All posts by Carla Jones

Digital technologies – overall reflection.

Looking back on my time in this module I feel that I have gained some valuable skills. In my first blog post I mentioned how in taking this module I wished to find out more information on what technologies are available for use in the classroom. I feel that I have reached this aspiration as I now know about numerous technologies and have been able to come up with ways in which they could be used in an educational way such as Minecraft and familiarised myself with technologies which are used daily within classes to deliver class material such as Activinspire.

I also mentioned in my first blog post that I felt this module would help me feel more confident in incorporating digital technologies into my lesson plans. I feel that I have grown in confidence in this across my time taking this module as I have been given the opportunity to not only familiarise myself with the different technologies to build my confidence but also build my own lesson plans which use these.

I am also now aware of how important it is for teachers to feel confident in using digital technologies from reading the work of Beauchamp who highlights that “Although teachers may be worried by new technologies… we need to be sure that this is not transmitted to young children”. I am now aware that in having a limited confidence in technologies you may be placing barriers up for your pupils (Beauchamp, 2012).

From taking this module I am now aware of the importance which is placed on technologies in todays curriculum with it being a large part of meeting curricular outcomes. I am glad that this module has allowed me the ability to feel like I could deliver this aspect of the curriculum with confidence.

References

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

 

 

 

Digital technologies week 10- QR Codes

In today’s lesson we were learning about QR Codes and their uses within a classroom setting.

We began by discussing what QR Code were learning that they are an image code which can be programmed to contain images, text and web links.

We were set the task of creating a treasure hunt that could be used in an educational setting using QR codes.

Once I got together with my group the first thing that we did was share our ideas. It was suggested that we based our treasure hunt off a previous lesson which we had planned. This is when I raised the idea of basing it off a shopping task which involved using money and working out change. We all agreed that this was a good idea and problem solved as a group to figure out how we could turn this into a treasure hunt. In reflection I feel that this was an important part of our planning stage as everyone worked together well to figure out a solution. I feel that this is a vital skill to have as a teacher as not everything runs as smoothly as planned.

We came to the decision that our treasure hunt would start with the pupils having to find out the answer to a calculation using currency. The answer to this calculation would tell them the number of the room which they had to go to in order to find the next QR code which would reveal an item on the shopping list which they could cross off and the next calculation to find out the next room number. The pupils would have to record their findings along the way as at the end they would add up the total of all the amounts calculated.

We then had to decide what stage we would make our treasure hunt for so that we could make sure that the calculations and language were suited. We decided upon first level however, I feel that this task could easily be adapted for 2nd level by using more complex calculations such as multiplication making it a perfect activity for a mixed ability or composite class.

We used an online QR Code generator to make our QR codes. This was easily accessible and straight forward to use. The only issue which we faced at this stage was that we could not add pictures. I feel that if I was to repeat this task again I would either printout picture to place alongside the QR codes in their positions or find another QR code generator that allows me to do this in order to add this element.

Our planned task covered outcomes in the curriculum such as:

  • I can use money to pay for items and can work out how much change I should receive. MNU 1-09a

(Scottish Government, n.d.)

I believe that the QR code activity provides a great chance for children to learn in a more active way than sitting at a desk as pupils can go from one end of the building to the other to find the correct clues. This therefore helps in them meeting one of the eight wellbeing indicators of being active. (Scottish Government, 2017)

QR codes also provide a great opportunity for outdoor learning. A treasure hunt task could easily send children outdoors exploring the environment, adding this aspect could further develop a child’s excitement for the task and therefore providing opportunities for deeper understanding. This is also stated by Learning and Teaching Scotland who appreciate that outdoor learning opportunities are memorable and “provide relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways which are difficult to achieve indoors” (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010).

It is for these reasons that I believe QR codes are a great addition to the classroom and would hope to have the opportunity to try out a QR code related task in my classroom one day.

 

References

Scottish Government (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 14th March 2019]

 

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

Scottish Government (2017) Getting It Right for Every Child. [online] available at: https://www.gov.scot/policies/girfec/wellbeing-indicators-shanarri/ [accessed on 14th March 2019]

Digital technologies week 9- Games based learning

In today’s lesson we were looking into the benefits of games-based learning and how this can be incorporated into the classroom. Our focus was on the hugely popular game Minecraft.

Todays task was to use Minecraft as a stimulus to plan a lesson which would allow for learning across several aspects of the curriculum.

As a teacher I feel that it is important to make your lessons relevant and interesting for your pupils so that maximum attention and performance is achieved. I feel that the introduction of games-based learning can provided an opportunity for that as it is stated by Ofcom that around 90% of 8-11-year have access to gaming devices in the home (Ofcom, 2011). This tells us that it is a big part of todays society. Minecraft is just one of the games which proves very popular with all ages, with How to do Everything in Minecraft describing it as “a worldwide phenomenon” (How to do Everything in Minecraft, 2014).

We got together as a group and started discussing our ideas for the task. For those of us who were unfamiliar with Minecraft it was more difficult to envisage what is possible with the game. However, one of the benefits of working within a group was that some of the group were familiar with the game and were able to let us know whether our ideas would be able to become a reality. We were given an interdisciplinary planner and upon discussion we decided that our plan was to place the children into groups and give them a choice of landmarks. Once they had chosen one landmark from the given list they then would have to go online and do some research on the landmark to create a fact file. Once this was completed the children would then go on Minecraft and create their own version of the landmark. They children would then be paired up with another group to share their findings and creations.

In adding the fact file and presenting element alongside the use of Minecraft our idea was able to cover many curricular areas such as:

  • Numeracy and mathematics in that the children would be looking at symmetry in some circumstances to try and replicate how the building looks.
  • Languages in that the children would be creating a fact file, making notes from relevant information and presenting to their peers
  • Expressive arts in that the children would be using their creative skills to plan and make their own copy of the landmark
  • Social studies in that the children would be researching the history of their chosen landmark.

This results in covering many curricular outcomes such as:

  • I have the opportunity to choose and explore and extended range of edit and technologies to create images and objects. EXA 2-02a
  • I can select ideas and relevant information and organise them in appropriate ways for my purpose and use suitable vocabulary for my audience. Lit 2-06a

(Scottish Government, n.d.)

In exploring the game, it was easy to see ways in which children could become distracted by other aspects of the game that would be off task for example in the chat aspect of the game. It is stated by Beauchamp that “achieving educational objectives through the use of the game was more dependent upon a teacher’s knowledge of the curriculum than it was with their ability of the game” (Beauchamp, 2012). However, in this circumstance I believe that knowledge of the game would be equally as important so that they are easily aware of what is on task and what isn’t.

From participating in this task today I can confidently state that I agree with Bray who states that “games should not just be used as rewards or for entertainment but as a whole new approach to learning” (Bray, 2012). I agree with this due to seeing how Minecraft opened the opportunity for interdisciplinary learning.

References

Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed 7th March 2019]

Scottish Government (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 7th March 2019]

 

MagBook (2014) How to Do Everything in Minecraft

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

Ofcom (2011) Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes [pdf] Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0030/55479/children_and_parents.pdf [accessed on 8th March 2019]

 

 

 

Digital Technologies weeks 7 and 8 – Animation

On the 19th of February, we had a lesson in animation and how it could be used within the classroom. Firstly, we had to educate ourselves with the different types of animation which exist. We looked over the ‘Moving Image Education’ website which enabled us to find out that animation can be split into 5 categories:

  • Cut out
  • Stop-motion
  • Pixilation
  • Drawn
  • Computer

(Moving image Education, nd)

I feel that it was important for me to do this research as it allowed me to find out both the pros and cons of each type. This means that I could apply the best suited animation task in a classroom setting as this could vary depending on circumstances such as time frame, stage and resources available.

I then had to familiarise myself with different animation apps that are available. I first looked at an app called Puppet Pals. I played around with this app for a while and soon realised that although it was straight forward to use, it was very restricted in the content that you could create. I therefore think that this app may not be the best for use in the classroom as it would be limited in the learning outcomes which could be covered in terms of presenting prior knowledge and the children may become frustrated as they may struggle with what is available to them in making their vision a reality.

I then explored another app called iStop Motion. I joined with another member of my class as we embarked on our task of creating a short animation using a bendy figure, in order to familiarise ourselves with how the app works. To begin with we watched a tutorial on how to get started and from then on, the app was straight forward to use. However, the creation of the animation was not without its struggles. One issue we faced was ensuring that the background was in proportion to the bendy figures. In order to fix this issue for the following week we decided that we would prepare all our backgrounds by hand prior to coming to class.

I feel that as a teacher it is important to familiarise yourself with the technologies you are using as it will allow you the confidence necessary to deliver this to a class to the best of your ability, which will therefore give the pupils the best chance at success. This is further backed by Beauchamp who states that “Although teachers may be worried by new technologies… we need to be sure that this is not transmitted to young children” (Beauchamp, 2012).

 

I feel this also means that as teachers we cannot let our worries of new technologies limit the learning within our classroom. Animation can provide a basis for deeper understanding as it can increase the visual representation which an individual has, it can be used to visualise different processes and provide an element of interactivity (Jarvis, 2015).

At the end of this week’s class we were made aware of our task for the following week, to make our own animation, so that we could plan and therefore make best use of our time. My partner and I decided to go with the stimulus of an historical event. Upon further research we then decided that our animation was going to tell the story of the moon landing as we felt this was something that could be easily completed within the time frame which we would have. Once this had been decided we then needed to decide on what type of animation we were going to use. It is stated by Moving Image Education that “Cut out animation is one of the quickest and easiest ways of creating animation” (Moving Image Education, n.d.). From finding this information we decided that this would be the best option for us. It also meant that we could draw out our character and backgrounds as we liked, so there were very minimal creative restrictions.

One benefit to working in a group was that we had varied skills between us. I was able to organise a list and plan of the things that we needed, and my partner was able to use her artistic skills to make these a reality.

When arriving to class the following Tuesday we were ready to start creating our animation straight away. We quickly started setting out our backgrounds and placing the characters in the correct place. We soon realised that we had to use blue tack to stick down the corners of our cut outs to endure that they laid flat, therefore improving the look of our final product.

One challenge which we faced was ensuring that the cameras angle and height was the same throughout. We had to keep comparing the previous picture to the one after and re take numerous shots. Upon reflection if this issue I feel that if I was to lead a task like this in the classroom, I would ensure that the pupils had tripods.

From participating in this task, I can easily pick out several aspects of the curriculum which an activity like this would cover throughout both the planning and implementing stage. For example.

  • 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 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, n.d.)

Due to this, I feel that this would be a great task to set a class. Now that I have participated in these inputs, I believe that I would feel confident in implementing this in a classroom setting.

References

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

Moving Image Education website. [Online] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 21st February 2019]

Moving Image Education website. [Online] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation/cutout [accessed on 19th February 2019]

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

Scottish Government (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 28th February 2019]

 

 

Digital Technologies week 6 – Movie Making

In today session we were set the task of using iMovie to make our own films which convey the important message of how to stay safe online. To begin with we got into groups and decided that we had to plan before going ahead and using the app. I feel that for this task it was very beneficial for us to work in groups as we were able to share our ideas and our range of skills. Prior to this task I had no previous experience of using iMovie however, there were members of my group who had, and they were able to use their prior knowledge to guide us in how the app works and what options the app had for creating. This saved us a lot of time as if I was working on my own, I would’ve had to spend a lot of time checking out the features of the app before planning as well as watching tutorials for information. In giving a similar task to pupils they would be able to do the same, gaining skills from listening to and explaining to others. The Scottish Government have stated that “Digital technologies appear to be appropriate means to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills, especially in primary settings.” (Scottish Government, 2015). I feel this incorporates the idea that digital technologies open the opportunity for a great amount of discussion between individuals allowing them to meet curriculum targets such as:

  • When I engage with others, I know when and how to listen, when to talk, how much to say, when to ask questions and how to respond with respect. LIT 1-02a
  • 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

(Scottish Government, n.d.)

When I met with my group, we all shared our ideas and decided on what we wished our movie to cover. We decided that we wanted to make our short movie relatable and interesting for the pupils watching so we decided to base it around a popular video game Fortnite and how the children can enjoy themselves playing but also keep themselves safe. I believe that this was a good decision because as a teacher it is essential to keep your pupils engaged as best as possible so that the information is memorable and so information isn’t lost meaning that the children have a greater understanding.

We then decided upon the points we wanted to get across. We decided that we wanted our movie to cover the topics of adding friends in the game, chatting to others online, ensuring that personal information isn’t available for others to see, ensuring that you only add friends that you know and showing how to block people. I feel that this planning time was important as it allowed us to have a clear train of thought to follow and therefore saved us time when it came to turn our ideas into a movie.

Internet safety is a topic which is important for children to be educated on. Although technologies offer lots of exciting opportunities it is important that we allow these to be a safe place for children to explore. It is stated by Beauchamp that “e-safety is not about restricting children, but about educating them” (Beauchamp, 2012). I agree with this statement in that it is important that when educating children about being safe online we do not frighten them away, as technologies have a lot to offer. I feel that as a group we did a good job in ensuring that we presented our information in a way that does so.

References:

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the primary school: from Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson

Scottish Government (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 14th February 2019]

The Scottish Government (2015) Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching.  [Online] http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/24843/1/00489224.pdf [Accessed on 14th February 2019]

 

 

 

Digital Technologies Week 5 – Book Creator

Today we were given the task of getting to know another software called Book Creator which was available for us to use as an app on iPads. Prior to this lesson I had minimal knowledge about the benefits and opportunities that having iPads within the classroom brings. However, through familiarising myself with an app such as Book Creator these soon became apparent.

We were given the task of taking a children’s story book and using the app in order to make it more interactive through turning it into a multimodal text through using pictures, sound, text and links to websites. It is stated by Beauchamp that through the use of multimodal texts we can “present ideas in a variety of different ways” which can help to further comprehension. I agree with this statement in that today, when creating an e-book, I was able to take pictures of the characters in the story and add a link to an online fact file about that animal giving the opportunity for additional information to be attained in an easily accessible and interesting way and would allow the pupils to understand the story and its contents in a more thorough manner.

Using iPads in the classroom can bring many benefits. It can create links with skills used at home as it is noted by Charles Hymas in the Telegraph that by the age of three years old more than a third of children will own their own tablet. I believe that this will allow children to become more invested in such tasks as they will be able to see the relevance of the skills they are learning as digital natives.

It is also stated that through introducing iPads into the classroom technology was seen to be used twice as much as when this resource wasn’t available (Burden et al, 2012).  I believe this is one of the greatest benefits as it allows for even more technology outcomes to be covered with minimal difficulty. This point is further backed up by David Andrews in the Guardian who stated that iPads are easy to use and are a resource which can be an effective use of time as they, compared to computers and laptops, are not as time-consuming to start up and access.

However, it does have to be noted that teacher training may be required in the use of these so that they can be used most effectively, and this could be a lengthy and costly process. If teachers were not educated on how to use these their confidence may lack and therefore this may deter them from using the iPads regularly. This point is also mentioned by David Andrews in the Guardian who states that by giving the teachers iPads before ruling them out in the school it gave the teachers the confidence necessary in order to allow it to have the best possible impact.

At the beginning of todays lesson we watched a tutorial on the book creator app to see what features it had and how to access them. I feel that this allowed us to save time in that it allowed us to get creating straight away with minimal struggle. It also allowed us to envision what the app had to offer and therefore what the possibilities were for creating.

I decided to use the book ‘The Snail and the Whale’ and wished to involve the reader in a more interactive experience by giving them more information on characters within the story, exploring the use of rhyme that is used throughout the book and by allowing them to use their skills in both numeracy and literacy through counting what they can see in the illustrations and coming up with their own alternative ending to the story. I feel this shows that using this resource allows for many skills to be put to the test and many outcomes to be met or revisited. In using the resource which I created the pupils would cover outcomes such as:

  • I enjoy exploring and playing with the patterns and sounds of language and can use what I learn. LIT 0-01a / LIT 0-11a / LIT 0-20as
  • I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts, sharing my thoughts in different ways. LIT 0-01c
  • I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing these with others in imaginative ways. LIT 0-09b / LIT 0-31a

And through creating their own they could meet outcomes such as:

  • Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts. TCH 1-02a

I believe that I would be willing to use such technologies and apps such as Book creator within my classroom in future due to their many possibilities to cover different learning outcomes in an interesting and relevant way.

 

References

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the primary school: from Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.

The Telegraph. (2018) One in four children under two has their own tablet, MP’s report shows. [online] Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/25/one-four-children-two-has-tablet-mps-report-shows/ [accessed on: 7th February 2019]

Burden, K., Hopkins, P., Male, T., Martin, S. and Trala, C. (2012) iPad Scotland Evaluation. [PDF] Available at: http://www.janhylen.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Skottland.pdf [accessed on: 7th February 2019]

The Guardian. (2012) An apple for the teacher: are iPads the future in class? [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2012/aug/13/schools-secondary-schools [Accessed on: 7th February 2019]

Scottish Government (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 31st January 2019]

 

Digital Technologies Week 4- Coding

In this week’s session we embarked on another assessment task, this time in coding. Prior to this session I had never tried coding before and was interested to see how it worked and where it could place itself within the curriculum as well as being excited to gain new skills in using this resource. The coding software which we were using was called Scratch Jr and is a simplistic version of coding which is perfect for the primary school stage.

Coding programmes such as scratch can fit into various areas of the curriculum with ease due to its many possibilities and can easily incorporate cross-curricular learning experiences. For example scratch could be used to tell a story which would encompass literacy aspects of the curriculum along with technologies.

It is stated by John Naughton that coding is important as a part of the curriculum as children are surrounded by computer technologies in their day to day lives and if they weren’t opened up to the world of coding, they would be passively consuming such services and goods (The Observer, 2012). I feel that it is important that as teachers we allow our pupils the opportunities to believe they can become the pioneers of such technologies rather than just the consumers.

We were set the task of creating our own interactive story using the Scratch Jr app, covering some literacy outcomes.  I decided that I was going to have my story focus on phonics skills and have my character go on a journey which the reader could join in on. To begin with I explored the app to find out what I could make the character do as well as what tools there were. I decided that I wanted to have an interactive element to my story in order to include the reader as best I could.

Once I had come up with an idea, I decided to look at the curriculum experiences and outcomes and see what areas I could cover. I realised that I could easily cover these literacy outcomes:

  • I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts, sharing my thoughts in different ways. LIT 0-01c
  • To help me understand stories and other texts, I ask questions and link what I am learning with what I already know. LIT 0-07a / LIT 0-16a / ENG 0-17a
  • I enjoy exploring and playing with the patterns and sounds of language and can use what I learn. LIT 0-01a / LIT 0-11a / LIT 0-20a

In providing this task to pupils, in addition to covering literacy outcomes, they would cover many aspects of the technologies outcomes such as:

  • 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
  • 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

(Scottish Government, n.d.)

My idea was to have the reader find items within the story beginning with each letter of the word ‘treasure’ allowing them to work on their knowledge of the sounds of words within our language and what there made up of. I would then programme the character to move to each of these items. I had to look at the options available to me on the app in terms of the background and had to think as to what I could include within these scenes for there to be an item in each one which started with the correct letter.

Whilst using the Scratch Jr programme for the first time I faced some challenges. I could not figure out if there was an option to use one of my own backgrounds so I had to look at the given ones and think of ways in which I could alter those to still give me the desired effect. Also, when using the app, I was unaware that there was a limit to only 4 pages, so once I had done the work and reached this limit I had to re-think my concept and figure out how I could condense this. I feel as though this may frustrate pupils as it provides limits to their creativity. However, it could be advantageous in that class time may be limited and in having that restriction in place it could prevent this from being a lesson that lasts over many weeks. To begin with it was also difficult to get the timing correct for the characters to move to the correct place and speak at the correct time. However, this also may come as an advantage in a classroom setting as it allows for children to use their problem-solving skills and see what works best.

It is stated that in using Scratch children “are not just learning how to write computer programs. They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.” (The Lead Project, 2014). I agree with this statement in that when I was figuring out the programme I myself had to think in a creative way in figuring out how make my idea a reality. I also had to ensure that I was working in a methodical way to ensure that things ran the way in which I wished. I also had to work alongside others in that for most of us it was our first experience using Scratch Jr and we all had to share what we had found and information on how to do things. I believe that because of all these benefits, coding is a great aspect of technologies to include into lesson plans and one which I will be using in the future.

 

References

Scottish Government, (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 31st January 2019]

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

The Observer, (2012) Why all our kids should be taught how to code. [online] available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/mar/31/why-kids-should-be-taught-code [accessed on 31st January 2019]

Digital Technologies Week 3- Multimodal Presentations

Digital Technologies blog week 3

Activinspire

In this week’s lesson we were familiarising ourselves with ‘Activinspire’ which is a programme that is used as a means for interactive learning in many of todays classrooms. It is a good resource to introduce the use of multimodal texts with its many possibilities. The definition of a multimodal text is one which combines two or more of the five semiotic systems which are:

Linguistic

Visual

Audio

Gestural

Spatial

Multi modal texts are an effective tool in the classroom as Beauchamp states that they are believed to “make work more motivating and interesting” (Beauchamp,2012, p.8). I agree with this statement as these types of texts can cater to many different learners in using different styles and this was something which I had experienced on placement as it was a tool which grabbed the pupil’s attentions greatly for example in the use of the interactive smartboard and video clips.

It is recognised by the government that technologies which can be used for creating multimodal texts are valuable within a classroom setting. As part of their challenge to tackle the attainment gap the Scottish Government are providing qualifying schools with an equity fund allowing for them “to deliver activities, interventions or resources which are clearly additional to those which were already planned.” (Scottish Government, 2018). The funding available could be used for resources such as interactive whiteboards and iPads which provide great opportunities for creating and using multimodal texts. I agree that providing the schools with funding for these materials is a great way to expose the pupils to many different forms of multimodal texts. However, I also believe that it is essential that teachers understand how to best use these programmes. It was stated by Beauchamp that “The ability of ICT to present ideas in a variety of ways can help to structure new experiences but only if you as the teacher have sufficient understanding on the area yourself.” which I agree with in that schools may spend their equity fund on resources which may seem helpful however, they may not end up being used to their fullest potential due to the lack of expertise on how to do so.

The task which we were set was to come up with our own multimodal interactive presentation. We decided to base ours around a similar concept of the shopping task we had completed the previous week and used the same curricular outcome of I can use money to pay for items and can work out how much change I will receive. NMU 1-09a. We decided to create a supermarket setting with shopping lists in which the children had to drag the objects on their list into a trolley and then drag the various coins out of a purse to pay the correct amount. We also added a cash register sound effect to encompass another one of the semiotic systems.

We began by playing around with the various functions on the Activinspire software and started to find out what we could use. To begin with we used a picture as a background but soon realized that we could set the page background as any picture we wished and decided this would be better as the picture wouldn’t move around. One struggle that we faced was in finding out how to duplicate a page as we wished to use the same look on all our pages but different variations of coins and items on the shopping lists and we hoped that there was a way to do this without starting from the beginning each time. After trying many different possibilities, we eventually found the correct way to do so and were able to continue with creating our resource. Another struggle which we faced was that in the version which we had downloaded some of the tools were not as easily accessible as others and we struggled to find how to insert shapes. In the end we had to find an alternative way of creating the effect which we wished to use.

Overall, I believe that Activinspire is a great resource for the use of multimodal texts within the classroom due to its many possibilities in covering an extensive range of curricular outcomes. It provides a great range of handy tools and now that I have taken time to familiarise myself with how to access these I would feel comfortable using this as a resource within a classroom.

 

References

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

Scottish Government. (2018) Pupil Equity Funding – National Operational Guidance – 2018. [pdf] available at: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/advice-and-guidance/2018/02/pupil-equity-fund-operational-guidance-2018/documents/a6778574-28cc-42d1-b3ff-e37118236457/a6778574-28cc-42d1-b3ff-e37118236457/govscot%3Adocument [Accessed on 24th January 2019]

Scottish Government. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 24th January 2019]

 

Digital Technologies Week 2- Programmable Toys

17th January 2019

For this week’s lesson we were set the task of creating our own educational resource using a Beebot programmable toy. Before the input we were able to decide whether we wished to work as an individual or in a group and I decided to join a group with two others. Prior to our time in the classroom, my group and I met in order to discuss our ideas and finalise a basic plan for the resource. I feel this was beneficial as it allowed us to use all the time that we had during class to focus on the making of the product. When we met again during class time we briefly re visited our plan and made sure that everyone agreed on what the final product would be. We then finalised which learning outcome was best suited to our resource as this had only been loosely mentioned before and then we divided out roles and began creating. I feel this approach worked well as we were able to use our time effectively and divide jobs fairly, playing to people’s individual strengths, in order to do so. I feel that as a group we were also very good at feeding back to each other about our progress and checking with each other to ensure all of us were included in all aspects. One challenge that we did face when we came to use the Beebot was that once we had programmed it to go to one position, we then put in the sequence to send it to the next location on our mat and Beebot would follow the whole sequence. We soon realised that we had to press clear to remove the sequence from the Beebots memory to then give it instructions to go to the next position.

 

As a group we decided to make our resource a shopping design. We first came up with the idea to have items laid out on the board with various prices which the pupils would have to add together in order to calculate the total of their shopping. We felt that the best way to do so was through giving the children shopping lists with the items that they would have to programme the Beebot to go to and with the cost of each individual item marked on it. We then came across the issue of having to figure out a way in which the children could find out if they correctly calculated the total so that the resource could be used with minimal teacher input. We then decided that Beebot would travel to the items on the shopping list then to a basket with what the children believe is the correct total on it. At this point the child would also have to work out the change in which they would receive before opening a receipt that will be in the basket, which would tell them both the accurate total and change.

We decided that we wanted to make the board interchangeable so that it could be altered to be used for differing abilities, ensuring that the children can be challenged just enough whilst carrying out the task.

 

The outcome which we decided best suited our resource was from first level in the number, money and measure category:

  • I can use money to pay for items and can work out how much change I will receive. NMU 1-09a

The children will meet this outcome through the calculations which they do in order to find the correct basket and work out what many they will get back from the original amount of money that they are given.

 

I feel that as a group we should have made the experiences and outcomes our starting point for coming up with our idea as this could’ve sped up this part of the process by giving us a further stimulus.

 

Programmable toys have a valuable place in today’s curriculum. They open the opportunity for children to discuss with each other and use the language of mathematics in an applied sense. It is stated by the National Centre for Technology in Education that such resources “encourage group interaction, conversation and collaboration”. This can be seen in that when programming the bot, pupils will have to discuss with each other using directional language such as forwards, backwards, left and right in order to work together in an effective manner to reach the same goal, as I had to with my group when we were trialing the resource. This is further backed up by Janka who states that as part of the British curriculum “children should develop the ability to describe simple journey and instruct the programmable toy in order to develop position language and estimation”. Showing that the use of this language is a vital part of a child’s education.

 

In conclusion, I feel that the skills which I have learned and put into practice during this session will be of great value to me as both a student teacher and when I become qualified. I have enjoyed my time getting to know the resource and I have seen all the different ways in which it can be used to meet various different outcomes. Additionally I now have knowledge on its value within a classroom.

References

NTCE. (2012)  Floor robots – focus on literacy and numeracy.  [pdf] Available at: http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39832/mod_resource/content/1/NCTE%20Article%20-%20Floor%20Robots.pdf [Accessed on: 17th January 2019]

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? Intl. Conf. on Simulation, Modeling and Programming for Autonomous Robots.  pp. 112-121.

Scottish Government. (n.d.) Curriculum for Excellence. [pdf] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed on 17th January 2019]

Digital Technologies Week 1

                                                                                10th January 2019

On the 8th of January I started a new digital technologies module as part of my journey as a first year BA Education student. I chose this module because I wished to learn more about the technologies that are available for use in the classroom as well as better improve on my currently limited skills and gain new strengths in using these. I therefore feel that the skills I gain in this module will allow me to better my practice within the classroom as I would have the ability to incorporate these confidently within my lesson plans. It is important to have technology as a part of how you deliver the curriculum as children will come in to your classroom as digital natives. This is due to them growing up surrounded by numerous digital technologies.  Therefore, it is and will continue to be a large aspect of their life in which skills will be vital and therefore is necessary to be not only a part of home life but school life too (Prensky, 2001). It is also recognised by the Scottish government as a crucial part of education. This is shown by a strategy that came into place in 2016 which wished to increase the effective use of technologies within Scottish schools in order to tackle the attainment gap (Scottish Government, 2016). This blog will follow my journey through the module and will be used as an opportunity to reflect on how the sessions went and record the skills which I have gained which I will be able to refer to in the future.

References

Scottish Government. (2012) Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of digital technology. [pdf] Available at: http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39814/mod_resource/content/2/Digital%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20Strategy%20.pdf [Accessed on: 10/01/19]

Prensky,M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press. Vol.9 (5) pp.1-6.