“And so the end is here, and so I face, the final curtain…”

“My name is Amy Redmond and I need help…with digital technologies! Having struggled with some computer-based aspects of the course so far (sometimes even logging onto the macs!), I feel it has cemented my wise choice in undertaking this module.” (Redmond, A. 2018)

The above quote was by an Amy Redmond, a digital native if you must. I am please to say that Mrs Redmond’s journey to being a digital goddess is well on the way! Okay…I am in no shape or form a digital goddess, but I can say that my progress and knowledge gained on the possibilities, qualities and enhancement capabilities of technology in the classroom has 100% improved!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Digital Technologies. Being able to actually create and “tinker” with all different types of software and Apps has gave me so many ideas to think about and advance further. This module has gave me many opportunities to reflect on my own knowledge, as well as the possibilities that the technology in question can give to the children and teachers in the classroom.

Something in particular that has stuck in my mind is the impact that the introduction of new technologies can have on teachers who hold very little or no experience with it. Confidence is a big part of the role and image that teachers have to depict. I know how I felt when trying out new Apps that I have not used before (Scratch Jr was not my friend!), I felt quite frustrated by it and inadequate in a way! Therefore I think it is paramount that teachers get the training necessary to keep up-to-date with advancing technologies, in order to be able to allow children to experience it in the best ways possible.

It has been made very clear that the advances in technology in the classroom and also the fact that children are surrounded by it at home too, means that it is vital to being incorporated into childrens learning. This has to be done in the correct way, as a means to enhancing activities and giving children the ability to feel included and able to join in with all learning in the classroom.

An example of how positive technology can help children, particularly those who may struggle with certain elements, was one I witnessed when on my two week placement. Whilst working alongside a primary 4 pupil, I noticed that her handwriting was mostly unrecognisable.  When speaking to the child, I found it hard to understand what she was saying. I found this very hard, as did the child. She was getting frustrated with me, and I was annoyed at myself for not being able to pick up what she was trying to communicate with me.

The activity at the time was based on Halloween, the children were to write a ghost story, using lots of descriptive words and promoting use of their imagination and ideas. After the children had written their stories, they were to type them, using Word in their computer lab. I decided to assist the child whom I had spent some time with. I was astounded at what she had written! A story filled with fabulous describing words and super ideas. It showed me the value that technology has for some children. Here is a small part of her work:After I read the girls work I was so impressed and showered her with praise. The smile on her face will stick with me for a long time, I could tell that she felt very valued and was very proud of her spooky story.  Therefore I think that this quote is spot on:

“Digital technology can make a substantial contribution to this improvement agenda by enriching education across all areas of the Curriculum for Excellence.” (Scottish Government, 2016).

I would like to give thanks to my classmates for their enriching collaborations with myself and for their help when I was perhaps, maybe, possibly being a tad impatient with certain things. It has been a tough few months in The Redmond household with illness, so their help is very much appreciated.

I would also like to give special thanks to our lecturer Rae. You have been fantastic, patient and just such a lovely person. You have made me feel at ease and made all activities a pleasure. I hope that I can depict your calm, knowledgeable demeanour when I become a teacher.

Over and out.

Digital goddess (still in progress).

 

References

  • Scottish Government. (2016). A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. [Online].  Available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/enhancing-learning-tearning-through-use-digital-technology/pages/2/. [Accessed: 05 January 2019].

Week 10. Outdoor learning and QR codes!

“Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor
experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides
relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors.” (curriculum for excellence through outdoor learning, 2010)

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, child, ocean and outdoor

In this weeks class we were focusing on the capabilities of outdoor learning and the implementation of QR codes. I was not able to attend this class…once again because of poorly children! The idea of taking teaching outside excites me as I know how much my children thrive being outdoors.

Outdoor learning can be a difficult thing to implement due to our particularly unfavourable Scottish weather! However the enhancing possibilities towards learning are truly rewarding. With the use of nature and technology, many areas of the curriculum for excellence can be combined and explored. In the curriculum for excellence through outdoor learning  document, it describes the many ways in which the outdoors is vital to enhancing and promoting interplay through each area of the curriculum. It provides information of how the use of outdoor learning can provide depth and other opportunities in which the classroom cannot offer. An idea to bring the outdoors and technology together, could be the use of QR codes.

QR simply means quick response and is an image based hypertext link. QR codes can also be described as a two-dimensional barcode and a standard barcode can hold up to 30 numbers! A QR code can link to many different things: text, audio, website, phone number, email address, map location or a calendar advent. A good activity could be the idea of a treasure hunt, or a shopping list. Incorporating the outdoors as an area to explore and find the things on the list or hunt. I feel this would be very appealing to children and bring excitement and maybe a sense of competitiveness. With a list of clues and puzzles to solve, children could work collaboratively in groups to try to interpret where the QR codes may be hidden.  Children could feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment when their “mission” was complete!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, shoes, tree, child, outdoor and nature

The vision for outdoor learning in Scotland is that:

  • “all children and young people are participating in a range of progressive and creative outdoor learning experiences which are clearly part of the curriculum”
  • “schools and centres are providing regular, frequent, enjoyable and challenging opportunities for all children and young people to learn outdoors throughout their school career and beyond”
  • “teachers and educators embed outdoor learning in the curriculum so that learning in the outdoor environment becomes a reality for all children and young people.”  (curriculum for excellence through outdoor learning, 2010)

It is evident that the government are taking this area very seriously and quite rightly so. I think its even more important in the digital world that we live in today, as some children may not access outdoors as much as they used to…or should, so combining the two is dynamite!

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, shoes, tree, child, outdoor and nature

The use of materials in nature could be used for all kinds of activities, using imagination and creativity the possibilities are endless! Children could make use of camera functions on an iPad to take photos of materials outside to depict fractions or sums. Children could take pictures of whatever they want and then write a story surrounding their picture, using describing words etc to enhance their literacy skills.

The benefits of children just being outside in the fresh air has its very own health boosting positives! There are many things to explore in the outdoors, from weather to landscape, from investigating bugs to the local environment. Here are a few experiences and outcomes that can be explored with outdoor learning and with the help of technology, these activities could be packed with fun and lots of learning!

  • 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 explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts.
    TCH 0-01a
  • I explore and discover the interesting features of my local environment to develop an awareness of the world around me.
    SOC 0-07a
  • I explore and appreciate the wonder of nature within different environments and have played a part in caring for the environment.
    SOC 0-08a
  • While learning outdoors in differing weathers, I have described and recorded the weather, its effects and how it makes me feel and can relate my recordings to the seasons.
    SOC 0-12a
  • By using a range of instruments, I can measure and record the weather and can discuss how weather affects my life.
    SOC 1-12a
  • Having explored the landscape of my local area, I can describe the various ways in which land has been used.
    SOC 1-13a
  • By exploring a natural environment different from my own, I can discover how the physical features influence the variety of living things.
    SOC 1-13b

It is evident that the outdoors, combined with technologies such as QR codes, have many benefits to enhancing childrens learning. It is full of adventure, wonder and endless possibilities!

 

References

  • Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010). Curriculum for Excellence through outdoor learning.
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 27 March 2019]

Week 9. Games based learning: Education through Minecraft!

Bray (2012) states that games based learning has the most transformational impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching.

I have been thoroughly looking forward to this class! I cannot imagine how using games in the classroom could NOT engage children and enhance learning! (when used the right way obviously!) Today we were focused on the hugely popular game Minecraft.

“Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon. Since it was first released back in 2011, its been taken to the hearts of thousands and thousands of gamers.” (How to do Everything in Minecraft, 2014. p.3)

Minecraft is a game in which the player can build a variety of things using 3D blocks, the world in which the gamer creates is limitless and the use of creativity and imagination is paramount. Minecraft have created an Education edition of Minecraft, which I think is absolutely wonderful!!

“WHAT IS MINECRAFT: EDUCATION EDITION? Minecraft: Education Edition is an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination.” Mojang, Minecraft, 2019)

Here is a link to the Minecraft website, which is absolutely bursting full of ideas of how the game can be used in the classroom, to cover a multitude of subjects, from Chemistry to Mathematics. The use of this game in education is limitless!! https://education.minecraft.net

Our task today was to think of a way to use Minecraft effectively in the classroom, using our imagination and creative sides! We decided to focus on second level and choose renewable energy as our topic for our activity. In the game, the learner would need to build their homes using renewable energy and also keep their world going economically. The children would need to do prior research in the topic of renewable energy, focusing on:

  • Its pros and cons.
  • The different types of renewable energy.
  • The difference between these.
  • Understanding how climate and cost can affect the use of renewable energy.

The children would work collaboratively in groups, choosing their preferred energy of choice and a suited region in Minecraft, which would work well with their chosen source of energy.  In the photo bellow, it shows the experiences and outcomes in which we hope the activity could cover.

 

I think that the use of game based learning in the classroom is crucial to our evolving learners and teachers! To be able to use a game like Minecraft to empty out your never-ending realms of imagination and creativity, is just fantastic! The positives for children with learning and behavioural difficulties are huge: Inclusion, Collaboration, diversity, strategic thinking (without the need of pencil to paper), communication, planning. The positives are almost endless…of course, there is negatives…possible negatives! The ability to get children moving onto another task may prove to be difficult if they are completely in the zone and engaged. But as this sort of activity would be on-going, the knowledge that they will go back to it may just be enough!

I have really enjoyed looking into the possibilities of Minecraft and its endless ways of implementing various areas of the curriculum for excellence!

 

References

  • Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed 20 March 2019]
  • Magbook (2014) How to Do Everything in Minecraft
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 20 March 2019]

 

 

Week 8. Animation: part 2.

“Stop-motion animation started at the beginning of the last century with the arrival of film, but it really came of age with the arrival of video & computers. Before that you didn’t know how your animation was looking until it came back from the developers, and if something was wrong, your only option was to shoot the whole thing again. But now, with video & computers to assist, we can be absolutely sure of what we are creating, as we create it.” (Moving Image Education, 2016)

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the class today due to my Daughter being unwell.

However, as I was present in last weeks class, I still felt involved with the task that my group had continued with in my absence. I was kept up to date with messages in our group chat of the progress and final product. Our group were focusing on using animation to portray a Tsunami. Our group used Lego figures and hand crafted material to help visualise the effects of a tsunami. Our group decided to use an app called Stikbot, a member of our group had experience with it before and felt it would be better suited the our task. I feel that my group did an excellent job with their animation and I can imagine this being done with children, creating a fun and enhancing learning experience. Although I do feel it would be very time consuming, therefore would need to be a continuous activity.

  •  By exploring climate zones around the world, I can compare and describe how climate affects living things. SOC 1-12a
  •  I can describe the physical processes of a natural disaster and discuss its impact on people and the landscape. SOC 2-07b

 

It is evident that the use on animation in the classroom can bring so much more to an activity. It gives children the opportunity to be creative and face challenges. I feel that children would really engage in this as it is a means of getting results quickly and visually seeing progress right in front of their eyes. It allows children to work collaboratively and communicate with each other about the task. The use of animation and ICT as a whole gives children the relief of being able to fix mistakes quickly and move on without many problems. The use of digital technology can help diminish insecurities within children, particularly those whom experience learning difficulties or with challenging behaviours.

Once again it comes to light the importance of teachers feeling confident in their ability to use digital technologies. I can sympathise with this massively as I do not have great experience in all things technology based.

“Although teachers may be worried by new technologies…we need to be sure that this is not transmitted to young children” (Beauchamp, 2012. P.66) 

I understand the importance of this statement by Beauchamp, but I also realise the difficulties that teachers must face daily in the classroom, particularly those who have been in the profession for many years, and those who have had inadequate training in that department. I feel that if the government wants to drive the vast implementation of technology in schools, then teachers must be given the time to be trained so they feel confident and are able to use these technologies to the best of their ability.

References

  • Movingimageeducation. [Online] Available: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 16 March 2019]
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 16 March 2019]

 

 

 

Week 7. Animation: Part 1.

“Animation ‘breathes life into something that wouldn’t normally move’. This could be a drawing, a puppet or an object – even a brick can be brought to life.Animation is created when you film one still image of your subject, change it a bit, film another still image, change it again and so on until you build up a sequence of still images. And when it’s played back, it appears to move.” (Moving Image Education, 2016)

In this weeks class we had a look at animation and its possibilities in the classroom. Moving Image Education (2016) describes animation as being portrayed in 5 categories: cutout, stop-motion model, pixillation, drawn and computer. More in-depth information about these categories can be found here-https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation

Firstly, we had a tinker with the iStopMotion app. We had to use a bendy figure to create a short animation, involving movement and the use of our imagination! I enjoyed this activity and quickly realised that it could be a time-consuming task, with the need for patience and appropriate knowledge of how to use the app efficiently. iStopMovie is an app that allows the creation of an animation with limitless possibilities. I feel that children would enjoy this activity and would be able to produce something in which they are proud of and value. This type of activity could allow children to work independently or collaboratively, the children could give each other certain roles- researcher, story maker, director etc.

I decided to make my bendy figure write their name on my book. This took longer than i thought! I had to take several (no really, SEVERAL!) photos of my bendy figure in different positions so that the animation looked somewhat smooth. It turns out it was a lot more difficult than what i had first anticipated!

My animation clip turned out…okay! It certainly was not seamless but I got a taster of the apps possible uses and how it can be implemented in the classroom. For next weeks class we were asked to think about a possible animation clip that could be used to show children a natural disaster, historical event or real life scenario. Our group decided to go with a Tsunami animation, using Lego characters and crafting our own material for the clip.

This got me thinking of its uses in the classroom. iStopMovie could possibly be used as a means of showing a breakdown of, perhaps, a maths problem. Possibly using concrete objects to display a maths sum and how to solve it. The possible experiences and outcomes which could be covered using this app could be:

  • I explore and discover different ways of representing ideas in imaginative ways. TCH 0-11a
  • I can explore and experiment with sketching, manually or digitally, to represent ideas in different learning contexts. TCH 1-11a
  • I understand that sequences of instructions are used to control computing technology. TCH 0-14a

I feel that the use of animation technology could be used in many ways to enhance learning in the classroom setting, and as reiterated in previous blog, the importance of teachers knowledge and confidence is paramount.

References

  • Movingimageeducation. [Online] Available: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 16 March 2019]
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 16 March 2019]

Week 6: Internet safety and exploring iMovie

“Most primary schools will have in place a policy regarding e-safety, but they are likely to reflect official policies and perhaps not the reality of pupils’ lives…” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.58)

In this weeks class we were looking at internet safety and using iMovie as a tool to execute it, using a specific topic of our choice. Internet safety is a subject which is extremely important and should be a part of every classroom, to ensure the safety of the children, teachers and staff in the school. Hopefully the information learnt would also be executed at home and outside of the school.

 

Before class I had a look at some of the internet safety videos and websites which were recommended.I particularly liked the THINKUKNOW website which is aimed at particular age groups. I focused on the age group of 5-7 years as my son is 6 years old. In my opinion, the website appeared to be very easy to navigate and child friendly. The language used is great and perfect for young children to understand. “If you feel upset about anything you have seen on the computer or if someone has said something which makes you feel bad or funny inside – you need to tell your mum, dad or whoever looks after you at home.” (thinkuknow, n.d.). This website can be accessed here: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/

There was lots of preparation done at home and last week after class for our groups movie. We decided to choose cyber bullying as our topic as we felt this is an issue which needs to be highlighted continually and can effect both children and adults. We made an initial plan and stuck to it very well!

 

I volunteered to be the “actress” whom was the subject of cyber bullying. We decided to go with the idea of a girl uploading a video to facebook of her singing, with comments appearing with insults and vicious abuse.

I pre-recorded a few videos at home before coming to class, choosing emotive songs that portrayed the effects of bullying…including me crying whilst singing! This, however, was not used as I suddenly came over all embarrassed! Instead we decided to make a TikTok video, which apparently is very popular with today’s generation (I can feel the grey hairs appearing as I type…). We created scenarios which depicted the reality in which cyber bullying follows the victim everywhere, there is no escaping it if you have access to the social media or the website in which it began. We wanted to show how devastating it can be to an individual and the isolation and hurt that it can cause. Information about what cyber bullying is, the different types and ways in which support can be gained was given during the video. We decided to not speak throughout the film and I feel that this adds to the seriousness and makes the video quite striking and effective. Here is a version of our movie, enjoy! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYFsFZ8qAHE&feature=youtu.be

This video could be shown to a class and then be followed by a discussion, to elaborate on areas or answer any questions which the children may want to ask. This would hopefully encourage the children to open up and talk about any experiences in which they have dealt with themselves. I feel that this would be aimed at second level in primary school. There are many issues which could be covered and delved into further with this video. The experiences and outcomes which could possibly be touched on are:

  • I am aware of and able to express my feelings and am developing the ability to talk about them.  HWB 2-01a
  • I understand that there are people I can talk to and that there are a number of ways in which I can gain access to practical and emotional support to help me and others in a range of circumstances. HWB 2-03a
  • 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

I feel that the iMovie app has boundless opportunities in the classroom. It has the capabilities of bringing children together and creating an inclusive environment, where children can learn from each other and share learning. I feel this type of activity could prove challenging for children of all natures, the shy and quiet child may be happy to sit back and not get involved, whereas the confident and dominant child will be happy to do all of the tasks and delve right in. It would, therefore, need to be made clear that each child has a “role” so that there is less chance of anyone feeling helpless or excluded.

Once again I feel that it is of high importance for the teacher to have adequate knowledge and experience before introducing a new app or software to the classroom. I think it would make a teacher feel very under pressure and lack confidence if they had to implement this in class without looking into the app and exploring it themselves.

 

References

  • Thinkuknow. (n.d.) [Online] Available: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/hectorsworld/ [Accessed: 12 February 2019]
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 12 February 2019]
  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.

 

 

Week 5: IPads and Book Creator!

“The use of mobile devices and tablet computers in Scottish classrooms could be expanded in a bid to modernise teaching and learning” (BBC, 2012).

This weeks topic was focusing on the use of iPads in the classroom. From my experiences in schools and on placement, I only ever saw the use of iPads in a positive light. With the ability to enhance and further learning in the classroom. I feel they are an asset to the pupils and the teacher. However, I have heard it through the grapevine, from fellow students, that their view of iPads in their experiences were sometimes negative, when problems arose in the technology or children were using them too often.

In my placement, I witnessed the children in the classroom use iPads whilst doing a maths activity, there was numerous of work stations where the children could rotate and use different methods to learn about their current topic. The iPads were used to play short games to enhance the childrens’ knowledge of time, and was an interactive and responsive method of learning whilst having fun!

Education secretary Mike Russell said that- “I have asked Education Scotland for recommendations on how we can realise the benefits of mobile technology for all learners in Scotland, including ensuring how we get the best possible value for our schools, and whether national guidance is needed for the sector” (BBC, ibid) This is further evidence of the proposals for mobile technology to be a fundamental part of the classroom.

An app which could be used in the classroom is Book Creator. I must admit that I really enjoyed using this app and feel that it would be a great asset to children in the classroom. This could be used by children to further explore and deepen the knowledge of a book, helping to grasp aspects of critical literacy and enabling expansion of the ideas and characters that the book has evoked.

I choose a book which I love to read to my children (What the Ladybird Heard, by Julia Donaldson), therefore I feel my activity would be aimed at early level. This could be given to the children after story time, as a means of further enhancing aspects of the story and using its characters/illustrations or words as a base to learning new things such as- describing words, phonics, colour, shape, etc.
This activity would provide the children with an immediate interactive response which can be very rewarding for children, helping to keep them stimulated, engaged and constantly learning. The use of eBooks could be a good activity for children who find it difficult to keep on task or read a regular book, the multi-modal aspects could be an attractive aspect. Here are a few experiences and outcomes that may be achieved with this activity.

  • TCH 0-01a “I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts”.
  • LIT 0-01a / LIT 0-11a /LIT 0-20a “I enjoy exploring and playing with the patterns and sounds of language and can use what I learn.”

 

References

  • Education Scotland looks to expand use of tablets computers in schools. 16th May 2012 [Online] Available: ://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-18081005 [Accessed: 6 February 2019]

  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 6 February 2019]

 

Week 4: Scratch Jr…Is there a Scratch Jr Jr Jr?!

Todays class was looking at the coding programme Scratch Jr. So what is coding?

” When you learn to code you can make things happen on your computer. You can make anything you want with a code. It could be a game, some pictures or a film” (BBC, 2019, n.p.)

The opportunities available for children using coding is endless, it allows children to create something from…scratch!! This enables the child to be creative in many senses of the word and allows the child to feel they have created something worthwhile and may help them feel valued. The push for coding to be introduced is huge and here is a reason why-

“The biggest justification for change is not economic but moral. It is that if we don’t act now we will be short-changing our children. They live in a world that is shaped by physics, chemistry, biology and history, and so we – rightly – want them to understand these things. But their world will be also shaped and configured by networked computing and if they don’t have a deeper understanding of this stuff then they will effectively be intellectually crippled.” (Naughton, 2012).

The Scratch Jr programme allows the children to interact and engage with the programme, this could allow children to work together and learn from each other. The learning theory of scaffolding could be gained using this programme.

Having arrived late to class (due to the weather I promise!) I felt somewhat lost when starting the activity. I quickly realised that Scratch Jr was not as cute and easy as the name made it appear! I have to admit that I did not access the programme prior to class, due to my unwell children and exhausted self… and this had a clear impact on my ability to dive in and get started.

 

After a lot of tinkering and trying to workout what button did what, I began to (slowly) get an understanding of the aim and possibilities of the programme. I decided to make my Scratch Jr activity based on phonics. I also chose to incorporate the phonics song to embed the childrens knowledge and also be recapping on prior learning. My activity allowed the children to interact and have a response from the technology, which I feel has a great impact on their concentration and willing involvement in the activity. 

The experiences and outcomes that I think this activity would cover are:

  • TCH 0-01a “I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts”.
  • LIT 0-01a / LIT 0-11a /LIT 0-20a “I enjoy exploring and playing with the patterns and sounds of language and can use what I learn.” (Education Scotland, (n.d.)

Coding has been introduced in primary schools, and as early as primary 1. In 2014, Education secretary Michael Gove said: “For the first time children will be learning to programme computers. It will raise standards across the board – and allow our children to compete in the global race.” (Curtis, 2003). The findings in this writing suggests that the benefits of teaching children coding can, and will, prepare children for the advances in the future and give them the tools to be able to succeed in a technologically based horizon.

I feel that I would need to spend a lot of time investigating the possibilities of Scratch Jr and learn how to use it efficiently, as it did not come easy to me. I think that this activity would need patience and lots of encouragement to stay on task, as there are various things that can go wrong…which might make children loose concentration…This, however, emphasises the importance of teachers having the adequate training and knowledge to be able to guide pupils and teach them how to use tools such as Scratch Jr to assist in learning and fun in the classroom!

 

References

  • Curtis, S. (2003) Teaching Our Children to Code: A Quiet Revolution. The Telegraph. [Online] 4 November. Available: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10410036/Teaching-our-children-to-code-a-quiet-revolution.html [Accessed: 1 February 2019].
  • BBC, 2019, n.p. [Online] Available: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zykx6sg [Accessed: 1 February 2019].
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 10 January 2019]

Week 3, Exploring Multimodality.

In todays session we learned about multi modality. This is a means of communication which uses 2 or more of the semiotic systems, which are as follows:

  • Linguistic
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Gestural
  • Spatial

“The multimodal capability of ICT is another reason to use it, as it allows teachers to present an idea in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it. It can also make work more interesting or motivating.” (Beauchamp, G. 2012).

Having seen ActivInspire being used in the classroom whilst on placement, I was somewhat familiar with the software. This was a different story when I had to access it myself!! I found it to be quite intimidating, as their are many different icons and options available, knowing where to actually start was a problem! I found this to be quite stressful at first, I could feel myself getting frustrated due to my lack of knowledge and ability to even navigate around the software!

This made me reflect on the impact this is bound to have had on teachers in the past and possibly presently. It is important that teachers and student teachers are given the appropriate training to be able to use technologies/software in the most effective way possible, to enhance However, after playing around with the software, it was clear that there are many dimensions to it and its capability to assist and enhance areas of the curriculum are limitless.

I decided to link my slide on ActivInspire with the activity I designed alongside the programmable toy Bee-Bot. Having chosen Health and Wellbeing as my topic for last weeks activity, I thought it would be worthwhile using this as an introduction to getting the children used to the vocabulary used in describing some feelings and emotions. In my slide I used the torch tool to enable me to hide the whole page (I did this as I thought it could help keep children focused on one emotion/feeling at a time). The children could put the torch over parts of the face depicting the emotion and focus on certain features-eyes, mouth, eyebrows. This could give hints as to what the feeling is and could be spoken about further in relation to why the person may feel this way or even just getting the children to use descriptive words. It also allows the children to see the word printed alongside the emotive face, making links and exploring their possible meanings.

The experiences and outcomes that could be developed doing this would be similar to those with the Bee-Bot activity:-

  • I am aware of and able to express my feelings and am developing the ability to talk about them. (HWB 0-01a / HWB 1-01a)
  • 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)

This weeks class has made me truly reflect on the need for me to work on my ability to navigate my way around ActivInspire and try to take advantage of all the possibilities that it has to offer. I am going to spend some time watching YouTube videos and tutorials in the hope that it assists me in feeling more confident using the software.

 

References

  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: from Pedagpogy to Practice. Pearson.
  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 10 January 2019]

Week 2, Bee-Bots and what-nots!

“If we plan to enrich preschool learning by the use of digital technologies, we may consider programmable toys also from another point of view. Digital technologies spread into many kindergartens nowadays and there is a widespread belief among educators and parents that children will require technological competencies to succeed in the workplace” (Janka, P. 2008).

This weeks class involved the introduction of the programmable toy Bee-Bot, which is a foreign object to me! Having done some reading previous to coming to class, and also quizzing my son about it! I had some knowledge of its positive attributes and enhancement capabilities in the classroom and early years setting.

It is clear that the Bee-Bot can aid many activities for young children. It can be an introduction to technology and help children to learn about control and demands. The use of possible unknown language such as: forward, left, right, back- also contributes to their language knowledge.   The Bee-Bot appears to be a very versatile and engaging piece of technology, and having the opportunity to design my own mat and activity was very exciting. The trouble I had however, was trying to choose just one! Which further proves the Bee-Bots never-ending list of possibilities across the curriculum.

“One big bonus is that no number recognition is needed. Younger children, who did not know their numbers were able to use the Bee-Bot.” (Lydon, A. 2008).

This shows that this device can be used for children with different abilities, and allows inclusion for all young people interacting with it. I feel this is vital in an activity, having witnessed whilst on my placement the vast range of abilities in the classroom.

I decided to focus my activity on health and wellbeing. This area seems to be always at the basis of all of my thoughts, as I feel very strongly about how important this is for young children. It is vital for children to be able to recognise their own feelings/emotions, as well as being able to identify them in other people. I choose to use the emoji face as a representation of the emotion/feeling, I did this because I think most children would recognise these icons and identify them well. In my activity I would make sure the children understand what emotion/feeling the icon depicts and talk about the language surrounding them. I could ask the children to describe to me what feeling the icon is portraying, and why they possibly feel this way.

I feel that this could be used and executed in many ways, I could also have images of people the children could talk to if they feel a certain way, or places the children could go to depending on their feelings. For example: Talking to a teacher, a caregiver, a friend, a sibling. Or going to the medical room or approaching someone they trust if they feel unwell or unsafe. I could create a scenario and ask the children how it would make them/others feel, for example, if someone was unkind to them in the playground or didn’t share, etc.

I also think this activity could work alongside other areas of the curriculum: in a reading session to identify how characters in a story were feeling and why, or to get an understanding of the pupils feelings towards a certain area of the curriculum. This activity could also be useful for children who are non-verbal to communicate their feelings and needs, it also could take the pressure away from talking out loud. It doesn’t need to be used as a group activity, one to one with a child who you feel may be experiencing any issues could maybe feel at ease using this as a means of expression.

 

 

I feel that the experiences and outcomes gained from this activity would be the following:

  • I am aware of and able to express my feelings and am developing the ability to talk about them. (HWB 0-01a / HWB 1-01a)

 

  • 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)

(Education Scotland. (n.d.)

There are many positives about the use of technologies in the classroom, however, I feel that the teacher must have the confidence and knowledge to be able to use the device effectively and to its full potential. I have visions of myself in a teaching role, with a pupil portraying more confidence and knowledge than I do about an area digitally enabled. This is why i have choose this option, I want to be confident and able to teach well and effectively, offering boundless opportunities to children across all ability levels and areas of the curriculum.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience planning and designing this activity with the Bee-Bot, with the childrens possible learning experiences at the foremost of my thoughts. I feel that the Bee-Bot is an excellent way to introduce young children to programmable toys and to enhance various areas of the curriculum. I think that it has the capabilities to turn a maybe unfavoured activity into an exciting and interactive one, giving children the experience of communicating and engaging as an inclusive learning opportunity.

 

References:

  • Education Scotland. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence.[Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 10 January 2019]
  • Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How?[Online] Available: http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf[Accessed: 10 January 2019]
  • Lydon, A. ( 2007) Let’s Go With Bee-Bot: Using your Bee-Bot across the curriculum. TTS Group Ltd.

 

 

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