This is our last session of Digital Technologies and we started the session by filling in the module evaluation and reflection. The session was focused outdoor learning and QR codes.
Outdoor learning is good for helping children to deepen and provide relevance to their experiences and the curriculum as this can sometimes be restricted when learning inside. This experience can provide memories that will stay with children forever (Learning and Teaching, 2010). Whilst on placement, going outside for P.E as well as using nature for literacy work allowed me to see how even going out in to the playground can help children to open up and fufil their potential. Some children work better outside rather than inside the classroom.
There are many other positives to outdoor learning, for example; helping develop critical thinking skills which can help make links between the different curricular areas, promoting a healthy lifestyle by getting children active and promoting lifelong habits and lastly, personal safety. This helps children learn to develop the skills needed to assess risks. Another benefit is that according to Education Scotland (2010),” The core values of Curriculum for Excellence resonate with the key concepts of outdoor learning. Challenge, depth, relevance and enjoyment.”
Our task for today was to go on a scavenger hunt around the university looking for QR codes to solve a clue when we got back to the room. We were to first download at QR scanner in order to collect the clues as we went along, if we collected all the clues and cracked the code at the end of the task we would receive a prize! Due to a family bereavement, I had to leave shortly before the scavenger hunt took place, but I would have loved to have taken part.
I have loved taking part in the Digital Technologies module, it has allowed me to develop my skills and boost my confidence within my own experiences of technology. I hope to be able to use what I have learned in my own classroom and help pupils deepen their knowledge and help them engage with the curriculum through digital technology.
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
With gaming being so popular nowadays, Professor Henry James (2012) states that, “Computer games are the most powerful learning tool of our age.” In order to raise attainment levels and engage learners this could be a crucial development. Most children engage with computer games from a young age, so games being used within education could be helpful in allowing children to relate to the material. Having been on placement and witnessed games based learning in one of the classes, it was easy to see how much the pupils benefitted from the experience.
Although, one of the challenges around games based learning is that most of the educational games are not up to much. They have either been made by people within education so the quality of the game is poor or they have been created by gaming providers and so the level of educational content needed for classrooms is not acceptable. Using big commercial games used correctly can aide lessons by either acting as a stimulus or hub. According to Lord David Puttnam (2012), ” What is being spoke about is computer games not just as games, but as a whole new learning form or platform of learning and one that has quite literally, unlimited learning potential.”
ICT games such as Minecraft can be effectively used within school to help develop skills strategic thinking, communication, group decision making and data handling skills (Beauchamp, 2012). We were able to witness this first hand during the session. Our lecturer had invited pupils from a nearby school who were digital leaders. They had been working on creating parts of the Harry Potter world within Minecraft. They came in and showed us what they had created and gave us a chance to use the iPads and create elements in our own world. I was apprehensive about this because whilst I had heard of Minecraft, I had never actually used it, But, after the pupils had showed us the basics, the game itself was simple enough to use.
Speaking to the class teacher also inspired and encouraged me to use games based learning within my own classroom as she herself was not confident within using Minecraft because once she has started getting to grips with how the game worked, she found it easy to incorporate into her lessons and spread it across different curricular areas. It was really interesting to see how quickly they were able to work and how engaged the children were with game and their topic.
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.
Puttnam, L. D. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 10.4.18]
James, P.H (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 10.4.18]
“Digital Games-based Learning is the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation.”(Higher Education Academy Website).
Games based learning can be an effective tool within the classroom as it is relevant to the way modern life is today with technology being used everyday. It allows pupil’s to hone in on different skill sets such as communication, teamwork and problem solving skills. Games based learning also makes pupils feel as though they aren’t learning and is fun and allows pupils to be inventive and challenge themselves. Games based learning was not something that was touched upon too much during my time in school and as a student teacher I am excited to incorporate this learning into my own practice.
According to Bray (2012), ” The use of computer games in the classroom has active learning at it’s core and is one of the main reasons why they are potentially so powerful in education.” There are many benefits to games based learning within the classroom and Bray’s statement is one of them. Other benefits include increased motivation and grabbing attention, which can be extremely useful when it comes to pupil’s with ASN. It is also allows recall of information and is stress free and fun which in turn allows learning to be pleasurable, engaging and helps with pupils deepening their understanding.
Games can be used in a variety of ways within the curriculum, whether the games are being used to teach the content itself or if the game is the starting point for further activities and lessons. As teachers ourselves, we need to ensure that this kind of learning is being used effectively between enhancing and supporting pupils’ learning to providing a positive impact on their social skills.
Whilst most of the ideas are positive, there are a few questions that might put teachers off, including myself, of using games based learning such as what game to choose, how to incorporate it into lesson plans and also their own level of confidence. Whilst I am quietly confident using technology, there are certain elements I am not entirely comfortable with as I have discovered throughout this module.
In today’s session, we were asked to create a mind map of what we thought about games based learning which I have attached a picture of below and to create our own Mario Kart characters. Before this we were looking at the different characters within the game and what kind of features each racer had. We were then going to play Mario Kart, unfortunately the Wii was not available so we weren’t able to experience the game.
https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed: 10/4/2018]