Movie Making 13/02/2018

When I realised today we would be making our own movies, I was quite excited at the prospect and had a few ideas float around in my head of what I thought would work well. Working in a group, we were given the task to create a short movie, using the iMovie app on an iPad. The product was to be centred around the topic of ‘Internet Safety’ and be appropriate to view by primary school children which also gave a clear message to it’s audience.

Once we got our group, we came together and brainstormed, we collaborated effectively which resulted in us combining a few of our ideas together and came up with the idea to create a short film based on a popular young wizard and his friends – but with a twist. We all had various roles in the group; actor/actress, visual technician, head of wardrobe, runner and producer to name a few. The role I undertook myself was that of one of the main characters – Hairy Snotter. Miss Snotter was a young witch who was invited to a meeting place to meet with one of her friends. Little did she know that by talking to her ‘friend’ online she was actually being targeted by a stranger posing to be her friend and in fact almost landed herself in a lot of trouble. Thankfully her friend Mermione came to the rescue and advised Hairy to get rid of the imposter by casting a spell on him. Once they worked their magic on the imposter, we came out of character to inform the audience on the importance of staying safe online and advising them on where they can seek more help and information about keeping themselves safe online.

We centred our movie around cross-curricular experiences and outcomes. These touched on areas such as Health & Wellbeing, Literacy and Technology:

As I listen or watch, I can identify and discuss the purpose, main ideas and supporting detail contained within the text, and use this information for different purposes. LIT 2-04a

I listen or watch for useful or interesting information and I use this to make choices or learn new things. LIT 0-04a

To help me develop an informed view, I can distinguish fact from opinion, and I am learning to recognise when my sources try to influence me and how useful these are. LIT 2-08a

I can communicate clearly when engaging with others within and beyond my place of learning, using selected resources3 as required. LIT 1-10a

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 online communities demonstrating an understanding of responsible digital behaviour and I’m aware of how to keep myself safe and secure. TCH 2-03a

I understand that there are people I can talk to and that there are a number of ways in which I can gain access to practical and emotional support to help me and others in a range of circumstances. HWB 0-03a / HWB 1-03a / HWB 2-03a / HWB 3-03a / HWB 4-03a

Our message to the audience was clear – you cannot be too careful when using the internet. You may think you know who you are talking to and feel like you can trust the person at the other side of the screen. However, the internet can be a very dangerous place and can cause hurt and serious harm to those who choose to use it.

As a group we all had great fun creating our mini movie. There were great laughs and enjoyment throughout the time we were in character and out of character and used various props, settings and visuals to create an effective movie which would be memorable for the right reasons. When it came to using the iMovie app it was a brilliant resource that allowed us to put together snippets of video clips and stills we had created and piece them together in a way that produced a great end result. The tutorials we viewed individually prior to starting our movie were very useful as it gave us a valuable insight into the features and tools that were available to us and which gave our movie the important finishing touches.

Crating the movie was all fun and games yes, but remembering the reason why we were dong it left quite the impact on me being a mother and also a student teacher. Being an adult and being responsible for the safety of my own child and pupils now and in the future, creating a short movie reminded me of just how scary and dark the internet can be and that it can suck in the most vulnerable and trusting of children and have terrible outcomes. It is of great importance to educate our children on the importance of using the internet safely and effectively both in and out of the classroom and ensuring they are aware of what they should and should not be doing online. It is also vital to ensure children know they can seek advice and help from trusted adults such as their parents/carers or teachers regardless of how much trouble they might think they are in or if they feel they are being targeted in any way whatsoever.  As stated by Simpson and Toyn (2012), ”If we can educate children that they always have an adult they can seek support from, we can help keep children safe online”.

Using the iMovie app in today’s class certainly demonstrated and evidenced that it would also be just as an effective tool for children in the classroom as it was for me as an adult learner. The iMovie app would allow children to develop their skillset in technology and other areas of the curriculum by allowing them to work on their own project or movie as an individual or as part of a team. It can be from as simple as taking the iPad out to film a simple literacy task such as recording items they can see in the classroom or playground that begin with a certain sound or letter, to interviewing peers or members of staff in their school as part of their IDL topic or for research on a class project. iMovie can give children the opportunity to be autonomous and create something that maybe otherwise they wouldn’t be able to create through writing, talking or drawing. iMovie allows for children to show off their creative talents and witness their end result by viewing their finished product and feeling a great sense of achievement.

Beauchamp (2012) suggested that “…the most successful schools… in terms of e-safety ensured that pupils knew what to do when things went wrong”. By teaching our future generation about the safe use of the internet, we are ensuring our children and pupils are set in good stead for a future where they will be engulfed by technology, the internet and social medias. Children take chances and make mistakes. They are testing their own boundaries and their parents and teachers. However, by implementing e-safety in primary schools we are making our children and young learners know that it is important they ask for help and advice when it comes to the internet and to trust the adult they know and can see, not the person behind the keyboard.

Overall, today was a great success. I found using the iMovie app enjoyable and it is certainly a resource I will be looking to use in my own classroom in the future. I found it to be particularly effective around today’s topic and can only imagine the other types of awareness can be raised through the use of one digital technology tool in the classroom.

References

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

Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [First Accessed 13 February 2018]

Simpson D., Toyn M. (2012) Primary ICT Across the Curriculum. Sage

 

 

eBooks in Education… 05/02/2018

Reflecting upon today’s class of eBooks, I firstly found myself thinking about how fast the Digital Technologies module has gone in so far. It seemed that not long ago we were faced with a range of modules in which we got to select our own choice for undertaking in our second trimester. When I first looked over the options, Digital Technologies was the one which certainly caught my attention first. I assumed that it would be a module which explored the use of ‘teacher’ resources in a classroom such as SmartBoards or getting to grips with printers and photocopiers – quite naive, I know. But knowing that I had areas I needed to develop to become more competent in the technology field, I was looking forward to getting started and expanding my skillset and knowledge. However, looking back at the first class and receiving our introduction to the module, I quickly realised that it was going to be a module that not only enhanced my own learning and knowledge, but also that of the pupils I teach in the near and distant future – wow!

When we were asked the question of, “What is an eBook to you?” I immediately thought ‘kindle’. This then led me to think of the prospect of children sat in a classroom, with their heads bowed, stuck in a smart device reading their reading books or taking instruction or direction from what I can only assume would be another hand held wifi enabled device they would then have access to. Not that I am against technology, but I do find that children in society today are easily pacified with their iPads or mobile phones which when I was younger, I never had access to. I find myself quite a traditionalist when it comes to books. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of reading a ‘real’ book. Flicking through the pages, eager to find out what happens next; convincing myself that at the end of each chapter i’ll put it down and go to sleep but knowing that really i’m lying to myself and I will instead fall asleep and wake up with it somewhere at the side of my bed; being able to mark my page with the homemade bookmark my daughter made me which is adorned with hearts and kisses. I love the feel of a real book and so was a bit sceptical at first when I was wondering where eBooks would fit into a classroom.

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of an eBook is as follows:

‘An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose’.

Up until today’s class, that is exactly how I interpreted what an eBook was. However after today’s input I can gladly say that I now no longer have the aforementioned perception.  After discussing in groups with peers what we considered an eBook to be, I gained a lot more in depth understanding of eBooks. Not just used for novels, but can be used in the kitchen for cookbooks and recipes, for online shopping and accessing catalogues along with academic texts and journals.

One of the tasks we were given today was to create an eBrochure as a group, designed to give information on life as a student at the University of the West of Scotland, using the Book Creator app on an iPad. The beauty of the Book Creator app was that it allowed us to turn what could have been just text and images to inform others, into a multimodal text; containing sound, moving images, and text along with spatial and gestural aspects. In completing our task, the Book Creator app highly appealed to me as both a student and prospective professional primary educator. Simply, taking a novel or short story and creating a multimodal eBook that contains a host of different, eye-catching and attention grabbing features allowed me to see the real benefits that eBooks would have in a classroom and most definitely gave me the answer to my question – ‘where do ebooks fit in a classroom?’

Our final task today was to take a children’s novel and create our own eBook version of it, which was focused around a literacy outcome. After having created the eBrochure I was enjoying exploring the different features of the app and found myself keen to get to grips and become more familiarised with the app. I wanted to create an eBook that I thought would be of benefit to a learner/learners who have different learning styles but also for children of all abilities in order to enhance their learning experience through digital technologies.  The use of eBooks have a variety of benefits on children and young learners; from assisting children who require different resources and tools to suit their own learning style, to enhance children’s skillset and knowledge on ICT equipment in the classroom and to also give children an equal and fair chance of discovering what type of technology is available to not only access but to use to its maximum capacity. This is evidenced and supported by Beauchamp (2012), who  stated that “The first, and perhaps most important reason for using ICT in the classroom is that it can have a positive effect on attainment.” The findings by Beauchamp evidence that technology can in fact have positive impacts on raising attainment and assisting in closing the gap.

Technology in the classroom covers a wealth of subject areas, not only literacy. It can be used in science, arts, health and wellbeing and numeracy to name a few. Although our task today was centred on literacy, it also covered another area of the curriculum – technology. The following experiences and outcomes were the ones in which i focused my eBook on and evidence that technology in the classroom does not cover only one area of the curriculum.

I am learning to select and use strategies and resources before I read, and as I read, to help make the meaning of texts clear. LIT 1-13a

I regularly select and read, listen to or watch texts which I enjoy and find interesting, and I can explain why I prefer certain texts and authors. LIT 1-11a/LIT 2-11a

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

Overall, today’s input has managed to successfully change my viewpoint on having eBooks in the classroom. By taking a simple text and creating a multimodal creation out of it, it will allow me to engage my pupils in the future with technology effectively and also deliver lessons which they will not find repetitive and mundane. In conclusion, it was found by ‘A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland – The Views of Children’ that,

 

“Looking forward, children thought that accessing iPads or other classroom technology should be seen as the usual/normal thing to do, and not just something offered as a reward or part of Golden Time.”

Our children and young learners in Scottish education feel that technology should be incorporated into a daily teaching environment and should not be seen as a reward or accolade for them. Using the Book Creator app is certainly a resource that I endeavour to use in my classroom as a professional along with many other exciting and beneficial programmes I have discovered throughout the course of the Digital Technologies module. While still enjoying the thrill of a paperback book myself, I certainly now see the benefits for myself as to how the Book Creator app and eBooks can have a staggering affect on children’s education, while increasing my own knowledge and skillset as a prospective teacher.

References

Beauchamp, G (2017) Computing and ICT in the Primary School From Pedagogy to Practice 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Oxford Dictionary (2018) – E-Book Definition. Available online at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/e-book [First Accessed: 9th February 2018] Author: Oxford University.

Scottish Government. (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland.  Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Available online at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/0050  [First Accessed: 9th February 2018].

Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence Available online at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [First Accessed: 10th February 2018]

 

 

Coding with Scratch Jnr 30/01/2018

Upon completion of today’s lesson in Digital Technologies, we were required to blog about our experience using an online resource that allowed us to revisit the concept of coding. Having previously had some experience in coding which involved creating a lesson using the programmable toy BeeBot, I was looking forward the prospect of using a different tool that would give me more depth and insight into another coding programme that I could use in both my student and professional capacity. The task given to us today was to create an interactive story through coding, using the programme Scratch Jnr. Scratch Jnr was developed for young people to help them develop creative learning skills for the 21st century. Such skills include collaboration, problem solving, logical reasoning and creative thinking. Furthermore, it was  created in such a style in order to aid more enhanced learning whilst being adaptable and can be suited to individual learning styles for our children.

So why coding? Coding allows for children to be immersed into technology whist keeping in line with a diverse and technological society that we live in. It also allows for children to use their creative skills and imagination in conjunction to write a computer programme. The Lead Project (2014) states that,

” They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for success and happiness in today’s world.”

Technology surrounds us everywhere on a daily basis; from smartphones and tablets, to smart boards in the classroom to reading flight times and information off of digitalised boards at airports. Children need to gain skills that will set them in good stead for their future as a young adult and continuing on through the rest of their life where technology is a prominent feature.  As suggested by Naughton (2012),

”Starting in primary school, children from all backgrounds and every part of the UK should have the opportunity to: learn some of the key ideas of computer science; understand computational thinking; learn to program; and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence in these activities.”

Today’s task saw us create an interactive story through using coding, by using the Scratch Jnr resource on an iPad.  I felt quite confident in using the app as we had been given access to tutorial cards and online tutorial videos to view before we accessed the app which I found to be of benefit to me. It allowed me to gain an understanding of a lot of the features available on the app along with ideas and varying ways of creating an engaging and inviting story for children which would gain their interest and hold their attention. The story was to be based around promoting literacy skills whilst linking to the Curriculum for Excellence. I created a story which encompassed the following experiences and outcomes from early level outcomes the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence:

I enjoy exploring and choosing stories and other texts to watch, read or listen to andcan share my likes and dislikes. LIT 0-01b/LIT )-11b

I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and, sharing my thoughts in different ways. LIT 0-01c

I am developing problem solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills, as I play and learn with electronic games, remote control or programmable. I can work individually or collaboratively to design and implement a game toys. TCH 0-09a/TCH 1-09a

The Scratch Jnr app allows children to create a storyboard which features multimodality along with promoting coding skills. Characters can be edited and moved around using programmable coding features, texts can be added and images/text/backgrounds can be edited and moved around. The lesson I developed allowed for children to use their own initiative and create their own ending to the story I had already made. This type of software promotes a wealth of benefits to the education of children, with the afore mentioned features being a few of these. It also has positive impacts on the educators, supported by The Lead Project (2014) stating that ”schools can use Scratch to aid teachers in subjects like mathematics, English, music, art, design and information technology”. This is a programme which can be used across the curriculum in a variety of ways: on an individual basis for the child or teacher; in a collaborative manner for pupils working in groups or between pupils and teachers and for teachers as individuals as well as sharing ideas with other professionals in the same career.

After reflecting back on my experience of Scratch Jnr today overall I would consider the experience of using the programme enjoyable and definitely something I will be revisiting in order to further enhance my skills and abilities on the app. I would consider this to be a valuable and intriguing resource to use in the classroom with children of all abilities in order to support them in their learning and in enhancing their skills in ICT. I look forward yo using this in both a student and qualified capacity and sharing ideas with peers in order to build up my knowledge on this exciting coding programme.

References

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

Naughton, J (2014) Why all our kids should be taught how to code Available Online at: moodle.uws.ac.uk/…/Why all our kids should be taught how to code Education The Observer.pdf First Accessed: 30/01/2018

The Curriculum for Excellence (2012) Education Scotland: Literacy and English Experiences and Outcomes. Available Online at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/literacy-english-eo.pdf First Accessed on: 30/01/2018