Category Archives: 3.4 Professional Reflection and Communication

Digital Technologies- Games Based Learning Part 1 – 6/3/18

“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.

Games Based Learning Mind Map


References [Accessed: 10/4/2018]

[Accessed: 10/4/2018]

Digital Technologies – Mobile Devices- 27/2/18

Mobile devices have become an increasingly important part of modern day life with Sophie Curtis (2014) stating, “Over 4 in 10 households now have a tablet meaning that children are becoming computer-literate before they start primary school.” This statement shows just how crucial technology can be for young people. As this is so relevant, technology has become an integral part of classroom learning as well, with it not being used just in ICT lessons but being transferred into different areas of the curriculum like English, Maths and Science.

Curtis also emphasised, ” By using technology within a classroom setting better reflects the children’s lives outwith the classroom, but helps them improve their digital skills that will be transferable to adult life.” Helping children develop skills that are essential for living and working in the modern world is extremely important for teachers as it allows the children to fulfil their potential, whether it’s problem solving skills to being able to work within a team. Having seen my own skills develop through using different kinds of technology during this module, it is invaluable that as teachers we help pupils hone in on their own skills as they are essential for adult life.

However, research done in 2015 found that nearly half of teachers hardly use the technology within their classroom, with most of them blaming a lack of knowledge about technology or being unsure how to incorporate it into their lessons. A third of these teachers then said that when technology is being used properly within the lesson it can improve students’ results. This admission shows just how important it is for teachers to be educated on using technology themselves, as well as how to integrate it within the curriculum. I feel that teachers would benefit from more training to do with technology as whilst we might be confident using elements of technology we may not be sure how to incorporate mobile devices into different curricular areas rather than just ICT.

This week in Digital Technologies, we were looking at the Easi-Speak microphones and were to use this piece of technology to create sound clips to accompany an I am poem we had been asked to write. Due to a hospital appointment with my daughter I was not able to attend this session but I have created my own I Am … poem and attached a picture of it as shown.

An I Am… poem based on myself

References [Accessed: 10/4/2018] [Accessed:10/4/2018]

Digital Technologies – 20/02/18 Animation

This week in Digital Technologies, we were looking at animation. At the beginning of the session, we were asked to explore the Puppet Pals app on the iPads and create a short animation that was based on a fairy tale. We were to include; voice recording, movement, to change the size of the characters and include a beginning, middle and end. Our lecturer then used the AiFL teaching strategy of fist to 5 to gage our progress.

Animation is the process of the stringing together of a sequence of static images so that they appear to move (Jarvis, 2015).There are 5 main types of animation, according to Moving Image Education, including cutout, stop motion, pixillation, drawn and computer. Moving Image Education also states that animation breathes new life into something that normally doesn’t move.

Animation is a form of technology that I am familiar with through films and television, however I have never created an animation and it is an element I am not confident with. Beauchamp (2012) highlights that although teachers might be worried about new technologies, we need to ensure that this fear is not transferred to the children or that any obstacles are put in the way of their curiosity or willingness to learn about new technologies. Whilst animation can be used to enhance learning through enhancing learner’s visual representations, illustrating processes and provide an interactive element (Betrancourt, 2005), Jarvis (2015) argues that while it can enhance the quality of information processing and learning, it can be very time consuming. Some examples of how to combat timing and confidence problems can consist of; getting equipment set up before the children arrive in the classroom, use the word explore often, as the teacher have a level of understanding yourself and be willing to engage within technologies that are new to you.

The rest of the session was used to create our own animation through an app on the iPad. We first watched a couple of tutorial videos to allow us to gain a deeper understanding of how the app worked before starting to work on our own. Using the technique of onion… I found it easier to create my animation as I could see where the last still image was. My video was based on Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, who went for a walk in the woods and found an Irn Bru bottle. Having completed the process, I was able to realise how time consuming making an animation can be. During a classroom setting, it could take up quite a few lessons. Beauchamp (2012) explains that ICT is not viewed as a separate ‘subject’ but something that contributes to all areas of learning. This is extremely useful when planning lessons as it means that a range of CfE experiences and outcomes can be covered within one lesson. A quote which I feel would be useful in explaining animation to pupils comes from John Challis on Moving Image Education website, ” Good animation is like a raisin sponge cake; you can get away with a lot of minimalism (sponge) as long as you reward your audience occasionally with tasty dynamic bits (raisins).”

Making of the video

Making the video
Props used
Title of the story


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 website: [Online] [Accessed: 20.2.18]

Digital Technologies – iMovie Making – 13/2/18

Internet safety is an incredibly important issue, especially in today’s society with technology developing everyday.

According to Beauchamp (2012), most primary schools have some sort of policy in place regarding internet safety, but they are more likely to refer to official policies rather than the pupils everyday lives. Schools are finding it difficult to keep up with apps/social media that children are using despite the age restrictions that are already in place for these apps. It is therefore vital that teachers provide support for e-safety. “The key idea is that e-safety is not about restricting children, but about educating them” (Beauchamp, 2012, p58). Beauchamp (2012) goes further and highlights that when regarding e-safety, the most successful schools establish that pupils know what to do when things to go wrong. Helping children develop an understanding of the dangers of the internet can allow teachers to support internet use at home rather than interfering in their personal lives.

Supporting internet safety is also crucial as The Scottish Government (2015) found that there is evidence to believe that using digital equipment, tools and resources can where effectively used, raise the speed and depth of learning in science and maths for both primary and secondary learners. Also, that digital technology would appear to be an appropriate means to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills, especially in primary settings. As this can help raise attainment levels it means having events such as Safer Internet Day and providing a full range of resources about internet safety is essential support for teachers in explaining to pupils the dangers of the internet.

This week in Digital Technologies, we were asked to create an iMovie or trailer based on internet safety as an assessment task. We worked in groups to produce these. My group chose to do a trailer based on Little Red Riding Hood, in which we changed the plot line so that Gran was coming to visit Red and they had arranged this meeting through the internet. We each played a key role during this session, whether it was acting, filming or setting the scene. We alternated between using both video and pictures to create the movie and we also used text to highlight key points of internet safety and websites that may be of use to whoever was watching. According to Porter (2004),  digital storytelling is sharing your story in variety of mediums of digital imagery, text, voice, music, video and animation.  I have attached our finished video in which it can be seen that we used many of these mediums to illustrate our story.

I have also attached pictures that were taken during the process of making our trailer.

Our Planning Sheet
Kathryn writing our message
Dawn editing our trailer

iMovie is an app that I would use in my own classroom whether it would be for a similar reason, talking about internet safety, or for many other topics. By using this kind of digital technology and getting the children to either act or create scenes for their movie, I would be able to cover a range of experiences and outcomes over different curriculum areas, for example, literacy, technology and expressive arts. This would allow pupils to maybe move our of their comfort zone and use their imagination.


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] [Accessed: 13.2.18]


Digital Technologies- E-Books – 6/2/18

An e-book can be defined as an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device. They are a form of multimodal text which have many advantages including them being small portable and being able to work in a range of environments (Jarvis, 2015).

Being a multimodal text means that e-books can be extremely within the classroom as the Literacy and English framework mirrors the use of multimodal texts and electronic communication used by children in their everyday lives. They allow teachers to make their lessons portable, for example taking learning outside. They also help children experience hands-on learning and helps children gain a better understanding of the subject they are learning about as they are learning in a way that is best for them. ICT also provides an outlet for children to document their thoughts in a range of ways, including being able to write, draw, record both sound and video depending on their age and ability (Beauchamp, 2012).

Today in Digital Technologies we were looking at e-books and the benefits they have in the classroom. We had two assessment tasks to complete today, the first being a group task. We were to create an e-brochure about life at UWS. Using the iPads, our group went around campus and took photos and videos to use within our brochure. We had a lot of fun engaging with the outdoors and seeing how this could be beneficial in our own practice. To complete this task, we used book creator. The end result was a multimodal e-brochure that would hopefully encourage people to study at UWS.

The second part of the assessment was an individual task, which involved writing a summary of a book. I used the book creator app to write a multimodal e-book summary based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. By using more than two semiotic systems, I was able to do this. Taking pictures, videos and incorporating text, I was able to tell the key points of the story.

E-books are a resource I would consider using in my own classroom as a way of engaging children with multimodal texts and helping create cross curricular activities, for example; literacy, health and wellbeing and technology, to help with combatting the attainment gap.


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 – 30/1/18

During today’s session we were focusing on coding and how useful it can be within the classroom to enhance literacy skills.

Literacy is a form of communication which many people believe coding portrays this really well. Having the ability to code is incredibly important of literacy in modern society because it allows people to develop different sets of skills including problem solving strategies, helping them with designing projects and allowing them to use their communication skills to present their ideas.

The specific program we were working with today was ScratchJr. It is a basic programming app that enables children to create their own coding language. According to The Lead Project (2014), by creating Scratch projects children are not only learning how to code, but also how to be more creative with their thoughts and work alongside other children. Each of these skills are critical skills for success and happiness in today’s society. It can also support individual learning styles as Scratch was designed to to help with exploring and experimenting. The programme can aid different subjects across the curriculum as well including art, English and maths (The Lead Project, 2014).

Our task today was to create our own Scratch adventure story using iPads that would be part of a lesson plan. I first looked at the Curriculum For Excellence outcomes and decided which outcomes would fit the criteria. As coding crosses into multiple curriculum areas, I chose a literacy outcome :

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 0-31a

and also a technology outcome:

I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways.

TCH 1-04b / TCH 2-04b

I created a series of slides on ScratchJr illustrating the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast with a fairy narrating the story. The slides demonstrate the basics of the story and at the end the fairy asks if the pupil’s enjoyed the story and if they didn’t, what they didn’t like about it. The fairy then asks them to use their imaginations and create an alternate ending.

By using apps like ScratchJr in my classroom, I would be helping children to develop their communication skills and using their creative side. These apps also allow children to become independent and also helping them work alongside other children towards the same outcome. The only downside I found to the app was that you could only produce four slides, which may pose a problem if children are just getting used to coding. Due to the size of the video I wasn’t able to upload the first part of the video but I was able to post the last bit of my story.



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

Digital Technologies – ActivInspire 23/1/18

One of the reasons for using multimodal texts is to make learning memorable and this is just one of the many ways that using multimodal presentations can enhance pupils’ learning, but only if the teacher has reasonable knowledge of the subject area. Technology also being so multimodal is another of the main reasons to use it because it allows teachers to present their lessons in a range of ways to help pupil’s understanding (Beauchamp, 2012).  Multimodal texts are made by combining two or more semiotic systems. There are five semiotic systems all together including: linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial. Multimodal texts also encourage hands-on learning as Prandstatter (2014) found that touch screens can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences thereby helping children to learn by doing.

Today during Digital Technologies we were learning about the different kinds of multimodal presentations, but focusing on ActivInspire. We were to create flipcharts using ActivInspire Primary. Our flipchart was based around the outcome MNU 1-10a; I can tell the time using 12 hour clocks, realising there is a link with 24 hour notation, explain how it impacts on my daily routine and ensure that I am organised and ready for events throughout my day. We used a selection of clocks, both analogue and digital, in which the children would try to make the connection between the two and then progress further to the teacher asking the children what time was on the clock and getting them write their answers on the flipchart, promoting hands-on experience. The next couple of pages were dedicated to the second part of the outcome; getting the children to focus on their own daily routines as each child may do things at different times of the day. The teacher would ask what time the pupil does a certain activity and get the to come up and write their answer in one of the three forms, either digital, analogue or in words.

As time progresses, technology will develop more as well. Technology and interactive learning have become such a big part of everyday teaching, so being able to use multimodal texts is something I feel is extremely important. Multimodal texts are a key element that I will use in my own lesson planning as it will allow children to gain a deeper understanding of the subject being taught.


Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.[Accessed: 5/2/2018]

Programmable Toys – 16\1/18

In today’s class we were looking at programmable toys and the benefits they have. We were using Bee-Bot to design a map based on a numeracy outcome. Doing this task was extremely useful for me as I was able to gain ideas for when I am teaching how to sometimes cover multiple outcomes during the same lesson.

There are many benefits of using programmable floor toys in the classroom including teaching the children the concepts in a fun manner and helping with developing knowledge and an understanding of the modern world (Janka, 2008). Numeracy is a subject in particular that benefits as children can describe simple journeys made by the programmable toy which will help the pupil’s develop positional language and estimation (Janka, 2008).  The National Centre for Technology in Education (2012), found that programmable toys also encourage the building of skills such as logical sequencing, measuring, space orientation and comparing lengths.

We worked in groups to create an activity using Bee-Bot. We picked a mathematical outcome from Curriculum for Excellence and created a game based on flags of the world. The children would get question cards and have to use positional language to answer the questions. They would also be asked to move to certain locations without going through certain landmarks. I have attached pictures of our finished activity below.

In the future, I would use Bee-Bot in my classroom as it has many benefits and allows children to enjoy activities for outcomes that may not necessarily have been too engaging. It also spreads across many different areas of the curriculum from literacy to technology.

Beebot Question Cards
Our BeeBot Activity


Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How?


[Access: 16th January 2018]

NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy.

[Online] [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

Digital Technologies – 9/1/18

Taking part in the digital technology module is a great opportunity for me to build upon and enrich the ICT skills I have already developed, in both a professional and personal setting. Looking at the many ways in which digital technology can help enhance both learning and teaching is extremely valuable because as time moves forward technology advances as well. Technology is now used in many different forms throughout classrooms including, smart boards.

Having not been able to attend the first class due to personal reasons, I viewed the PowerPoint at home and looked over the materials provided. Looking through the module handbook and the assessment criteria, I was able to gain a better understanding of what will be expected of me throughout the module. After doing this, I went on to review the introduction PowerPoint and reflected on some of the points made on the slides. To me, digital technology is a device that allows people to gain access to larger variety of knowledge. According to Education Scotland (2015), digital technology is a term used to describe those digital application, services and resources which are used to: find, analyse, create, communication and use information in a digital context.

I then went on to read through the National Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy (2016) and I was able to pick out the main points throughout the article. Overall, the main outcome Education Scotland(2016) is working towards is to raise attainment levels through children gaining the highest level of literacy and numeracy skills to allow them to become successful. They are also trying to achieve equity so that each child has an equal opportunity to succeed. Education Scotland (2016) believe that digital technology can help enrich both teaching and learning, which in turn can lead to better educational outcomes including the two I have previously discussed.

The main beneficiaries of this strategy are the learners aged 3-18 who will be able to acquire ICT skills that are an essential part of life and when they start work, especially as nearly everything today is digital. The teachers as well will benefit, as they require training in order to learn the sufficient level of skills needed to then teach to the children.

My own digital skills are an area that could be developed, especially as digital technology is now playing such as important part of everyday teaching in the classroom. My skills are competent enough that I am able to use technology for writing essays and doing research. I also use devices for reading, such as a kindle. I am hoping to become more aware of other technologies and devices and understand how to use them properly and implement them into my teaching. As a parent, I get to see the vast range of digital technology used at my daughter’s school and how she as a learner uses this technology, which has been very insightful.

Being a student teacher today, having digital technology skills in my opinion is one of the most important set of skills to have. With technology playing such an important part in everyday life, these need to be taught to learners in order for them to succeed.


Scottish Government (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government [Online] Available at:[Accessed: 14 January 2018]



BA1 2 Week Placement

Having just embarked upon a placement in my local authority, it was interesting to see the differences in the way this school was run compared to my placement last year through Ayrshire College. During my first couple of days, getting used to how each teacher managed their classroom and their pupils was challenging, as well as getting used to an open learning space as I had been previously used to closed off classrooms.

I started my week in a Primary 1 class where there was a couple of children with learning difficulties and one of these children also had a disability. This child always had one-to-one support be that from a classroom assistant, myself or time permitting, the teacher. Being able to see the strategies used by the teacher in order successfully manage the class and make sure they are all achieving their learning intentions. I was able to take a small group of children and help them learn the phoneme ‘f’. On reflection, this was a valuable lesson as I was able to observe different teaching techniques that I will be able to take forward with me throughout my career.

My second day was spent in with Primary 2. This was a much rowdier class with a few children who again presented learning difficulties. One child had already been placed on an ILP. Due to a health condition, the teachers felt this placed obstacles in the way of their learning, however they also said that without the health condition they would still have been placed on an ILP. I was able to take part in some topic work and put into practice some of the reading strategies, for example, sounding out the word. Having done a lot of this previously on my previous placement as well as with my own child, my prior knowledge allowed me to carry out this part of the lesson with confidence.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was not able to continue the rest of my first week on placement.