Lauryn's Reflective Journal Digital Technologies

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March 26, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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Week 11 – Reflection

As we have come to the end of Digital technologies, I can confidently say this module has been very interesting. Over the last 12 week it has become very apparent how important it is to teach digital technologies in a classroom. Our society is moving on and children need to be equipped with the tools for later life and this now includes technology. I have learned many new, exciting and engaging ways to use different technologies that will become extremely useful in years to come. I can now also link my activities involving technology to experiences and outcomes and I can see the relevance of each task and how it can be worked into a school day. I was able to produce activities focusing on all the curricular areas including maths and literacy.

I believe from this module I have been able to improve on many skills. Most weeks we worked in groups, so I was able to improve on my communications skills. I am now able to take these skills and apply them elsewhere. I feel much more confident in technology and would now class myself as a digital native.

In my very first blog I mentioned how the Scottish Government would like technology to be at the heart of learning (Scottish Government, 2015). I now completely agree with this. For many children technology is the only way they can receive good quality learning. It has so many benefits as I have discussed from the very start, which show how important technology really is to our society. On one hand, technology is seen as negative and to be taking over our society, however, I firmly believe that in primary school if technology is not abused and is used in the ways that we have learnt over the course of this module then it can be a really successful learning tool.

In conclusion, I would now class myself as being confident in the use of technologies and from this module I have been able to improve on my skills, not only on technology but on verbal and nonverbal communication from working alongside others. Overall, I have enjoyed digital technologies and I cannot wait to use some of the skills and experiences I have learnt on this module in a classroom.

References

Scottish Government (2015) Literature review on the impact of digital technology on learning and teaching. [Online] Available: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/24843/2/00489303.pdf [Accessed 19 February 2019]

March 21, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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Week 10 – QR Codes and Outdoor Learning

Tuesday 12th March

For our last practical week in digital technologies we learned all about the use of QR codes. We also managed to work outdoor learning into our activity for the day. A QR code is “a pattern of black and white squares that can be read by a smart phone, allowing the phone user to get more information about something.” (Collins Dictionary, 2019). By introducing QR codes into the classroom children will be given a sense of freedom from being able to scan them themselves to find information.

Our task for the day was to create QR codes using a QR generator. From this we had to create an interactive challenge that pupils would enjoy. It was also recommended that we try to interpret outdoor learning into our activity. By making our activity outdoors this allows children to gain more interest in the learning and lets them explore. For this task I worked in a group of 5. This was a really good size of group for this activity we were carrying out as it allowed us to complete and set it up a lot faster than a smaller group. Due to this we were one of the first groups finished. From this I have came to the conclusion that even though before I did not enjoy working in a bigger group, for some task it is a lot more efficient and effective. I was able to use many skills including cooperation and listening skills. I feel like throughout this module I have been able to develop on these skills hugely.

For our challenge we decided we wanted to include mathematics, literacy and outdoor learning. Our main focus was to develop maths skills. To begin we used a QR code generator to create all our codes. We decide to do a mini treasure hunt. Each QR code would have a maths question on it. Children would have to figure out the maths problem and get the right answer to get a letter. Each QR code gave out 2 letters with a correct answer. In the end pupils would have to bring all the letters together to create a word. The word we choose was Calculator. Every QR code also had the next location on it. My group felt this was a fun interactive way to get children involved, not just in outdoor learning but in problem-solving using letters and maths questions.


We aimed our activity towards second level. We came across many experiences and outcomes that would go along with our task. These included:

• I have investigated how a set of equivalent fractions can be created, understanding the meaning of simplest form and can apply my knowledge to compare and order the most frequently used fractions. MTH 2-07c

• Having explored the patterns and relationships in multiplication and division, I can investigate and identify multiples and factors of numbers. MTH 2-05a

• I can use digital technologies to search, access and retrieve information and am aware that not all of this information will be credible. TCH 02-02a

• I can extend and enhance my knowledge of digital technologies to collect, analyse ideas, relevant information and organise these in an appropriate way. TCH 2-01a

QR codes can be useful in class for many reasons. QR codes are extremely easy to make (Edutopia, 2013). This means that children would be able to create their own QR codes, giving them more independence. By giving pupils this sense of independence attainments may be raised as they will be more interested in carrying out the task. QR codes also save the hassle of long web links if the task is to research (Edutopia, 2013). They can go straight to websites using QR codes. Also, QR codes reduce student frustration (Boschen, 2016). Pupils can easily scan the codes to get straight to the information they need. This information could include websites or even books. This is a good way of ensuring pupils stay on task and do not get bored or aggravated trying to figure out more complicated technology.

As stated above my group decided to make our treasure hunt outdoors. There are many benefits of outdoor learning. Education Scotland stated, “it’s clear that the outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities” (Education Scotland, 2010). This clearly shows that outdoors provides a different learning experience for children. They are much more likely to remember learning experiences outdoors than indoors as they are always usually inside. It provides something more unusual for the children to participate in. Outdoor learning can also provide children with a lesson on personal safety. They will have to ensure they stay within boundaries set by the teacher and that they are careful with where they go when completing outdoor tasks. This yet again will give children a sense of independence and leadership as they are in charge of going from one spot of the treasure hunt to the next without an adult looking over them constantly. It also has positive impacts on teachers and their students. “The outdoor environment encourages staff and students to see each other in a different light, building positive relationships and improving self-awareness and understanding of others” (Education Scotland, 2010). This is important because if pupils do not have positive relationships with their teachers their learning would be majorly impacted.

Both topics work really well together. Through doing a treasure hunt using QR codes outdoors children are able to run around and it enhances the idea that they are learning through their play. It is a completely new experience for them using these codes outside as most treasure hunts would not be technology surrounded. In the future I will definitely ensure to use these two aspects of learning alongside each other as I believe they work extremely well together.

Once we completed our treasure hunt, we got to swap with another group and try out their activity. The game we tried was based on money and adding. We were given a shopping list and had to get all the items and figure out the total price. It was created as an e-book and was very appealing to the eye. Once both groups had finished, we gave each other feedback. This was really useful as it gave us a way forward for the next time either of us must carry out a similar task. The feedback that the other team gave us was extremely positive. They enjoyed all the aspects of it, and it lasted a good amount of time. They mentioned how they thought that for primary pupils it could take them half an hour to an hour to complete with different locations which is positive and shows that the time spent making the activity was not a waste. However, as part of our feedback for the other group this was an issue. Their activity took us 2 minutes to complete. If this was given to a class, they would be completed in no time. This was a valuable lesson learnt for all of us.

Overall, I found this task very fun and exciting to carry out. It is a great way of allowing pupils to be interactive while still challenging them. I think this new technology will be extremely useful in a classroom and will give children the opportunity to improve and discover new skills as it allowed me to do so too.

References

Collins Dictionary (2019) QR Code [Online] Available: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/qr-code [Accessed 21 March 2019]

Boschen, J. (2016) Using QR Codes in the Classroom to Enhance Learning [Online] Available: https://www.whatihavelearnedteaching.com/using-qr-codes-in-the-classroom/ [Accessed 21 March 2019]

Edutopia (2013) Five Reasons I Love Using QR Codes in My Classroom [Online] Available: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-qr-codes-in-classroom-monica-burns [Accessed 21 March 2019]

Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-through-outdoor-learning.pdf [Accessed 21 March 2019]

March 11, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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Week 9 – Game Based Learning

Tuesday 5th March

Today in digital technologies we learned about the importance of game-based learning. Game-based learning can be described as “a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes.” (EdTechReview, 2013). Now a days many children are interested in this kind of learning. A report from Ofcom stated, “The use of computer games, particularly console games, is firmly embedded in 21st century youth culture.” (Ofcom, 2001). There are many benefits of it, and it may come across more appealing to those who don’t enjoy sitting and writing. Our session was based on the use of Minecraft: education edition. For those who don’t know what Minecraft is, it is a game where players are able to place and break 3D block to create their own worlds. We focussed on the experience and outcome that stated “I am developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills, as I play and learn with electronic games, remote control or programmable toys” TCH 0-09a / TCH 1-09a. Particularly focusing on the electronic game aspect.

To begin we got a chance to download the game and have a play around with it. I had previously played Minecraft when I was younger, so I felt I had an advantage over some others as I knew how to work the normal version. However, there were some different aspects to the education version. It explored different curricular areas such as science and maths. Our task was to create a few activities to cover these areas that could be used in a classroom. This week I worked in a group of 3. I felt that by working in a smaller group compared to last week was hugely beneficially. Everyone was able to have an equal say and overall, we managed to complete the task a lot quicker. I used many skills when working in my team which included, good listening and communicating and making sure I was being an effective group member.

Recently, a survey was carried out by Futurelab showing that 79% of 737 children aged five to 15 played computer games at home (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010). This shows the large number of children that play computer games in their everyday life. By introducing this into school, children will be more likely to complete their game related work to a higher quality, raising attainment. Beauchamp stated, “In recent years, interest has grown considerably in the potential for play to form the basis for learning.” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.9). From this growth children and teachers are both becoming fonder towards using game-based learning as a form of play and all the benefits to go along with it including improving the focus of pupils. However, many feel as though teachers may struggle to get a grip with the new technology and making sure children are using it appropriately (Beauchamp, 2012). I feel this is incorrect and that most teachers will be able to over come this obstacle to provide fun, quality learning.

We choose to focus on Mathematics, Language, Social Studies and Science. Firstly, we brainstormed all our ideas onto an A3 piece of paper. We were then able to pick the best ideas to use. For maths there were lots of different directions to go down. We then concluded that it would be useful for fractions. Pupils can join onto each other’s world and use materials from the game asking each other “Can you show me 3/5 in flowers?”. This is just one of many possible examples. For language we thought children could create a creative story based on their world they were able to create on Minecraft. From this they can use their imagination to make their world come alive. Next, for social studies, we believed history would be a good idea. For example, if learning about Scotland and its castles, children could be asked to go onto Minecraft and create their own castle or try to recreate a famous castle. Lastly, for science there were many activities on Minecraft for pupils. There were all the elements of the periodic table available. We thought this would be good to use with the upper school to see if they could match the element symbols with the names or even use the lab tables to create different products such as water. Attached below is a picture of our A3 mind map and our official activity plans.


In the end we presented our ideas in our groups. I found this helpful as I was able to take notes of everyone else’s ideas. These may come in useful when we begin lesson planning next year. After each presentation we provided feedback for each group, positive and negative. My group were told that it was good how we linked our activities to class topics. However, next time we could try to make cross curricular links between the different tasks. We took this information on board and if another task like this is carried out, we would make these changes.

I personally feel Minecraft would be a useful in classrooms. It can engage children and has so many educational benefits. It would be an exciting task for children to carry out and share with each other. I really enjoyed getting to use the game and believe game-based learning is a positive direction to move in.

References 

EdTechReview (2013) What is GBL (Game-Based Learning)? [Online] Available: edtechreview.in/dictionary/298-what-is-game-based-learning [Accessed 11 March 2019]

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

Ofcom (2001) Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes [Online] Available: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed 10 March 2019]

Groff, J., Howells, C. et. al. (2010) The impact of console games in the classroom. Learning and Teaching Scotland.

February 28, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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Week 8 – Animation (Part 2)

Tuesday 26th February

Today’s lesson in digital technologies was a continuation from last week. To recap, last week was all about animation. We got to play around with some useful apps and planned our animation for this week. For this week we had to decide what our animation was going to be on. It had to recreate a historical event, represent a geographical process e.g. volcanic eruption, recreate a real-life scenario e.g. going to the dentist or explain a mathematical principle. As stated last week my group decided to represent the geographical process of a tsunami. Our aim was to make it fun for children to watch but also educational. Beauchamp stated, “ICT equipment is part of pupils’ everyday life, so should be part of their everyday play.” (Beauchamp, 2012, p66). This shows that by using ICT such as animation in an educational way, children will enhance their learning through play. ICT is a fun way of developing everyday skills that children will need when they go onto further education.

To begin, we sorted all our materials out and delegated tasks for each other to carry out. Most of our set for the animation was handmade, for example, our background. However, we did decide to use Lego men to play the part of people and had a few toy vehicles to represent real cars and motorbikes. A quote from Moving Image Education stated, “Animating in the classroom doesn’t have to be with plasticine models – cut out animation is by far the easiest technique to start on.” (Moving Image Education). We took this into great consideration when deciding what materials to use. Animation is more than moulding clay to make people. We believed Lego and a real-life background setting would make it seem more realistic.

The experiences and outcomes that went with our animation were focussed on second level and included:

  •  I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and can construct models. TCH 2-09a
  • I can recognise basic properties and uses for a variety go materials and can discuss which ones are most suitable for a given task. TCH 2-10a

As I stated before animation can be described as “The technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the film is shown as a sequence.” (Oxford, 2019). Animation can be used to enhance learning in three main ways. These are:

• To enhance learners’ visual representations.
• To illustrate processes.
• To provide an interactive element.
(Jarvis, 2015, p92)

This shows that animation can be an important part of ICT even though it is only a very small sub topic. Many schools offer Animation clubs rather than it being promoted as a fundamental learning material. Children may benefit hugely by going to these club or by animation being introduced more into the classroom.

In the end I was very pleased with my groups finished product. However, there were a few points to reflect upon in the process of making our animation. The group that I was in was a group of five people. I personally felt that this number of people ended u being far too many. Not everyone’s opinions in the group were being heard so the outcome many not have been representative of everyone. Next time I would split the group into two groups. This would allow all the members to get a good say and two great pieces of work would be produced. Also, even though my group produced a story board and a material list, we did not discuss bringing big materials such as paper or a box to use as a set or background, so next time I will work on being more prepared and bring these materials. This could have made our animation look even more professional and appealing for children.

I overall have enjoyed learning about animation over the last two weeks. I feel that by doing this topic over two weeks I was able to gain a good insight into why animation is an important part of ICT. Next time I will ensure to act upon my reflections. Next week we are going to be learning all about game-based learning which sounds very interesting.

Attached below is a photo of the process carried out.

References

Oxford (2019) Definition of animation [Online] Available: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/animation [Accessed 20 February 2019]

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

Moving Image Education [Online] Available: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed 16 February 2019]

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

February 26, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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Week 7 – Animation (Part 1)

Tuesday 19th February

Animation can be described as “The technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the film is shown as a sequence.” (Oxford, 2019). In todays class we learned all about animation and how it can be integrated into learning and teaching. The task to go along with this session is going to be carried out over 2 weeks. This week consisted of getting to know different animation apps and planning out our animation for next week. We were given the opportunity to use apps including puppet pals and iStop.

There are 5 main types of animation. These include cut out, stop motion, pixilation, drawn and computer. (Moving Image Education). We are going to be using stop motion animation next week. An example of this could be using Lego men or plasticine models. Jarvis states that using sound and video should enhance the quality of information processing and, hence learning. (Jarvis, 2015, p93). This shows that by allowing children to use animation their overall sense of skill receiving will improve. They are more likely to be able to enhance their learning through videos, images and sounds. It was also shown by Jarvis that the use of animation involved putting together images to make them look as if they were moving (Jarvis, 2015, p89). This is a major benefit for children as it yet again (like many other technologies) allows them to be interactive and imaginative by coming up with different ways to interpret this idea of a moving image.

According to the experience and outcome, I feel animation links in with outcome TCH 2-10a which is “I can recognise basic properties and uses for a variety of materials and can discuss which ones are most suitable for a given task”. This is appropriate because to make an animation we have to experiment with different materials and props.

To begin we looked at the puppet pals app. This app was really straight forward and easy to use. You can choose what characters you want to use and what backgrounds. Then you can record yourself speaking while moving characters about, on and off the scenes. Below is a photo of the app. It shows some of the characters and backgrounds you can use. Due to this app being so easy to use I feel like younger children would be able to let their imagination run wild and create some good animations. It is also a lot more appealing to the eye than many other apps so this might make children want to use it more.


Next, we went onto using the iStop Motion app. This app came across a bit more complicated than the puppet pals app. This is the app we are going to be using next week so this was a good opportunity to get to explore it. Our task was to make a short practise animation using stick men. I found this fun, however, some controls were hard to work. I also found it difficult to keep the stick men standing up or keep the camera straight. Due to this my result seemed a bit shaky. However, I was working alone on this so next time I would make sure I had others helping. I will be completing my animation next week in a group so this should allow me to improve on this.

Lastly to end the lesson my group planned for our animation next week. We decided to do it on Tsunami’s. I feel that natural disasters is a great topic for children to learn about. We created a material list of what we had to bring in and a storyboard to show our main ideas. Attached below is a picture of the storyboard. By the end of this session I felt prepared for the following week.


So far, I have really enjoyed learning about animation. I am excited to create my own animation next week based on a tsunami. This will be a great opportunity to further explore the iStop app and use all the features to a large extent.

References

Moving Image Education [Online] Available: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed 16 February 2019]

Oxford (2019) Definition of animation [Online] Available: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/animation [Accessed 20 February 2019]

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

February 20, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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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 have previously discovered making this task more enjoyable.

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.

References

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

Scottish Government (2015) Literature review on the impact of digital technology on learning and teaching. [Online] Available: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/24843/2/00489303.pdf [Accessed 19 February 2019]

February 18, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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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 is extremely useful to use in a classroom and I will definitely plan on using them in the near future.

References

BBC WebWise (2012) What is an e-book? [Online] Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-e-books [Accessed 3 February 2019]

Burden et. al. (2012) iPad Scotland Evaluation [Online] Available: http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39914/mod_resource/content/2/Scotland-iPad-Evaluation.pdf [Accessed 16 February 2019]

Children’s Parliament Consultation (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland: The Views of Children.

February 11, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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Week 4 – Coding

Tuesday 29th January

This week in digital technologies we learnt 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 finished 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 is 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.

References

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

Curtis, S. (2013) Teaching our children to code: a quiet revolution [Online] Available: http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39846/mod_resource/content/1/Teaching%20our%20children%20to%20code%20a%20quiet%20revolution%20-%20Telegraph.pdf [Accessed 30 January 2019]

 

January 28, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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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 normally interactive which allows children to experience different styles of learning and figure out what is best suited for them. 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. We focussed on the same CfE outcome as last week which was “I can tell the time using 12-hour clocks, realising there is a link with 24-hour notation” MNU 1-10a . We felt it was a good way of involving pupils and it allowed 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.

References 

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

January 21, 2019
by Lauryn Barclay
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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 good in groups. We worked well 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 by making a plan of the mat 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.

References

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online] Available: http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed 21 January 2019]

Lydon, A. ( 2007) Let’s Go With Bee-Bot: Using your Bee-Bot across the curriculum. TTS Group Ltd.

 

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