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.

Reflections on Placement

The last two weeks I attended my first school experience placement. This experience for me was thoroughly enjoyable, yet challenging in pushing me out of my “comfort zone”. One strength I found I developed over the course of the two weeks was getting to know each pupil in my class (P.2/3) individually e.g. I knew …

Continue reading “Reflections on Placement”

The last two weeks I attended my first school experience placement. This experience for me was thoroughly enjoyable, yet challenging in pushing me out of my “comfort zone”.

One strength I found I developed over the course of the two weeks was getting to know each pupil in my class (P.2/3) individually e.g. I knew every pupil by their name. I could change my register in how I spoke to the class and then how I spoke to the class teacher. When presenting ‘mini’ lessons to the class I ensured every pupil was involved, I used their names to ask questions when carrying out a “show me, tell me” lesson.

I feel I made most progress when taking smaller groups of students for reading and mathematics tasks. I enjoyed doing these tasks as I got see a variety of abilities within the class as a whole.

One development I have realised I need to work on is my teacher voice/presence. The teacher I was working with could get the class under control by using a simple ‘class call back’ e.g. the teacher would shout ‘STOP’ and the class would stop what they were doing and repeat back to her ‘COLLABORATE AND LISTEN’. Although, when I was in control of the class I found it difficult to get the attention of the whole class at once. I have took note of all the ‘class call backs’ my teacher used and hope to make use of them on my next school experience placement.

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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]

QR Codes and Outdoor Learning – 20th March

And so it has arrived, our final class in Digital Technologies. Today we explored and learnt about the use of QR (Quick Response) Codes and the benefits of Outdoor Learning. I have had some previous experience using QR codes but mainly through working in retail and through simple day to day tasks like shopping and […]

And so it has arrived, our final class in Digital Technologies. Today we explored and learnt about the use of QR (Quick Response) Codes and the benefits of Outdoor Learning. I have had some previous experience using QR codes but mainly through working in retail and through simple day to day tasks like shopping and using social media. I had never once considered the thought of using QR Codes in the classroom, until now. The theme of today’s lesson was to partake in an outdoor activity where we had to locate six hidden clues, answer the multiple choice questions and scan the QR code to be able to continue to the next clue. Once all the clues had been found and answered, each answer gave us a letter which in the end had to be unscrambled and the correct word made up. This word linked to a Scottish IDL topic. The purpose of using the QR Codes in this activity was designed to enhance our (and future pupils) outdoor learning experiences. This was just one example of how they could be used effectively and successfully as I and the rest of my team thoroughly enjoyed the activity.

The effectiveness of Outdoor Learning in education is outlined by Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) who state that “…it’s clear that the outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from pre-school years through to college.” This was certainly evidenced today in our group’s case as we all found the task fun, rewarding and enjoyable and found working outdoors also promoted other positive factors such as learning about the environment and creating memories that will be remembered for years to come. We collated images taken from our time outdoors in an app called PicCollage. PicCollage allows for many images to be organised together in various styles in the one image and is a great way of sharing with others in order to give a quick insight into a particular event or activity.

The Curriculum for Excellence support Outdoor Learning and this too is highlighted in the 7 Design Principles:

Challenge & Enjoyment; Breadth; Coherence; Personalisation & Choice; Relevance; Progression and Depth.

“The core values of Curriculum for Excellence resonate with long-standing key concepts of outdoor learning. Challenge, enjoyment, relevance, depth, development of the whole person and an adventurous approach to learning are at the core of outdoor pedagogy…” Education Scotland (2010)

Outdoor Learning offers a variety of positive effects on both student and learner: It allows for pupils and teachers to learn and communicate in other ways that maybe hadn’t been achieved previously in a classroom setting; promotes the building of positive relationships between both peers and professionals along with enhancing self-awareness and the understanding of others. (Education Scotland 2010). Along with the aforementioned aspects of Outdoor Learning it also promotes other advantages to our young learners such as: Developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills, personal development and achievement; promotes a healthy lifestyle and can lead to lifelong recreational hobbies such as walking, cycling and swimming; provides opportunities for children to develop skills in order to assess and manage risks; promotes inclusion and equality broadly and can lead to resolution, increased feeling of self-worth and confidence along with personal achievements.

There are many areas that both Outdoor Learning and QR Code activities could be used within the curriculum including Literacy, Health and Wellbeing and Modern Languages. The activity we completed today would encompass the following experiences and outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence:

I can communicate clearly when engaging with others within and beyond my place of learning, using selected resources as required. LIT 1-10a

Through taking part in a variety of events and activities, I am learning to recognise my own skills and abilities as well as those of others. HWB 1-19a

I work on my own and with others to understand text using appropriate resources, demonstrating my
understanding by matching written words to pictures and by reconstructing the text in a logical sequence, for example. MLAN 2-08a

Upon completion of our class task, we then gathered back into the classroom to create our own activity based on the same ideas and principles of the one we had just completed. I chose to create a quiz based around the topic of Easter and was similar in format to the one we had just finished as a class. By doing so, it showed me just how easy it was to create a simple yet fun and fulfilling activity that I know children would get excited and geared up for and thus encourages their learning and enhances their experiences of education. In just 20 minutes I had created a relevant and educational activity that children would find engaging, fun and that they would certainly get excited about whilst being educational at the same time.

Overall, the use of the QR Codes in the outdoor learning activity allowed me to see yet another fantastic resource that could be utilised in many different areas of education whilst giving young learners fun and memorable educational experiences. I will certainly use this resource in the classroom as a professional and look forward to seeing my pupils reactions when they are participating and having fun outdoors. I know that they will get just as much as enjoyment and fulfilment out of a similar lesson as we did today in our last class of Digital Technologies.

So, today sees us at the end of our Digital Technologies journey with this being the last instalment of what I can only describe as being one of the most rewarding and educationally rich experiences I have had so far throughout my time at UWS.  Since starting the module back in January, taking us up until now – almost at the end of March – I can honestly say that my attitude towards technology both in and outside of the classroom has changed significantly from the opinions and feelings I presented towards it at the start of Trimester 2. I have gained a wealth of knowledge, ideas and skills through undertaking this module and I am so glad that I choose it as part of my BA1 learning experience. The lessons throughout the module have evidenced to me the clear links to education and curriculum and have allowed me the opportunity to delve deeper into areas of digital technology that I may never of had the chance to do so beforehand and for that I feel grateful and rewarded. I look forward to putting the skills and knowledge I have adopted in this short space of time into practice into what I hope will be a long and successful teaching career.

References

Curriculum for Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes. [Online]  Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf. First Accessed: 21st March 2018.

Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning

 

 

eBooks in Education… 05/02/2018

Reflecting upon today’s class of eBooks, I firstly found myself thinking about how fast the Digital Technologies module has gone in so far. It seemed that not long ago we were faced with a range of modules in which we got to select our own choice for undertaking in our second trimester. When I first […]

Reflecting upon today’s class of eBooks, I firstly found myself thinking about how fast the Digital Technologies module has gone in so far. It seemed that not long ago we were faced with a range of modules in which we got to select our own choice for undertaking in our second trimester. When I first looked over the options, Digital Technologies was the one which certainly caught my attention first. I assumed that it would be a module which explored the use of ‘teacher’ resources in a classroom such as SmartBoards or getting to grips with printers and photocopiers – quite naive, I know. But knowing that I had areas I needed to develop to become more competent in the technology field, I was looking forward to getting started and expanding my skillset and knowledge. However, looking back at the first class and receiving our introduction to the module, I quickly realised that it was going to be a module that not only enhanced my own learning and knowledge, but also that of the pupils I teach in the near and distant future – wow!

When we were asked the question of, “What is an eBook to you?” I immediately thought ‘kindle’. This then led me to think of the prospect of children sat in a classroom, with their heads bowed, stuck in a smart device reading their reading books or taking instruction or direction from what I can only assume would be another hand held wifi enabled device they would then have access to. Not that I am against technology, but I do find that children in society today are easily pacified with their iPads or mobile phones which when I was younger, I never had access to. I find myself quite a traditionalist when it comes to books. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of reading a ‘real’ book. Flicking through the pages, eager to find out what happens next; convincing myself that at the end of each chapter i’ll put it down and go to sleep but knowing that really i’m lying to myself and I will instead fall asleep and wake up with it somewhere at the side of my bed; being able to mark my page with the homemade bookmark my daughter made me which is adorned with hearts and kisses. I love the feel of a real book and so was a bit sceptical at first when I was wondering where eBooks would fit into a classroom.

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of an eBook is as follows:

‘An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose’.

Up until today’s class, that is exactly how I interpreted what an eBook was. However after today’s input I can gladly say that I now no longer have the aforementioned perception.  After discussing in groups with peers what we considered an eBook to be, I gained a lot more in depth understanding of eBooks. Not just used for novels, but can be used in the kitchen for cookbooks and recipes, for online shopping and accessing catalogues along with academic texts and journals.

One of the tasks we were given today was to create an eBrochure as a group, designed to give information on life as a student at the University of the West of Scotland, using the Book Creator app on an iPad. The beauty of the Book Creator app was that it allowed us to turn what could have been just text and images to inform others, into a multimodal text; containing sound, moving images, and text along with spatial and gestural aspects. In completing our task, the Book Creator app highly appealed to me as both a student and prospective professional primary educator. Simply, taking a novel or short story and creating a multimodal eBook that contains a host of different, eye-catching and attention grabbing features allowed me to see the real benefits that eBooks would have in a classroom and most definitely gave me the answer to my question – ‘where do ebooks fit in a classroom?’

Our final task today was to take a children’s novel and create our own eBook version of it, which was focused around a literacy outcome. After having created the eBrochure I was enjoying exploring the different features of the app and found myself keen to get to grips and become more familiarised with the app. I wanted to create an eBook that I thought would be of benefit to a learner/learners who have different learning styles but also for children of all abilities in order to enhance their learning experience through digital technologies.  The use of eBooks have a variety of benefits on children and young learners; from assisting children who require different resources and tools to suit their own learning style, to enhance children’s skillset and knowledge on ICT equipment in the classroom and to also give children an equal and fair chance of discovering what type of technology is available to not only access but to use to its maximum capacity. This is evidenced and supported by Beauchamp (2012), who  stated that “The first, and perhaps most important reason for using ICT in the classroom is that it can have a positive effect on attainment.” The findings by Beauchamp evidence that technology can in fact have positive impacts on raising attainment and assisting in closing the gap.

Technology in the classroom covers a wealth of subject areas, not only literacy. It can be used in science, arts, health and wellbeing and numeracy to name a few. Although our task today was centred on literacy, it also covered another area of the curriculum – technology. The following experiences and outcomes were the ones in which i focused my eBook on and evidence that technology in the classroom does not cover only one area of the curriculum.

I am learning to select and use strategies and resources before I read, and as I read, to help make the meaning of texts clear. LIT 1-13a

I regularly select and read, listen to or watch texts which I enjoy and find interesting, and I can explain why I prefer certain texts and authors. LIT 1-11a/LIT 2-11a

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 explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts. TCH 0-01a

Overall, today’s input has managed to successfully change my viewpoint on having eBooks in the classroom. By taking a simple text and creating a multimodal creation out of it, it will allow me to engage my pupils in the future with technology effectively and also deliver lessons which they will not find repetitive and mundane. In conclusion, it was found by ‘A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland – The Views of Children’ that,

 

“Looking forward, children thought that accessing iPads or other classroom technology should be seen as the usual/normal thing to do, and not just something offered as a reward or part of Golden Time.”

Our children and young learners in Scottish education feel that technology should be incorporated into a daily teaching environment and should not be seen as a reward or accolade for them. Using the Book Creator app is certainly a resource that I endeavour to use in my classroom as a professional along with many other exciting and beneficial programmes I have discovered throughout the course of the Digital Technologies module. While still enjoying the thrill of a paperback book myself, I certainly now see the benefits for myself as to how the Book Creator app and eBooks can have a staggering affect on children’s education, while increasing my own knowledge and skillset as a prospective teacher.

References

Beauchamp, G (2017) Computing and ICT in the Primary School From Pedagogy to Practice 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Oxford Dictionary (2018) – E-Book Definition. Available online at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/e-book [First Accessed: 9th February 2018] Author: Oxford University.

Scottish Government. (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland.  Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Available online at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/0050  [First Accessed: 9th February 2018].

Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence Available online at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [First Accessed: 10th February 2018]

 

 

Digital Technology – Week 2 – Bee-Bot – 16/01/18

Today’s input was about programmable toys, specifically Bee-Bot, and how they can be used to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. I had only had the chance to use Bee-Bot on one other occasion, but I was excited to use it again as I think that it is an excellent tool. Bee-Bot is very […]

Today’s input was about programmable toys, specifically Bee-Bot, and how they can be used to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. I had only had the chance to use Bee-Bot on one other occasion, but I was excited to use it again as I think that it is an excellent tool. Bee-Bot is very easy to use- directed by the arrow buttons on the top- and can be used on any kind of mat made for it. Therefore it has the potential to be used in any lesson.

Our task for today – in groups- was to create our own mat to aid in teaching a numeracy lesson with reference to the Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes. We had quite a few ideas initially- money, times tables, shape, time- but we eventually chose to go with time and paired this with daily routine.

These are the Experiences and Outcomes we chose to base our project on:

I can tell the time using 12 hour clocks, realising there is a link with 24 hour notation, explain how it impacts on my daily routine and ensure that I am organised and ready for events throughout my day.

MNU 1-10a

I am developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills, as I play and learn with electronic games, remote control or programmable toys.

TCH 0-09a / TCH 1-09a

(Education Scotland, 2004)

We then created a mat with a range of analog clocks drawn in each box with a digital time written underneath. This would allow the children to see the link between the 24 hour clock and how it looked with the 12 hour clock and how it looked. The activity was aimed towards children at level 1 who would have some previous knowledge of time and routine. We tried to include routine times that would not be too difficult for the children to understand e.g. when school starts/ends, lunch/play time etc. We also had what time they brushed their teeth and when they went to bed- for this we had the hands of the clock left separately so that the children could put this time in themselves, as these times may vary from child to child.

The use of programmable toys in education dates back to the 1960’s when Seymour Papert created Logo. It was a fairly simple programming tool, aimed at helping children become familiar with how computer programming worked (Transom).

Some of the benefits of using the programmable toys in the classroom are: they help with the development of key skills such as logical sequencing, measuring and expressing concepts in words. Children usually enjoy using them as they have bright and obvious buttons. Also they help make children interact in groups and bring about discussion (NCTE, 2012).

Janka (2008) states that “there is a widespread belief among educators and parents that children will require technological competencies to succeed in the workplace.” I would agree with this as almost all jobs in today’s society involve the use of some kind of technology. It is also important that children have a good level of digital literacy and actually understand how these types of programmes work so that they properly understand the applications they are using.

Overall, the session today was very informative. I feel that it has given me many practical applications for within the classroom, as well as informing me on why these types of programmable toys can be so important. I think that when I go on to teach my own class this will come in very handy and I will enjoy using it to teach.

References

Education Scotland (2004) – Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online] Available: http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

Transom – Logo [Online] Available: http://www.transum.org/software/Logo/ [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy. [Online] Available: http://www.ncte.ie/media/NCTE_Floor_robots_focus_on_literacy_numeracy_primary_12-06.pdf [Accessed 16th January 2018].

ActivInspire Presentations 23/01/2018

Today in Digital Technologies we explored the ActivInspire software as a class and individually by viewing tutorial clips online and working in pairs to create a lesson directed for either an early, first or second level outcome. The online tutorials gave us a virtual experience allowing us to be guided through the software, by giving […]

Today in Digital Technologies we explored the ActivInspire software as a class and individually by viewing tutorial clips online and working in pairs to create a lesson directed for either an early, first or second level outcome. The online tutorials gave us a virtual experience allowing us to be guided through the software, by giving hints and tips on how to use the software effectively and to maximise the usage of this valuable tool in classrooms as a student teacher and as a qualified practicing teacher in the near future.

ActivInspire software allows for information that requires to be communicated to learners, become multimodal. Multimodality is the term which describes a set or forms of texts to adopt two or more semiotic systems; linguistic, visual, gestural, spatial and audio. Using digital technologies within the classroom allows for information to be communicated to learners in a variety of different, attention grabbing ways and by making texts multimodal, enhances the learners experiences in education whilst keeping in line with technology in society today.

The Scottish Government set out a strategy to implement the use of digital technologies in Scottish education for both learners and educators. The four objectives it is focusing on are:

1. Develop the skills and confidence of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology to support learning and teaching.

2. Improve access to digital technology for all learners.

3. Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery.

4. Empower leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for teaching and learning.

By using technologies in the classroom, it allows for children to be introduced and immersed in digital technologies that they may otherwise not be encompassed in at home or in other areas of their educational journeys.  It is stated by Beauchamp (2012, p.8) that ‘The multimodality of technology is another reason to use it, as it allows teachers to present ideas in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it.’ By delivering young learners lessons involving multimodal texts it has the capability to  further enhance their understanding of lessons across curricular areas such as literacy, numeracy and science amongst others. It also allows for children and young learners to understand that ‘texts’ do not just come in printed form, but instead they come in many shapes and forms and can in fact be multimodal. Further supporting this suggestion, ‘pupils need to be equipped to view language as ‘metamode’ that enables them to access the meanings of a wide variety of texts, images, sounds and information.’ Beauchamp (2012, p.81). The use of ActivInspire today gave us the opportunity to create a lesson for a first level outcome in a Modern Foreign Language lesson.

My partner and I decided we would combine both our ideas and once we completed the online tutorial videos of how to effectively use the ActivInspire software, we proceeded on to the task and got to work on creating our multimodal lesson plan. We made various flip charts which included sound clips, images and interactivity through use of the smart board pens and various tools such as the spotlight and revealer. We created a Spanish lesson which allowed children to work in individually and with peers and allowed for the children to come up to the smart board to write down their answers and ideas.

Using the ActivInspire software excited me as it gave me an insight into a resource that is used widely across Scottish schools and gave me a quick glance into the different tools and aspects that the software has to offer. At first we found the software a great resource as it allowed us to create an extensively interactive lesson that would grab pupils attention and included all of the semiotic systems across the many Flipchart pages we made. When it came on to using different ‘wow’ factors of ActivInspire I personally really enjoyed the fact there were different attention grabbing tools that children would find exciting and would further encourage their investment and interest in the input being given. However, upon near completion of the lesson plan, when using the revealer tool we encountered an issue whereby the revealer would not stay on the Flipchart page we required and instead went onto the other pages and we could not in turn remove it off of the areas we did not need it on. This really frustrated us and put us slightly off course as we invested more time in trying to fix this issue than completing the task in the time given.

Overall, the use of ActivInspire in the two hour time slot we were given really impressed and excited me. I find it really encouraging to see that there are these resources in place for teachers to use whereby enhancing their lessons and I am very eager to use it in my own class as a student and professional educator. I will most definitely be revisiting the online tutorials and spending more time exploring the software in free time to get more familiar with it and also experiment by creating more lessons and sharing resources with peers in order to gain more knowledge and in depth experiences of the ActivInspire software.

References

Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/Digital%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20Strategy%20for%20Scotland (First accessed on 23/01/2018)

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