Lets Make A Story Movie!

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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!

 

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