Lynne's Reflective Journal- Digital Technologies

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April 3, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Final Blog

Introduction


Over the past 12 weeks I have explored so many new things surrounding technology. It has helped me realise how useful and important the use of technology is in the classroom. Technology has rapidly become a huge part of everyone’s everyday life. According to Prensky, today’s pupils “have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age.” (2001, pg. 1). I believe it is vital that we incorporate it within teaching and learning as this will help to reflect the world out with school.

What Digital Technologies has Taught Me


I have learnt and developed so much in the past weeks but a huge skill I have developed is my reflection. Completing these blogs has helped me discover things I could have improved on and to help weigh the advantages and disadvantages of certain tasks. This is a hugely important skill that I will continue to develop as this is a very useful skill to have as a teacher. Even though I am a digital native myself, it has shown me many different ways technology can be used within the classroom. Many of these have been ways I would never have thought of to use. In addition, it has also helped to develop my confidence with different types of technology and taught me not to be scared to use it within a classroom.

Self Evaluation


At the start of this class we were given a self evaluation. I was not very confident in many of the areas, but I do believe my confidence has grown in many of these areas.

  • ActivInspire

I had rated myself a 0/5 at the start as I had never heard of this or used it. However, after discovering what it was, I realised that I had seen this used in the classroom. It was hard to use at first, but I slowly figured out how to use it. I would now rate myself a 3/5 as I am still a bit uncertain about it but once I continue to use it I will be more confident.

  • Programmable Toys

I gave myself a 2/5 as I had some experience with these but was not confident in how to use them. After focusing on these I am very confident with using these and would be able to use these in a classroom. Therefore, I would give myself a 5/5.

  • Coding

At the start I gave myself a 0/5 as I never had any experience with this. I also had no idea how I would use this in the classroom. However, after using this I have discovered how easy and effective thus can be so would now give myself a 5/5

  • iPad

At the start I gave myself a 5/5 as I believed I could use one effectively. I still agree with this and would rate myself the same.

  • Games-based Learning

I gave myself 5/5 for this also as I had played video games throughout my life. After learning about this I would also agree with this as I would be able to use games to enhance teaching.

  • Outdoor Learning

At the start I gave myself a 4/5 as I felt quite confident in this area. I would still agree with this rating as I do not think I have improved here as much as everywhere else.

  • Glow

I rated myself 3/5 as I was unsure about how to do certain things but could still use it. I believe I would now give myself 4/5 as I feel confident using this but there are still a few things I am unsure of.

Conclusion


Overall, this class has enhanced my understanding of how important using technologies in a classroom really is. I believe this is something that should be used as it can corelate with the world around us which is filled with technology. I have improved a lot with my use of technology and with my reflective skills. I have really enjoyed this option and I am sad it is over. However, everything I have learnt will stay with me and will come in useful in the future.

References


  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. [Online] Vol.9(5), pp.1-6. Available: Emerald Management 111. [Accessed: 03 April 2019]

April 2, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Outdoor Learning

Introduction


IIn our final week of Digital Technologies, we were focusing on outdoor learning by using QR codes. Outdoor learning is very important as it can corelate what we have learnt in a classroom with the outdoor world. OR codes are defined as “a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.” (Oxford dictionaries, 2019). For our task today we were to create an activity using QR codes and incorporate that in outdoor learning. I’ve had a little experience with QR codes as we used them in high school once. This meant I knew how they worked and could help with coming up with an idea of what we could do.

The Task


For the task we decided to create a scavenger hunt using QR codes. However, it took us a little while to decide what kind of questions we were going to ask. We ended up deciding to use maths questions. There would be multiple choice answers to the questions and the answers would give you a letter. There would also be a different letter on the back of the QR code. At the end they will be asked to make a word with the letters to see if they have the right answers. We used the word calculator as it was maths related and we used different types of maths questions as we think this could be used as a revision exercise.

This was our plan for each QR code. There would be a clue after the maths question as to where the next one would be. We would tell whoever is doing the scavenger hunt to make sure to collect all the codes after they have scanned them to make sure they’ve been to everyone. These were the experiences and outcomes for our task.

“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”

“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”

We then paired up with another group and swapped tasks, they completed our task and we completed theirs. Their task was a lot different than ours. They had used the book creator app and created book where we had to complete a shopping list and scan different items for the price. I thought it was very creative and a great idea. However, it was over in less than five minutes. This meant the time they spent on creating was a lot more than it would take to complete. When feeding back to them we suggested some improvements to make the task longer. For example, having the children create their own shopping list from the items there and then adding them up or asking the children to continue the book. This was a hugely important lesson for us all the learn as student teachers, that time is crucial. We cannot spend loads of time on an activity that will last a couple of minutes otherwise we would get nothing done.

Benefits of Outdoor Learning


There are many benefits to outdoor learning. According to Education Scotland outdoor learning can be very motivating, interesting and is available to most (2010).

Outdoor Learning can also help to develop many different skills.

  • Develops critical thinking
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle
  • Develop skills to assess their own safety and manage their risks.
  • Communication skills
  • Team-working skills

Conclusion


Overall, outdoor learning can be a different way to teach and has many advantages. It can also develop many skills that are important within and out with school. Using QR codes is a fun and inventive way to teach or consolidate knowledge and can be used in many different ways. It is very useful and important to learn as many places may use them in everyday life. Overall, I feel this is something I might use in the class room as I believe the pupils will enjoy it and still learn at the same time.

References


  • Oxford Dictionaries. (2019) Definition of e-book in English [Online] Available: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/e-book [Accessed: 2 April 2019].
  • Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.

March 20, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Games-based Learning

Introduction


For week 9 we were focusing on games-based learning. Gaming is hugely popular with children, according to Ofcom Report (2011) 90% of 8-11 year old and 86% of 5-7 year olds play gaming devices on a regular basis. This shows just how popular gaming is so if it can be used in an educational way it could be an extremely effective way to teach children. I grew up using gaming devices such as a Nintendo DS, a Nintendo Wii, an Xbox and I even played games on the computer such as The Sims. I believe if they were used to aid in learning I would have really enjoyed it and would find it a nice different way to learn. However, I was still apprehensive about these being used as a tool for learning. This is because I was unsure of how it could enhance learning and if children would just get distracted by the game itself and therefore not completed the task.

The Task


For this week’s task we were to work in groups and create an interdisciplinary plan using the game Minecraft. Minecraft have their own version educational version making it a perfect way to using games in the classroom, especially since it is a hugely popular game.

We started by using Minecraft to see what we could do with the game, and how it could be used within the classroom. At first, we found it difficult to think of ideas of what we could do that weren’t using Minecraft for the sake of using it but were actually going to enhance the learning by using Minecraft. We eventually came up with ideas for four sections of the curriculum.

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Literacy


We created a mindmap with all of our different ideas for the different subject areas. We used this table to help highlight our ideas for each of the sections and to write down the experiences and outcomes associated with these.

For Health and Wellbeing, our main idea was that we would use the survival mode on Minecraft and the children would have to try and survive a day while cooking their own meals. Since different foods provide you with different amounts of energy it would allow the children to learn that they need a balance within meals. The experience and outcome that we associated with this was “By investigating the range of foods available I can discuss how they contribute to a healthy diet. HWB 1-30a”

For Maths, our ideas were that they could use the maps to find each other in the game with help of a compass. This will allow them to think about North, South, East and West. After this we could also ask them to use coordinates to get to a certain location. The experience and outcome focussed on this is “in movement, games and using technology I can use simple directions and describe positions. MTH 0-17a” Our next idea was to link maths with art by getting them to create their own house using symmetrical patterns. They would also have to count how many blocks they needed to build their house. The experience and outcome for this would be “I can explore and discuss why different shapes fit together and create a tiling pattern with them. MTH 1-16b”

For science, our idea was to take advantage of having the different elements of the periodic table in the game. We would get the children to re-create the periodic table by using an image or we could get them to separate the elements into metals and non-metals. We could also allow them to find as many elements or metals as possible and have them see what they could create with these. The experience and outcome for this is “Through exploring properties and sources of materials, I can choose appropriate materials to solve practical challenges. SCN 1-15a”

Finally, for literacy, our main idea was that they could create their own story plan in Minecraft and then afterward they can write or create a storyboard of the story they planned in Minecraft. This would allow them to tell us why they choose all of the things they had chosen to do. The experience and outcome for this was “Having explored the elements which writers use in different genres, I can use what I learn to create my own stories, poems and plays with interesting structures, characters and/or settings. ENG 1-31a2”

The last part of our task was to present our ideas to the rest of the class. This was quite scary for me as I find it hard to talk to a big group of people around my age or older. I still felt like it was a good idea as since we are training to become teachers, we need to be comfortable speaking in front of others. Although it does feel different speaking in front of a class of children rather than a group of adults. This was still a great way to practice my presentation skills.

Use in Schools


There are many more ways Minecraft can be used within schools. I took note of some of the other ideas people had. It can be used to:

  • Practice fraction work
  • Build your own castle after learning about different castles
  • Create chemicals and compounds
  • Create your own dream home
  • Re-create historical landmarks
  • Write a story then give it to another to act out in Minecraft
  • Debate whether games-based learning is useful

Games-based learning can also help to develop may skills, such as:

  • “Strategic Thinking
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • Application of numbers
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Group decision-making
  • Data Handling Skills.”

(Beauchamp, 2012, p.10).

Conclusion


Overall, I believe games-based learning can be extremely useful in aiding learning. This is because it can create an interest within the pupils and is a much different way to help teach something. However, I do believe it has some downfalls as children may become distracted by the game and therefore not complete the work they are supposed to be doing. In addition, if it is just used for the sake of using a game and the game does not add to the learning then it would be a waste of time using it. Although I do believe if the task is right for the game then the positives would outweigh the negatives and would be amazing to use in the classroom.

References


  • Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 20th March 2019]
  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.

March 4, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Animation Part 2

Introduction


In week 8 we continued on the topic of animation. This time we were asked to plan an animation using iStopMotion which recreates a historical event, represents a geographical process e.g. glaciation, volcanic eruption, recreates a real-life scenario e.g. going to the dentist, shopping or explains a mathematical principle. Since I am a digital native (Prensky, 2001) I assumed I would find this quite easy and very enjoyable but, in the end, I still struggled with this a lot.

Summary of Last Week


Jarvis describes animation by stating it “involves the stringing together a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move.” (2015, p89).

Animation can also help to increase learning by:

  • “To enhance learners’ visual representations.”
  • “To illustrate processes.”
  • “To provide an interactive element”

(Jarvis, 2015, p92)

The Task


For this task I worked in a group of five. We first decided we would do our animation on a geographical process, but it took as a while to figure out which one to do. In the end we decided upon a tsunami. We planned out the different scenes using a story board.This was an effective way to plan this as we could easily see roughly what we wanted to happen throughout our animation. Our story starts with some Lego people on the beach playing with a ball, which was made out of paper and stick to a stick so it could be easily moved. Then some clouds, made by putting cotton wool onto a stick, came in. After this we had the tsunami warning sign. Then the waves, these were made using blue paper and stuck onto sticks, hit destroying the land, a house is taken down by the waves. A helicopter comes and saves one of the Lego people and takes them to safety. Finally, we have some tsunami facts at the end to allow awareness of how deadly these can be.

Although, I was extremely happy with the final product I found the whole experience quite difficult and frustrating. I do believe working in teams for these kinds of tasks is great however for this one I felt our group was too big as there was not stuff for everyone to do at one time. This left people doing nothing while others were doing stuff. So therefore, feel if I was to use this in a class, I would make sure they were in smaller groups if enough iPads were available. I am not too sure if I would do this with a class as I felt it was quite frustrating and stressful so this could lead to disagreements when used with children. Although, I do believe they would still enjoy it as it’s a different way to create a story.

Conclusion


Overall, animation can have many benefits and can be a useful tool in classrooms to use. However, I am not sure if personally I would use it due to the issues I had with it. I am quite proud of our final product although, I do believe we could have done better. In the end it still portrayed the message we wanted to come across.

References


  • Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers. Routledge.
  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. [Online] Vol.9(5), pp.1-6. Available: Emerald Management 111. [Accessed: 2 March 2019].
  • Moving Image Education website: [Online] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 3 March 2019]

March 4, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Animation Part 1

Introduction


For week 7 we looked at the use of animation. We decided to look at this over two weeks as there is a lot to focus on. For the first week we have been given a couple of different tasks to complete using various apps and websites. I’ve not had much experience when it comes to animation and have never used it much before. I was quite excited as I felt like it was something I would enjoy although knew some of it would be very time consuming. I feel like animation is an easy way to teach a lesson or tell a story which can be very interactive.

Animation


Jarvis describes animation by stating it “involves the stringing together a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move.” (2015, p89). There are many different types of animation, Moving Image Education states that the main five are:
• Cutout – This is considered the least difficult and can be faster than the other types
• Stop-motion – example is plasticine models
• Pixillation – This is where humans are used as the puppets
• Drawn – This is more traditional animation, for example Disney’s classic animation.
• Computer – This is what you tend to find in movies and games. It can also be referred to as CGI

Animation will also help to enhance learning. According to Bertrancourt (2005) there are three main ways it can do so. The first way is it can help to increase pupils’ visual representations. It can also help to effectively layout different processes. Finally, animation can be used to create an interactive way of learning.

The Tasks


For this week we were to explore animation, so we were set tasks to complete. The first task was to see the app Puppet Pals and to create a story on it using voice recording, movement and changing the size of characters. My story was about a knight that went to fight a giant but got scared and ran away. A princess then comes and saves the day. I found this app quite confusing to use at first then I got the hang of it. Since you were not able to move the characters arms or anything, I felt it was hard to create different scenes as they didn’t move well. Overall, I was not a huge fan of this app, but I do feel it’s a simple way to introduce children into creating animation.

We were then asked to look at the moving image education website ( https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation ) which is very useful for information on subjects such as this. We also watched a few tutorials on how to create stop motion animation which we would be focussing on next week.

The final task was to create a short stop motion animation using a bendy figure using the iStopMotion app. My stop motion animation was very simple, and I just had my bendy figure move its arms. I found using stop motion quite difficult at first as its very fidgety but once I got into it, it was really enjoyable. I feel like this would be a fun task for kids as they would enjoy the creative side to this.

Conclusion


Overall, I feel animation has many advantages and can be a useful tool to use in the classroom. Due to their being multiple types of animation it can be used at many levels of learning and many subject areas. I am looking forward to the next week where we will be creating our own Stop Motion animation.

References


  • 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] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 28 February 2019]

February 19, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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iMovie

Introduction


Week 6 of digital technologies focussed on movie making. We used an app called iMovie on the iPads and were to create a story surrounding the topic of internet safety. Technology and in particular the internet are becoming a huge part of our everyday lives and the majority of people we will be teaching in primary schools will be digital natives (Prensky, 2001). So, it is vital we are taught how to stay safe on the internet as this can be an extremely dangerous place if used incorrectly. I was quite excited to work with iMovie as I thought it would be something really enjoyable to create. However, I was quite apprehensive with the topic as it is something extremely important to keep child friendly but also make sure they are aware of risks.

The Task


For this task I worked in a group of 5 people. We found it difficult to find something to focus our movie on as internet safety incorporates so much so we created a mind map to try and get some ideas together. In the end we decided to base our story on the idea of catfishing. We created a plan so that we knew exactly what we needed to film so therefore would become more productive.

Our Story Plan

Our movie started off having Chloe scrolling through her Instagram and then posting a photo while sharing her location. After this we had Ross looking through Chloe’s Instagram and screenshotting her pictures. He then created a fake account pretending to be Chloe. He then messaged me as Chloe and told me that she had created a new account and asked if I wanted to meet up. I ended up meeting up with him and realising that it was not actually Chloe. We then ended our video with key points of how to stay safe on the internet.

We would use this at primary 6-7 as it is quite a mature topic. The experience and outcome we choose to tie this in with was “I can explore online communities demonstrating an understanding of responsible digital behaviour and I’m aware of how to keep myself safe and secure.” TCH 2-03a.

Although I was very wary with focusing on a topic that needs to be both child friendly and still be realistic about scary side of the internet, I was really happy with the end product. It turned out much better than I thought it would. I think this would be a great task for children as it’s a different way to teach internet safety. by creating their own story it can help them to understand the consequences of not keeping safe on the internet better than reading through a website/text book or doing a worksheet.

iMovie Uses and Skills


iMovie does not just have to be used for internet safety, there are so many different ways it can be used. For example, it can be used in literacy as a different way to tell a story, it can be used to film a debate and show the two different sides and it can also be used to tell stories of different historical events or people.

iMovie helps to develop so many skills. While we were creating our movie, we took note of the different skills we used.

  • Listening
  • Working with Others
  • Talking
  • Creativity
  • Drama/Acting
  • Problem Solving
  • Research
  • Literacy

There are so many more skills that can be developed through the use of this. This app is such a good creative outlet for people to use and allows you to learn in a different way than would be typically be used. It gives children a new way to learn about storytelling as it doesn’t have to be all written down, the majority of the work will be created on the app itself. This will be very empowering for children who have great ideas for stories but find it hard to transmit them to paper. I definitely believe children would enjoy using this in the classroom and I would definitely consider using this in the future.

Internet Safety


Internet Safety is incredibly important for children to know because so many young children put so much of their lives on social media, so they need to be aware of how to be safe and know when something has gone wrong. Beauchamp believes that we should focus on educating children on this rather than stopping them for accessing the internet and social media (Beauchamp, 2012). I fully agree with this as we need to forget our biases about whether or not children should have these platforms, as no matter what we say they will still have them and teach them about how they can be as safe as possible. Beauchamp also tells us we need to children to know what to do in case something actually does go wrong. This is extremely important so that if something does go wrong, they know exactly what to do and how to deal with it rather that it getting worse.

The key ideas we came up with for our movie were:

  • To keep all accounts private
  • Do not add people you do not know
  • Do not share personal information e.g. phone number or address
  • Do not share your location
  • When in doubt tell an adult

Overall, I believe internet safety is crucial to teach children especially as we are now relaying heavily on the internet and technology.

Conclusion


The use of iMovie is incredibly useful and is an important tool to utilise for any topic. I believe our task highlighted some dangers of the internet while still staying child friendly. However, if I were to teach this topic in schools I think I would rather use a premade video from a reliable website as it may be better quality and will get the point across better. Instead I may ask the children to create their own movie on the topic of internet safety. Internet safety is important to teach in the right way so that children stay interested and follow the rules to stay safe online. In addition, it must be taught in schools, so that children are aware of the dangers and know what to do if anything bad happens.

References


  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. [Online] Vol.9(5), pp.1-6. Available: Emerald Management 111. [Accessed: 19 February 2019].
  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.

February 12, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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eBooks and the Use of Mobile Devices

Introduction


We focussed on the use of eBooks during week 5 of digital technologies. Oxford Dictionaries defines an eBook as “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device.” These can be very useful in the classroom as it allows multiple books to be stored. For our task we were to create an interactive summary of a children’s book using the book creator app on the iPads. I have used the book creator app previously in a Literacy for Understanding class so I felt I would be able to use this app effectively. The use of mobile devices, such as iPads, have become very popular in many schools and I will discuss later the different benefits of this.

The Task


Like last week I worked on my own for this task and had choose the book “Oi Dog” by Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field. This book had a frog talking about what different animals should sit on based on a word that rhymes with that animal. For example, dogs would sit on logs.
For the task I created, I would get the children to read the book before and then they would use the eBook to answer questions about the book. This would also allow them to develop their knowledge with using the book creator app. For pages 2 and 3 I summarised the start of the book which explains why the frog wanted to change the rules.For page 4 I asked what other things a dog could sit on and to write their answers bellow. for page 5 I asked them to record their voices explaining what other words rhymed with bear. This would help to develop their rhyming skill and their own ability to use the app.For page 6 I asked what else pigs could sit on and asked them to answer using the text box tool. For page 7 I asked what else rhymed with whale and to record their answer as a video and to add it bellow.On page 8 I told them to find a picture of something that rhymes with mice and to insert it bellow. On page 9 I asked what the frog decided he could sit on and that they could use their favourite way they had used to answer.On page 10 I asked them to find a picture of an animal not mentioned in the book and to write what they think it would sit on. On the last page I had some consolidation questions.
I enjoyed using this app and I can imagine pupils in a classroom would enjoy this too. However, if I was to use this task in a classroom, I would choose a different book as this one was hard to summarise as it was more about rhyming rather that telling a story.

Use of iPads in the Classroom


We have used iPads already in digital technologies for Scratch Jr. and we will be using them to create an iMovie and stop motion animation. This only shows some of the potential iPads have if they are used correctly. Many schools are investing in iPads as a way to use technologies in the classroom.

Based on a survey of students by the education faculty at the University of Hull in 2012, many benefits were concluded. 99.6% of pupils believed that using an iPad made the learning more enjoyable. I agree with this as during the times we have used the iPads I have found the activities much more fun and exciting. 93.9% of students said they felt it helped make difficult ideas easier to understand. 91.2% of pupils also said that they felt that they learnt more when using the iPads. Finally, 88.8% of pupils felt that they worked with others more while using the iPads. I think these points are extremely important to listen to as it is coming directly from the pupils who will be the ones earning. Although they may be bias as they might want the iPads to be permanent and they be excited at the prospect of having a device they can take home and use.

Overall, I believe iPads can be an extremely powerful teaching tool as they can provide and different and more exciting way to learn. However, if these iPads are not used frequently or effectively then it might become a waste of money for the school.

Conclusion


Overall, I believe using mobile devices for tasks such as eBooks can be extremely effective and provides a different way for children to learn. Although, if the iPads are not used frequently then it might be a waste to have them. I believe my task went okay but could have been a lot better. I do believe this is something children would enjoy a lot as it was very interactive.

References


  • Oxford Dictionaries. (2019) Definition of e-book in English [Online] Available: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/e-book [Accessed: 12 February 2019].
  • Burden, K. Hopkins, P. Male, T. Martin, S. Trala, C. (2012) iPad Scotland Evaluation. [Online] Available: http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39914/mod_resource/content/2/Scotland-iPad-Evaluation.pdf [Accessed 12 February 2019]

January 31, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Coding

Introduction


Week 4 of digital technologies focussed on coding. We used the app Scratch Jr. on the iPad to help explore coding and to see how it could be used in a classroom. Our task this week was to create an interactive story promoting literacy skills using the app. I was a bit apprehensive about coding as I had never done this before and was not sure how easy it would be. Also, I thought it would be a lot harder than it was so was not sure how well children would be able to use it. However, once I used the app, I realised that it could be a useful tool to use within the classroom as it would engage the children well and was easy to use.

The Task


This was the first task in digital technologies that I worked on my own. I started off by just playing around with the app and getting used to using the different features. I was unsure of what to create using Scratch Jr. but when I was looking through the backgrounds, I notice that 4 of the backgrounds were similar. I realised that these were to show different seasons, that is when I had the idea to create a story using the different seasons. This would be a nice way to explore what all the different seasons typically look like and what tends to happen in each one. I started by having my character in her bedroom ready to go to school talking to the reader. After she headed to school where she found out she was learning about the different seasons. That’s when I realised one of the downfalls to using Scratch Jr. I was only able to create 4 slides which meant I could not have my introduction to the story and talk about all the seasons in the same story. I ended up deciding to delete the first 3 slides and to just jump straight into talking about the seasons. Looking back, this was probably easier as children can only sit for short periods of time so may not have wanted to sit through the introduction and then the rest of the story. The first slide started in Spring where the main character describes the season and the children have to guess what season it is. The second was in Summer, the third was in Autumn and the last one was in Winter.

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

I thought this was a nice use of all the sides as there are four different seasons. I was quite proud of the final product and really enjoyed using Scratch so I am sure children would be exactly the same. One thing I could have done differently would be to ask the children to create one or two of the seasons instead of doing them all myself.

Benefits of Coding


I personally believe that coding is quite an important skill for children to learn. Most children are what Prensky calls “digital natives” and especially when I go into teaching the children will be digital natives, so I think it’s important that children learn how digital technologies work. Children can help to develop their skills using coding programs such as Scratch Jr. as it helps them to think with a more creative outlook and help them to work well with others (The Lead Project, 2014). I agree that it helps them work more creatively but think many different types of work can help children work with others. Although this is still a useful skill to have so if it develops this then that’s also a very important aspect to consider. It can also help to aid teachers by helping them teach many subjects in a different interactive way (The Lead Project, 2014). I agree that this helps to find a new way to teach children different subjects. this can be useful so that the children have a different range of ways to learn.

Conclusion


Overall, I do believe that coding and coding programs such as Scratch Jr. can be useful in schools as it is a different way to engage children and can also keep them more aware of how digital technologies work in this digital world. I really enjoyed the task and would consider using this in schools if they had enough equipment to do this. I believe children would engage well and would enjoy creating their own story.

Reference List


  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. [Online] Vol.9(5), pp.1-6. Available: Emerald Management 111. [Accessed: 08 January 2019].
  • The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.

January 22, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
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Multimodality

Introduction


For week 3 of digital technologies we focussed on multimodality which we had previously talked about briefly in a literacy for understanding lecture. We explored multimodality through ActivInspire which is commonly used in classrooms. Our task for this session was to create a slide or a few slides you could use in a lesson that’s linked to one of the Curriculum for Excellence outcomes and experiences. Before coming to this class, I was unsure what ActivInspire was. After it was shown to us, I realised I had seen this used when I was on placement and while on placement I thought this was such a useful tool to use. It helped keep the pupils engaged and they enjoyed using it since it can be very interactive. Overall, I believe that multimodality is a very important as it can make use of a wide range of semiotic systems which will help more people learn efficiently.

Multimodality


Multimodal texts are texts that incorporate more than one semiotic system (Jewitt and Kress, 2003). The five semiotic systems are linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial. “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). I agree with Beauchamp as I believe all people learn in different ways so by using multiple semiotic systems it will allow for better understanding from more pupils. Multimodality links into the Curriculum for Excellence as they state, “The Literacy and English framework reflects the increased use of multimodal texts, digital communication, social networking and the other forms of electronic communication encountered by children and young people in their daily lives.” This shows it is also important that pupils must be able to understand what is being communicated in a multimodal text as they are becoming used more often in everyday life.

The Task


For this task I worked with a partner and we started off figuring out how to use ActivInspire as we both had not used it before. I had only seen it used and was looking forward to figuring out how to use it. We ended up decided to do a grid referencing task that link with the experience and outcome MTH 1-18a, “I have developed an awareness of where grid reference systems are used in everyday contexts and can use them to locate and describe position.” (Curriculum for Excellence, 2015, p.14). We used a field background and added a couple of animals to it. The task for the children would be to say what coordinates each animal was in.

Overall, I struggled with using ActivInspire at first and I found it quite difficult to get used to. However, I think if I spent time using it, I would be able to use it effectively. I did eventually get the hang of certain features but others I still struggled with. I do believe it is a very useful tool to use in the classroom because it can be a very interactive way of teaching children. Since its interactive it will help them learn effectively as it will keep them engaged in the classroom.

Conclusion


Overall, I believe multimodality is an extremely important part in teaching as it can involve many different learning styles together which will insure that many people will effectively be able to learn. I also believe it will keep pupils interested in what they are learning as many semiotic systems are incorporated within one piece of text. I was not as proud of the end result of my task as much as I was for the programmable toys task. This is because I was not used to using this so I knew that it could have been better than it ended up being. However, I still liked the final product and still feel that I will use ActivInspire in the future as it is a very useful tool for learning.

Reference List


Jewitt, C. (2008) Multimodality and Literacy in School Classrooms. Review of Research in Education. [Online] Vol. 32(1) pp.241-267. Available: Sage Journals. [Accessed: 22 January 2019].

Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the primary school: from pedagogy to practice. [Online] Available: Dawsonera. [Accessed: 22 January 2019].

January 20, 2019
by Lynne Douglas
0 comments

Programmable Toys

Introduction


For week 2 of digital technologies, we concentrated on programmable toys. We were given the task to choose a curriculum experience and outcome and to create an activity using a bee-bot that could help to support and develop upon this learning. I was looking forward to this task as I thought it would be very enjoyable. I have little knowledge when it comes to programmable toys as I rated myself a two on my self-assessment. I feel I know the basics and could be able to use them quite well, but I would still struggle a bit. Therefore, I was excited to develop my knowledge on this subject. I feel it will be an extremely effective tool to use while teaching as there are many benefits when it comes to using these, which I will further talk about in this blog post.

The Task


For this task I worked in a group of three which I found very helpful as we could easily bounce ideas off each other and help develop different idea to make them better. Even though I was in a group it still took us a little while to decide what experience and outcome to focus on. At first, we had the idea to do different colours. For example, the children would be asked what red and blue made and would have to programme the bee bot to move to purple. However, we could not find an experience and outcome that went with this, so we had to think of something else. It took a few ideas before we stuck with one, but we eventually choose to do create a mat that was to do with time. The experience and outcome we choose 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 throughout my day. MNU 1-10a” (Curriculum For Excellence, 2015, p. 48). We choose this outcome as we felt it would be a different and creative way to incorporate learning time.
The mat was four 15cm squares by four 15cm squares. On the bottom left square, the word “start” was written as this would be the point where the bee bot would start. Then on each alternating square there would be a time on either an analogue or digital clock. Along with the mat we also made cards that said different times of the day such as breakfast or bedtime. The child would have to match the card with the specific time of day this would happen at and then
programme the bee bot to move to that specific square. We felt like this was a good way for children to see how time links with their daily routine and also develop their skill of being able to tell the time.

I was really looking forward to doing this task as I knew it would be fun to create our own mat and to use the bee bot. I believe if I enjoyed doing this, I’m sure pupils in the classroom would also enjoy this. However, I do feel it would be quite time consuming creating this as depending on the size of class or group of children more than one mat may have to be made. For the task, I was proud of our overall idea and happy with the outcome as I believe children would enjoy using this and it would also develop their learning at the same time. Although if I was to change anything, I think I would make multiple digital and analogue clocks and stick them to the mat with blue tack so that the times can be moved around. This can also allow different times so the mat can be used more as the children will have to use their time skills rather than just learning where the right answers were placed on the mat. Overall, I believe using programmable toys in the classroom is a really important and useful tool as it can develop so many different skills. Since you can create your own mat you can specify it to certain subjects. We did ours on time but you could easily create a mat to help teach grid referencing, money, spelling etc. therefore this is so useful as it can be used multiple times.

Benefits of Programmable Toys


There are many benefits that come with programmable toys. They can help to introduce the main ideas in a fun and simple way (NCTE, 2012). This will allow children to learn this new concept easier as it may be more enjoyable for them. Programmable toys can also encourage children to work well in groups and can help them to talk about the task with others (NCTE, 2012). This is extremely important as it will help to develop the pupil’s skills in working with others and will help them to understand what they are doing better as the can help each other. They can also help to develop comprehend the modern world (Janka, 2008). This will help children become accustomed to digital technologies because these are now used in our everyday lives and it is important that we know how to use them. Using programmable toys will also develop cross-curricular links. However, even though there are many benefits of programmable toys I do feel that children could get carried away with them and just play with them rather than do the activity. Though I still feel that the benefits outweigh this and would make sure to keep an eye on the children to make sure they are actually doing the activity.

Conclusion


Overall, I believe that programmable toys will be extremely useful in the classroom as it will be a more enjoyable way for children to learn. It can also create many cross curricular links as they can be used to teach many different topics. This task went really well and enhanced my understanding of how I can use programmable toys in the future. Although creating the mats may be time consuming I think the overall outcome will outweigh this as it will be a very useful way for children to learn.

Reference List


NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy. [Online]http://www.ncte.ie/media/NCTE_Floor_robots_focus_on_literacy_numeracy_primary_12-06.pdf [Accessed: 20th January 2019]

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online]http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed: 20th January 2019]

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