This week the Digital Technology model focused on interactivity and multimodality, specifically on the importance and impact of ActivInspire in the classroom. A text may be called multimodal when it features two or more modes of communication such as image, sounds, written language etc. These modes can be described formally as semiotic systems, there are five systems which can turn a text into a multimodal text: Linguistic, Visual, Audio, Gestural, Spatial. The use of these semiotic systems in a lesson can result in the educational content becoming more engaging for the learner as it allows them to understand and interact with the lesson through hands on learning. During todays lesson we reviewed the benefits and impact of introducing multimodality into the classroom through apps such as ActivInspire while creating our own ActivInspire lesson.
During the class we got to experiment with ActivInspire by designing a lesson that incorporated the use of Activinspire into a literacy or numeracy lesson. Myself and my partner chose to use ActivInspire as an introduction activity for a literacy lesson, specifically as an aid to help children with their creative writing. Our activity challenged the young learners to work together as a class to construct a fictional piece of text based on an imaginary day in the jungle while using imagery such as similes to describe the animals they encountered. We planned on engaging with the children by asking each volunteer to come to the board and select an animal they wished to include in their story while asking them to provide an appropriate simile or adjective to describe their chosen animal. After all animals have been chosen our activity would progress to constructing sentences with the whole class designing an opening sentence for their story. This would provide the children with examples of adjectives they could use to in their own stories while supporting them with the opening sentences to inspire their thought process.
As a learner using ActivInspire for the first time I feel it is a difficult application to use. Before using ActivInspire I watched multiple YouTube tutorials on how to navigate the app and use its features however I feel even after watching the time-consuming tutorials I still struggled to use the app. Thus, I feel ActivInspire is not an app I would have young children using alone but perhaps as an aid for a lesson perhaps a smartboard activity for the whole class as we had designed in our lesson task.
From the perception of a student teacher in training I feel that ActivInspire would be an effective aid for classroom lessons as they have multiple benefits and a significant impact on young learners. Hands on learning allows children to absorb the educational content more effectively as they are physically engaging with the lesson. Educator Janice Prandstatter spoke on the impact of interactive displays in early learning on an online article ““Touch displays can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences, thereby helping children to learn by doing.” (Prandstatter 2014). Thus, it is important in education to always strive to maintain your learners’ attention and aim to encourage their interaction with the activity or learners will switch off from the lesson and not learn anything. Beauchamp spoke on the importance of using multimodality in the classroom and the impact of its use on children’s understanding “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). Ergo, it is apparent that if I wish to develop my knowledge of digital technology to further develop my practice I must experiment with ActivInspire and other multimodal technologies to enhance my experience that I can incorporate with future lessons.
Additionally, ActivInspire can be used to support multiple curriculum outcomes. For example, we based our ActivInspire activity around the Curriculum for Excellence guidelines, specifically Literacy and Technology outcomes:
“Throughout the writing process, I can check that my writing makes sense.” LIT 1-23a
“I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts.” TCH 1-01
To conclude after my research and trial of Activinspire in today’s lesson I feel it is a teaching software I would consider using as a tool for future lessons. I feel it would be a great asset to use as an introduction for lessons such as creative writing or addition and subtraction lessons. However, I personally feel the ActivInspire activity can take a long time to prepare thus I would be unlikely to include the activity in everyday lessons. Nevertheless, due to their multiple benefits they can have on a child’s learning it is important as a student teacher that I focus on incorporating the use of ActivInspire into future lessons.
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
Prandstatter, J (2014). Interactive Displays in Early Years Classes.[Online] Available:http://connectlearningtoday.com/interactive-displays-early-years-classes/ . [Accessed: 23 January 2018)