Digital Technologies-Module Overview

As an overview for the digital technologies module I found that my understanding of using technology in the classroom and outside, with primary school children has increased greatly. I have found many opportunities of lesson plans that I hope to use during my second year placement. Although I thought my knowledge was sufficient on this subject at the beginning of the module I have gained an experience and further information throughout the few months.

I have also realised how truly great digital technologies are to use with the children and has many benefits it has-such as being interesting and fun for the children but still fulfilling a large variety of curriculum for excellence needs and can be used with many subjects. It also has the ability to aid children that need extra help with their work or those with ASN. Digital technology is also already widely used by children outside school and should be used more often in schools. Digital technology is easily accessible for most primary schools and only requires apps on iPads or basic technologies that schools already have but don’t use enough. Something that I learnt in the course is that many teachers don’t actually know how to use the technology or aren’t aware of how to make the children learn from it. I believe that this module has solved that problem for me as it has taught me so much about different ways to incorporate it into my lessons. I have also greatly enjoyed this module and I am very glad I chose it as I think it will be very useful in the near future for my teaching career.

I have also gained a lot of knowledge on digital technologies within schools by doing further reading and reinforcing it by writing a weekly blog with I found to be very beneficial.

Thank you.

Digital Technologies-Outdoor Learning (Week 11)

In our last class we focused on using digital technologies in outdoor learning. I was really curious about this class as through my experience I never had the opportunity to use digital technology outside-it was mainly just running about or games. I also noticed that this was the case during my placement.

Outdoor learning has a lot of potential and can be easily accessed throughout primary all the way to teenage years (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010). It offers a much more creative and interesting way to learn but also is a lot more fun for the children as they might not necessarily see it as learning but instead as playing. It is also an opportunity to do a lot of team work activities which would further improve the children’s communication skills but also for them to be more comfortable working with each other  (Education Scotland,2010)

‘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 can;

  1. Develop thinking skills and can aid children in making connections between the different areas of the curriculum
  2. It helps the child with personal development such as communication, problem solving skills and team working skills.
  3. It is also really healthy as the children are able to get exercise and it promotes different long term sports or activities.
  4. it improves children’s ability to be safe outside and know how to act properly to not harm themselves
  5. It can also be used by everyone, for example children with ASN can still do outdoor learning which has the potential to really improve their self worth.
  6. The children can also develop their science and biology is aspects such as nature, animals and plants.
  7. With outdoor learning you can take the children out on field trips that are low cost but really beneficial for the kids.

‘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.’ (Education Scotland,2010)

Today we used QR scanning on the iPad and we went outside to look for the QR codes. This was a really fun and exciting task even though most of us are adults. I personally really enjoyed this task and think the children would love it so would like to try this out during my next year placement. I noticed that it was a lot easier to remember the facts given and the answers to it which can be applied to a large variety of topics. When we came back inside we created out own QR questionnaire in groups. We based ours on health and aimed it for younger children. We also took pictures throughout the outdoor activity and created a pic collage to summarise out time out. Before this we created a sample pic collage to see how to use it. I think this was a great activity both as a learner and potentially using this in the classroom with children.

References-

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

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

Digital Technologies-Game Based Learning (Week 9/10)

In today’s session we focused on finding out more about using games to develop learning. It has a lot of benefits as through using digital games to support learning it increases the children’s attention span and makes it more engaging. It gives the children an opportunity to play and have fun while still developing crucial skills from the curriculum. It helps with developing children’s team-working skills as well as their ability to concur problem solving (Higher Education Academy, 2017). A lot of children also already use gaming devices often making it a tool that they are already able to use-90% of 8-11 use it regularly. Gaming consoles are a part of a daily routine for many children (Ofcom, 2001).

‘Theorists Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky have argued that play is a crucial component of cognitive development from birth and through adulthood’ (Higher Education Academy, 2017).

Games based learning is another source like movies, books and digital technology that when used correctly, has a great advantage for the children in their learning. Games can also be easily incorporated through-out the curriculum and most activities (Matthew Farber, 2016). According to Bray (2012) game based learning can be the most impactful when done properly and should be used as a new way  to teach lessons instead of just being a reward within the classroom.

‘Although game-based learning has had a ‘difficult history’ with teachers who may have felt threatened by children becoming more expert in technology than they are, there is no denying that such platforms offer them a way to engage the pupils in a way they understand and can relate to’ (Stephen Reid, 2016)

A challenge that might arise is using a suitable game to target all the needs so that it isn’t a waste of time (Stephen Reid, 2016). Teaches also need to be aware of what they want to achieve with the games and what outcomes it will achieve (Beauchamp, 2012, p.9)

In groups we created a mind-map based on Mario Kart and what lessons you could do with the game to target several experiences and outcomes, this is what we came up with;

  • Literacy-
  • Pupils can write own storyline, this will explore punctuation and grammar as well as developing their creative skills.
  • Pupils can describe their Mario character.
  • Experience and outcome:

    I can use my notes and other types of writing to help me understand information and ideas, explore problems, make decisions, generate and develop ideas or create new text.I recognise the need to acknowledge my sources and can do this appropriately. LIT 2-25a

  • Maths-
  • Pupils can make price lists for tickets and merchandise for the Mario Kart event
  • Decide on promotion deals, this would target money work
  • Calculate if they made a profit of the event
  • Experience and Outcome:

    I can use the terms profit and loss in buying and selling activities and can make simple calculations for this. MNU 2-09c

  • Art-
  • Pupils can design their character, kart, tickets and merchandise.
  • Experiences and outcomes: I can create and present work that shows developing skill in using the visual elements and concepts. EXA 2-03a,
  • 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

 

  • Music-
  • Re-create  the Mario Kart theme song and make their own version
  • Make their own sound effects
  • Experiences and Outcomes:

    I can sing and play music from a range of styles and cultures, showing skill and using performance directions, and/or musical notation. EXA 2-16a

Through my own use of the game I found that there is so many ways you can incorporate games into learning, I believe it is a lot more fun and interesting that the usual way of teaching and could be a great tool to use in the classroom to aid learning even children with ASN.

Minecraft is also a very useful game for developing a variety of different skills it also allows children to creative.  During the created our own building on the game with the help of pupils that came in to our class from school. I think the game is very interesting and has a lot of potential to be used in the classroom for beneficial effects within learning. I  would like to try to use Minecraft when I am on placement for a lesson.                                          ‘Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon. Since it was first released back in 2011, it’s been taken to the hearts of thousands and thousands of gamers.’ (MagBook, 2014, p.3)

 

References-

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

Higher Education Academy (2017) Gamification and Games-Based Learning [online] https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed-6.3.18]

Matthew Farber (2016) Three Ways to use Game Based Learning.  [online] https://www.edutopia.org/article/3-ways-use-game-based-learning-matthew-farber [Accessed-6.3.18]

Stephen Reid (2016) Teachers Experience Games-Based Learning at Minecraft Launch [online] http://futurescot.com/educators-encouraged-open-minds-possibilities-games-based-learning/  [Accessed- 6.3.18]

MagBook (2014)How to Do Everything in Minecraft.

Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed-15.3.18]

Ofcom (2001) Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes. [online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed- 15.3.18]

 

Digital Technology- Mobile Devices (Week 8)

The British Education Suppliers Association (BESA)  believe that schools rely on mobile devices as useful and crucial tool within younger children. Through their research they found that 406 schools acknowledge internet availability at both school and home to be the most useful technology. 75% of teachers also believe that game consoles are beneficial for child development. Ray Barker for BESA stated that the belief to use of mobile phones by young children at home is split between teachers. 39% believe children should have no access to smartphones while 29% think it would be the best option. Up to 69% of pupils would rather use iPads within the classroom an d at home but only 4% of schools supply them. Most schools believe that children use at home laptops and PCs to do online homework (as 64% of schools give homework that can only be done on a computer) and entertainment (Teaching Times,2008)

A large variety of technology is used by children some include; Amazon fire stick, computers, camera’s, Nintendo’s, iPad’s, iPod’s, laptops, mobile phones, Wii and X-box. (Children’s Parliament, 2016)

‘The use of mobile digital technologies in the classroom might be largely unfamiliar to parents, but the benefits can be huge’, stated Drew Buddie, senior vice chair at Naace, he association for the UK’s education technology community ( The Telegraph, 2014)

Today in class we wrote an ‘I am’ poem and recored ourselves reading it using a speaker, we then made a powerpoint presentation based on it. I had a lot of fun working on my partner on this so I can only imagine how much the children would enjoy the task. It was creative but still involved a lot of teaching for the pupils. I think this is a great resource to use in the classroom and hope to try out this lesson in my 2nd year placement!

References-

Children’s Parliament (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland: The View’s of Children.
[Online] http://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/REPORT_digital-learning-consultation_Childrens-Parliament-1.pdf [Accessed-1.3.18]

Teaching Times (2008) Games Consoles Benefit Children’s Education. [online] https://www.teachingtimes.com/articles/games-consoles-education.htm [Accessed-1.3.18]

The Telegraph (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-1.3.18]

 

Digital Technologies-Animation (Week 7)

Today we had the opportunity to explore the use of animation within the classroom. ICT let’s pupils explore a large range of possibilities that would not be possible without it. ICT is used and incorporated throughout the curriculum and subjects, also children don’t divide their learning into sections but rather see it as one area. E-inclusion has the ability to improve the experience of learning through the use of digital technology for ASN children. (Beauchamp, 2012). Beauchamp (2012) also states that due to the increasing use of ICT in pupils within the school in their daily lives, it should also be used for them to play with.

‘Although teachers may be worried by new technologies… we need to be sure that this is not transmitted to young children, or that other obstacles are not put in the way of their natural curiosity and willingness to explore new technologies’ (Beauchamp, 2012, p.66).

Animation is beneficial in the following three ways:

  1. To develop the visual awareness of the learners
  2. To show the process of something
  3. To make the learning interesting and interactive

Although animation (the visuals and sound) help to further emphasise what is taught and has a positive impact on how the children handle information it can take up more time to teach the children. Animation is when a large number of images are played one after the other to give the impression of movement (Jarvis, 2015).

The 5 types of animation  are-

  1. Cutout: simple and fast
  2. Stop-motion: large variety of materials can be used such as clay
  3. Pixilation- people are recorded
  4. Drawn- most Disney films are made with this method
  5. Computer- movies and games are made this way (Moving Image Education).

Through my own experience of stop motion I found that it was a really easy and quick way to create my own story, I noticed I used my literacy and art skills and I drew them on paper therefore I think this can be a really engaging and interesting way to reinforce these subjects. If used well I believe that this can be a very useful tool and can be open in an app on an iPad which is also usually easily accessible in schools.

 

References-

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

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

Moving Image Education. Animation. [Online] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 25.2.18]

 

Digital Technologies-iMovie (Week 6)

Today we focused on exploring the use of iMovie on iPads to aid children within the classroom. iMovie is an app that can be downloaded on an iPad and can be used to aid children whilst learning. As a group we decided that we will create a trailer for Snow White which promotes how to be save online for children. Personally I think iMovie can be a great tool to show pupils important matters through more fun and interesting ways. This can help them be more attentive with it and really focus on what is being said.

It is important to make children aware of the dangers of the internet and e-safety. It involves teaching the children how to make sure they are save online instead of restricting what they’re able to see. It is important that the children know how to resolve an issue involving online safety if it arises. (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’ live'(Beauchamp, 2012, p.58).

Digital equipment is  widely used within schools in the 21st century-it raises attainment and can contribute in efficient and better understanding of subjects such as maths and science within school pupils. Literacy is also improved through having deeper understanding of English and gives the children a better chance of having a high level of writing abilities. (The Scottish Government, 2015). Porter (2004) believes that multimodal storytelling will be a common bases of teaching in the near future.

‘The digital environment provides a unique opportunity to empower people of all ages to manipulate, combine and distribute their self-expressions as living stories that can be sent into the world and through time'(Porter, 2004, p.35)

References-

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

Porter, B. (2004) Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean Porter Publication.

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: 5.2.18]

 

 

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]