Reflections on Placement

Strengths  An area of strength for me within placement was having the ability to engage children in their work and use an appropriate level of communication and language that the children understood. I was given the opportunity to take small groups … Continue reading

Strengths 

An area of strength for me within placement was having the ability to engage children in their work and use an appropriate level of communication and language that the children understood. I was given the opportunity to take small groups of children out and help them improve their reading, this involved focusing the children on the task ahead and ensuring that anyone who was struggling was able to get the support that they needed. This required me to be patient which is also one of my strengths which became evident throughout placement. It became clear that the children were at different levels with their reading and some took longer to read their sentences than others. This gave me the opportunity to practice being patient with the pupils and not put them under any pressure to read faster.

Area of Most Progress 

Each day within my time at placement my confidence grew, this is my area of most progress as in such a short space of time I was able to create many positive relationships with both the pupils and staff at the school. I became increasingly involved in both the classroom environment and the staffroom environment, offering any support and guidance and having everyday conversations with teachers. I became more confident within myself and my ability to help the pupils.

Area of Requiring Progress

My area of requiring progress that I recognised from placement is needing to focus more on involving non participating pupils. Although one of my strengths was engaging pupils and keeping them focused on their work, some of the pupils from the class I observed would become very distracted and often not participate in lessons. An area for me to focus on would be discovering strategies on how to focus these pupils and get them involved in the class discussions and group tasks. Another area that requires progress is learning different ways of helping children with their maths questions, it became clear to me that some children were struggling with the basic concepts and I also struggled with alternative ways of helping them.

Action Plan

I plan on continuing my strengths and working on the areas that were highlighted to me by my peer and the teacher observing me as areas for development. I will also offer support to others in my course if one of my areas of strength has been identified as one of their areas for development, in turn I will also seek advice from others in my course who may be able to share some tips on how to meet my targets.

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Digital Technologies – Week 10 – Games-based Learning – Minecraft – 13/03/18

Today’s lesson was revisiting games based learning, this week focusing on Minecraft. “Minecraft has become a global sensation, prized by teenagers, adults and, in particular, seven- to 12-year-olds” (The Guardian, 2014). I was particularly excited for today’s lesson as I had played Minecraft a few times in the past, but never for long. I was […]

Today’s lesson was revisiting games based learning, this week focusing on Minecraft. “Minecraft has become a global sensation, prized by teenagers, adults and, in particular, seven- to 12-year-olds” (The Guardian, 2014). I was particularly excited for today’s lesson as I had played Minecraft a few times in the past, but never for long. I was also really looking forward to getting to meet the pupils and see their take on it.

In class today we had a visit from a group of primary 6 children and their class teacher. They visited to tell and then show us how the used the game Minecraft to enhance their learning. The children came with iPads from the school that had Minecraft installed. For the first part of our session with the children, they showed us how to play the game, and what they had been creating in class. As a whole class they had been creating a Harry Potter world. They had been working in small groups and then linking it all together using the internet – this is one part I am still a little unsure on, but it was amazing to see! For the second part of the session the iPads were handed over to us and the children became the teacher. Some adults in my group had clearly never played it before and were quite slow- much slower than the children. It was funny to see how frustrated they got with them as for the children it must be very simple. Lucky for me I have played Minecraft a few times before and know the basic controls. The two boys in my group were impressed with how I played it- I think they were glad one adult knew what they were doing!  It is important that we as teachers do have a good grasp ourselves before teaching it to pupils and this is confirmed by Beauchamp (2012) who states, “Achieving particular educational objectives through the use of the game was more dependent upon a teacher’s knowledge of the curriculum with which they were working than it was on their ability with the game.”

While the pupils were having their break, we had an opportunity to talk to the class teacher about why she chose to use Minecraft to teach and in what ways it could be used. An example would be to use it as a stimulus in topic work. The teacher said that she herself had used it to teach topics such as the Titanic and Ancient Egypt. Children can use Minecraft to build a world based on this time, either individually or working as a group. After this, the children could then have a literacy lesson or art lesson based on what they had created. Writing a story about it or trying to replicate what they had built through painting.

The CfE Experiences and Outcomes I chose for this lesson are:

I enjoy creating texts of my choice and I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to suit the needs of my audience. LIT 1-20a/LIT2-20a

When listening and talking with others for different purposes, I can exchange information, experiences, explanations, ideas and opinions, and clarify points by asking questions or by asking
others to say more. LIT 1-09a

I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways.  TCH 1-04b/TCH 2-04b

There are many reasons and ways we as student teachers can optimise using games based learning in a classroom to help enhance teaching and learning. By doing this correctly and by having the relevant knowledge ourselves we can really help to engage children, particularly those who previously would have been unwilling to participate in normal lessons. I will definitely use this approach, and mine craft in particular in future lessons I may plan.

Image result for minecraft

Minecraft, Video Game, Blocks, Block, Computer Game

References

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.

The Guardian (2014) Minecraft: here’s one I made earlier [Online] Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/14/minecraft-computer-game-success [Accessed: 9th April].

Pixabay.com. (2018). Free Images – Pixabay. [Online] Available at: https://pixabay.com [Accessed: 9th April].

Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [Accessed: 9th April].

 

Digital Technologies – Week 9 – Game-based Learning – 06/03/18

This week’s lesson was focused on games based learning, focusing on the games console, the Wii. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this input but through talking with my peers and looking over the class material I have a good idea of what went on. At first the class were asked to create a mind […]

This week’s lesson was focused on games based learning, focusing on the games console, the Wii. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this input but through talking with my peers and looking over the class material I have a good idea of what went on.

At first the class were asked to create a mind map on why games based learning is an effective tool. My own thoughts on this are:

  • It is fun,
  • Interactive,
  • Engaging,
  • Creative.

By talking with peers I can also add:

  • It is stress free,
  • It gets the children’s attention,
  • Reinforces knowledge,
  • Promotes team work.

The Higher Education Academy Website states that, “Digital Games-based Learning is the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation.”

Games based learning is one which can be used for cross curricular learning and is one that children of all ages can participate in and enjoy. Game-based Learning being adaptable to all ages is backed up by (Porter, 2004, p.35) when he states “The digital environment provides a unique opportunity to empower people of all ages”.  Although the internet and digital, online games are a relatively new phenomenon, the links between play and learning are long since established. Theorists Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky have argued that “play is a crucial component of cognitive development from birth and through adulthood. ” (Higher Education Academy Website). Learning Teaching Scotland’s study found that “Game-based approaches present an excellent opportunity to engage students in activities which can enhance learning and produce a range of educational benefits.”

Overall, games based learning seems to be a great way to engage pupils in the lesson and make it more fun. Due to not being at the lesson I was not able to complete the assigned task. However, having looked over peers work, I can see that games based learning can cover many curricular areas, it just depends what lesson I as a student teacher would choose to base it on.

References

Higher Education Academy (2017) Gamificaiton and Games-Based learning [Online] Available: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed: 9th April]

Learning Teaching Scotland The impact of console games in the classroom: Evidence from schools in Scotland Available: http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/105145/mod_resource/content/1/Console_Games_report.pdf [Accessed: 9th April]

Digital Technology – Week 7 – Animation- 20/02/18

In today’s lesson we were learning about animation. I have had hardly any experience with animation, apart from seeing it in the cinema, and so today’s lesson was very interesting and informative for me. By exploring the Moving Image Education website I discovered there are 5 different types of animation: Cutout One of the quickest […]

In today’s lesson we were learning about animation. I have had hardly any experience with animation, apart from seeing it in the cinema, and so today’s lesson was very interesting and informative for me. By exploring the Moving Image Education website I discovered there are 5 different types of animation:

Cutout
One of the quickest and easiest ways of creating animation

Stop-Motion Model
Plasticine animation and a whole lot more

Pixillation
A pretty immediate form of animation, where humans become the puppets

Drawn

A classic form of animation-such as many original Disney animations

Computer

Also known as CGI which is found in many  games and movies

(Moving Image Education)

Before we went on to create our iStop animations we first looked at another app called Puppet Pals which helped to show us a basic animation app and how the different features worked. Using this app we were asked to create a short animation based on a classic fairy tale. It had to have voice recordings, movement from the characters and also have a structured beginning, middle and end. This short introduction to animation made me realise how even a simple one like that could look really good when completed.

The animation type we explored today was stop motion on the iPad. Initially I was a bit apprehensive as I don’t really consider myself to be a very arty person, and so I was worried that my background would look terrible. I was also a bit unsure of how to use iStop Motion as I had never seen it before. However, as with previous weeks, the tutorial videos were extremely helpful and made it quite easy to fix my mistakes. Jarvis (2015, p89) says that animation is “the stringing together a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move.” Once I got the hang of this, I saw that it was easy to manipulate the characters in my story to do what I wanted.

The actual programme itself I found really interesting and also it was quite easy to use. I was working individually for this lesson, and I think that made it difficult to line up my animation in subsequent frames. Despite this, I think mine turned out well and I had a great time making it. I based my animation on King Kong at the Empire State Building (although I called mine the Emily State Building), fighting the army. Although it was a very simple idea, it took a lot of work to make the background and then to manage to get the characters to move the way I wanted them to.

As a teacher I think that this type of animation lesson is important as ICT allows pupils to ”achieve something that would be very difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way.” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.54) I think that this was definitely true today as this type of animation is so unique, I can’t imagine how else one could make something like this. It is also really useful for those pupils who may struggle with lessons normally as it is far more creative. As Beauchamp (2012, p55) states, “e-Inclusion aims to use digital technologies to minimise the problems that pupils with learning difficulties experience.”

The CfE Experiences and Outcomes that I think linked to today’s lesson are:

I have the opportunity to choose and explore a range of media and technologies to create images and objects, discovering their effect and suitability for specific tasks. EXA 1-02a

I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to create texts of my choice. LIT 1-01a/2-01b

I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing these with others in imaginative ways. LIT 0-09b / LIT 0-31a

References

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.

Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers. Routledge.

Moving Image Education website: Animation [Online] [Accessed 9th April] Available: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation

Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence Available online at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [Accessed: 9th April 2018]

 

Digital Technology – Week 4 – Coding – 30/01/18

Today in class we were learning about coding through the programme Scratch Jr., which is used in many schools. I myself had previously used it in IT in high school.  We got to use Scratch Jr. for ourselves and also talked about how it was useful in schools. The programme allows the user to create […]

Today in class we were learning about coding through the programme Scratch Jr., which is used in many schools. I myself had previously used it in IT in high school.  We got to use Scratch Jr. for ourselves and also talked about how it was useful in schools. The programme allows the user to create their own world and so it can help enhance the learning of all children, even if their learning styles are different. Not only can the children be creative in what they make but, when coding, they also learn important strategies to help them think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively (The Lead Project, 2014).  All of these are essential skills for children and their future careers.

Our aim in today’s lesson was to create a story using Scratch Jr. to promote literacy skills in a chosen level of the curriculum e.g. early or first level. Our story had to link to the specific experiences and outcomes of our chosen level which we had picked from the Curriculum for Excellence.

I chose first level and looked at these outcomes for my lesson:

As I listen or watch, I can identify and discuss the purpose, key words and main ideas of the text, and use this information for a specific purpose. LIT 1-04a.

By considering the type of text I am creating, I can select ideas and relevant information, organise these in a logical sequence and use words which will be interesting and/or useful for others. As I listen or watch, I can identify and discuss the purpose key words and main ideas of the text, and use this information for a specific purpose. LIT 1-04a.

I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-01a.

I found that using Scratch Jr. was relatively easy for me. I had seen it before in my own school and we had also been provided with some tutorial videos to watch which helped if I was stuck. The aspect I found most difficult was getting the characters to say their parts slow enough for a child to read. I did not want to make the sentences too long and then the child would miss key information.

My story was about two astronauts travelling to the moon. In the first scene they boarded the rocket. In the next they were travelling through space. And finally, they reached the moon. My idea for the literacy lesson was that I wanted the children to eventually go on and write their own stories based on being one of the astronauts. In the first scene I had written, “How do you think the astronauts are feeling?” to try and get some ideas started for the pupils. I would read through the story and write up any words the pupils used to describe how the characters were feeling or what the scene looked like to help them later on. My second scene I had written, “What do you think they can see?”. In my final scene I had, “What do you think happened next?”. I would ask the children to tell me how they think the story may have continued, and given them some of my ideas too, to ensure that they had plenty of ideas when they went to write their story.

When getting children to create their own Scratch Jr. I would do a set of progressive lessons to get the used to the programme and fully aware of how to use it, over the course of a few weeks. Otherwise the task would be too big and daunting for the pupils.

References

Education Scotland (2004) Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf  [Accessed: 31 January 2018]

The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.

Digital Technologies Week 6 – Movie Making

Prior to this input I had never used movie making software. I was surprised both by how simple it was to use the iMovie app on the iPad, and by the versatility presented by the medium. I would have never thought to link movie making to online safety before this input. Personally, I grew up … Continue reading “Digital Technologies Week 6 – Movie Making”

Prior to this input I had never used movie making software. I was surprised both by how simple it was to use the iMovie app on the iPad, and by the versatility presented by the medium.

I would have never thought to link movie making to online safety before this input. Personally, I grew up in a time where it felt as though the adults around me were quite militant about not speaking to anybody online. It was accepted as something inherently dangerous and in my own group of friends it led to hiding online activities so that we were allowed the freedom to socialise online.

For this activity, my partner and I created a cautionary tale about a princess who speaks to someone online who is not who they appear to be when she goes to meet them. We had fun creating our film and it struck me while creating the movie that it would be a good way to introduce the subject of online safety with an element of levity. Getting students to create a film like this could incorporate a number of Technology Outcomes within the Curriculum for Excellence across stages:

  • I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-01a
  • I can extend and enhance my knowledge of digital technologies to collect, analyse ideas, relevant information and organise these in an appropriate way. TCH 2-01a
  • I can extend my knowledge of how to use digital technology to communicate with others and I am aware of ways to keep safe and secure. TCH 1-03a
  • I can explore online communities demonstrating an understanding of responsible digital behaviour and I’m aware of how to keep myself safe and secure. TCH 2-03a

Porter (2004, p.35) states that “the digital environment provides a unique opportunity to empower people of all ages to manipulate, combine and distribute their self-expressions as living stories that can be sent into the world and through time.” In addition to this, the Scottish Government (2015) states that “there is conclusive evidence that digital equipment, tools and resources can, where effectively used, raise the speed and depth of learning in science and mathematics for primary and secondary learners.” After telling a story through the medium of film using the iMovie app, I am convinced of the usefulness of movie-making in the classroom as a way to enhance literacy and wellbeing lessons while also developing practical skills in Technologies which are valuable to the next generation.

An activity like this would be a useful way to start a conversation about how children should immediately tell an adult if anything is making them uncomfortable online. Beauchamp (2012, p.60) states that “the schools most successful in online safety were those who informed students on what to do if things went wrong.” If talking about the risks surrounding social networking is normalised in the classroom, I believe students in the classroom will be more likely to inform an adult and seek help – rather than assuming they will be given into trouble, like my peers and I when social networking was in its infancy.

 

References

Beauchamp, G. (2012). ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.

Porter, B. (2004). Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean Porter Publication.

Scottish Executive (2004). Curriculum for Excellence. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Scottish Government (2015). Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching.  [Online] http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/24843/1/00489224.pdf [Accessed: 01.04.18]

Digital Technology – Week 3 – ActivInspire- 23/01/18

Today’s lesson was on multimodal presentations and how these can enhance teaching and learning within the classroom. During today’s lesson we talked about the different ways that multimodal texts impact the children in a positive way. Because it is more interactive, it encourages engagement and enjoyment and also the children can personalise it to their interests […]

Today’s lesson was on multimodal presentations and how these can enhance teaching and learning within the classroom. During today’s lesson we talked about the different ways that multimodal texts impact the children in a positive way. Because it is more interactive, it encourages engagement and enjoyment and also the children can personalise it to their interests when using it.  It helps the children to understand what they are being taught as they are having fun while learning “The multimodality of technology…allows teachers to present an idea in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it.” Beauchamp (2012, p.8).

A text can be described as being multimodal if it combines two or more of the semiotic systems, these are:

  • Linguistic
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Gestural
  • Spatial

There are many ways in which we can create a multimodal text but today we were focusing on learning to use ActivInspire.  I think that ActivInspire is somewhat similar to PowerPoint although it has a lot more features and I personally found it more fun to use. Because of the similarities I found it relatively easy to use, and the tutorial videos definitely helped.  I did struggle a couple of times as it was an entirely new programme to me, but by looking over the tutorials and asking peers I managed to create my own ActivInspire. It was aimed to teach children the animals in Spanish. It was a fairly simple design but would have been a great interactive tool for the children. My presentation had sliding bars hiding the Spanish name of the animal, and so if I were to use a smartboard the children would have a real hands on experience, which according to Prandstatter, (2014) help children to learn “by doing.”

The Curriculum for Excellence Outcomes I feel work best for this lesson are:

Through a variety of media, I am
developing an awareness of
social, cultural and geographical
aspects of locations in a country
where the language I am
learning is spoken.
MLAN 1-06

I am beginning to explore
similarities and differences
between sound patterns in
different languages through
play, rhymes, songs and
discussion.
MLAN 1-07a

I can explore and
experiment with digital
technologies and can use
what I learn to support
and enhance my learning
in different contexts.
TCH 1-01a

I also think that there are many more Experiences and Outcomes that could be linked to using multimodal texts, not just that of language.

I think that the use of interactive multimodal texts could be used for many other aspects of the curriculum, but that it is becoming more relevant within Literacy and English. “The Literacy and English framework reflects the increased  use of multimodal texts, digital communication, social networking and the other forms of electronic communication encountered by children and young people in their every day lives” (Scottish Executive, 2004).

Children nowadays are growing up with a vast knowledge of technology and how to use it. I therefore think that it is important that this is reflected in what they are taught at school as it can help to engage the children as they are more interested in how the lesson is being taught to them. Although I do think that using technology in the class is important, it is not always appropriate and so we have to be able to make decisions on where it would work best. Also, we as teachers have the responsibility to be able to accurately teach the technology aspect to the children, to be confident in our own technological abilities. As Beauchamp (2012, P100) discusses;  “The ability to present ideas in a variety of ways can help to structure new experiences but only if you as the teacher have sufficient understanding on the area yourself”.

References

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice Pearson.

Prandstatter, J (2014) Interactive displays in early year classes [Online] Available at: http://connectlearningtoday.com/interactive-displays-early-years-classes/ [Accessed: 29 January 2018]

Scottish Executive (2004) Curriculum for Excellence. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive