ActivInspire (23/01/2018)

Today in digital technologies we were exploring multimodality and interactivity, particularly the use of ActivInspire within the classroom environment. I had previously observed this software being used in practice however I had never investigated the application myself or had experience of creating anything with it. I was less apprehensive about using this software in comparison to others as I had already been shown the basics of how it works.

A text may be described as multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems.
There are five semiotic systems in total; Linguistic, Visual, Audio, Gestural and Spatial. This is a very important concept within the classroom as it covers a wide range of learning styles for children and can often enhance understanding by using a variety of these features. According to Beauchamp (2012), “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”. This shows that for these various softwares, a fair knowledge of how it works must be had by the teacher to ensure the highest level of understanding can be had by the children within schools.

The use of these multimodal texts allows for a number of benefits within the class such as it is interactive, engaging, dynamic, and motivating for children etc.

Throughout this session we were given the opportunity to use this software on the iPads to create our very own lesson with whatever aspect of the curriculum we decided. Our group agreed to adapt our lesson to a literacy setting, in which we decided to base it upon a spelling game. The children would be given a picture of an animal and a word with letters missing from each. They would then have to select the correct letter from the bank of letters on the screen and drag it up to the appropriate space in the word.

For our lesson, the literacy outcome that may have been reached include “I explore sounds, letters and words, discovering how they work together, and I can use what I learn to help me as I read or write (ENG 0-12a/LIT 0-13a/LIT 0-21a)”. However this software has a huge scope to adapt it to almost any lesson, and cover almost any experience and outcome from the curriculum.

Overall, I believe this software for use within the classroom is one which many more teachers could hugely benefit from in lessons as it is so widely adaptable for a variety of different purposes. It is also a very basic application that many people could use effectively due to its easy layout and navigation around different features. Even with minimal knowledge of technology, I believe it can be very helpful throughout teaching others and conveying ideas.

References

Curriculum for Excellence

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

e-Books Workshop (06/02/2018)

Today in digital technologies we investigated and studied the use of mobile devices, in particular e-books, within the classroom and how they could be used to their full potential. At the beginning of the session I was particularly apprehensive surrounding the use of this application within the classroom as I was very unsure as to how and why this may enhance a lesson for children as I had never explored this software before.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term e-Books can be identified as “An electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device”. This involves a variety of different handheld devices such as iPads, mobile phones, tablets etc. We were given the opportunity to investigate the application called book creator, which I had never heard of before this session. Book creator is a simple way to make a variety of books on the iPad such as children’s picture books, comic books, photo books, journals, textbooks and more.

According to the Scottish Governments’ Children’s Parliament (2016), the use of digital technology in the classroom is beneficial as it saves the waste of lots of paper therefore saving the environment, it gives them the ability to listen to music if it helps them with concentration and also it allows them to download the latest texts and audio books to use within the classroom.

Using this software would cover a variety of CfE experiences and outcomes within the classroom, for example, “I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to and asking different kinds of questions (LIT 1-07a)”, “I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to literal, inferential, evaluative and other types of questions, and by asking different kinds of questions of my own (LIT 2-07a)” and “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)”.

We were given time to investigate the application book creator with the initial task of designing a booklet on the iPads that would prove why students should apply to UWS in Ayr. This was a very fun task which enabled us to explore the campus on our own, whilst using the time effectively to therefore practice creating our own e-Books. The application was very simple and straightforward to work, which was beneficial as I am not particularly confident with using new technological software. The pictures below indicate what our group created in around half an hour, including time to explore the campus.

Our second task throughout the session was to create come up with a summarised version of a previously well-known text and create tasks for children to complete on their own. As I was apprehensive about this, I chose Charlie and the Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl as I was already very familiar with this text beforehand. I found it fairly difficult to begin this task as I was still unsure how to adapt it for use within the classroom, however once I had a look at previous examples for ideas I became more confident when creating this booklet. Below indicates the work I had produced including tasks for the children to answer the questions on their own using the iPads in class.

 

 

Overall, I found this experience very beneficial to see how this application can be adapted for use within the classroom. Some of the benefits of using it would include the range of resources and devices used by children in their daily lives at home, which could therefore build on these skills. It is also easy to share and access lots of resources from various online platforms, and finally it is helping to meet the needs of children and preparing them for the digital era in the 21st century.

References

Children’s Parliament Consultation (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland: The Views of Children.

Webwise Team. (2012) What is an e-Book? [Online] Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-e-books [Accessed 20th February 2018].

Curriculum for Excellence

Mobile Devices (27/02/2018)

Today in digital technologies we were investigating the use of mobile devices within the classroom environment. I was unsure what this session would entail as this covers a very wide range of different technology. According to the Governments’ Children’s Parliament (2016) devices such as kindles, iPads, computers, cameras, Leappads, Nintendos, playstations etc were all used within the classroom for a variety of lessons.

British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), researched the benefits of mobile devices and consoles within the classroom and evaluated that the use of games consoles and smartphones played a huge role in the education and learning of young people in primary education. 406 responses were analysed by BESA surrounding the use of technology in school and at home. Around three quarters indicated that accessing devices such as Nintendo DS at home were in fact hugely beneficial to the childs’ development throughout school.

Overall, most teachers claimed that they preferred children having access to a computer games console in comparison to a mobile device. With reference to mobile devices specifically, opinions from teachers were hugely varied as Ray Barker, director of BETA claims “On the one hand, 39 per cent stated that children should not have access out of school to mobile phones, while another 29 per cent of teachers said the ideal situation would be if all pupils had access to a mobile”.

The use of mobile devices could be used in a variety of ways to help enhance lessons and a child’s overall understanding of a range of topics and subjects. However, on the other hand I believe they would not enhance every lesson and may become a distraction for children and others around them as they can access anything if they are not under supervision.

Within this session we were given the opportunity to create an “I am” poem which followed a specific structure given to us by our lecturer. The image attached below indicates the theme we chose, and what our creation consisted of. We were then asked to use the easi-speak microphones to record the audio to match the corresponding line in the poem. This audio was then inserted into a powerpoint document in which we were to add visuals based upon the line in the poem and share our creation with others. I found this very interesting and fun as the task was very lighthearted and also enabled our imagination to run wild with the different possibilities this poem could lead us to. It was also informative however, as it was easily identified how this lesson could be given to children in the same format.

Various experiences and outcomes could also be covered with this activity such as literacy and digital technologies. These include “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)” and “I can spell most of the words I need to communicate, using spelling rules, specialist vocabulary, self-correction techniques and a range of resources (LIT 2-21a)”.

In conclusion, using these devices would include a larger variety of adaptability for many more pupils. It would also allow them to develop skills within the classroom, which could be further enhanced within the home environment as well. Within the 21st century, a good knowledge on how to use this technology would be very helpful for the children as we are moving further into the Digital Age in society.

References

Curriculum for Excellence

Children’s Parliament (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland: The View’s of Children. [Online] Available: http://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/REPORT_digital-learning-consultation_Childrens-Parliament-1.pdf [Accessed: 7th March 2018].

Games consoles benefit children’s education. (n.d.) [Online] Available: http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/245937/mod_resource/content/5/CoRE/page_96.htm [Accessed: 7th March 2018].

Coding – Scratch Jr (30/01/2018)

Today in digital technologies we were investigating the term coding and the sort of programmes that would cover this topic. We were mainly focussing our time on the software Scratch Junior, which I had previous experience of from computing science at secondary school. I was not confident at all using this software, as I had a very bad experience of this subject at school through a lack of explanation from the teacher. This made me very apprehensive surrounding the progress I would make within this session and how much I would struggle in understanding how it truly worked. I was also unsure as to how it could be used within classes, as I was unaware how to incorporate this into lesson plans for children.

The use of coding and Scratch Junior within the classroom has a variety of benefits to children such as when people learn to code, they learn important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas. Teaching through the use of coding is also very beneficial to children as the ability to code computer programs is an important part of literacy in today’s society and some people believe that coding is the new literacy.

Throughout his session we were given time to watch tutorial videos on how Scratch Junior worked, and the sort of work that could be produced from it. Scratch Junior is a programme used to introduce children over the age of five years old to programming language and allows them to create stories and games on the iPad. This software works by the children being able to make characters move, jump and sing by clicking different blocks of programming instructions together.

According to The Lead Project (2014) Scratch Junior was designed for “exploration and experimentation, so it supports any different learning style”. This shows that this software is very adaptable an can be used across a wide range of the Curriculum for areas such as mathematics, English, music, art etc. Various experiences and outcomes can also be achieved from this software surrounding computing science such as “I am developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills as I play and learn with electronic games, remote control or programmable. I can work individually r collaboratively to design and implement a game toys. (TCH 0-09a/TCH 1-09a)” and also “Using appropriate software, I can work collaboratively to design an interesting and entertaining game which incorporates a form of control technology or interactive media. (TCH 2-09a)”.

Within class we were given the opportunity to investigate this software and how it works, starting at the very beginning with the basics. After watching the tutorial videos given to us I began to understand how each element of the application worked and what the various possibilities could have been for using it in the classroom. We were given the task of creating a scene from a story and putting it into action. This same task could be given to children where they would have the opportunity to create their own snap shot from a story, sparking imagination and allowing them to illustrate it digitally. I came up with the idea of describing a day at the zoo, which was ideal as I was able to use a variety of different characters and make them interact with each other with both speech and movement.

Overall, I believe the use of scratch junior within the classroom would be very beneficial for children as it allows them to create stories, which many of them may have difficulty writing about however this can be used as a stimulus for creativity. It is also hugely beneficial to children as they can expand their vocabulary, introducing programmable language and understanding how this can then be put into practice using this software both in school and at home within the digital age of the 21st century.

References

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

Curriculum for Excellence

Games-Based Learning (06/03/2018)

Today in digital technologies (06/03/2018) we were investigating games-based learning within the classroom. I was apprehensive in the beginning as to how this would in fact benefit and enhance a child’s learning within school. However, it was brought to my attention how flexible the capacities of various games were and how easily adaptable they were to cross curricular areas. According to the Edutopia website the term games-based learning means “like novels, films, plays and other media, games can be high quality materials a teacher uses to enable students to access the curriculum”.

With this type of learning however, Learning Scotland also identified a variety of different problems that may arise through this form of teaching in the classroom such as the cost, identifying a suitable game, integrating the game – time/structure of the day and also teacher confidence/skills. Although these are huge issues, I believe with more awareness in schools many of these can be overcome and can in fact benefit pupils in a huge way within modern society.

We were given the opportunity within the class to create a mind-map surrounding reasons why games-based learning may be incorporated into a lesson and how it may benefit a child. At the beginning of the session we came up with ideas such as it is interactive, engaging, there’s a connection between home and school life, and it can also be used as a cross curricular activity over a variety of different lessons. After further investigation and thought, we discovered it also reinforced knowledge, it was stress free and also useful for children who have additional support needs.

During this session we were also given the opportunity to create an Interdisciplinary Learning Plan (IDL), based on the game Super Mario Kart. We chose six CfE areas to base our lessons upon, alongside the Es and Os that would be covered. We created lesson ideas for literacy, IT, numeracy, health and wellbeing, art and expressive arts (music).

I found this activity very fun as we could be creative, however also realistic within designing these activities. It was good to also share lessons with other groups as it was interesting to hear a variety of different ideas all based upon the one original features of Mario Kart.

Overall, I found the first input of games-based learning very interesting as I was surprised to see how wide one idea can be covered over different CfE areas whilst still remaining informational and beneficial for the children. I was apprehensive to begin with at the thought of this being used within the classroom, however after further investigation this is definitely something that I believe should be incorporated into more schools in modern day society, and in the future for when I hopefully become a primary teacher too.

References

https://education.gov.scot/ [Accessed 08/03/2018]https://www.edutopia.org/article/3-ways-use-game-based-learning-matthew-farber [Accessed 08/03/2018]

iMovie (13/02/2018)

Today in Digital Technologies we discovered how to use the application iMovies on the iPad to its full potential within the classroom. Our use of iMovies within the session was linked closely with online safety for children and the dangers that can be found on social media for example. We were given the task of creating our own short movie or trailer that conveyed a very strong message for children about what it’s like about the dangers of going online. Promoting both digital skills and also enhancing online knowledge for the children is a very good idea and works well within the classroom environment.

Our idea was to create a princess with an evil step sister. throughout our short movie, the princess received a friend request from an unknown person however when she asked her sister she encouraged her to accept it. This unknown prince messaged the princess to ask her to the ball which she proceeded to attend. However when she arrived at the address there was nobody but an old man there is take her away. The message we tried to send to the children was that you never know who it is behind these profiles, and everyone is not who they always claim to be online.

The term digital literacy was described by Weiss (2017) as “the set of competencies required for full participation in society”. This is a very bold statement to be made, however it does highlight clearly the importance of a high level of digital knowledge within the 21st century as everything around us becomes more reliable with the use of technology.

Digital technology helps enhance various skills such as critical thinking skills, awareness of e-safety, collaboration skills, ability to research and select information, and also creativity. In 2015 the Scottish Government argued that “Digital technologies appear to be appropriate means to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills, especially in primary settings”. This shows the importance of digital knowledge within the development of a child’s learning over a period of time and how it can enhance understanding of different areas within the curriculum.

Digital technology can be used for a variety of settings within the classroom and across various curricular areas. The knowledge and skills based upon digital technology and e-safety can be applied to areas such as health and wellbeing, numeracy and literacy. This is the case as children can improve problem solving skills within the numeracy aspect of the CfE and they are also developing active learning with help from their peers around them. Health and wellbeing can also be covered through the use of technology as it uses a variety of different approaches including active, cooperative and peer learning, and also the effective use of technology within the classroom environment. Finally, literacy can be improved as children have opportunities to communicate and collaborate with peers and also explore a wide variety of different medias such as websites, blogs, games etc.

Overall, I believe the use of iMovie within the classroom is a very useful resource that teachers should make full potential use of as it allows children to improve on a variety of different skills including group work and working together. In this case we adapted the use of iMovies to an e-safety aspect, however this task can be manipulated to fit around any activity that the children are exploring within the class.

References

Weiss, D. (2017) Time to Know blog [Online]
https://www.timetoknow.com/blog/essential-digital-literacy-skills-for-the-21st-century-worker/ [Accessed: 14.2.18]

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: 14.2.18]

Programmable Toys Workshop (16/01/18)

Today in our digital technologies workshop we were learning about the use of programmable toys, in particular the Bee-bot programming, within a classroom setting. I had prior knowledge of how these could be incorporated into a child’s learning as I had previously used the devices throughout my years in primary education, and also in semester one we had an input surrounding these robots and we got the chance to use these to their full potential.

After further investigation it was clearly identified that Bee-bots could be used by all levels, in many settings, covering a variety of different outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence. In particular we focussed on numeracy outcomes from the CfE and how the Bee-bots could be used by the children for educational purposes.

We were set the task of creating our own Bee-bot mat in groups, incorporating a numeracy element into the game. We created the theme of a trip to the grocery store in which the children would follow a shopping list and send the Bee-bot to each appropriate item. Once they reached the item, they had to collect the correct sum of money from the purse and make their way to the checkout using their Bee-bot. During this example lesson, three main outcomes of the CfE could be achieved. These included; TCH 0-09a “I am developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills, as I play and learn using electronic games, remote control or programmable toys”, MNU 0-09a “I am developing my awareness of how money is used and can recognise and use a range of coins” and also MTH 0-17a “In movement, games and using technology I can use simple directions and describe positions”.

The use of programmable toys within the classroom has many benefits to enhancing a child’s learning for many different subjects. The use of Bee-bots can be incorporated into literacy as it gives them the ability to create a story from following directions eg treasure, keys etc; maths as it gives them the ability to calculate a route and improve following directions; and also art as it gives them the ability to draw and create maps for the Bee-bots to follow. The use of the Bee-bot also improves a variety of other skills such as teamwork, problem solving (ie going from A to B without passing C) and also directional skills (ie left, right, forward, backward, north, south, east and west).

The National Centre for technology claims that “Floor robots in the classroom help with the development of skills such as a logical sequencing, measuring, comparing lengths, space orientation, and expressing concepts in words”. This shows that the use of these robots allows children to develop vital skills in a way that is engaging and allows participation for all pupils as it may be seen as a fun exercise for many.

Alison Lydon also claims that “[The children] gained independence faster than I anticipated. Twelve out of the 28 were able to use the Bee-Bot without any adult help after the initial instructions”. This shows that the use of programmable toys allows many children to work amongst themselves with very limited help from teachers. this allows them to work together and enhance their learning by working out sequences and patterns for themselves.

Overall, through investigating how these programmable toys work and how they can enhance the learning of a child, I was surprised as to how these toys can be incorporated into many different situations. It was a great opportunity to get to see other groups ideas for the design of their mats and how different aspects could be adapted or added to their mats depending on the age and stage of the children. The idea to make our mat slightly more challenging included having the shopping list in a foreign language which would then test the child’s knowledge of other languages. These robots are a very good way to engage pupils in enhancing a variety of skills, and is something I believe to be very useful in a child’s development within a classroom situation.

References

NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy.
[Online] http://www.ncte.ie/media/NCTE_Floor_robots_focus_on_literacy_numeracy_primary_12-06.pdf [Accessed: 15th January 2018]

ICTopus Article (2008) Sharing Good Practice: Robots in Early Education by Alison Lydon.
[Online] https://oponoa-programmeertalen.wikispaces.com/file/view/BeeBot_article.pdf
[Accessed: 15th January 2018]

Placement Reflection

Throughout my two week placement, I was given the opportunity to work in a school that is situated in a very deprived area. This gave me an insight into what it was like to teach in different areas, as it was very diverse in comparison to the last school placement I was involved in. I really enjoyed this experience as both the staff and pupils were both very welcoming of me to the school.

Whilst working in this school I was given the opportunity to observe teachers in practice when dealing with various behavioural incidents. All teachers had the knowledge and ability to effectively try and control very tense situations, and I was very intrigued by how they were able to do so. There were various strategies to help combat bad behaviour and calming children at the start of the day such as peer massaging and the reward systems such as the use of “dojos”. This all helped try and control the type of behaviour observed in the classroom.

I feel as if a strength I had whilst on placement was my ability to interact and engage with learners using the appropriate language and tone. For example, pupils and primary 1 had a more limited vocabulary and therefore had to be addressed using more basic language, in comparison to that of the primary 7 students.

Throughout this placement I felt a lot of progress in my self-confidence when leading and teaching small groups of children. I was very apprehensive before I started placement about talking in front of groups as I was unsure how they would respond, considering I was not their usual class teacher. Despite this, once I began to get used to this I became a lot more relaxed about leading groups, and it felt a very natural environment for me to work in.

As indicated in the report from the school, an area that I could possibly progress and become more involved with would be the planning and assessment of lessons to see how children’s next steps may be completed. By doing so, this would help my future practice when I am in a full-time teaching post.

After reflecting on my placement, I am very glad I got to work with other teachers to see their lessons in practice and also the children’s engagement with certain tasks. Overall this experience was very enjoyable and I am definitely looking forward to my next one.

Situated Communication – Independent Study Task

The main aim of chapter five of the “Finding out about others: the skill of questioning” book by Hargie (2011) is to deepen your understanding of different question types and to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each kind. There are many key themes within this text such as; the use of real life evidence as an example for each question type, every example is also related back to a setting surrounding children and also how the specific wording of particular questions can influence different answers.

One of the claims identified in the chapter include that researchers have discovered that the use of open ended questions actually improve the accuracy levels in a child’s recall.

Hardy and Van Leeuwen (2004) also claim that young children have a difficulty understanding when embedded questions such as “Can you tell me who was there?” are used.

One of the arguments presented in this chapter include the confusion for children surrounding rhetorical questions. This supports the fact they have been taught to always answer questions and struggle to identify that these different  questions could sometimes be used for another purpose such as sarcasm or to keep them engaged rather than for an extended response.

The chapter claims that multiple questions can be confusing and often “wasteful” as some parts of the question may not be answered because the respondent may feel almost overwhelmed with the amount of information they have to provide. I however disagree with this as I believe the use of multiple questions are beneficial as they will always keep the respondent focussed on the topic by answering specific questions surrounding the issue, and may also reduce the tendency for going off on a tangent as they know they have shorter more specific questions to be answered as well.

Report a Glow concern  Cookie policy  Privacy policy

Glow Blogs uses cookies to enhance your experience on our service. By using this service or closing this message you consent to our use of those cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy.

Close