be a fantastic way to encourage a less confident child to speak to the rest of the class. The child can use theri own voice to share their work without the embarrassment sometimes caused by having to stand up and speak out loud in front of people.

 

To find out more about Tellagami click on the picture below to be taken to the website.

 

The idea of making an ebook is also a fantastic activity to make with children. I have been asked on a previous placement in a reception class, how do you make books? This would allow the children to explore the concept of making their own book, and it would also allow them to experience the proceeses that must be gone through. Children can learn about creating their storyline, their characters and this also allows opportunities for children to practise writing skills, communication and crtical thinking and imaginative skills. Some of the sugested websites and apps for these ideas were a little complicated I thought but I really liked the Story Jumper web based programmes that allowed children to create ebooks using their own photographs and text.

To find out more about Story Jumper click on the link below.

open book

Story telling no longer has to be about providing a child with a piece of paper and telling them to sit and write a story. ICT offers new ways for these stories to be interactive, cross curricular and done using multiple forms of media. ICT use in story telling allows all children to participate whether it be taking photos for the story, narrating their story using an avatar or creating their own books using pictures and text. ICT also allows the teacher to explore new ways of telling a story rather than the traditional sit down and read a book scenario. However I still firmly believe children need to be taught the fundamental skillls of physically writing their ideas and stories on to paper, as well as listeninng to a story from a book or reading a book.

Art & ICT

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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.

Computer Masters to Teach the Teachers

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!