Goodbye – Week 11

Why use technology within classrooms? For me, I have been convinced that it is essential since the world is daily evolving with technology. Generations are having to adapt to our digital world and new generations are being born into a digital world. It is important that we also evolve education(Prensky, 2001).

Over the past few months, writing these blogs have been a great way for me to really consider the different positive and negatives which I carry as not only a student teacher but as a teenager. For myself, I have learnt a lot about the different ways in which technology can be interpreted into a lesson and the effectiveness which it holds. To begin with I wasn’t sure what to expect from this module but the whole experience has been worthwhile; from learning new aspects and continuing to secure my understanding of technology.

Each week I have learnt something new about either teaching or myself; especially how reflecting on something can benefit you as an individual. This is due to being able to give myself feedback and creating next steps to improve. At the beginning of the term we filled out a self assessment sheet which I had to answer between 0-5 how much knowledge I knew for each topic. 0 meaning ‘No experience or knowledge’ and 5 meaning ‘Excellent experience or knowledge.’

I would say that from my first self-assessment I have definitely  improved in most areas:

  1. ActivInspire – I assessed myself as a 0 for this since I had no idea what it was or what it did. After the session, however, I now feel so much more confident in this area and feel as though I could comfortably explain what it is and how to use it in a classroom. Now I assess myself as a 3 as I did have difficulties working it out but I believe with practise I will be able to improve on this.
  2. Programmable Toys – I assessed myself as a 3 due to having worked with programmable toys when I was at the Primary. Now I would assess myself as a 5 as I now know the variety of ways in which you can use them to enhance pupils learning and have my own ideas in how it will be effective.
  3. Coding – I assessed myself as a 0 as I was unsure what this session would entail. After experiencing the lesson for coding I would now give myself a 4 as I now know the effectiveness of coding and enjoyed creating my own Scratch. Jr.
  4. Easi-speak microphones – I assessed myself as a 1 for this and feel like I will still need to work on my understanding by going back over previous sessions and trying various activities to develop these skills. Now I give myself a 3.
  5. iPad – I assessed myself with a 5 since I have grew up knowing how to work iPads for a long time. However, I now am able to communicate the different ways in which it can be used within a classroom. My assessment score for this topic has not changed.
  6. Games-based learning – I assessed myself with a 5 since I am very confident when it comes to gaming as it is something which I enjoyed to do growing up. I was also quickly able to come up with learning ideas before we did the task since I knew so much about the game. My assessment score is still 5 as I still feel just as comfortable in this area, if not more.
  7. Outdoor Learning – I assessed myself with a 4 as at the time I believed that I would fall into the trap of going off topic. I was afraid that if I was to do this in the classroom, pupils would not understand what my lesson was for them. They would only see it for entertainment and not take any learning from it. I believe that now, for the future, thinking about the topics carefully and also thinking about what the outcome of the activity would be will ensure that this does not happen. My experience with this session was positive and now gives me more confidence that I am less likely to fall into this trap.
  8. Glow – I assessed myself with a 4 as I had already experienced a glow account during my secondary years. However, I was unsure about the reasons for using it during teaching. This is now a platform which I hope to use in the future as the materials are of high standard. My assessment score for this topic is 4.5 as there are still aspects of glow which I have not discovered.

Overall, my experiences within this module have been a great opportunity for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed each each week.  In the future I wish to use technology within my classroom as I am more aware of the positive effects it can have on children whilst learning. I will continue to develop my skills and understanding throughout my university years as well as my teaching years.

References 

  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press

Outdoor learning – Week 10

The final session of Digital Technologies… I can’t believe how quickly this module has gone in as well as my first year at University. My final post will follow this, summarising this module and include one last final reflection of my experiences.

Going outdoors alone will have so many positive impacts on an individual. The Getting it right for every child approach focuses on our SHANARRI wheel:

• Safe
• Healthy
• Achieving
• Nurture
• Active
• Respected
• Responsible
• Included

With all these factors contributing, it lets every child feel as though they are “loved, safe and respected and can realise their full potential” (Scottish Government, 2019). The outdoors can do this for many young people and the importance of this is to enhance their well-being. To make them feel like they are being cared for and have a purpose when they are learning; not just at home but at school too. One of the advantages of outdoor learning is that it can increase a child’s motivation and it is not something they usually do so brings excitement into their learning (Education Scotland, 2010). Importantly, it develops inclusion. It can give children great opportunities to build on their own skills as well as see what they are capable of. It can improve problem solving skills – for example, we had to work out how much each item was and calculate a total. It can improve communication skills as well as our team working skills. As a student teacher, I believe that this is a way in which they can find out more about themselves as learners and build on their self-esteem as individuals; reinforce their worth (Beauchamp, 2012).

As my group and I were given an activity from another group, I felt as though inclusion played a huge role. The reason for this was that we all had to work together when carrying out the task we were given. We each read a page aloud and came together as a group to agree on a final answer. The only downside about carrying out this task was that we completed it in less than five minutes. We gave feedback to the group at the end, explaining how amazing their worked looked. However, in an everyday teaching environment you do not have hours to create something which only lasts minutes – time is crucial. This is something which I am going to take with me throughout my journey as a student teacher as well as when I am qualified. When I think about my activities I will always ask myself ‘how long will this last?’ and ‘how long will this take to make?’

Today, we got into groups and created our very own treasure hunt with QR codes. A QR code is “a pattern of black and white squares that can be read by a smart phone, allowing the phone user to get more information about something. QR code is an abbreviation for ‘Quick Response code’.” (Collins, 2019). Before today’s lesson I wasn’t really sure what a QR codes purpose and how it could be seen as enjoyable to use within a classroom. My thoughts quickly changed though when we firstly browsed through the website. The QR generator had a variety of ways in which we could communicate our information such as messages, YouTube links and text boxes. These examples demonstrated that there were so many possibilities with using the QR generator.

After seeing the different kind of widgets we could use and how the QR codes worked with our devices. As a group, we decided to do maths for second level. Having done treasure hunts before as a child I always remember them being used as a revision material at the end of topic/topics to reinforce my understanding of the subject.

Our treasure hunt started inside and continued outside so that there was an element of fun within the activity. Personally, when creating the treasure hunt I found that having it outside alone was creative and enjoyable since we were doing something different. However, with the QR codes and not knowing what each of the codes would read also brought an element of mystery to the task. Below are the experiences and outcomes which I thought our activity would cover:

– I can extend and enhance my knowledge of digital technologies to collect, analyse ideas, relevant information and organise these in an appropriate way. TCH 2-01a

– I can use digital technologies to search, access and retrieve information and am aware that not all of this information will be credible. TCH 02-02a

These experiences and outcomes were not the only ones since our activity was based on maths. With this in mind, bringing technology into learning outdoors as well as with subjects will enhance the child’s ability to comprehend further since they are digitally native (Prensky, 2001). Overall, I feel as though my experience with QR codes and working outside has given me a better outlook on the many ways in which I can improve my pupil’s well-being as well as their learning.

References

•Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
• Collins, 2019, Definition of ‘QR code’ [Online] https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/qr-code [Accessed: 02 April 2019]
• Learning and Teaching Scotland. (2010). Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/documents/hwb24-ol-support.pdf [Accessed: 20 March 2019]
• Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press.
•Scottish Government. 2019. Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC). [Online] https://www.gov.scot/policies/girfec/wellbeing-indicators-shanarri/ [Accessed: 02 April 2019]