Lauryn's Reflective Journal Digital Technologies

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February 20, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay

Week 6 – Movie Making

Tuesday 12th February

This week’s session in digital technologies involved movie making. Our task was to raise awareness of internet safety. We used the iPads provide by the university to make our own video warning children about the dangers of the internet and social media. It is important that children in primary schools are educated on e-safety. Beauchamp stated, “the key idea [is] that e-safety is not about restricting children, but about educating them” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.58). This clearly shows that children should not be stopped from using the internet they just have to be taught the rights and wrongs of it. I was familiar with the iMovie app so felt confident going into this task. I completed my movie in a group of 5. I really enjoy working in groups as I discovered in previous tasks making this task more exciting.

The iMovie app could be made useful in classrooms. The Scottish Government stated that there is conclusive evidence that digital equipment, tools and resources can, where effectively used, raise the speed and depth of learning in science and mathematics for primary and secondary age learners (Scottish Government, 2015). This shows that pupils can gain a large amount of skills and information from using digital devices and apps. The iMovie app is a fun way for children to explore movie making and will also give some pupils a sense of leadership and independence when working on their own or alongside others. The benefits of this task also included children being able to learn all about e-safety. “The most successful schools… in terms of e-safety ensured that pupils knew what to do when things went wrong.” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.60). By using these types of videos in classrooms, children will be aware of the steps to take if they are ever in danger on the internet.

This task also linked into experience and outcome TCH 2-03a which is “I can explore online communities demonstrating an understanding of responsible digital behaviour and I’m aware of how to keep myself safe and secure.” This covers the aspects of internet safety and children’s cyber awareness.

For our iMovie my group choose to focus on catfishing and not sharing personal information online. To begin we had to create a plan and give out roles. Attached below is a picture of our plan.

We first decided on the key points that we wanted to get across in the short movie. We decided on:

• Keep your account private.
• Do not become friends with people you do not know.
• Do not share your personal information such as your address or phone number.
• Tell an adult if you are in doubt.

Chloe, who was a member of my group, played the lead role. It started with her scrolling through Instagram and posting a photo with her location attached. Ross (another member of the group) was then filmed as he screenshotted Chloe’s photos and created a fake account of her. He then reached out to one of her friends asking to meet up. The friend agrees but when they meet up it turns out it was not Chloe, it was Ross. I feel like this was a really good way of showing the dangers of social media especially when those share their location. At the end of the video we added our safety tips to emphasise how important they are. I was very happy with the outcome of our iMovie and felt we were able to effectively use the app while getting our point across.

Overall, I really enjoyed this week’s task. I think e-safety is very important to teach in schools and it was interesting getting to look more into the problems surrounded with the internet and social media. I also feel like the iMovie app was a really fun way to create this video and that children would love getting to create their own videos using this app even if it is on a serious topic.

February 18, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay

Week 5 – E-Books

Tuesday 5th February

In schools reading is a major part of the curriculum. In this week’s lesson we learned all about e-books. An e-book can be described as “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specially designed handheld device” (BBC, 2014). A handheld device could include iPads, phones and many more. Our task was to create a summary of a children’s book into an e-book using book creator on an iPad. Coming into this lesson I was excited to get to recreate one of my favourite childhood books. I also felt confident using the book creator app as we had previously used it in a Literacy lesson meaning I would be able to use it effectively.

There are many benefits of using iPads and mobile devices in schools especially apps such as book creator. When given a mobile device, children are able to take control of their own learning. This may motivate many students to improve their learning especially those that do not enjoy sitting and listening to an input. A report from the University of Hull showed that nearly 100% of the pupils agreed that using an iPad made their learning more enjoyable (Burden et. al., 2012). This report also stated, “The device also encouraged many teachers to explore alternative activities and forms of assessment for learning” (Burden et. al., 2012). This shows that iPads also have benefits for teachers. It is allowing them to provide children with a different platform to work on and they are able to use so many more apps on it including book creator. The Government are currently working on introducing more Digital technologies like these into all primary schools to give all children equal learning experiences (Children’s Parliament, 2016).

The book I chose was ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson. I chose to use this book as it was one of my childhood favourites so I knew I would enjoy making a summary of it. To start I had chosen a background colour and the layout of my book. I made sure not to choose a plain white background so all children would be able to easily read it. I inserted a picture of the front of the book so children could see exactly what book it was. As I continued, I found many different ways to make my book interactive. I inserted sound, pictures and asked questions. For example, as the story goes on the mouse bumps into many different characters, one being an owl. I then asked, “Can you hoot like an owl?” which includes the pupils in the reading. I also decided to insert a question page to find out what the children thought about the book. In the end I was extremely happy with the outcome of my interactive, multimodal e-book.

There were many experiences and outcomes that fit in with my e-book and the experience of creating a book using book creator. These include:

• I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-01a

• I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts. TCH 0-01a

Take a look at the photos below to see what I created! I think the use of iPads and in-particular the book creator app are extremely useful resources to the use in a classroom and I will definitely plan on using them in the near future.

February 11, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay

Week 4 – Coding

Tuesday 29th January

This week in digital technologies was all about coding. I was looking forward to this input as we were going to be using Scratch Jnr. I had previously experienced using Scratch and really enjoyed it and felt I had a bit of background and knowledge on this topic. Scratch is a great interactive way to teach children about simple coding. They are able to have a product at the end to show their work. It can be used for maths and literacy learning. In this case we were using it for literacy purposes.

There are many benefits of teaching coding in classrooms. One being that coding can teach many skills needed for problem solving and communicating ideas. The Lead Project 2014 stated “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” (The Lead Project, 2014). This shows that by using Scratch Jnr pupils are able to get creative and think outside of the box, developing their thinking and sharing skills. Also, children are a lot more interested in learning about coding as it is interactive and allows their brains to work. I read an article all about a school integrating coding through ‘Codecademy’ into their learning. It stated, “They are more responsible for their own progress and enjoy the challenge, and subsequent sense of achievement, from tackling the programming tasks provided by Codecademy.” (Curtis, 2013). Pupils are able to take pride in what they created and are able to feel more confident in this field.

Scratch Jnr also fits in with the curriculum for excellence extremely well. Those who are first and second level are able to demonstrate their use of programming and can use it as a way to demonstrate ideas through sound, texts and images. It could be link to TCH 1-04b which is “I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, texts and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways”. This shows that Scratch and other coding games can be used to develop on these skills.

For my Scratch Jnr project, I decided to make a farm adventure. I asked questions through-out so it could be used as a learning tool. I aimed my project at early level. I asked questions such as ‘what animal is this?’ or ‘What colour is this?’. Simple questions like this allowed me to make sure children would be interactive in my game. The following photo shows the different coding I used to create my Scratch Jnr project.

Overall, I think Scratch Jnr was a really easy way to learn and teach coding. It was extremely appropriate for the age range of children in primary school and I believe would be really enjoyable for pupils to sit and work on.

January 28, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay

Week 3 – Multimodality

Tuesday 22nd January

The use of multimodality in classrooms is growing increasingly. This week’s session was all about multimodal texts. A multimodal text can be described as a text that combines two or more of the semiotic systems. There are 5 semiotic systems which are Linguistic, Visual, Audio, Gestural and Spatial. An example of a multimodal text could be a children’s book with colours or videos with sounds and pictures. They can be extremely useful for presenting. It makes everything more captivating for pupils. It is also interactive most of the time which allows children to experience different styles of learning and figure out what is best suited for their selves. I think that multimodal texts are a good way of interacting with pupils and would be useful in a classroom.

“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, p. 8). This quote shows how important multimodality is. It allows pupils and teachers a different platform of learning. It takes away from sitting and listening and involves more doing and interactivity which children find a lot more interesting.

Coming into this session I did not know what to expect. I knew a brief description of what a multimodal text was and had done previous reading about it, however, I did not know all the things you could do with a multimodal text. Our task for the day was to use ActivInspire to create a learning tool. To begin, I did not understand how to use ActivInsipire. There were a lot of different widgets and tools to look at, so it took me a while to get a grip of it. Our task was to be completed in pairs, however both me and my pair started out by having a play around with the tool to get used to it. I soon discovered there were loads of extra gadgets to ActivInspire, for example, a working compass and moving clocks.

When the time came, my partner and I decided to keep the same topic as last week and make an ActivInspire based on time. We wanted to make it as interactive as possible by doing different slides with a range of activities. In the end, we create a useful presentation that involved all aspects of the 12- and 24-hour clock. It was a good way of involving pupils and allowing them to get up and use the board. This will improve on their technology skills. However, the class lasted 4 hours and most of it was spent making this presentation. Despite the amount of time spent we did not complete it. I feel it was extremely time consuming to make and when we trialled what we had it took minutes to complete. For this reason, I do not believe I would make use of ActivInspire and would prefer to find a different form to make these types of presentations on.

This week I feel I am starting to understand how to work my blog properly and the different tools and widgets that I can use to make it unique in its own way. I am increasingly becoming more and more interested in digital technologies and the module as a whole. This week the input was a good learning curve for myself as I realised the positives and the major negatives of using ActivInspire. Next time I would consider trying a different multimodal text to explore the use of interactive games and presentation in class.

January 21, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay

Week 2 – Programmable Toys

Tuesday 15th January

This week in digital technologies we were learning about programmable toys, in particular, beebots. Our task for this session was to create a map for pupils to use the programmable toys on. To ensure the pupils are maximising their learning experience from our maps we linked the task to an experience and outcome. I decided to work in a group with 2 others to complete it as I feel I work extremely well in groups. We work good together and in the end were able to produce a map with a meaning.

Programming first came into play in 1960 when the game logo was created by Seymour Papert. This was a simple programming game where u can move a small arrow by providing instructions. Since then the use of programmable toys has developed. A report from Pekárová Janka stated that “The curriculum introduces programmable toys as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world” (Janka, 2008, p.2). This shows that by allowing pupils to use beebots they can experience taking charge and can test their sense of direction and programming skills. Using programmable toys such as beebots has also shown how children are automatically more confident and independent using the toy. Lydon stated how children were able to independently take control of the task faster than anticipated and 12 of the 28 pupils were able to use the beebots with out any instructions or adult support (Lydon, 2008, p.2). Therefore, showing that the use of beebots in the classroom may increase confidence levels in pupils which can also be conveyed in different aspects of their daily lives.

To start the task, we brainstormed different ideas we could base our project on. We ended up deciding on time. No other group was doing this topic which made it more unique. I began with making a plan of the map and squares in my notebook to make sure no mistakes were made on the final design. The experience and outcome we linked it to was ‘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 through-out my day’ MNU 1-10a. As this outcome also mentions daily routine, we decided we would link in time of the days. From this, children in primary school will be able to grasp the idea of a schedule. Within our task we were able to convey the 12- and 24-hour clock as well as allowing children to plan their day from start till finish. For example, a cue card will say breakfast or lunch. The pupil would then have to decide what time they would do this task, if it is earlier in the day or later. This allows them to gather a sense of time and organisation. To create the mat, we divided our jobs and were able to complete it in the time frame.

Overall, I found this task really interesting and fun to take part in. I was able to expand my knowledge on programmable toys and I believe my group was successful in creating a unique game for children to use in a real teaching environment.

January 13, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay

Week 1

Tuesday 8th January

My name is Lauryn and as part of BA1 Education I have chosen the module ‘Digital Technologies’. I choose this module because technology is up and coming in the world of education. I normally do not take much interest in technology, however I felt I would benefit from this module. I want to learn more about how technology is weaved into teaching and the different approaches that can be taken using technology. Overall, I want to expand my knowledge of digital technology used in the classroom.

While on my first placement I realised the impact digital technology has on pupils. I witnessed the use of technology almost every day and how children benefitted from it. Now a day’s children are “Digital Natives” (Prensky, 2001). This means that children have grew up with technology in their lives. Teaching has changed to suit this. Children will be more likely to engage in learning if it is something they understand and enjoy. Education Scotland mentioned how they would like technology to be at the heart of learning (Education Scotland, 2015). By making technology more apparent in the classroom, attainment will be raised, and the attainment gap will be smaller. It allows children that do not have technology at home to use it at school, giving all children an equal chance.

I believe that it is very important to learn about digital technology. Throughout this module I will get to use different digital toys, such as beebots, experience outdoor learning and game-based teaching to enhance learning. I am looking forward to the next 12 weeks of Digital technologies.

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