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.

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.

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

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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

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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.