Emma McCartney UWS ITE ePDP

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Archive for January, 2019

Week 2 15/1/19

Today we were learning about programmable toys and specifically a toy called ‘Bee Bot’. We were asked to read an article before the class called ‘Robots in early education’, which gave us some useful knowledge about Bee-Bot and the experience some children have had with this toy. For example, “The children had great fun. No-one was reluctant to use the Bee-Bot or had to be persuaded, and most returned for an extra activity”  (Lydon, 2008, P.2). On reflection of this activity I noticed the majority of the class having fun with the activity, which further backs up this statement. I found this article interesting and very helpful as I have absolutely no experience with programmable toys and this gave me some insight and knowledge about them. The aim of today’s class was to design an activity for children using Bee-Bot achieving one or more experience and outcomes for the curriculum for excellence. “ The curriculum introduces programmable toys as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world (Janka, 2008, P.2). 

 

It took me a while to decide what activity I was going to design. I had so many ideas in my head, however a lot of these ideas were far too complicated and not directed for the early years or first level children. I decided to choose my experiences and outcomes and then design and fit my activity around that. The experiences and outcomes I decided to choose were, HWB 1-15a. This curricular area is Health and Wellbeing and the experience and outcome is “I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health”. I then decided that this would tie in nicely with one of my initial ideas, which was to identify the organs in the body. My plan was to draw the outline of the body and then draw and colour in the organs. I assumed this would be straightforward, however I encounter a couple of problems such as there are two lungs and two kidneys in the body, and I couldn’t squeeze the pair of organs in the one box. This wasn’t a problem I envisioned before starting, it was only when starting to draw I noticed this was an issue. I managed to get around this problem by making sure I asked for the left side of these organs to be acknowledged in the questions. I could have also by passed this issue by only putting one of the organs on the drawing, but I did not want the children to think we only had one of these organs. My second issue was the large and small intestine would take more space up than one box and the small intestine is inside the large. I made the decision to draw half the large and half the small intestine in separate boxes next to each other. Reflecting now I am not sure if I have made the right choice by doing that and I may take a different approach to the drawing of these organs in future. TCH 1-14b was another experience and outcome, which covered this activity. The curricular area is technologies and the experience and outcome covered in this area was “Demonstrates an understanding of the meaning of individual instructions when using a visual programming language”. As part of the activity children need to read a question for example,” which organ pumps blood around the body” once the child decides they know which organ they are looking for they must then locate that organ on the drawing of a human body with Bee-Bot. They need to follow specific instructions to allow Bee-Bot to move from one location to another. I believe this activity would be very beneficial to children and by using Bee-Bot it would further enhance the learning experience for the children. I found this task extremely rewarding for myself and I thoroughly enjoyed designing the activity. I hope going forward I can learn from my mistakes and design better activities covering a variety of outcomes and experiences for the curriculum for excellence. 

 

I feel this activity was a success and I can see how beneficial Bee-Bot can be to improving academic and life skills for children. I have taken on board the mistakes i have made designing this activity and I feel next time I can create an even better activity. 

 

References  

 

Janka, P. (2008) Using a programmable toy at preschool age: Why and how? 

 

ICTopus Article (2008) Sharing good practice: Robots in Early Education by Alison Lydon 

 

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