Digital Technologies-Ebooks (Week 5)

Today in class we focused on developing our skills when using ebooks in the classroom. An ebook is a digital version of a book-it can be opened on several different  digital technologies such as iPads or computer, therefore, making it easily accessible (BBC, 2012). Ebooks also explore and develop skills in literacy which is crucial in children development-

‘The set of skills which allows an individual to engage fully in society and in learning, through the different forms of language, and the range of texts, which society values and finds useful. The breadth of the definition is intended to ‘future proof’ it.'(Curriculum for Excellence, p.3)

An amazing feature of ebooks that overpowers regularly written books on paper is that they have the possibility of being multimodal and interactive. Something that is considered multimodal has two or more of the following semiotic systems: linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial. They are able to record voice memos, record videos, have text or draw to create their own ebooks (Beauchamp, 2012) and this is an I important feature for children to be able to have access to as they are able to develop  a large selection of different types of text (Education Scotland, 2009). Ebooks can also be used as teaching aids for children with a.s.n or is simply those children that need extra help. They can be made by the teacher and shown to the class or the children can make their own books and get involved-this can also include outdoor activities making ebooks a lot more interactive and interesting for the pupils (Jarvis, 2015).

Today we had the opportunity to create our own ebooks on an iPad. The first activity included making a leaflet for those interested in attending the university. In a group we walked around the university and took pictures to use for the leaflet. This shows the different possibilities of ebooks as it doesn’t always have to be a book that is created. We then individually created summaries of children books. I created mines so that it could be used as a teaching aid. There is a lot of voice memos, pictures, text and drawing as well as asking different questions for the children to answer so that they are able to understand the book better and from a different angle if struggling.

I personally think it’s a great tool to have in the classroom and has many benefits, as well as being easily accessible as most schools are now equipped with iPads or computers.

References-

BBC (2012) [Online] Webwise article.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-e-books
[Accessed: 26.1.18]

Education Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence. Literacy and English Principles and Practice paper. [Online] https://education.gov.scot/Documents/literacy-english-pp.pdf [Accessed: 26.1.18]

Education Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence (2009) Building the Curriculum 4. [Online] http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2009/10/16155220/13
[Accessed: 26.1.18]

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

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

 

Digital Technologies- Coding (Week 4)

Today we used the app ‘Scratch Junior’ on the iPad to explore how we can use it to teach literacy in the classroom. Scratch Jr allows children and teacher to create their own games and stories by coding the characters movements bit also exploring different features and background that are featured in the game.

‘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’ (The Lead Project, 2014).

Scratch Jr helps children to develop skills in creative thinking, logical reasoning, problem solving and team working skills in young children. It has the potential to improve and guide children when learning any sort of subject such as; music, art, English, maths and design (The Lead Project, 2014).

I found that the literacy outcome that applies to the Scratch Jr activity I made is: ‘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 0-31. I focused on making the activity more for early level children rather than first or second. Two of the technology outcome are also explored during this;                                                                                                ‘I enjoy exploring and using technologies to communicate with others within and beyond my place of learning’. TCH 0-04a and
‘I enjoy taking photographs or recording sound and images to represent my experiences and the world around me’. TCH 0-04b

I decided to approach it by telling a story of two girls that walked in a forest, then found an obstacle as they have to cross the river, after, they saw a den and decided to go home. Throughout the slides my intentions were to ask questions for the children to answer that would be based on their literacy and creativity.

Reflecting back on my use of Scratch Jr. I believe that it has a great potential to be useful tool to have in the classroom, when used properly. It can be used as an aid for children with ASN or simply those that need extra help. It can boost the pupils creativity and for them to learn their basic subjects through a more fun and interesting way.

 

References-

The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games!

Education Scotland (2016) Experiences and Outcomes: Literacy. [online]    https://education.gov.scot/Documents/literacy-across-learning-eo.pdf [accessed: 10th February 2018]

 

Digital Technologies- Multimodality (Week 3)

Multimodel texts are a lot more engaging and interactive for the children, it can also increase the attention span the children have when receiving  certain information (Prandstatter, 2014). A piece of text done digitally is considered multimodel when it includes at least two of the five of the following semiotic systems-

  1. Spatial
  2. Linguistic
  3. Visual
  4. Audio
  5. Gestural

‘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, pg.8).

Multimodality improves the understanding the children have for the certain text. Using technology within the piece of writing can help to increase the interest in what is being said but only if done properly which means that the teacher has to have skills necessary for it (Beauchamp, 2012). There has been a large increase of the use of multimodal texts and certain technology by children within the community, therefore, it is crucial that the skills used can continue to be develop to prepare for adulthood.

Reflecting on my own use of multimodal text, I think it’s a very beneficial feature to use especially with young children. When I was on placement I had to make a powerpoint for primary two’s for a lesson I had with them. They were learning about their senses and were on the topic of hearing. I was able to use text, pictures and sounds within my powerpoint and the children reacted really well to it, also they remained engaged throughout and were very keen on participation. It also let me connect the visual picture of the item to what sound they make and what it’s called and spelled, so,  it has the possibility to develop the children’s understanding of their surroundings.

References-

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

Prandstatter (2014) Interactive Displays in Early Years Classes.                   [online] http://connectlearningtoday.com/interactive-displays-early-years-classes/ [accessed: 26th January 2017]

 

Digital Technologies-Programmable Toys (Week 2)

Today I explored more of the benefits of programmable toys within the classroom environment. They can have a really positive impact on the children. They have the possibility of improving sense of direction as the children have to distinguish from right, left, straight and back.  They can develop concentration and problem solving as well as improving their skill in writing down instructions. It can boost creativity as there are a lot of possibilities of art lesson plans with programmable toys (Janka, 2008).

“In the field of mathematical development, children should develop the ability to describe simple journey and instruct the programmable toy in order to develop positional language and estimation.” (Janka, 2008, p.2)

A programmable toy called ‘Bee-Bot’ is a widely used toy in the classroom. It involves setting down  specific directions for the toy bee to move in. Lydon (2008) states that in her classroom 12 out of 28 children were capable of using the Bee-Bot right after hearing instructions for it which she did not expect. It shows that the Bee-Bot increases independence and is straight forward to use for the children.

“[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.”  (National centre for Technology in Education, 2012, p.1)

It is shown that a simple toy can have a huge advantage for the children and is a widely used technology within the classrooms for children at all different stages.

We had the opportunity (in small groups) to create our own maps for the bee-bots to move on which could be used in the classroom. Our team took an approach to focus on shapes. We were able to connect what the shape looks like visually and their connection within the shapes we find in our day to day life to the properties and names of the shapes. We done this by separating the paper into 12 different section and in each one a different shape was drawn but as an object so for example a circle was drawn as a clock. We then made questions cards with different properties of shapes with they then had to identify and move the bee-bot to that specific area. From my own reflections of the task I think this is a much more fun and interesting way to teach children maths-it also really helps to develop problem solving skills as even as adults we had to think about the answers.

References-

Pekárová Janka(2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online] http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed: 16th January 2017]

Alison Lydon (2008) Sharing Good Practice: Robots in Early Education.   [Online] https://oponoa-programmeertalen.wikispaces.com/file/view/BeeBot_article.pdf [Accessed: 16th January]

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: 22rd January 2018]

 

Digital Technologies (Week 1)

During this class I have further explored the meaning of digital technology. At the beginning of the period we looked into the module handbook and assignments so that we are aware of what it will involve. I was able to explore the meaning and definition of digital technology, throughout the session and I know its key objectives as stated by The Scottish Government (2016) are to improve the skills the teachers have, develop the possibility of a wider connection with the world, boost curriculum and assessment distribution and empower the leaders of change. The use of digital technology such as computers, tablets, games or programable toys are an interesting way to make education a lot more interactive and ‘makes learning more fun’ for the children but one of the possible problems that may appear, which personally I found quite unexpected, is that a lot of teachers don’t have the skills and knowledge about the items to be able to use in their classroom (The Scottish Government, 2016).

References-

The Scottish Government (2016) Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of digital technology [online] Available from- : http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/391375/mod_resource/content/2/Digital%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20Strategy%20.pdf [Accessed 9th January 2017]

 

Self Evaluation- Independent Task

I compared my notes with my partner after we watched the video and found that they were very similar. One area of improvement which we both noticed, was that at times it was difficult for him to get the pupils attention, this could be improved by better posture and more eye-contact. We can both see how useful it is to observe others whilst teaching as we can then see what works and what doesn’t in a classroom environment.

I was surprised that the teacher wasn’t standing when talking to the class as that could have caused the problems he had with the children paying attention as he gave off a very relaxed vibe. My partner also noticed this and we discussed how this would be improved through better body language.

I did not find this task hard as it allowed me to observe the way a certain teacher teaches and take out both the positive and negatives of it for when I am teaching.

I understand the difference between judgement and feedback as judgement tends to be more critical and doesn’t really help in improving possible mistakes made, whilst feedback is crucial in developing our skills and reflecting on them. Feedback is usually mainly positives with areas for improvement.

If I could only take one idea from these tasks it would be that I would be very open to feedback and understand that it’s a way for me to improve my teaching skills.

I am really looking forward to placement as I think it will be really beneficial in seeing how the things we have done at university so far are coming into practice but also to see the different ways teachers approach teaching the children.

 

Review of Chapter 5 – ‘Finding Out About Others: The Skill Of Questioning.’

Aim-

The aim of this chapter is to show the importance of asking questions; there would be no form of communication without it and taking part in social situations would lack any kind of control as questioning is a very big part of our how we speak with people. Asking questions is a skills that is developed and has to be worked on as you really have to understand what is being said by the other person.

Evaluation-

One of the themes highlighted in this chapter is the importance of asking questions:
“Asking questions is a fundamental part of communication, and as such will be an important factor in the work of many professionals.”
-(Mokros and Aakhus, 2002). As Waterman et al (2001:477)Questioning is a very interactive skill and encourages conversation by making it flow more easily. It also allows us to communicate and speak to others whilst having more knowledge and understanding with what they are talking about. We can also see questions used in the show business, for example, there are television programmes from which you can make a large sum of money by asking questions. It has been shown how much humans actually rely on being able to ask questions in their day-to-day life.

It is seen in children that questioning is a human instinct to help us gather information and be able to make sense of it. Children do this a lot as their brains are less developed and it can be harder for them to understand something simple that adults have no problem with.             This chapter also explains how complex asking questions actually is; it is a skill we have to constantly develop and it shows a real understanding of what the person is actually talking about as we have to form a question in our head based on what was said:
‘While at a surface level questioning seems to be a straightforward feature of communication, deeper analysis, functional, structural and textual levels reveals questioning to be a complex and multifaceted phenomenon’
– Hargie (2006:121)

There is a claim made by a US study that says pupils in high school             (between the ages of 13-16) struggle more with asking questions compared to the younger children in primary school as they feared what kind of reaction their classmates would have and it could give them a negative correlation as being stupid. Those that were comfortable tend to be; white, male, higher-income, those with higher self-esteem, those who felt accepted by the teacher. I don’t necessarily agree with this as from my experience I don’t fit into many of these categories yet I did feel comfortable asking questions in front of the class.

Reference-

Chapter five, ‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’, in Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.