Week 3 – Multimodal texts

This week’s session was focused on multimodal texts, while looking at the ActivInspire and discovering the range of tools which can be used within the application to make it multimodal. In order to make a text multimodal it has to include at least 2 aspects of the semiotic system. There are 5 aspects in total which include:

  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Linguistic
  • Gestural
  • Spatial

As stated by Beauchamp (2012, p8) “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.” I believe multimodal is essential to keep children engaged in the classroom. It is an area which can be used for any curricular areas in a range of different ways.

ActivInspire is a popular tool used by teachers in order to enhance children’s learning through the use of interactive tools. It is an application which can be transferred to the interactive board which is seen in the majority of classrooms in todays society. It is a versatile tool which can be used for any stage and a range of curricular areas. The application is simply defined by “ActivInspire provides a vast suite of tools to create and deliver dynamic lessons.” During this session we were given the opportunity to either work independently or in pairs to create our own flipchart activity, including at least 2 aspects of the semiotic system. ActivInspire was always an application I was familiar with throughout both primary and secondary school which was commonly used throughout lessons.

 

Despite this, I have never had the chance to create my own flipchart. From a learners point of view, I always thought ActivInspire was an effective tool which was easy to operate which was why I was looking forward to have my own opportunity to create a flipchart of my choice. However, it was more complex than I expected and it took me a bit of time to get used to it. For this particular task, I decided to work in pairs as majority of the time I find this more effective. Before creating our flipchart, we decided to look at the resources on Moodle for some inspiration as we were unsure which curricular area to focus our flipchart on. After planning we decided to create it around math. The first page was a cover page, which was then followed by the cFE experiences and outcomes for the particular lesson. The lesson was focused on tens and units and targeted towards 1st level math’s. Children would be asked to move a box which revealed a number underneath, children would then be asked to move the appropriate boxes to the correct columns. Below are some images:

Despite really enjoying working my way through the ActivInspire, similar to all technology, there is disadvantages to this too. Firstly, I found it to be more time consuming than other applications I have previously used, such as PowerPoint and sway. The application itself also took some time to get used to and with the various tools available it can make it quite complex to make simple adjustments.

 

However, I recognize ActivInspire as an extremely effective tool used to enhance learning in an interactive way. The range of tools which can be used are incredible, such as the clock tool which is used to develop children’s understanding of time in an collaborative and captivating way.

 

In conclusion, I am eager to develop my skills within the ActivInspire application as it is a tool which I am keen to include throughout my lessons as a developing student teacher.

References

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

Promethean World website:

https://www.prometheanworld.com/en-gb/products/software-solutions/activinspire

 

Week 2 – Programmable toys

Week 2 – programmable toys

Introduction

The children in today’s classroom have grown up in a world where technology is a huge part of their generation and people’s day to day lives. It is extremely important to embed various types of technology throughout the curriculum and provide children with the necessary skills needed to be successful in today’s society. Despite their being a wealth of evidence that supports embedding areas of digital technologies within the curriculum, there is also criticisms towards this subject as experts argue that digital technologies are an unsuitable choice for children (Janka, P, 2008). This may be because children often get carried away when using several types of technology within lessons. However, I believe the benefits outweigh this and digital technologies are in fact a great tool used within classrooms.

Janka(2008) states that “The curriculum introduces programmable toys as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world.” This reinforces the importance of embedding areas of technology within parts of the curriculum to ensure children are ready for the ongoing developments in today’s world.

The task

This week in digital technologies we had the opportunity to explore the major benefits of using programmable toys within the classroom. I don’t have a lot of knowledge regarding programmable toys and rated myself a three in my personal assessment, however I recognise it as an extremely important area of the curriculum and I was looking forward to this workshop as I am eager to deepen my knowledge and understanding of programmable toys and embedding them within the curriculum. We were given the opportunity to either work alone or in groups to make a mat for the bee- bot. Personally, I had never used the bee bot within primary school, however, prior to the workshop I researched some of the main benefits of using programmable toys, in particular, the bee bot within classrooms. The bee bot is a very popular programmable toy which is used within many classrooms. It is a simple, easy tool which is specifically targeted towards children in early level. Bee bots are programmed to follow up to 40 instructions at one time. The bee bot is located with 7 simple buttons which enable it to move: forwards, backwards, turn left, turn right, stop, clear and go. When each button is pressed the bee-bot creates a small sound. Similarly, when the bee bot has been programmed to move the eyes light up. The bee bot is a very versatile programmable toy as there are many different mats which relate to a range of curricular subjects and different areas within that subject. For example, there are many mats available which focus on developing numeracy skills such as time, money and shape.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Can be used in a variety of subjects in many ways
  • Quick and easy to operate
  • They can help introduce the main ideas in a fun and simple way (NCTE, 2012)
  • Encourages hands on learning

 

I decided to work in a group alongside 2 of my peers. Before creating the mat, we decided to create a mind map of a few ideas we had and which curricular area it was targeted towards. We also watched some clips on YouTube to give us a feel of some of the existing maps. After preparing we decided to create our map around literacy and, in particular, phonic sounds. Phonics is an area which is introduced in early level and continually developed throughout first and second level. it is a vital area of the curriculum, which was why we decided to create our map around this. In order to make it more versatile we decided to make our mat double sided. The first side was targeted towards the ‘oo’ sound and the second side was targeted towards the ‘sh’ sound. Our mat fulfilled the following Cfe experiences and outcomes:

  • I explore sounds, letters and words, discovering how they work together, and I can use what I learn to help me as I read and write. (E NG 0-12a/ LIT 0-13a / LIT 0-21a)

Each side contained 20 drawings of pictures which contained that particular sound within. Alongside our mat, we had a wheel which contained different letters of the alphabet. Children would be asked to spin the wheel and whatever letter it landed on the children would have to find a picture beginning with the chosen letter and then programme the bee bot to go to the picture. Children would then be asked to spell out the sound either out loud or on a show me board. The purpose of this mat was to not only develop children’s phonics knowledge, but also to challenge children and help them gain practice with spelling, which is an area many children struggle with. When creating the mat, we all worked effectively as a team and took on different roles. We started by drawing out the mat ensuring each square was 15cm by 15cm. We then created two separate columns of each sound and then came up with words containing that sound which we then drew and stuck down. Finally, we created 2 wheels for each sound which children were able to spin.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe me and my peers worked well in a team. We divided up the tasks evenly and all took on an individual role which I feel worked effectively. Despite this, I feel we could have managed our time better as in certain areas we got carried away which delayed the process of our project. I understand time management as an extremely important skill in everyday life, more importantly as a teacher which is why I am going to take this feedback and ensure it is something I work on.

I really enjoyed this class and as a developing student teacher I am looking forward to embedding programmable toys within lessons both on placement and in the future.

 

References

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 1 – An introduction

Today I started my optional module, digital technologies. Prior to beginning university when I was given the choice of what module to pick I was really unsure which I would enjoy the most and, more importantly, which module would suit me best. During the induction week where by more information regarding each module was provided, I decided to stay with my original choice, digital technologies. When arriving in the class this morning I really did not know what to expect, I had done some reading in advance which was published by the government and it included various aspects as to why technology is used within classrooms and how it supports children’s learning. The document was very interesting and made me realise how big an aspect technology in learning is nowadays as opposed to when I left primary school in 2011.  I am excited to see what this module brings and I am eager to include various aspects of this module within both my teaching and learning as a developing student teacher.

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