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!


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!

Lights, Camera, Action!


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years | Posted on March 17, 2013

We often talk as teachers about a hook into the lesson for the children. That ‘wow’ moment that captures their imagination and fires their interest in a topic. A video is a great way to bring a subject to life for children and a great way to grab the attention of the children at the beginning of the lesson.

There are many websites with videos that can be used to educate children about a theme or topic. Probably the most well known video streaming site is YouTube, however due to the high security settings in  many schools teachers are not always able to access this resource. The BBC have some fantastic resources available on their various websites for example the Bytesize learning sites. These cover a huge variety of subjects and learning for all ages.

But, why not create a video yourself to create that ‘wow’ moment? Why not join with other teaching staff to create a short clip to introduce a theme to your children, to tell a story or bring a subject to life.  This can be fun for both the teaching staff and the children and can be a great way to assist the learning of EAL children or children who have a preference for visual learning. We recently created a short video as a hook into a presentation and received a good response from our audience as we had immediately caught the audiences attention. This demonstrated to me how a similar principle could be used with children.

Making a video with the children in the class can also be a great learning tool, as well as a way of creating a record of assessment. Children could retell a story, record themselves during an activity and have a go at creating a video around their theme of learning. It could be a fun way of the children demonstrating to their peers their ideas or what they have learnt. Videos do not have to be really technical or well edited for the children to enjoy them especially if they have produced them themselves. Many children may not have had the opportunity to use a video camera and may really enjoy using this form of ICT. With careful guidance of the teaching staff children can become film makers and could produce a cinema style session for parents to come into school to see what heir children have been learning.

There are many ways in which videos either on websites or that the teaching staff and children produce themselves can be used to bring ICT learning into the classroom to support children’s learning.

Game on!


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!


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

Becoming an animator!


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!


Art & ICT.


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Art | Posted on February 11, 2013

Todat’s Art session gave a really interesting insight into how ICT can be used for children to express themselves through Art & Design. We were given the opportunity to discuss how ICT may be used and the benefits of using ICT in Art. The students in the Early Years group came up with some really interesting ideas, and it was great to share these. One of the great things about the lesson was actually being able to have a go with the technology to create our own art. Without realising it at the time, I actually used a wide range of ICT equipment in the session either directly or indirectly. I used the smart board for watching the PowerPoint presentation, used an iPad to create  my drawing, take photos and record sounds onto, used the camera on my mobile phone to take a photograph of my created piece to include in my art portfolio and used the smart board to listen to music and watch media.



I discovered apps on the iPad to draw with which was a completely new experience to me, and I can really see how using the iPad as a resource could get children really engaged with the learning. It was great to get some ideas of how to use ICT and actually out them to practice and I feel much more confident about combining art and ICT together after the session. I feel I have now seen some of the benefits of using ICT in art lessons, and can see how it could be used in learning for all ages including in the early years. Creating the sound art and taking the photographs on the iPad is an activity I think even the youngest pupils would be capable of with some guidance, and I think they would really enjoy being able to instantly see or hear what they had created. ICT in art is definitely an exciting development and something I never really had the opportunity to use whilst at school, and I feel very positive about ICT playing a big part in my Early Years education career.


ICT Software in Early Years.


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!


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.