Module Overview

Through participating in the Digital Technologies module, I have learned so much more than I had previously thought and I have had a very positive and enjoyable experience. It has highlighted to me how influential technology is in our daily lives and how this can be brought into a classroom setting.

At the start of the module, we were asked to evaluate how we felt about technology and I cannot believe how much my technology skills have developed through such a short period of time. This module has allowed me to deepen my understanding of technology in the 21st century and to analyse how technology can be integrated into lessons throughout all areas of the curriculum.Throughout this module, we have been given many different ideas and tips of ways in which technology can be used in lessons which have all been very helpful and interesting.

Through further reading for this module, I was able to see how strongly many theorists and educators feel about technology being embedded within the curriculum. I believe that I now have the same opinion on technology following this module. I can now see how important technology is with regards to education and I believe the two go hand in hand.

I believe that I will take everything that I have learned throughout this module with me into my teaching practice and it has allowed me to become more comfortable with technology and fully grasp endless ways that technology can be used in the classroom.

Thank you.

Digital Technologies Week 11 – 20th March 2018

For the final session of Digital Technologies, we were learning and discussing the use of QR codes and ways to increase outdoor learning.

Learning and Teaching Scotland states that “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.” This statement teaches us that outdoor learning is very important as it allows learners to achieve and develop skills that could not be obtained within a classroom environment.

“The core values of Curriculum for Excellence resonate with long-standing key concepts of outdoor learning. Challenge, enjoyment, relevance, depth, development of the whole person and an adventurous approach to learning are at the core of outdoor pedagogy…” Education Scotland (2010). Outdoor learning is key to the curriculum as without this it would be difficult to achieve all of the key concepts of learning. It also allows young people to be active outdoors and learn to be safe in the outdoor environment. Outdoor learning can be used across all areas of the curriculum and allows children to gain an in-depth knowledge of the curricular area that they are studying.

After discussing outdoor learning, we moved on to discuss the SHANARRI wheel which also links to outdoor learning, and is as follows:

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

When discussing the SHANARRI wheel, my partner and I agreed that outdoor learning links with respect in the sense that when young people are outdoors they must respect the environment. They must also respect property, animals and, people. It is important to introduce children to the ways in which they could influence the surroundings while they are participating in outdoor learning.

Following this, we moved on to the practical side of today’s session. We were examining the application Pic Collage and we were asked to create a collage based on a particular theme. We then moved on to discuss the use of QR codes and the ways that this resource could be used in a classroom setting. We were also shown how to create our own QR codes. Afterwards, we went outside as a QR code activity had been set up for us to take part in. This involved finding the QR codes placed outside and scanning them with our iPads. We then had to answer the question correctly that corresponded to the specific QR code which we had scanned. Following this, we had to select a letter from the question and once we had scanned all of the QR codes and answered all of the questions a word could be made. While taking part in this activity, another member of our group was taking pictures on a second iPad for us to use in a Pic Collage.

After returning from our outdoor activity, we were asked to create our own lesson using QR codes. My partner and I decided that the subject of our lesson would be mini beasts. We created several questions that corresponded to a specific QR code and the questions must be answered correctly to reveal the secret word at the end of the task. The experiences and outcomes that we listed for this activity are as follows:

  • I have observed living things in the environment over time and am becoming aware of how they depend on each other. SCN 0-01a.
  • I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts. TCH 0-01a.
  • In movement, games, and using technology I can use simple directions and describe positions. MTH 0-17a.

In conclusion, today’s input has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the benefits of outdoor learning and how important it is within the Curriculum for Excellence. It has also allowed me to learn about QR codes and see how they can be tailored to any area within the curriculum. I look forward to taking the knowledge that I have learned through today’s session into my teaching practice.

References

Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.

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

Digital Technologies Week 10 – 13th March 2018

During today’s input, we were continuing to discuss games-based learning, however, this time with Minecraft as a stimulus for learning.

A study by Ofcom (2011) highlights that 86% of five to seven year olds and eight to eleven year olds use gaming devices frequently. This conveys how influential gaming is to the next generation of young people and how it can impact on their daily lives. The gaming world is expanding at a vast past and in order to keep up with this demand, schools must try to incorporate gaming into the curriculum. Gaming allows lessons to be interactive and creates a positive environment within the classroom.

Bray (2012) states that in a classroom setting, games should not just be used as rewards or for entertainment but as a whole new approach to learning. This statement is important in justifying that gaming should be integrated into lessons and not only for enjoyment. Gaming should be used in the classroom as it can be introduced into various topics and throughout different areas of the curriculum. Bray (2012) continues to support games-based learning as he states that Games-based Learning has the most transformational impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching. This suggests that games-based learning has a great potential to impact on learners and this is a resource that could allow young people to engage in learning and to create positive experiences.

Some people may state that there is a lot of worry and confusion with regards to teachers using games-based learning within their lessons. This may be due to them not having a full experience of games-based learning or simply because they are unsure of how to use it. However, Beauchamp (2012, p.10) states that “…achieving particular educational objectives through the use of the game was more dependent upon a teacher’s knowledge of the curriculum with which they were working than it was on their ability with the game.” This is vital as it effectively highlights that the teachers knowledge of games-based learning does not need to be perfect in order for the learners to benefit from using games-based learning within the classroom.

Students from a local primary school joined us in today’s session to help us gain a better understanding of the game Minecraft. In their school, they had been working on and creating their own worlds within Minecraft and they were very pleased to show us what they had been creating. It was very fascinating to see all of the different things that could be achieved through the game and how all of the pupils could interact using the game. During the session, us as the student teachers were able to have a try at navigating through Minecraft with the help of the primary students. This was a fantastic experience as all of the pupils were very eager to help us and they were extremely understanding of our abilities. I was a little apprehensive at first as I had never experienced Minecraft before, however, the pupils were very helpful in guiding me. It was clear that the primary school students were enjoying this experience as much as we did as they could be the teachers rather than the pupils. Towards the end of the session, I was able to create my own house which consisted of two levels. This was a particularly good achievement for me after never having experienced the game before. Several of the experiences and outcomes that are aimed at today’s session are as follows:

  • I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and can construct models. TCH 2-09a
  • I can convey information, describe events, explain processes or combine ideas in different ways. LIT 2-28a

Overall, today’s session was extremely beneficial and enjoyable for me. I learned a lot from today’s session and I plan to embed games-based learning into my teaching as I am now a lot more comfortable with how to integrate the resource into lessons. I believe that the primary school students also benefitted from today’s session and it was clear that they felt a sense of achievement when the session was complete. Games-based learning is a fantastic resource that should be used in the classroom to allow learners to be creative and interactive. This resource creates endless opportunities and I look forward to using it throughout my teaching practice.

References

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

Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed 13th March 2018]

 

Digital Technologies Week 9 – 6th March 2018

The focus of today’s session was the use of games based learning within the classroom.

The Higher Education Academy website states that “digital Games-based Learning is the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation.”

Firstly, in today’s session we were asked to make a mind map about why games based learning is an effective tool to use in education. Some of the examples that myself and my group included in this was that games based learning is engaging and highly motivational and that it grabs the leaners attention.

The Higher Education Academy website also states that “theorists Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky have argued that play is a crucial component of cognitive development from birth and through adulthood. ” This confirms that young learners must experience play in order to enhance their cognitive development. It also highlights that it is vital for us as educators to include games based learning within our classrooms to ensure that pupils are able to develop most effectively.

However, although games based learning can be beneficial in classrooms there may be some potential challenges as explained by Learning and Teaching Scotland:

  • ›Identifying a suitable game / part of a game
  • ›Integrating the game – time/structure of the day
  • ›Teacher confidence/skills
  • ›Assessment – nature of traditional assessments – conducive to assessing digital technology
  • ›Resources/budget

 

Today’s session was to include an experience of playing and gaining knowledge from the Wii game Mario Kart. However, due to technical issues this could not be carried out. Instead, we designed our own Mario karts and our own characters. This activity could be carried out with learners as part of an art lesson. It could also be carried out through a literacy lesson as the pupils would be able to write several sentences describing their kart and character. During today’s input, we were also asked to create a mind map with different curricular areas and below each one a list of lessons that could be carried out involving the Wii game Mario Kart. For example, below the curricular area of art we had a lesson which consisted of pupils designing their own race track and designing tickets and merchandise for anyone who was coming to view a Mario Kart race. We also thought of the pupils recreating the Mario Kart theme song as part of a music lesson. The experiences and outcomes for some of the different lessons that myself and my group listed in our mind map are as follows:

  • I can use my voice, musical instruments and music technology to experiment with sounds, pitch, melody, rhythm, timbre and dynamics. EXA 2-17a
  • Through observing and recording from my experiences across the curriculum, I can create images and objects which show my awareness and recognition of detail. EXA 2-04a

In conclusion, I feel that games based learning is a very important concept that should be used frequently in schools. It allows children to be expressive and creative. Games based learning allows children to improve their cognitive development through play. Children find these experiences motivational and it allows them to reinforce their knowledge of digital technology. Games based learning is a cross-curricular applicaton. Today’s session allowed me to understand how games based learning was embedded into lessons and I will now take this knowledge with me through my teaching career. As I already have first hand knowledge of games based learning, more specifically Mario Kart, I plan to inlcude this in my lessons in the future.

References

Higher Education Academy (2015) – Gamification and Games-Based Learning [Online] https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed on 6th March 2018]

Learning, Teaching Scotland (2010) – FutureLab – The Impact of Console Games in the Classroom [Online] https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/FUTL25/FUTL25.pdf [Accessed on 6th March 2018)

 

Digital Technologies Week 8 – 27th February 2018

In today’s session, we were discussing the use of mobile devices in the classroom. We were able to read some online sources with different viewpoints and opinions about enhancing learning through the use of mobile devices. We also explored the use of Easi-Speak microphones and how they can be integrated into lessons. Using the Easi-Speak microphones, we created a poetry task to be carried out during a literacy lesson.

While reading the online sources that were available to us I discovered a quote which was very astonishing, “over four in 10 households now have a tablet, meaning that children are becoming computer-literate before they’ve even started primary school”. This statement reveals that children are being influenced by technology from a very early age and are becoming familiar with the concepts of mobile devices. Thus, they are coming into the classroom having already gained an understanding of technology which aims to be continued throughout their school years. Digital technology should be firmly embedded into the classroom to provide learners with an understanding of how digital technology can be used in a variety of different ways and the ways in which it can be used for academic purposes.

My partner and I created an “I am Poem” from the perspective of a student teacher. Firstly, we wrote our poem onto the template that we had been given. We then used the Easi-Speak microphones to record ourselves reciting the poem which we decided would work best by reciting one line each. Following that, we uploaded the audio clips to the computer and transferred them onto a PowerPoint presentation. We wrote the poem onto the presentation along with the audio clips and pictures which corresponded to the different lines of the poem. We believe that this task could be aimed at any level within the Curriculum for Excellence depending upon the subject of the poem. However, for early level we believe that the poem should already be given to them and they would be able to use the Easi-Speak microphones to recite the poem that they have been given. The experiences and outcomes that we highlighted for this task are as follows:

  • Within real and imaginary situations, I share experiences and feelings, ideas and information in a way that communicates my message. LIT 0-26a
  • By considering the type of text I am creating, I can select ideas and relevant information, organise these in a logical sequence and use words which will be interesting and/or useful for others. LIT 1-26a
  • By considering the type of text I am creating, I can select ideas and relevant information, organise these in an appropriate way for my purpose and use suitable vocabulary for my audience. LIT 2-26a

Overall, I believe that the Easi-Speak microphones are extremely user friendly and are for all ages. They are a unique device which can be used throughout all areas of the curriculum and can be used in many different ways. I feel that mobile devices can create a positive impact on learners and that it allows them to be more independent with their work. Digital technology is vital as young people are experiencing technology from a young age and this should be continued in their school lives. I plan to carry today’s session with me in my teaching practice and I certainly plan to use Easi-Speak microphones and other mobile devices with my future classes.

References

Curtis, S. (2014) – Digital Learning: how technology is reshaping teaching [Online] – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/11051228/Digital-learning-how-technology-is-reshaping-teaching.html [Accessed: 27th February 2018]

 

 

Digital Technologies Week 7 – 20th February 2018

The topic of today’s session was using and learning about the iStop Motion application on the iPads. We also discussed the importance of embedding animation into education.

Beauchamp (2012, p.54) states that ICT allows pupils to ”achieve something that would be very difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way.” This statement highlights that ICT contributes to helping learners throughout all areas of the curriculum. It supports them with their learning while giving them a positive and enjoyable experience.

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

1.To enhance learners’ visual representations.

2.To illustrate processes.

3.To provide an interactive element.

Moving Image Education states that, “animation breathes new life into something that wouldn’t normally move.” This coveys a powerful message of the importance of animation within classrooms. It suggests that animation can portray different messages and educate children through the use of technology.

When creating iStop Motion animations, Moving Image Education states that there are 5 main types of animation, these are as follows;

  1. Cutout
  2. Stop Motion – For example, plasticine
  3. Pixillation – Where humans become puppets
  4. Drawn – For example, classic disney
  5. Computer

My partner and I created an iStop Motion scene using a school and a park background. The story consisted of a young girl who had recently moved to the school and she was being treated disrespectfully by another student at the school. The message that we were putting across through the iStop Motion scene was to treat others with respect and to be kind. We decided that this lesson would be aimed at the first level of Curriculum for Excellence. The experience and outcome that we suggested for this lesson are as follows:

  • “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”

 

To review, I believe that animation is a powerful form of digital technology and that it should be used more often throughout the classroom. I feel that I have learned a great deal from today’s input and I will carry the knowledge with me throughout my teaching practice. Animation is a fantastic way to engage children as they can create their own stories and scenes using iStop Motion and many other applications. It can allow children to become more creative and work with others to create new and exciting things.

References

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

›Moving Image Education website: [Online] Available from: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation[Accessed 20 February 2018].

 

Digital Technologies Week 6 – 13th February 2018

In today’s session, we discussed the use of iMovie, the importance of e-Safety and we created an iMovie around the subject of internet safety.

 

As explained by Beauchamp (2012), “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…”. This statement suggests that many schools are not tailoring their policies around the lives of their current students and more around the government policies. This means that children are being educated more heavily on the sites that they should not be visiting rather than the benefits and dangers of the Internet.

During today’s session, we looked at many of the different social platforms that we as educators are able to use. We can also pass this information on to our future pupils and this will allow us to educate them about staying safe online. We discussed how different situations should be dealt with regards to Internet safety. Children should always seek advice or guidance from a parent or guardian if any problems occur online. Beauchamp (2012) supports this by stating “the most successful schools… in terms of e-safety ensured that pupils knew what to do when things went wrong.”.

The iMovie that myself and my group created was based around the story of Snow White. We created an iMovie trailer in which Snow White believes she is talking to Prince Charming through text messages but it turns out to be the Evil Queen. We are trying to portray that you should never give anyone your details if you have never met them before. The iMovie describes some of the dangers of the Internet and gives an insight into what could happen if you are not safe online.

I have recommended that this task would be aimed at the first level within the Curriculum for Excellence and the experiences and outcomes that I have highlighted are as follows:

  • I can extend my knowledge of how to use digital technology to communicate with others and I am aware of ways to keep safe and secure.  TCH 1-03a.
  • I have the opportunity to choose and explore a range of media and technologies to create images and objects, discovering their effects and suitability for specific tasks. EXA 1-02a

To summarise, I believe that today’s session has given me an amazing opportunity and it has allowed me to deepen my understanding of iMovie. It has also allowed me to gain more knowledge around the topic of Internet safety. I feel that iMovie is something that should be used in all schools as it is something that could be created by the teacher to inform the learners or something that the learners could create to share with their peers. iMovie is a fantastic resource to convey a specific message and to educate the children on a particular topic.

References 

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

 

Digital Technologies Week 5 – 6th February 2018

During this week’s session, we used the Book Creator app on the iPad to create a summary of a well-known book. We also discussed the advantages of using e-Books in a classroom setting.

As defined in the Oxford Dictionary, an e-Book is “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device.”

The principles and practices of literacy and English, created by Education Scotland, highlight that the most useful way of communicating a lesson in literacy and English is by providing “frequent opportunities to communicate in a wide range of contexts” (Education Scotland, n.d., a). A multimodal text contains two or more semiotic systems, these include, visual, gestural, audio, spatial and linguistic. Multimodal texts are beneficial to all learners and make it easier for everyone to participate in lessons. They can also be used throughout the curriculum.

(Education Scotland, n.d., b) states that ICT in school helps to raise attainment and achievement, closing the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged and thus, providing them with the skills for the digitally advancing world that awaits them. This statement highlights that ICT enables young learners to reach their full potential through enjoyable experiences while gaining and developing different skills.

E-Books can be extremely effective in a classroom for many reasons. They are an enjoyable resource for learners and they are especially effective within a literacy lesson. They can also be used to push learners who are struggling with reading. Through the use of Book Creator, learners are able to grasp a deeper understanding of the story which will continue to help them with their reading practice. E-books are portable which can also promote outdoor learning and activities. They can also help to give learners a better understanding of our digital age and allow them to become more comfortable with technology.

During today’s lesson, we were asked to create a teaching aid that was based on a particular story. I created a teaching tool based on “Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson. My e-Book features several semiotic systems making it a multimodal resource. It contains parts of the story read aloud by myself and questions based on that particular part of the story. At the end of the e-Book, the learners will be asked to describe their favourite part of the story. I believe that this lesson would be aimed at early level within the Curriculum for Excellence and the experiences and outcomes that I have highlighted for this lesson are as follows:

  • I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts, sharing my thoughts in different ways.   LIT 0-19a
  • I can use digital technologies to explore how to search and find information.     TCH 0-02a

To summarise, I will carry today’s experience with me throughout my teaching practice as I believe that it will be very important to use within a classroom setting. E-

Books are an effective resource that can be used to allow all learners to reach their full potential within many different curricular areas. This resource also allows for a lot of choice and freedom within the classroom as there is no limit to what you can create. I feel that learners can make this a memorable experience for themselves which in turn will allow them to be highly engaged in these activities.

 

References

http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-e-books

Education Scotland (n.d., a) Curriculum for Excellence: literacy and English, principles and practice [Online]. Available from: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/literacy-english-pp.pdf [Accessed: 6 February 2018].

Education Scotland (n.d., b) Technologies in Curriculum for Excellence [Online]. Available from: https://education.gov.scot/parentzone/learning-in-scotland/curriculum-areas/Technologies%20in%20Curriculum%20for%20Excellence [Accessed: 6 February 2018].

 

Digital Technologies Week 4 – 30th January 2018

This week in digital technologies, we were exploring the benefits of using coding in the classroom. To do this, we looked at the computer coding game Scratch Jr. and we used this to create our own interactive game.

Coding is an important part of learning in today’s society as it is a vital part of literacy and some people believe that coding is the new literacy. Coding develops different skills and strategies, for example,  designing projects, problem solving and communicating ideas.

Scratch Jr. is a coding game that allows young children from the ages of 5 and upwards to design their own interactive games and stories.

According to The Lead Project (2014), “As young people create Scratch projects, they are not just learning how to write computer programs. They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for success and happiness in today’s world.” While young people are creating using Scratch Jr. they are working together and learning new skills that they will use later in life and throughout their careers. The Lead Project (2014) also goes on to describe that Scratch can be embedded into many different areas across the curriculum.

The lesson that I created today using Scratch Jr. was an interactive story using adjectives. The lesson involved a treasure hunt to collect adjectives along the way. As the story progresses it gets more challenging and at the end, the children are asked if they can write down any more adjectives that they know. The lesson is enjoyable and interactive and it will challenge the learners to think for themselves while getting to experience Scratch Jr. I believe that this lesson would be aimed at the first level within the Curriculum for Excellence and the experiences and outcomes that I have recommended for this lesson are as follows:

 

  • Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select, sort and use information for a specific purpose.    LIT 1-14a
  • 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

Overall, I believe that coding is very beneficial within the classroom as it gives young learners the experience of working with another different and modern form of technology. The skills that are developed through the use of coding are skills that are required for adulthood and throughout the world of work. I feel that learners will have an enjoyable experience working with Scratch Jr. and it will enable them to work interactively. I also think that today’s lesson has given me an idea of the different things that can be created using coding games and it is something that I will carry with me throughout my teaching career.

 

References 

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

 

Digital Technologies Week 3 – 23rd January 2018

 

 

During today’s class, we explored ActivInspire and multimodality. We addressed the definition of multimodality and the benefits of using multimodal presentations within the classroom. We also looked at ActivInspire and created a lesson using this.

Multimodality is the use of two or more semiotic systems to present information. There are five semiotic systems, they are as follows:

  • Audio
  • Visual
  • Spatial
  • Linguistic
  • Gestural

According to Beauchamp, “The multimodality of technology 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.”(Beauchamp, 2012, p.8) Through the use of multimodal presentations children become more engaged and are eager to learn. It gives children a visual representation of lessons and also allows them to be active while taking part. ActivInspire and different multimodal resources are very important within the classroom as they allow all students to participate. We also discussed that using a yellow background with blue writing in the comic sans font is an effective way to put across a lesson to those children with dyslexic tendencies

As part of today’s lesson, we were instructed to create an ActivInspire lesson. My partner and I decided to design a numeracy lesson based on the Egyptian topic. We created a lesson involving different hieroglyphics and we made a key in which a number was equal to a specific hieroglyphic. The lesson consisted of different maths sums to complete and the children would have to look back and understand the key in order to complete the sums. The lesson progresses on to harder sums like multiplication to challenge the children. My partner and I decided that this would be classified as a first level of Curriculum for Excellence lesson. The experiences and outcomes that we decided best suited the lesson are as follows:

 

  • When a picture or symbol is used to replace a number in a number statement, I can find its value using my knowledge of number facts and explain my thinking to others. MTH 1-15b
  • I can demonstrate a range of basic problem solving skills by building simple programs to carry out a given task, using an appropriate language. TCH 1-15a

To conclude, I believe that ActivInspire is a powerful resource that should be used in the classroom and I will definitely use it in my teaching practice. It engages all pupils and allows all children to participate in lessons using multimodal resources. I feel that today’s lesson was particularly beneficial for me as before I was very uncomfortable using AcxtivInspire as I have never used it before. However, now, I believe that I am comfortable using ActivInspire and I will continue to use it throughout my teaching practice.

References

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