Games based learning – Minecraft 5/3/19

In today’s input we were given the task of exploring the application ‘Minecraft’ and thinking about how games-based learning can be used in the classroom.  In how to do everything in Minecraft (2014) it is stated that Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon and it has been since it was released in 2011, since then it has been taken to the hearts of thousands and thousands of gamers. Although, to some, exploring Minecraft may sound like a fun and easy input, I spent the beginning of the day confused and stressed out. Having never came into contact with this app before I was extremely confused by the controls as they were different from the games I have played on Ipads, computers and games consoles.  These are the Minecraft controls :

(Minecraft Forum, 2019)

I was mostly confused by the fact that moving forward,backwards, left and right wasn’t as simple as pressing the arrow keys, but infact random letters on the keyboard. However, I am sure that the children in my classroom will be able to make complete sense of this program and infact be able to navigate it with ease. When I think back to placement, there was a child in a primary 2 class that had asked me during a wet play break one day if I played Minecraft and at the time I didn’t think much of it, but now I see how difficult to grasp the app can be and it amazes me that a child of such a young age is not only able to navigate this app but also find enjoyment within it, when a 20 year old student like me was frankly a little bamboozled as the sight of it.

Once I overcame the control hurdle, I then explored the app to gain an understanding of how to move characters, build blocks and structures and create an end product. This took sometime but our group eventually figured out the ways of Minecraft. We then moved on to the planning stage of our lesson, during this time we had to find curricular areas in which Minecraft would enhance learning. We decided to look at inter-disciplinary learning (IDL) as this incorporates many curricular areas into one lesson plan.  The curricular areas we decided to cover were social studies, literacy, technologies, numeracy/mathematics and expressive arts. We decided this lesson plan would be implemented over several lessons to ensure all areas were covered fully. This was our lesson plan :

Social studies – The children would have the opportunity to look at castles from all around the world and to discover such things as the impact they have had on history, what they are used for and when they were built.

Technology – The children will research their chosen castle and they will then use the Minecraft app to create their take on the castle.

Expressive arts – The children will use their creative skills to make their castle on Minecraft and also a 2D version of it on paper.

Literacy – Once the children have created their castles they will be given the opportunity to write an imaginative story which takes place within their castle. They would use this as an opportunity to show their understanding of the castle and the time it was built.

Mathematics – This would be a skill that is used throughout the creation process as they will have to decide how many bricks their castle needs to be able to be equal and stand. They will also develop their understanding of shapes and how they fit together.

As a group, we decided that we were going to aim our lessons towards first level. These are the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes that we felt would tie in well with our  lessons :

  • I have explored simple 3D objects and 2D shapes and can identify, name and describe their features using appropriate vocabulary. MTH 1-16a
  • I can explore and discuss how and why different shapes fit together and create a tiling pattern with them. MTH 1-16b
  • I can use evidence to recreate the story of a place or individual of local historical interest. SOC 1-03a
  • I can use exploration and imagination to solve design problems related to real-life situations. EXA 1-06a
  • I can write independently, use appropriate punctuation and order and link my sentences in a way that makes sense. LIT 1-22a 
  • I am learning to use my notes and other types of writing to help me understand information and ideas, explore problems, generate and develop ideas or create new text. LIT 1-25a
  • Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts TCH 1-02a 

(Scottish Government 2008)

Our group also identified how our lessons would help children meet the four capacities :

Successful learners:

  • Use literacy, communication and numeracy skills
  • Use technology for learning
  • Think creatively and independently
  • Learn independently and as part of a group
  • Link and apply different kinds of learning in new situations

Confident individuals

  • Achieve success in different areas of activity

Responsible citizens

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it (Scottish castles)

Effective contributors

  • Create and develop
  • Solve problems

Alongside teaching through the curricular areas, this task would also develop many skills within children. Some of the skills my group and I developed throughout this lesson and we feel the children would develop are :

  • Planning and describing  – We had to both plan and provide a description of what our castle would look like and what we would use to make it.
  • Development of curiosity – The children would have the chance to research many different castles and find out the things they would like to know about them.
  • Problem-solving skills – Minecraft is a very hard app to navigate (or at least to me) and thus not everything will always go to plan. This is where problem solving skills will come into play when thinking of alternative methods and ideas.
  • Initiative – This would ultimately be a child led activity, thus the children would need to use their ability to think independently.
  • Critical thinking – The children could would need to think of a plan and decide whether it is achievable.
  • Presentation skills- oral, written, multi-media.
  • Patience – This is a very time consuming and sometimes frustrating process.
  • Team work – This is a very time consuming process and I feel it would be best completed within small groups, so the children will have to develop their interpersonal skills.
  • Creativity.

I feel incorporating Minecraft into lessons would be a great asset for the classroom, the youth of today are fully engrossed in digital technologies and it is said that “The use of computer games, in particular console games, is firmly embedded in the 21st century youth culture” (Children and Parents : Media Use and Attitudes , Ofcom (2001)). I therefore feel it is essential to focus on the areas in which the children are interested in and build upon that to create stimulating, engaging and interactive lessons. I feel one area that may be a slight downfall of this lesson is a lack of clear instructions and boundaries. The children within the classroom could very well see this as an opportunity to play around and not focus on the task they have given. Beauchamp (2012, p.9) states that “Not only do [teachers] have to become familiar with the games, they also have to ensure that they make clear the way in which they want for the game to used.” Therefore I will ensure I give clear instructions for the task and ensure that the children are aware of the boundaries that they have when playing this game, it is crucial to do this so the children can explore different methods of learning and are not restricted to textbooks.

Overall, although I myself found this programme extremely frustrating and hard to grasp, I feel the children would flourish with this program incorporated into their lessons and thus I will make sure to research the program further so I fully understand and can teach the children to the best of my ability.

References 

Animation (Part 2) 26/2/19

After last weeks planning stage for animation I was extremely keen to jump right in and start to create our animation. With a firm plan in mind our group put together the scene for our animation.

We chose to put black and white paper around the construction background as we found that when recording there was a glint from the brightness in the background which made the animation flow less naturally. As previously mentioned in the first half of my animation blog my group and I had decided to use Lego as opposed to the bendy men, I feel like this was a wise decision as the construction of the pieces and the movements of the characters was much easier and looked much more natural.

We then went on to set out the pieces for our Lego city fraction wall. It was here that I realised just how much work and effort was going to be going into this short animation and that some aspects of the animation plan were a little out of reach in terms of both the time limit and my level of expertise. Originally, we had planned to make the Lego character bring in each Lego brick and place it on the wall, however we quickly realised that this would take far more time than we had and also that it was extremely hard to get the brick to stay in the Lego mans truck. When I first realised things weren’t going to be able to go exactly to plan I felt a little disheartened, it is in times like these when I often check out of activities because I like things to be perfect and exact, however this activity showed me that when things do not go to plan it can often lead to them being better than the original idea so it is important to keep going with the process and I feel this would be a great lesson for the children in primary school to learn.

This is our completed animation :

After completing our animation and watching it back, I felt a great sense of pride in our work. Although it was a time consuming process, it felt great to be able to see how well it had worked out. I feel the children would gain a great deal from completing an animation and watching it back as it is a product which they have both planned, created and completed and it is something I feel they would take great pride in sharing with others. Therefore, I feel it is crucial to give the children the chance to share their creations with others, whether it be giving them the choice of presenting or  sharing in groups or pairs and of course it is important to give the child the choice of not sharing at all.

I feel our activity would be an excellent lesson for the classroom  and we found a variety of experiences and outcomes it would cover within the first level :

  • Through taking part in practical activities including use of pictorial representations, I can demonstrate my understanding of simple fractions which are equivalent. – MTH 1-07
  • Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts. – TCH 1-02a
  • I can use exploration and imagination to solve design problems related to real-life situations. –EXA 1-06a

(Scottish Government, 2008)

Bertrancourt (2005) suggests three ways in which animation can be used to enhance learning:

  1. To enhance learners’ visual representations.
  2. To illustrate processes.
  3. To provide an interactive element.”

I feel our activity did all three of these aspects and arguably more as throughout our activity we were able to identify a number of skills we were developing :

  • Patience – This process took us 3 hours.
  • Negotiation – Our team did not always agree on the best way to proceed however we spoke about each idea and decided which was best.
  • Teamwork – We all had our own part to play in this animiation and there is no way you could complete one without your group all helping.
  • ICT ability – This activity developed our knowledge of the iStop motion app.
  • Communication – Our group had to communicate throughout the process, to help each of us be sure of our roles and to help each other.
  • Time management – This animation could have grown arms and legs and gone on arguably for hours upon hours, however, we knew we had only 3 hours to do this and had to work to meet the deadline.
  • Problem solving – When things did not go to plan we had to think : why is this not working and how can I fix it.

Each of these are invaluable skills for young minds to develop, both to develop the 4 capacities and to ensure they are well rounded individuals with an extensive set of skills.

Alongside these skills, animation and digital technologies  allow for pupils with additional support needs to participate fully within the activities and express themselves. Beauchamp, G (2012, p.55) states that ” e-Inclusion aims to use digital technologies to minimise the problems that pupils with learning difficulties experience”. I feel this is a massive benefit of digital technologies as promoting diversity and inclusion within a classroom is vital and is something I will ensure to do every single day.

Overall, all of my questions from last week have been answered and although time consuming I feel animation is an extremely worth while activity. It develops numerous skills, promotes inclusion, provides a stimulating alternative to writing and leaves children with a sense of pride in their finished products which they can then show off to others. I will make sure to use this in my classroom.

References

  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.
  • Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf
  • Bertrancourt (2005), Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers.  Pg  92

 

Animation (Part 1) 19/2/19

In today’s digital technology  input we were exploring animation through apps such as Puppet Pals and iStopMotion. These are creator apps which allow people of all ages to create their own animations using a variety of themes, characters and tools. Prior to this input I had no experience of creating animations and was not familiar with these apps, so I decided to first look up what animation was. Animation involves “the stringing together of a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move” (Jarvis, 2015, p89).

According to Moving Image Education there are five main types of animation:

1.Cutout – quickest and easiest

2.Stop-motion – example is plasticine models

3.Pixillation – humans become the puppets

4.Drawn – example is the classical Disney animation

5.Computer – also known as CGI and found in games and movies.

(Moving Image Education)

After finding this definition, my group and I decided to watch some tutorial videos on the iStopMotion app. I found this tutorial particularly helpful :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw7_OeWpR6I&feature=youtu.be

My group and I then began to explore Stop Motion animation through iStopMotion. This app allows you to take snapshots of items and then plays the snapshot as a movie. We were given the task of using a bendy figure to create a short animation which involves movement.  At first we thought this would be a fairly easy task however, we quickly found out that the bendy figures did not bend very well and they were extremely hard to place in a position without them falling over as their heads are extremely large compared to their bodies.

As such we found it hard to make the movie without our fingers being in the shot holding the figures and it was also hard to get a progression within our shots that made it look like the figure was moving. We have thus decided not to use these bendy figures in next weeks animation activity.

We then moved on to prepare for our activity next week by creating a story board of our iStopMovie. I found story boards particularly helpful in aligning our groups thoughts on how our iStopMotion movie should look and cement our plan of action for next weeks input. It also allowed us to plan the materials we would need to bring in in order to get the most out of the programme. This is our story board ;

Our animation was based on the mathematical principle of using fractions which were represented by Lego bricks. We have decided to use the idea of building Lego city to discuss the concept of fraction walls and equivalence, with the different sizes of Lego bricks representing different fractions (E.g 1/2, 1/3 etc). We decided that for this concept to be expressed through animation, the children must have some prior knowledge of fractions and equivalence to ensure they are able to fully understand the process. We are going to base our animation on a construction site, with a worker driving a digger with Lego blocks in the front. The background will say ‘Construction beware’ and we will insert the different definitions and fractions underneath.

I am really looking forward to completing this animation activity next week and finding out the following :

  1. What skills would the children develop during this process
  2.  Just how long it will take to complete the process as a whole.
  3. Is it worth the time?

References

Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers. Routledge.[Accessed: 19.2.19]

Moving Image Education website: [Online] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 19.2.19]

IStop Motion tutorial : [Online]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw7_OeWpR6I&feature=youtu.be

[Accessed: 19.2.19]

 

 

 

 

Movie Making – Internet safety 12/2/19

Over the course of the module so far we have been exploring the benefits of technology within the classroom.  Although their is endless amounts of benefits we must also be mindful of the dangers of children being online and thus we focused on this during today’s input.

During this class we were given the task of creating an I-movie that highlights the dangers that children can face online. This is something that I have been very apprehensive about facing in the classroom environment, this is such a prevalent issue in today society so it is so important to voice the correct information in a way that children will be able to understand and relate to without restricting them from social medias and technology as a whole. My opinion is supported by the quote “…E-safety is not about restricting children, but about educating them” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.58). My group began planning for this lesson plan by creating  a story board/written plan which outlined our story plan, main characters and the setting. My group and I decided to focus our story on the use of Snapchat,  the importance of not accepting strangers and never sharing personal questions. Our story followed Sophie who is a primary school pupil who receives a friend request from a stranger named Harry on Snapchat.  We decided to focus on Snapchat as it is an app that children are using on a daily basis from an extremely young age. This app allows anyone to add you and their is also a feature which is called the snap map, which allows any friend to see your location down to the street. This is extremely dangerous when in the wrong hands and it allows anyone to track a child’s location so it is so important for them to understand this danger. We see Sophie debating whether to add this person  or not however see eventually does. They begin to chat and we soon find out that Sophie had shared her Snapchat details on her Instagram which was not private. This was another area we felt was important to focus on as anyone can view your Instagram if it is not fully on private. Harry is claiming to be a person who went to her school but is now in high school and he is using pictures from google to send to Sophie to convince her he is real. After the two had been speaking for a while Harry asked Sophie to meet and she agreed. Harry then asks Sophie to not tell anyone about the two of them meeting and Sophie begins to feel like something could be wrong. She texts her friend Jodie and asks for her advice, Jodie tells her to never meet someone you don’t know and that she has to tell her mum because Harry could be anyone. Sophie does what Jodie has advised and tells her mum, she then shows her mum the messages and her mum saves some as proof. She then blocks Harry from Snapchat. At the end of the I-movie we decided to put in a series of questions and steps to being safe such as;

Image

The Experiences and Outcomes that we focused on in this activity were;

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 

(Scottish Government, 2008)

Internet safety within schools is core to the children’s welfare, they must fully understand the dangers they could face online and the ways in which to avoid these dangers and what to do if something does go wrong (like in the story above). Beauchamp further this point when  stating that “The most successful schools… in terms of e-safety ensured that pupils knew what to do when things went wrong” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.60). In such a digitally immersed society it is the place of the educators to give the children the information they need to be able to be responsible citizens online and to have the confidence to know if what is happening is wrong and how to report it. Websites such as ThinkUKnow and programmes within such as Hectors world are also great ways of helping children to understand the dangers online, they express the information in a child friendly manner and the Hectors world animation is something the children will be able to enjoy watching while learning. These are two programmes I will most definitely be integrating into my classrooms internet safety lessons.

Overall, this lesson taught me vital information about the internet safety and the ways in which to teach it within the classroom. I am now more equipped to be able to take such lessons and plan to do so using quizzes, hectors world and short films as well as discussions. It also helped me to become more familiar with the I-movie app which I found very easy to use, however I did find it took a long time to select each video or photo clip we used.  In the classroom environment i will be sure to remember that it is my job to educate the children on how to be safe online and how to deal with the possible situations rather than steering them away from social media. I now recognise that it is important to teach them how to act if they are confronted with scenarios as opposed to encouraging them to avoid the possibility altogether.

References

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

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

 

 

E-books Book creator input 5/2/19

In today’s input I was introduced to the concept of multimodal learning through e-Books. Prior to this input my knowledge of E-Books went as far as knowing you could download books onto your tablet or kindle.  Firstly we discussed the definition of an E-Book : “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device” (The Oxford English Dictionary). We then moved on to discuss what the E-Book app Book creator has to offer and the learning possibilities it possesses. Book creator is an Ipad app which allows anyone to make books such as children’s picture books, comic books, photo books, journals and textbooks.

The overall objective of this lesson was to create an eBook on the app book creator which both summarises a book and expands the children’s learning. I chose to complete this activity on the book ‘The Gruffallo’. I decided to focus my activity around Literacy, covering such areas as rhyming words, punctuation and adjectives.  I followed the original story but completed my E-Book using pictures, words, sounds and interactive opportunities such as :

 

 

The experiences and outcomes I chose to cover in this activity are:

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

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 show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to and asking different kinds of questions. LIT 1-07a

After completing this activity and delving deeper into the possibilities E-Books have to offer I can now recognise the many benefits E-Books have within the education environment. E-Books encourage children to develop their passion for reading in a fun and creative manner. They emphasis the link between technology and learning by showing that reading and creative writing does not have to be done by pen on paper.  These E-Books are on devices which are extremely familiar to the youth of today such as Ipads and computers and they are also portable which means children can read wherever they like – even in areas such as outside (Jarvis, 2015). E-Books also allow children with learning difficulties to engage fully with reading texts, which in other scenarios they may struggle with. This is due to the use of such things as pictures and sound recordings. It also allows children to show their creative side when producing texts of their own, with the variety of tools these apps have to offer: Beauchamp states that “ICT can allow pupils to record their thoughts in a wide variety of ways. They are able to write, draw, record both sound and video, or any combination of these depending on their age and ability.”(Beauchamp, 2012, p101).

This input also sparked discussions on the use of Ipads within classroom environment in general.  I believe that Ipads are a great asset within the classroom as they provide a link between learning and the technologies that the children use on a day to day basis to play games etc.  However, I do believe that Ipads can only be a great assest in the teacher in the school are trained on how to use them in the best way. I also believe they can only be used if they do not cause a divide within the classroom, one school in Aberdeen proposed that parents lease Ipads for their children to use in the classroom (Education Scotland, 2012). I feel this would simply cause a divide within the classroom as some parents would not be able to provide their child with an Ipad and thus Ipads should not be within the classroom if the parents are the ones who need to purchase them.

Overall, I found this app extremely enjoyable to use. I spent four hours creating a piece and I honestly could have spent the full day expanding on it. The way in which the pages turn like a real life book is a great feature. My only complaint is the monotone male voice that narrates the story and when using in the classroom environment I will be avoiding this feature.

References 

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

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

OxfordDictionaries.com

(Education Scotland,2012) Http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-18081005

 

 

 

 

 

Coding – Scratch JR 29/1/19

In today’s digital technology input we were exploring the concept of coding.  In particular coding through the Scratch JR programme. I felt a little apprehensive about this input as I have had next to no previous experience of coding, even in the simplest form.

Thankfully we started the process with a very basic walk through of the programme which helped me to learn how to do such things as create a background, add a character, change it’s colour and programme it to move using the directional command buttons. We then went on to explore the app individually and make a start on the task of creating a literacy and technology based activity through Scratch JR.

After exploring the app and deciding on which of my ideas would be best to pursue, I decided to go for a common words lesson in a classroom environment.  I set up the classroom environment using a classroom setting background and adding in scratch as the teacher and a few children for the class. Scratch the cat began by introducing himself to the class and the lesson plan for the day; to work on our common words (such as and and the) through the Read, Say, Break, Blend, Cover, Write method.  The idea of my programme was to explore the common words in a fun and stimulating manner.

The Experiences and Outcomes that would be explored in this lesson are as follows:

I can spell the most commonly-used words, using my knowledge of letter patterns and spelling rules and use resources to help me spell tricky or unfamiliar words. LIT 1-21a

I explore and experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-04a / TCH 2-04a

 (Scottish Government, 2014).

The lead project stated that “Scratch is designed for exploration and experimentation, so it supports any different learning style” Scratch can be used as an aid for teachers in subjects such as Maths, English, Art and Information Technology. Alongside this Scratch JR has  a vast array of commands ranging for basic to complex which allows for children of all ages and stages to be able to explore and create using the app. Their is also a second version of this app  called Scratch which is a tool i hope to use in upper school as it offers such a breadth of experience and exploration at a more advanced level. Another great aspect of Scratch is the sheer amount of opportunities it gives children to show their creative side and take the lead in learning when creating their own projects. The lead project concluded that ”When children are creating scratch projects they are not just learning how to write computer programs. They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for success and happiness in today’s world.” (The Lead Project (2014)). In today’s digitally immersed society it is essential for the youth of today to be exposed to such technologies as Scratch in order to develop the key life skills that they will be using in the future and as such this is definitely a programme which I will explore in the future.

References

  • Scottish Government, 2014 https://education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf
  • The Lead Project (2014)    Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multimodality – ActivInspire 22/1/19

In this weeks digital technology input the focus was placed upon multimodality, in particular the way in which ActivInspire can be used in a classroom environment .  We began the session by discussing what it means if a text is classed as multimodal.  A text is described as multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems. In total their are five semiotic systems :

  1. Linguistic – the use of words.
  2. Visual – the use of such things as pictures and colours.
  3. Audio – the use of sound, volume and pitch.
  4. Gestural – the use of such things as movement and speed.
  5. Spatial – the way in which we organise the design and position of layout.

The combining of the 5 semiotic systems makes a lesson or activity more engaging and stimulating for a child as it allows them to physically interact with the lesson.

We then moved on to discuss and explore ActivInspire. ActivInspire is a multimodal programme in which teachers and pupils can design slides in order to present their ideas. Prandstatter stated that ”Touch displays can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences, thereby helping children to learn by doing.” (Prandstatter 2014). ActivInspire allows for this  hands on interaction which will allow the children to explore and understand the information further. At first glance ActivInspire appeared to be similar to PowerPoint, in the sense that you create a selection of slides. However after delving deeper into the programme it became abundantly clear that they were completely different. ActivInspire has an endless amount of tools to aid the learning of the children : ranging from maths tools such as protractors to background designs and voice recording. With this in mind I thought it would be best to watch some YouTube videos on the many tools ActivInspire had to offer in order to be able to navigate the programme with ease. However even after doing so I still struggled to use the app to the full capacity.

My plan of action was to follow up on my BeeBot activity and complete an interactive programme on the very hungry caterpillar, in which the children could feed the caterpillar the correct amount of each item of food in the correct order. I began by creating my cover design, this took some time as inserting separate images into the programme was very time consuming (especially with me being so new to the programme). I then managed to create another 3 slides which told the story of the very hungry caterpillar beginning his journey, for these slides I added in some voice notes of the caterpillar saying such things as ‘I am so hungry’.

However, after creating these slides I found that the voice notes stopped working and I feel this may be a future issue to watch out for and it would take away the audio element of the lesson.  In the four hours I was not able to complete my lesson plan, however I do feel this was because I was completely unfamiliar with the programme and subsequently I had to spend a lot of the time simply researching and exploring the app.

Beauchamp stated that ICT has the ability to structure new experiences  when presenting things in a variety of ways , however it can only do so if the teacher has sufficient understanding on the area (Beauchamp,2012).  From a teaching perspective I feel that ActivInspire could be an extremely beneficial programme for the classroom and in presenting things in a variety of ways  but only if the teacher had a great wealth of knowledge on how best to use the programme. With this in mind i feel it is vital for me to explore the app further in order to know exactly what it offers and how best to use it. Multimodal programmes are captivating, motivating, interactive, memorable and personalised all of which help to stimulate and engage the children in the classroom environment.  ActivInspire captures each and every one of these aspects and as such I feel it is an programme the children will definitely love. I am looking forward to exploring this programme further and integrating it into future lessons to maximize the children’s learning.

References 

  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
  • • Prandstatter, J. (2014) Interactive Displays in Early Years Classes. [Online] Available: http://connectlearningtoday.com/interactive-displays-early-years-classes/

 

 

Programmable toys 15/1/19

In this weeks digital technology class we were given the opportunity to explore programmable toys (specifically Bee-Bot) in order to develop our ability to use this learning utensil and to deepen our understanding of how this programme can be used in the classroom environment to expand the children’s learning.

At the beginning of the class we were introduced to the history of programmable toys. I found it extremely interesting to find out that programmable toys and robots dated back to the 1960’s when Seymour Papert created Logo. This programme was designed to give the children a chance to explore complex programming by controlling the arrow in order to draw lines on the screen (Papert S, 1960). After discussing the history of programmable toys and the many benefits of them, we were given our brief for the assessment task.  For this we were to design a Bee-Bot mat which would be a stimulating activity for children.

Prior to this assessment I had limited experience with the Bee-Bot technology and therefore I was a little apprehensive. However, after being given a Bee-Bot to experiment with my nerves were very quickly settled as the Bee-Bot was extremely simple to understand and programme. It was also extremely bright and colourful which I feel will be very stimulating for the child.  Alison Lydon stated that the children in her classroom had ‘Gained independence faster than she had anticipated’ with 12 out of 28 of them being able to use the Bee-Bot independently after the first instruction (Lydon, 2008, pg.2).  I feel this was similar within our classroom with the majority of the cohort being able to programme the Bee-Bot with ease.

After exploring the technology,  I began to draw a plan of my Bee-Bot mat. I decided to opt for a Bee-Bot game focusing on literacy, which would be aimed at early level learners on curriculum for excellence. This is usually pupils from nursery to primary 1. I planned the Bee-Bot mat around the story ‘The very hungry caterpillar’ and food the caterpillar ate in it’s journey to become a butterfly.

I designed a 4 x 5 square mat, with the boxes exactly 15cm in order for the Bee-Bot to fit in comfortably.     

I then added the foods the caterpillar ate on his journey;

  • 1 apple
  • 2 pears                                     
  • 3 plums
  • 4 strawberries
  • 5 oranges
  • 1 cake
  • 1 cone
  • 1 pickle
  • 1 slice of cheese
  • 1 slice of salami
  • 1 lollipop
  • 1 piece of cherry pie
  • 1 sausage
  • 1 cupcake
  • 1 slice of watermelon
  • 1 leaf.    

The expectation of my mat was that the child would program the Bee-Bot to move from the ‘GO’ position to each of the food items the caterpillar ate. Prior to the activity I would read and discuss the ‘very hungry caterpillar’ book with my class and this would be a method of developing the children recall in a fun and stimulating manner. After the child has programmed the Bee-Bots movement and watched the robot move they will check if they were correct by checking the very hungry caterpillar book.  The Curriculum for excellence experiences and outcomes that I was looking to achieve throughout my game were:

I listen for useful or interesting information and I use this to make choices       LIT-0-04a

I can develop a sequence of instructions and run them using programmable devices or equivalent TCH 0-15a.

From a teaching perspective, this weeks lesson on programmable toys has been invaluable in developing my knowledge of how to use technologies such as Bee-Bots in the classroom well. It has shown me that Bee-Bots are an excellent method of allowing the children to explore cross-curricular learning in a fun, imaginative and stimulating manner. Bee-Bots open so many doors for learning with 1 activity sprouting 10 other ideas  and follow up activities. It allows for collaboration, conversation and allows the children to take the lead in learning.  Alongside the fun and social aspects of using Bee-Bots, it also allows for the children to be introduced to the idea of programming technologies which will be a fundamental skill from them later in their school careers. Beauchamp (2012,p65)  further emphasises this point when stating  that ‘ICT is not just a computer with Early years software installed. ICT is anything that you can press a button and make something happen,  it is the beginnings of children understanding that technology requires programming and that they can be in control of making things happen’.

Overall, I really enjoyed exploring Bee-Bot,  the amount of activities that are achievable through using Bee-Bot is astonishing and I will most definitely  be using them in my classroom in the future.

References

  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the primary school from pedagogy to practice Pearson:Harlow, England.
  • Lydon, A. (2008)  Let’s go with Bee-Bot : using your Bee-Bot across the curriculum. TTS group Ltd.
  • Papert, S. Http://www.transum.org/software/logo/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first digital technologies input.

On Tuesday I had my first insight into my option module of BA1 : digital technologies. I chose this module as I felt it would be extremely beneficial to explore a variety of ways digital technologies can be used effectively within the classroom environment in order to stimulate the children and further their learning. I also feel that this module will help to improve my level of technological skill and knowledge. Being 20 years old it is often assumed that I will be technologically minded. However, this is not the case. I have very limited knowledge of technologies as a whole, the technology I am familiar with are those I come into contact with in my day to day life, and I am looking forward to exploring others.

In today’s society their is an ever growing focus placed upon digital technologies, in day to day life and within the educational environment.  The youth of today are born into a society which is swarmed with technologies and as such these children are digital natives. A digital native is some who is a ‘native speaker’ of the language of computers, video games and the internet (Marc Prensky (2001)). With this in mind, I feel it is crucial for me to be able to work with and have a real understanding of the technologies the children in my care are so familiar with.

Prior to beginning university and being introduced to the importance of digital technology I often wondered why there was such a great emphasis placed upon it, by not only teachers but the government too. The digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland states that there are four main objectives of digital technology within education, these are :

  1. To develop the skills of the educators
  2. To improve access
  3.  To enhance curriculum and assessment delivery
  4.  To empower leaders of change

(Scottish Government,2016)

Another document which supports the use of digital technologies is the Scottish government (2015) literature review on the impact digital technology has on learning and teaching. This document highlights the positive impact digital technologies can have on children with additional support needs. If used correctly, digital technologies can support learners with communication needs, increase a child’s confidence in presenting their findings and opinions and support reluctant workers in all areas of literacy (Scottish Government, 2015).

Over the next 12 weeks I am looking forward to exploring technologies such as the bee bot, scratch and iMovie. I am also looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of how these can be used to expand a child’s learning and to do further reading into the benefits of the technology being used. By the end of the module I hope to feel more confident in my ability to teach digital technologies effectively to the children in my care, in order to make learning as stimulating and enjoyable as possible.

References

  • Marc Prensky (2001) Digital Natives Digital Immigrants.
  • Scottish Government, (2015) Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/24843/2/00489303.pdf Last accessed 11th  January 2019.
  • Scottish Government, (2016) The digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland. Retrieved from http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39814/mod_resource/content/2/Digital%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20Strategy%20.pdf . Last accessed 11th January 2019.

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