Lets Make A Story Movie!


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

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

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


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

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


My Early Years Blog Goes World Wide!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, My interest | Posted on January 21, 2014

While I was updating my blog today I thought I would take a look at my mapping tool showing me where the different visitors to my blog have come from. I was so surprised to discover my blog has been visted by people in 33 different countries!

To me this suggests Early Years Education  and ICT must be a topic of discussion all over the world, as we all want the best educational start for our children no matter where we are. Hopefully people are finding my blog interesting or informative and are finding some of my thoughts about ICT use in the Early Years interesting. It would be great to get some thoughts from around the world on ICT use in the Early Years, so if you could leave any comments on your own experiences or ideas for using ICT in teaching that would be fantastic!

First Hand Experience of ICT Engaging Learners!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning | Posted on January 21, 2014

In my previous post I mentioned how my reluctant son had used ICT to complete his homework and I thought I would share the results. The challenge was to be a poetry detective. The children were asked to look around their homes to find any words that rhyme, then present their findings to the class. My son decided that rather than just write a list and read them out, he would use the borrowed Ipad to photograph the items and things in our home that rhymed. He would then put these pictures onto a powerpoint presentation to share with his class. Sounded simple enough, but when you confess to being an Ipad novice, and Powerpoint isn’t your thing its a challenge! I decided to let my son take the lead as he was very enagaged and excited by what he was planning to do, and in no time at all we had our photographs and they had been sent to the laptop. Powerpoint presentation construction commenced and in around half an hour we were done! It was great to see first hand how ICT inspired a child to complete a piece of work that they didnt want to particularly do, and it was also great to get some tips on how to do these things. I was so inspired by the enthusiasm and positive benefits of ICT, I went out and purchased my own Ipad that I intend to use for my own benefit and that of my children and those I teach. Its already had so much usage and is already packed with recommended apps to use with children in the Early Years! I’ll write a post and talk about a few of the great apps a bit later.

To view the powerpoint presentation completed, please click this link. Literacy homework

Feeling Daunted by the ICT in Year 2!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning | Posted on January 21, 2014

Thank goodness that lecture is over was my first feeling after the first ICT class of my second year of teacher training! Everything just seemed to go way too fast for my untechnological brain to keep up with! Initially I left feeling confused, lost as to what I was supposed to have learnt and feeling totally frazzled! I don’t confess to being totally up to speed with ICT in schools or at home. In my days at school it was text books not powerpoints, blackboards not interactive whiteboards and we were lucky if we had one computer in the class that took an age to boot and load anything! Ipads and computer suites, what were those?! However, knowing this isn’t my strongest area I’ve made the concious effort to get up to speed a little bit more, even taking ICT lessons from my 9 year old! Even though I struggle with getting my head around some of the technology and terminology, I do see the value that having ICT as a teaching tool has in the Early Years and throughout education. Watching a short clip that children have made using an app on the Ipad to record their own work was brilliant, and very inspiring. Not only do those children get to use the technology for themselves, but it can be shared with parents and others as well as providing the teacher with an excellent source for assessment. This method is very interactive and engaging. It is a common theory many children especially boys, do not enjoy picking up a pen or pencil and recording their work in that way. If using an Ipad or camera to record the children’s work and learning gets them more engaged and excited by what they are doing, then I think its great to support this. However, I firmly believe that traditional methods such as writing are also critical for a childs development. Using ICT is a fantastic way to compliment the more traditional styles of teaching and introducing children to a theme or topic.



We were introduced to the idea of using ICT alongside a traditional story. For example, the teacher could read the story using the book then later reinforce this learning using maybe a video or pictures on an online source, for example Youtube if it is permitted in the school. Digital pictures could be used to instigate discussions around a new learning theme, whilst visual items that can be handled are also provided within the classroom to support the learning. Combining ICT with other teaching strategies could lead to more engagement amongst those who are maybe more distracted during learning, and it gives children the opportunity to see technology in action. It also helps the teacher tailor the learning to meet the varying learning styles that may be present in the classroom. Some children may find listening to instructions the best way for them to learn, whereas others may find they need to be more involved in the learning or need more visual instruction. ICT allows the teacher to provide for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners all at the same time.

During the lecture we were introduced to the idea of how ICT use can be beneficial in storytelling. We were shown examples of how this can be used and were introduced to the online resource bank which contains a variety of ICT based storytelling resources created by students. This was a very valuable experience and it was really positive to see how other students had embraced the use of ICT for storytelling, and provided us with some great ideas. We looked at how we can use sounds, pictures, painting apps and programs on both computers and mobile devides such as the Ipad, and how these could be used to support children’s learning about literature.

All in all, although I found the session daunting and I did leave feeling so confused by it all, upon reflection I felt I learnt a lot. I  borrowed a friends Ipad and played around on that for a while learning how to use it, download apps etc as I felt quite unconfident with that. It really helped and I even managed to get my reluctant child to complete his homework using the Ipad to take pictures to go onto a powerpoint presentation at his suggestion! His teacher was really pleased with the effort he put in as his was the most unique piece submitted, and he was awarded house points as a result. The result for me however was feeling a bit more confident in my capabilities and understanding, and also seeing first hand how ICT can be incorporated into successful and engaging learning!

Now came the challenge to create our own ICT resource to use to tell a story in the Early Years. We had a group, we had a story, next we just needed a plan of action! Find out a bit later how the plan came together, and how our resource began to take shape!

They think it’s all over, it is now!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Uncategorized | Posted on April 2, 2013

This will be my last post before submitting this assignment.

I’m going to miss ICT! When I first started this module I was initially a little apprehensive. It’s been a long time since I left school, and many of the programmes, devices and software just did not exist when I was in school. For those colleagues who more recently left school some of the programmes discussed they had used frequently and had more experience of. It was really great to be able to learn not only from our tutor Ellie, but also from fellow students.

Since starting the ICT module I feel my confidence has definitely increased and I am more aware of the technologies out there. I have learnt about Tumblr, more about Twitter, using Bee bots, gaming, power point, the list goes on!




I can’t wait to get out on my next placement and into the classroom to try out some of the new ideas I have for using ICT with children. I am also really excited about blogging itself! I have been inspired to create a blog of my next placement to record my experiences so I can hopefully share them with others!

iPads in the classroom?


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on March 29, 2013

The use of iPads in the classroom is becoming more common in many of our schools. There has been much debate about the amount of time are children are spending in front of screen, and whether by digitalising our classrooms we are preventing children from learning fundanemtal skills such as writing. I believe in moderation iPads can be a great tool to support learning. Many teachers feel they are becoming an invaluable tool thanks to the ease of using them, the functions of them and the apps that can support many areas of learning. For children they are exciting and engaging and may support the learning of children reluctant to pick up a pencil.

This little guy seems intrigued by the iPad, more so than by the books on the nearby shelves at a recent German book fair. Could it be that technology and tykes are a perfect mix for learning?


A whole host of apps are available and I thought I mention three thhatt I have come across thatwould be good  for supporting learning in the classroom when used on an iPad.

The first app I came across was called Pocket Zoo. This app allows children to view real animals in real zoos via webcams from the comfort of the classroom. This is great fun and could be used to support learning in many areas for example, Understanding the World in the Early Years or Science and Geography in Key Stages 1 and 2. Children can also see virtual zoos and learn many facts about animals and their care. This is a fairly easy app to use and would be great for children who have never been to the zoo before. This is only available from the App store and there is a charge for downloading, but I feel it is an App that could be useful and lots of fun.

Garage Band is an app that allows children to play instruments by touching the screen. There are a wide a variety of instruments to choose fro, but I did feel this was an app better suited to older children. It is quite fiddly and may be quite difficukt for little learners. Again there is a small charge to download this app from the App store. A more suitable app for younger children is Easy Beats. This is a more basic app and allows cildren to create a four bar piece of music. It also teaches them how to create a music loop. This could be a good way of teaching music using ICT. It has some quite good reviews on the internet and is a recommended app from the music module of the Early Years Eucation course.


Another positive for using iPads in the classroom is that it may reduce the amount of paper used in the classrrom making it a little more environmentally friendly. iPads are also great for being inclusive. Children with a physical disability may find these easier to use than traditional pencil and paper, and with the additon of a voice recording app or video recording app work can be completed in a variety of ways.

I got to experience using an iPad in an art lesson and it was fantastic! So good I blogged about it! It was great to be able to create a piece of art through sound, photos, vidoe or simple drawing. One of the nicest parts is that if you get it wrong or want to make changes, it doesn’t neccesarily mean you have to completely start again! Just erase the part you need to without ruining your whole piece of work.

I have seen many children using iPads and they are often excited and very engaged by using them. It is something different for them to try and produces very different results to thise they normally achieve. Many schools are now introducing this into schools and providing one iPad per pupil.I read about a school in Bolton who are providing an iPad to each of their 800 pupils. Whilst this may appear to be a good idea I was surprised the children will be allowed to take them home allowing them to communicate with teachers outside of school hours. I would also worry about the potential for them to become lost or broken. Read the full article here: http://www.bee-it.co.uk/blogslink/932-bolton-school-replaces-pens-and-paper-with-an-ipad-per-pupil.html This is however a secondary school, so I am not sure whether this would be the same circumstances if it was a primary school.

I found another article online discussing a primary school that had given every pupil an iPad. I totally agree with the issue it means more children can have access to the Internet or computers at the same time than previously, but I am slightly concerned by the admission that they are used in almost every lesson. I would think this may start to take away the excitement of being told to get an iPad to use if it is an everyday occurrence. To read the full article follow this link: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6069357

I think there are positives and negatives for using iPads in the classroom, but I really believe the key is moderation and management of the amount of time children use them so that other learning skills and play skills are also allowed to fully develop.



Popplet and creating mind maps.


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, Uncategorized | Posted on March 29, 2013


A Popplet I created to show the links between ICT and the Early Years.

Popplet is another website I have been introduce to in the process of the ICT module. It is a fantastic site which allows you to produce visual mind maps of thoughts and ideas using words and media such as photographs.  Popplet would be a great interactive way to produce a mind map in the classroom. Children can suggest their ideas and they can be added to the map. It can be used to produce a map of learning showing what the children have already learnt and what they would like to learn. It could also be used as a tool to gather information about what children know at the atsrt of a topic of learning, and to see what they have learnt by the end. By producing two Popplets, one at the beginning and one at the end the teacher can see progress of learning that has been made.

This is definitely something I can see me using in the classroom to enhance and support learning. To see the Popplet I created about using ICT in the Early Years click on the picture at the top of this post.

ICT in the Early Years Wordle


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, Uncategorized | Posted on March 29, 2013

Wordle: ICT Early Years

I created a Wordle through an online site at Wordle.net. This is a site that allows you to create a piece of visual word art around any topic or theme. This is something that could be used with children in the classroom to create a visual display of the children’s thoughts or ideas, or to create displays in the classroom. It is something that children who are able to write could create themselves or the teaching staff could support the children in producing a Wordle. It is easy to use and the font, layout and colours can be edited to produce an interesting and visual piece of work.

Staying safe on the internet.


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.


Using Blogs To Support Boys Learning


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning | Posted on March 28, 2013

I read a very interesting article in between session which suggested getting boys to write blogs could enhance their literacy and writing skills. Many boys enjoy using ICT and may find it more stimulating to use a computer to create a written piece of work, rather than writing with pen and paper. It may keep them more engaged and on task if they have an enjoyment of ICT.
It also suggests blogging is a great way for children to interact with other pupils from around the world. David Mitchell the author of the article explains how his year 6 class have been blogging for a while and have received numerous hits from many different countries. For a child I can only imagine how exciting to think that a child on the other side of the world has read what you have written and left you a comment.

Although this obviously takes some work in setting up a blog and getting yourself an audience it would appear there are many benefits to be had. Children need to be shown how to firstly write and present their blog, but also how to leave feedback in a manner that will not cause harm or offence. As suggested by David Mitchell, this could be done over a few lessons before the children are unleashed on the world wide web.

Not only does writing the blog posts allow the children to practise grammar, spelling and writing creatively, it would also allow them the opportunity to use other types of media for example video or photographs to share their work with their audience.

I think writing a blog would be fantastic for girls and those reluctant to pick up a pencil, but I believe for boys this may be an even more beneficial activity and learning opportunity.