And so it has arrived, our final class in Digital Technologies. Today we explored and learnt about the use of QR (Quick Response) Codes and the benefits of Outdoor Learning. I have had some previous experience using QR codes but mainly through working in retail and through simple day to day tasks like shopping and using social media. I had never once considered the thought of using QR Codes in the classroom, until now. The theme of today’s lesson was to partake in an outdoor activity where we had to locate six hidden clues, answer the multiple choice questions and scan the QR code to be able to continue to the next clue. Once all the clues had been found and answered, each answer gave us a letter which in the end had to be unscrambled and the correct word made up. This word linked to a Scottish IDL topic. The purpose of using the QR Codes in this activity was designed to enhance our (and future pupils) outdoor learning experiences. This was just one example of how they could be used effectively and successfully as I and the rest of my team thoroughly enjoyed the activity.
The effectiveness of Outdoor Learning in education is outlined by Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) who state that “…it’s clear that the outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from pre-school years through to college.” This was certainly evidenced today in our group’s case as we all found the task fun, rewarding and enjoyable and found working outdoors also promoted other positive factors such as learning about the environment and creating memories that will be remembered for years to come. We collated images taken from our time outdoors in an app called PicCollage. PicCollage allows for many images to be organised together in various styles in the one image and is a great way of sharing with others in order to give a quick insight into a particular event or activity.
The Curriculum for Excellence support Outdoor Learning and this too is highlighted in the 7 Design Principles:
Challenge & Enjoyment; Breadth; Coherence; Personalisation & Choice; Relevance; Progression and Depth.
“The core values of Curriculum for Excellence resonate with long-standing key concepts of outdoor learning. Challenge, enjoyment, relevance, depth, development of the whole person and an adventurous approach to learning are at the core of outdoor pedagogy…” Education Scotland (2010)
Outdoor Learning offers a variety of positive effects on both student and learner: It allows for pupils and teachers to learn and communicate in other ways that maybe hadn’t been achieved previously in a classroom setting; promotes the building of positive relationships between both peers and professionals along with enhancing self-awareness and the understanding of others. (Education Scotland 2010). Along with the aforementioned aspects of Outdoor Learning it also promotes other advantages to our young learners such as: Developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills, personal development and achievement; promotes a healthy lifestyle and can lead to lifelong recreational hobbies such as walking, cycling and swimming; provides opportunities for children to develop skills in order to assess and manage risks; promotes inclusion and equality broadly and can lead to resolution, increased feeling of self-worth and confidence along with personal achievements.
There are many areas that both Outdoor Learning and QR Code activities could be used within the curriculum including Literacy, Health and Wellbeing and Modern Languages. The activity we completed today would encompass the following experiences and outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence:
I can communicate clearly when engaging with others within and beyond my place of learning, using selected resources as required. LIT 1-10a
Through taking part in a variety of events and activities, I am learning to recognise my own skills and abilities as well as those of others. HWB 1-19a
I work on my own and with others to understand text using appropriate resources, demonstrating my
understanding by matching written words to pictures and by reconstructing the text in a logical sequence, for example. MLAN 2-08a
Upon completion of our class task, we then gathered back into the classroom to create our own activity based on the same ideas and principles of the one we had just completed. I chose to create a quiz based around the topic of Easter and was similar in format to the one we had just finished as a class. By doing so, it showed me just how easy it was to create a simple yet fun and fulfilling activity that I know children would get excited and geared up for and thus encourages their learning and enhances their experiences of education. In just 20 minutes I had created a relevant and educational activity that children would find engaging, fun and that they would certainly get excited about whilst being educational at the same time.
Overall, the use of the QR Codes in the outdoor learning activity allowed me to see yet another fantastic resource that could be utilised in many different areas of education whilst giving young learners fun and memorable educational experiences. I will certainly use this resource in the classroom as a professional and look forward to seeing my pupils reactions when they are participating and having fun outdoors. I know that they will get just as much as enjoyment and fulfilment out of a similar lesson as we did today in our last class of Digital Technologies.
So, today sees us at the end of our Digital Technologies journey with this being the last instalment of what I can only describe as being one of the most rewarding and educationally rich experiences I have had so far throughout my time at UWS. Since starting the module back in January, taking us up until now – almost at the end of March – I can honestly say that my attitude towards technology both in and outside of the classroom has changed significantly from the opinions and feelings I presented towards it at the start of Trimester 2. I have gained a wealth of knowledge, ideas and skills through undertaking this module and I am so glad that I choose it as part of my BA1 learning experience. The lessons throughout the module have evidenced to me the clear links to education and curriculum and have allowed me the opportunity to delve deeper into areas of digital technology that I may never of had the chance to do so beforehand and for that I feel grateful and rewarded. I look forward to putting the skills and knowledge I have adopted in this short space of time into practice into what I hope will be a long and successful teaching career.
Curriculum for Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes. [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf. First Accessed: 21st March 2018.
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning
This week in Digital Technologies we were learning about the art of animation. I would consider myself to be quite a crafty, creative person so for me this really got me excited and I wanted to jump right in and get started. After those initial feelings, I started to worry that maybe we wouldn’t have enough time to create an animation as 1 – I had never actually created an animation before so I didn’t know what kind of time frame it would take and 2 – I was feeling a bit wary of the resources we had available to us.
Today’s task was to create an animation of anything we wanted. This was an individual task however we were allowed to work in pairs if we wanted to and I thought that by working with another individual, in this case then two heads were better than one. Jarvis (2015, p.89) states that ”animation involves the stringing together a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move.” Having never strung any images together before in order for them to appear as though they were moving, I was still feeling a little apprehensive about the task.
Firstly, we began to explore the app ‘Puppet Pals’ which gave us some depth and knowledge into how an animation app works and the types of features and tools it has to allows us to create an animation that stood out and worked well. In this app we were to create a short animation based on a classic fairytale. It had to include voice recordings, movement from the characters, the characters changing size and also have a structure – a beginning, middle and an end. This short 10 minutes exploring the app put me at ease as it showed me how animation worked and the different features that could be used to create a strong animation.
Since the start of this module on digital technologies, it has left me feeling excited as a student teacher due to the amount of technology that is out there as a prospective teacher to be able to use with my future pupils. Reflecting back on my own time as a primary school aged child, there were nowhere near half the amount of fun and valuable resources that there are now in my educational journey and the thought of being able to use them while I was at school I know that not only me but my friends and peers would have had a great time using them. This simply just evidences how quickly the times move and how fast paced the development in technology has become. As suggested by Beauchamp, (2012) ICT allows pupils to ”achieve something that would be very difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way.” Reflecting back on my first year school experience placement, I came across numerous children who all had their own individual learning style and watching them create or succeed through the use of digital technology was evidencing just how important the use of this tool is in the classroom. Furthermore, Beauchamp states that ”e-Inclusion aims to use digital technologies to minimise the problems that pupils with learning difficulties experience.” By giving all children in primary schools the same opportunities across their educational journey but in particular through access to technology, we are closing in on the gap of problems that pupils who have learning difficulties can experience.
After exploring puppet pals, my partner and I began to create our own props and scene for our own animation. We worked collaboratively and worked within our allocated time to create a short animation using small wooden characters who were school pupils, and a pink bendy character who was the class teacher. I created a backdrop by simply drawing and colouring a school classroom and by one of us recording and the other moving the characters in order for us to create a series of stills and frames, once put together they created our short animation. We added features including a clock which we moved in most frames to give the idea of time going by and changing some of the characters to represent different emotions during different parts of the scene. Once we completed our recording, we enjoyed looking back on the final piece and were really pleased with it. It is a great way for children to use their creative and cognitive skills along with their patience and persistence in order to create a piece of work that is effective, fun and created animations to a high standard. The tutorials and Moving Image Education website provided a lot of helpful hints and tips in order to produce a great animation despite it being my first time using and creating with this resource.
Having completed our animation and after watching it back, it gave me a sense of achievement as I was worried at the beginning having never made an animation before and not being sure of where it would fit into the classroom. However, after looking through the Scottish Education Experiences and Outcomes, it became a lot clearer that what we created linked to certain aspects of these, and in a classroom this type of technology would be an effective tool across many areas of the curriculum, such as:
I have the opportunity to choose and explore a range of media and technologies to create images and objects, discovering their effect and suitability for specific tasks. EXA 1-02a
I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to create texts of my choice. LIT 1-01a/2-01b
I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing these with others in imaginative ways. LIT 0-09b / LIT 0-31a
Animation could be used in a variety ways through a variety of areas in order to enhance pupils learning whilst supporting it at the same time. Despite my set backs at the beginning, throughout the course of creating the animation I found it to be a great task to collaborate on and a resource that I definitely would consider to be fun and educational for children across all levels at primary school. As suggested by Beauchamp (2012, p.66) ”ICT equipment is part of pupils’ everyday life, so should be part of their everyday play.” This type of technology tool would be an ideal resource to incorporate into a child’s everyday play as it encompasses a variety of skills and educational aspects that only impose positive aspects on the child.
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.
Education Scotland (2004) – Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [First Accessed on 22 February 2018]
Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers. Routledge.
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.
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