For our last digital technologies lesson, we focused on the use of technology for outdoor learning specifically the use of QR codes as well as Pic Collage. Prior to today’s lesson I had no previous knowledge of what QR codes were or how to use them. A QR code (Quick Response code) is an image-based hyperlink that can be used as a link to a website, images, text, a map or an audio recording. I had experience of using the Pic Collage app however I would have never considered using it in the classroom setting. This lesson really educated me on the multiple ways I could introduce QR codes and pic collage into future lessons and the many benefits of doing so for my practice and the young learners in my classroom.
The lesson begun with us familiarising ourselves with the Pic collage app and attempting to incorporate the use of all the app features into a collage. As I had previous experience of using the app I found it very easy to navigate and to construct a collage. After this Graham informed us that we would be working outdoors in a QR code cracking task. To complete the task, we had to work within a group using the QR reading app to find scattered QR codes and answer the Scottish based questions in the text attached to the link. It was undeniable that all participants were having fun throughout this task. The task brought out the friendly competitive side in all of us as well as team work. Despite my group being the last to complete the task we all enjoyed working together outdoors in a new and exciting setting.
As a learner using pic collage I found the app very easy to navigate and to use the apps features. I enjoyed taking the pictures of my friends to include in the collage and customising each phot with stickers, text and backgrounds. For the outdoor task, I was excited to start the code cracking treasure hunt and eager to participate in the outdoor learning as when I was in school I had very little experience of it. While participating in the task my group and I remained energetic, engaged and excited to complete the task. I feel this is very important as despite being adults, we were all running around outdoors eager to win the task thus I feel if this is the level of enthusiasm from adults the enthusiasm from children doing this task would be double and therefore we should aim to integrate outdoor learning with QR codes into curriculum lessons.
From the perspective of a student teacher I feel after participating in this lesson as a learner that I must continue to experiment with outdoor learning and QR codes, so I may use them for future lessons. Education Scotland (2010) spoke on the advantages of introducing outdoor learning to young learners “the outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from pre-school years through to college.” As well as these advantages, outdoor learning can also aid children’s personal development through learning problem solving and teamwork. Young learners are also educated on personal safety by being given the responsibility of working outdoors in the community their road safety, respect and sense of stranger danger are tested. Additionally, introducing outdoor learning promotes a healthy lifestyle for young learners by encouraging walking, running, cycling and active play. By introducing outdoor learning to future lessons, I hope to encourage and aid inclusion for all as outdoor learning provides an opportunity for children to showcase new skills they may not be able to show in the classroom.
Furthermore, Learning and teaching Scotland detailed that outdoor learning “provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors.” (Learning and Teaching Scotland 2010). Firstly, outdoor learning can be linked to science through outdoor experiments in natural environment as well as social studies lessons through organised field trips. Additionally, outdoor learning can be linked to health and wellbeing lessons as it encourages children to experiences challenges in the outdoor environment as well as promoting safety. This links to the curriculums SHANARI wheel (wellbeing wheel) which shows how outdoor learning can link to the eight wellbeing indicators: Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurture, Achieving, Responsible, Respect and Included.
Overall after reviewing to the benefits of using QR codes, Pic collage and specifically outdoor learning I feel I must aim to ensure I include these resources in future lessons. After today I am confident and full of ideas of the ways I could link these resources into areas of the curriculum.
In reflection of my time in the Digital technologies class I feel my knowledge and understanding has significantly developed since my first lesson. For my first lesson I barely knew how to navigate my apple mac computer compared to now where I have the experience, knowledge and confidence of using multiple technologies and apps. During my first lesson I rated my knowledge of apps such as Scratch Jr, ActivInspire and Puppet Pals as 1/5 due to having no prior knowledge or experience of using them. However, on our last day we were asked to rate our knowledge of these apps again and this time I chose much higher ratings of 4/5. At the beginning of this module I was naïve to think that technology was used only in the ICT suite, as a reward for good work or to fit only technology curriculum outcomes. However, now I understand that technology can be used as an aid for multiple curriculum lessons and outcomes such as Numeracy, Literacy, Science etc. Finally, over the course of this module my confidence has increased greatly. During the first few lessons I had little to no self-belief that I would be able to understand technology like Programmable Toys and ActivInspire or find the ideas to use them in future lessons. Yet today I feel confident in using all apps I experienced within this module and am full of ideas on how to integrate these apps into future lessons so the young learners in my classroom can experience the educational benefits of technology.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-through-outdoor-learning.pdf [Accessed 20th March 2018]
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.