All posts by Niamh Derbyshire

Week 11- A final farewell

Wow… what an unbelievably amazing 12 weeks. I can’t believe the insight we have had into multiple forms of technology I have never had the chance to utilise such as istopmotion and active inspire. I can confidently say I am impressed with what I have learned and am able to take away with me. This module has developed our strengths and weaknesses as individuals. We were all able to bring something to digital technologies. I have enjoyed watching everyone improve over the journey and will miss coming to the mac lab every Tuesday morning! Surprisingly enough. This module has taught me

  1. Not everyone is born “digitally native” but we can strive to become this.
  2. Planning is key! However, we all make mistakes and that’s okay but most importantly we need to learn from our errors.
  3. Teamwork makes the dreamwork! I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside my peers every step of the way to support my journey and would not have got through it without them.

After this module, I am keen to keep up to date with current initiatives implemented in schools. I will continue to read to keep up to date with my knowledge as we are the future teachers of this generation and they are depending on us! I am keen to become a teacher meeting the (Scottish government 2016) requirements to be successful in the modern classroom.

 

Scottish Government (2016) Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through the Use of Digital Technology: A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government [Online] Available: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00505855.pdf

 

Week 10- QR codes

Today was our last input together. I can’t believe how quick it has gone! We were looking at QR codes and further improving outdoor learning. QR codes – something I was so unfamiliar with- as I previously stated in one of my first blogs. Thankfully, it is not as stressful as I thought and pretty self- explanatory when explained. A QR code can be scanned by smart phones through camera roll which will automatically take you to the link online or through an app which can be downloaded. “A QR code is a pattern of black and white squares that can be read by a smartphone, allowing the phone user to get more information about something.” (Collins dictionary)

Incorporating QR codes into outdoor learning is an excellent way to allow children freedom within their own learning. When in a safe surrounding area and the children know their boundaries, the children are free to explore in ways they wouldn’t be able to in the classroom as we have limited resources. This experience would provide them with a multitude of activities and memories that hopefully would hopefully stick with them. (Learning and teaching Scotland, 2010). This experience enhances a childs development of vital skills such as leadership/ communication and problem-solving skills when adding curricular subjects into their outdoor learning experience such as maths, science or social studies. We linked our task to the following experiences and outcomes:

  • 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
  • Having determined which calculations are needed, I can solve problems involving whole numbers using a range of methods, sharing my approaches and solutions with others. MNU 2-03a

 

We were tasked with creating a lesson in groups using QR codes for our peers to then solve. We included the following set of instructions:

Code 1: I am thinking of a number… I am an even and squared number and you’ll find me in the 8 times table

 Remember your answer and go to the reception area to find your next question

Code 2: From your previous answer:

  • Add on 6
  • Divide by 10
  • Finally, double this number

Take note of this number and head to the union shop to complete the next question.

Code 3: In the shop… your previous answer is how many bananas you have in your basket. How many bananas will each person get if there are 7 people in the group?

Go to student union.

Code 4: ?, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, …

What is the 8th term in this sequence? *note ‘?’ stands for previous answer!

Go to the revolving doors for your next question.

Code 5: I am the number from your previous sequence. Divide me by 8. Add  3 to me and divide me by 7.

Return to the student union for your final question.

Code 6: Finally… what is the difference between me and the number of wooden chairs in the student union.

The final answer was 2

 

Overall, during our time creating this activity we discovered how time consuming this is. Timing is limited as a teacher; we have a lot to get through in such a short space of time. Therefore, I am not sure I would utilise QR codes in the classroom with children. However, I would not deprive them from this experience if they were keen to try it- I would use it as a chance to develop my own understanding.

 

Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence through outdoor learning. (Online) Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-through-outdoor-learning.pdf

 

 

Collins dictionary https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/qr-code

 

Week 9- Games Based Learning

“Gaming is hugely popular in the UK with over 85% of young people between the ages of 5-15 owning some type of gaming device”. (Bray 2001) When I was younger, my obsession was the ‘wii’ and my ‘nintendo DS.’ However, they did not serve any educational purposes personally due to the games I played. Games based learning is said to be as successful to a childs cognitive development as reading. Furthermore, kids learn more beneficial facts from video games to prepare them for their futures than they do in school. (M, Prensky.) Therefore, we need to find a way to embrace games-based learning in our lessons. With gaming being such a huge part of the 21st century this is crucial. We need to discover a way to use games-based learning in an educational form.

“children spend most of their time on games not found in schools”. (G, Beauchamp.) It is our job as student teachers to have an awareness of current games etc to show an interest. If we implement computer games into the classroom, we have to ensure the children know what we specifically want the game to be used for- whether it be enjoyment purposes or educational-. A child might then see this as not a reward but a tool for learning and engage in lessons more. When children are learning these transferrable skills needed to play these games at such a young age, their brains have already tackled complex skills that they will need for main subjects such as maths and literacy. (Bray 2012)

Pupils can gain a wide range of imperative skills from online gaming such as:

  • They are a form of play; we use communication skills to interact with players.
  • We have a laugh while completing games through socializing- interpersonal skills.
  • Games have set rules which allows children to practice a routine.
  • They usually have a storyline which we can then sympathise or empathise with, encourages us to show feelings.
  • There are often codes to crack or puzzles to solve. Encourages our use of problem-solving skills.
  • Games set motives which pushes us and motivates us to finish. (Ulicsak, M. and Williamson, B.)

 

 

This session, we were exploring games-based learning in the classroom. Specifically, we had the chance to interact with the computer game- Minecraft. It is formally described as a lego style adventure game that has no end; it is an infinite world. Initially founded in 2009- released in 2011- it has become a global sensation since. I thought it was a new game only introduced in recent years! Shows how much I know about it. I have watched my younger brother play this game – from which I presumed Minecraft seemed fairly complex- therefore I was keen to give this a go as I like being pushed out my comfort zone. To make everything a little easier, there is an educational option for the game- extremely practical for schools as there is different levels depending on age group. However, if the school wanted to permanently download this to always have access, they would need to purchase this as it only enables 10 log ins with the free trial.

We were tasked with creating an activity for children using the game ‘Minecraft.’ I faced an obstacle straight away as we were told to have downloaded the game prior to the lesson. This taught me the lesson of always be prepared for lessons. Fortunately, a member of my group already had the software downloaded. He also had a little prior knowledge of Minecraft and was able to support me. I had never used Minecraft before which made it more difficult as we had to spend time learning the basics. Firstly, we watched Youtube vidoes to get a true insight into what it was really about. We were to present to the class our ideas for how we would incorporate cross curricular subjects into Minecraft using an interdisciplinary plan provided by our lecturer. Interdisciplinary planning is an excellent approach for planning as it provides real life experiences in a range of contexts to suit any age group and suit their specific topics. To begin with I was not sure what to include as it was hard to think of activities for the four headings which included:

  • Health and well- being
  • Creative Writing
  • Literacy (Listening and Talking
  • Expresssive Arts

 

Health and Wellbeing

For this section, we initiated an idea for ‘survival mode.’ In order to survive in this mode, you need to kill the animals to survive (fight or flight kind of idea.) The aim of the game is to fend for yourself which includes building a shelter to sleep in and hunting your own food to eat. This then gives you lives as you will have a source of protein which provides energy. This conveys a realistic example for a child. If we do not have a balanced diet i.e protein etc we will also have no energy.  This then linked to the skill development- allowing a child to make informed choices and decisions. The experience and out come as follows:

 

  • 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

 

Creative Writing

 By choice, whether in a selected group of your choice or independently. The task is to create a series of events they would like the figure on Minecraft to do. Through using the game, pupil could attempt to put the theory into practice through Minecraft. For example, build a den or learn the survival necessities such as being able to swim. After completed, children could be given the option to swap stories and try to complete other groups tasks. I used the experience and outcome:

  • 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

 

Literacy (Listening and talking)

Form a debate with the stimuli “Is games-based learning educational?” Pupils could research the pros and cons and feedback to their group. Consulting them on their ideas and creating a plan for the debate. Linked to the following experience and outcome:

 

  • When listening and talking with others for different purposes, I can exchange information, experiences, explanations, ideas and opinions, and clarify points by asking questions or by asking others to say more. LIT 1-09a

Expressive Arts

Allowing children to be successful learners and think creatively/ independently. There are multiple ways a child can convey their creative side through Minecraft from building houses and creating your own world. Including the experience and outcome:

To conclude todays lesson, I took full advantage when discussing other peers’ interdisciplinary plans as I was able to take note of their ideas. This allowed me to look at the game from another point of view which was very insightful. Also, encouraged me to think outside the box with ideas for when I have my own class. Overall, this lesson was very useful to me. I had no insight into how computer games could be educational and now I am keen to explore other forms and utilise them in the classroom environment. Children of this generation are ‘digitally native’ to technology. (Prensky, 2001) They are quick learners so can absorb information very quickly for operating computer games. I will probably learn more from them and am keen to do so!

 

Bray, O. (2001 ) Playful leaning: computer games in education [online] available: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education/7-Computer_Games_Chapter_1_Why

Grace, J. (2019) [online] benefits and methods of interdisciplinary for kids available:https://www.schooliseasy.com/2017/10/benefits-methods-interdisciplinary-learning-kids/

Prensky, M. (2001)  Digital natives, digital immigrants [online] available : http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39816/mod_resource/content/1/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives%2C%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

 

Ulicsak, M. and Williamson, B. (2010)  Computer games and learning  [online] available: https://www.nfer.ac.uk/media/1765/futl01.pdf

Week 8- Animation (Part 2)

Today we completed our second part of the animation task using the Istopmotion app. I love being creative and thinking outside the box. I think it is so important for children to know that it is okay to be unique and not follow the crowd. I am so excited to do activities such as this one with my own class. Science was something we hadn’t incorporated into a lesson yet so I thought of just the activity to prepare. We wanted to explore natural disasters and science- specifically volcanoes. What is the perfect way to demonstrate facts about volcanos? Create our own paper masche volcano! Me and one of my peers went to the purchase the essentials for our experiment from our local supermarket. We needed:

  • One large bottle of coke
  • A packet of mentos
  • A pack of paints
  • Multiple newspapers
  • Pva glue
  • A box

 

We completed this task out with university as I needed the resources listed above and it was too time consuming to complete in university. This task was complete in one of our houses and it was very time consuming as I wanted to get it perfect. If you know me, you will be aware I am a bit of a perfectionist! First of all, we had to build our base to form our volcano and build the paper masche up until we started to form a volcano shape. Once dry, we then painted the volcano with a mix of colours to make it look realistic and then completed our explosion in the morning with coke and mentos. We had to let our paper masche volcano dry over night to then explode it in the morning before uni. Istop motion is pretty self-explanatory. There were very little functions to add in– it is effectively just holding in a button- making it very simple for people to work. However, getting all the angles can be quite tricky! We linked our task to the experience and outcome:

  • 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

 

One of the main challenges I countered was it takes a lot of time and effort to produce a good quality animation.

 

I have to admit although this task is extremely time consuming. After a lot of practice, it would become easier to reduce the amount of time spent on your masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoy getting messy while being creative. I enjoy working as part of a team- everyone has the chance of an allocated task- we switched roles during the process of the volcano. At one point someone was researching facts while the other was building the volcano and the other was filming. From this week, I have learned the importance of patience and communication. Everything is a trial and error process. We all make mistakes and just need to ensure we learn from these. I will definitely have my class working together on projects such as this one. iStop motion is an excellent way to film any project to present to peers.

Week 7- Animation (Part 1)

Animation ‘breathes life into something that wouldn’t normally move’ (Moving Image Education, 2016). During todays lesson, we were looking at animation. By the end of the lesson we were to feel confident in successfully using own expertise in creating an animation programme. Specifically, we were looking at puppet pals and iStop motion. I firmly agree with (Beauchamp, 2012)- Animation is a great way of opening up multiple paths for teaching as there is wide range of animation tools used in classrooms.

Puppet pals app is very limited to what we can use as most features cost money which isn’t ideal when using the ipads in uni. I would say this app is ideal for early years as it is very basic- the characters are all fictional and include fairy-tale settings- which will keep younger children satisfied. Do not be fooled- Istop motion is a sequence of pictures that creates the illusion of a moving image – this can play tricks on our eyes (Jarvis 2015.) An animation brings something to life effectively. There are five main types of animation which include:

  • Cutout – This form of animation is said to be the simplest form.
  • Stop-motion – plasticine models
  • Pixilation – humans become the puppets
  • Drawn – classical Disney animation which is obviously very complex.
  • Computer – further known as CGI and found in games and movies.

(Moving Image Education)

Todays lesson consisted of us using stick figures to create a short imovie. While experimenting with this app, we used a street format for the background and created the illusion of the stick figure walking down the street. We changed the figure to suit the next image accordingly.

Today we linked the task to the experiences and outcomes:

  • I explore and discover different ways of representing ideas in imaginative ways. TCH 0-11a
  • I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts – TCH 1-1a. 

At the end of this weeks session. Me and my group decided to brainstorm ideas for next weeks lesson so we were prepared and could start visualizing this. Natural disasters was our topic of choice. We began researching facts and statistics about tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes etc. Next week I am keen to do well and feel we will produce a well thought out project!

Our creations:

 

Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers.Routledge.

Moving Image Education website: [Online] https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation

Week 6- iMovie maker

“In the age of the smartphone, children have unrestricted access to the internet 24/7, it doesn’t just boil down to filtering out the harmful material. Although this helps, students need to be made aware that whilst the internet is an excellent tool for education, there’s also a very real risk it can pose when not used properly.” (Markland, L. 2017) Markland suggests how we should not deny access to children from the internet as it is a very useful tool for researching/ socializing etc. but it is our key concern as teachers to counteract the dangers online. (Beauchamp, 2012) further supports this as he states: “e-safety is not about restricting children, but about educating them”. I don’t think enough is being put in place to prevent cyberbullying etc. As a student teacher I would love to start up a campaign.  However, personally I think the internet is a wonderful tool. Every child should have the chance to utilise this safely. We do not have a say what goes on outwith school but we can only try promote internet safety. Alert children of the dangers and do everything in our power to try keep them safe online. From watching BBC news round- educating them on current affairs- to watching tutorials on how to do paper- mache. It is strange to think; I notice a difference from when I was at primary school to the generation of today. Todays children are “digitally native” as they have grown up in a world bombarded with technology and embraced this since birth. (Prensky, M.) Whereas, I didn’t receive my first phone until I was at secondary school and it was a flip up phone. Smartphones were still unheard of while a child. Now, our generation could not sacrifice one day without their smartphone.

“Imovie” was our area of focus today. This app is an excellent way to promote internet safety as children are able to see the consequences of not being sensible when online. It also made sense to make a movie based upon this as internet safety month is celebrated worldwide in February. Furthermore, it can be used to film projects or solo talks. When used correctly it can deepen a childs understanding of the topic they are doing in class with the wide range of multimodal features. Internet safety is becoming such a prevalent topic in today’s society as more and more children are taking full advantage of technology in their daily lives. My main role as a student teacher is to promote internet safety and encourage pupils to be aware of the dangers they can encounter online.

Mainly, we wanted to put across the message who you speak to online might not always be who they claim they are. We decided to embark on this idea and create an internet safety video ensuring children are confident they know the person they are speaking to is who they say they are. Planning is key for an organised teacher as it identifies the structure of your lesson. From this you will be aware how much time you have to spare in your lesson to provide children who are struggling with additional support. The more prepared a teacher feels is conveyed through their strong/ confident body language which will reflect on their learners and motivate them to participate in the lesson. (Jones, S.)  Our team spent the first hour brainstorming ideas onto a notepad as internet safety is such a vast topic so it was hard to fixate ourselves on the one idea. ThinkUknow is a fantastic website for producing short plays pitched for all ages but specifically children in the upper school as this group in todays society are most vulnerable. Throughout, my upper primary school years one of the things that remained with me was a video I watched from “thinkUknow” It was about a young girl who chats to someone who she believes to be the same age as her. She gives all her details out and soon realises he is not the person he claims to be and is actually an old man. I wanted to produce a corresponding Imovie but one that was more up to date with current technology.

We decided it was only fair for everyone to be a part of the short film. I volunteered to being the victim in the Imovie as I knew my peers were not fond of acting. It made sense for me to do it as I have done drama all throughout school. Our story was about a young girl who is debating making a snapchat account as she knows she is not of age. Snapchat has a feature that allows you to be seen on the map by other people. This can be extremely dangerous as someone can track your whereabouts at all times unless you put your account on “ghost-mode” which makes it private. Sophie accepts a friend request of a stranger. She starts talking to him and decides to meet up as the person tells her he can see her on the map and they are very close by to one another. Sophie is naïve and goes to meet this person without telling her best friend or family. A car approaches her as she is going to meet this boy and asks her if she wants a lift because he knows who she is looking for. Sophie without hesitation gets into the car. We wanted to portray the message to not make the same mistake as Sophie. In a world full of social media, it is so crucial we ensure we know who we are chatting too. Sophie was a character in our story. However, there are lots of Sophies that will never be seen again for making the same thoughtless mistake. We asked the viewers questions throughout to keep them engaged and focused on our message such as “would you of got in the car if you were in Sophies position?”

Our Imovie had multiple locations as we wanted to make ours as realistic as possible. We had a lot of fun creating this and got really involved in it. Imovie has lots of different features free of cost which helped enhance our movie such as sound effects when we wanted to create suspense. We linked our imovie to the experience and outcome:

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

 

As a group, we were extremely pleased with how our imovie planned out and gained positive feedback from peers and the module coordinator. However, there is always going to be space for improvement and in the future, I would adapt a few features. For instance, I would manage my time more effectively and plan out every scene before filming as this meant filming the same scene multiple times before we finally got it. Beforehand we did create a plan- however this was not detailed enough for a short movie. The editing process can be quite stressful as you need to get it to flow perfectly and edit clips in at appropriate times. I feel very strongly towards bullying and feel it is an area that is often dismissed in schools. However, I would love to put something in place to prevent this or let children to know I am always there if they ever need a chat!

 

 Completed Imovie:

 

Jones, S. (2018)    Three reasons why it is important to plan lessons    [online] available: http://resources.eln.io/3-reasons-lesson-planning/

Markland, L. (2017) How to keep students safe online [online] available: https://www.stonegroup.co.uk/insights/safeguarding-keep-students-safe-online/

 

Week 5- E-books

Reflecting on my previous blog – Ipads are another form of multimodal texts – perhaps not as common as IWB but they are certainly becoming more popular in todays classroom. The use of ipads is an excellent way for children to become independent within their own learning as they are in control. However, there is the counter argument: Are they really educating children or just becoming a hindrance by distracting them from their learning through playing non educational games?

Some children are struggling to focus in lessons without the use of technology. Research has not been the main focus here while investing money into this. The UK has invested huge amounts of money into various digital tools such as Ipads that they assumed children would benefit from but they did not have a wide range of research about what it can do to a childs learning. ( C,Turner) From experience during placement I personally agree with the point they struggle to concentrate without the use of technology. However, I believe it can also motivate students to finish their work if used as a reward system which can be helpful. It also gave the teacher a chance to focus on other her way around the class to support the children individually if struggling or had a question. E- books are available on all devices- ipads/ tablets, laptops, smartphones etc- very compatible. Book creator app provides the chance to make it easier for children with learning difficulties to read as this app comes with features to suit all learners. There are options to adjust the font size for visually impaired students. Furthermore, a child can choose to have it read aloud to them without disrupting the class as they can wear earphones or put subtitles on. Schools can help save the environment by not having to purchase paper copies constantly or textbooks as all is provided through E-books.  New forms of technology such as this one is encouraging bilingual children in our classrooms to feel involved as well. There is features to assist their needs by speaking their first language. It is very hard for a teacher to support all ethnically diverse children by speaking their language as there is simply too many. (D, Sessoms.) E-books enable teachers to support students in a more efficient/ modern form!

 

Todays lesson was one of our assessment tasks. We were asked to bring in a childrens book to prepare for today’s lesson. I brought in the book ‘we are going on a bear hunt’ as it is a well-known childrens classic. We were using the app ‘Book creator’ on the ipads to recreate/summarise a well-known fairy-tale or nursery rhyme. Before we started our own stories, we had a chance to experiment with the app. I worked alongside a few of my peers and we chose the famous nursery rhyme: “Incy wincy spider” as we were all familiar with this. We found this the most appropriate choice as this rhyme has been reinforced through various generations so the children are likely to know it. We linked our e-book to the following 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)
  • I enjoy exploring and choosing stories and other texts to watch, read or listen to and can share my likes and dislikes. (LIT 0-01b/ LIT 0-11b)
  • I can demonstrate a range of basic problem solving skills by building simple programs to carry out a given task, using an appropriate language.TCH 1-15a
  • 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

 

There were various versions online but we decided to do the version we were familiar with. We started off by deciding on a background colour for our pages. A white background is not appropriate for learners who have visual impairments so we decided to have a light-coloured background alongside black writing to make it clear and easy to read.  We searched on google images pictures of cartoon spiders which we could edit onto a background for our story. To make our book multi-modal we included a few semiotic systems. We edited a Youtube video onto our story taken from Youtube and got multiple images to further engage the reader. Our main outcome was to make the nursery rhyme more interactive so we decided to add in a few activities at the end to test their knowledge and identify what they picked up.

Incy Wincy Spider (book creator)

Our activities…

 

I feel I am progressing well in digital technologies. I love preparing for upcoming lessons and seeing how I could incorporate different softwares etc into lessons when I am a teacher. Ebooks is an excellent app for supporting all learners needs including bilingual learners. I found our activity very entertaining and I will definitely be using ‘Book creator’ in the classroom to encourage reading as it is a vital life skill and should be encouraged at all ages.

Deppermann, A. (2013) Multimodal interaction from a conversation analytic perspective. Journal of Pragmatics.[Online] Avaliable: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2012.11.014

Sessoms, D. (2013) [online] available: https://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/9-Benefits-of-e-Books-That-Make-Them-Valuable-Classroom-Technology

 

Turner, C.  (2018) [online] available:  Teaching children with Ipads means they struggle to concentrate without technology https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2018/01/19/teaching-children-ipads-means-struggle-concentrate-without-technology/

Week 3- Multimodal Texts

I am thoroughly enjoying my experience in digital technologies! I can’t believe how quick time is disappearing. Our main outcome this week was to design a task that involved multimodal features on the interactive whiteboard using the software ‘Active inspire.’ I am familiar with this as teachers used it as their main teaching tool all throughout my primary and secondary school journey. This tool is used in almost all classrooms to enhance a childs learning with an array of interactive tools.

What makes a text multimodal? A text is multimodal when it contains two or more semiotic systems. (Depperman, 2013) There are five semiotic systems in total:

  • Visual (moving images, colour, layout)
  • Audio (volume, tone, pitch, rhythm and sound effects)
  • Gestural (movement, facial expressions and body language)
  • Spatial (proximity, directions and objects in a specific space)
  • Linguistic (it encompasses vocabulary, sentence structure and the grammar of oral and written language (Haul, L.))

In today’s society, the most popular multimodal text is the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) During my time on placement I noticed how much the teacher relied on this form of technology to deliver lessons. The pupils actively engaged and participated in lessons. From time to time, they were given permission to play games when all the work was completed. For example, they used the IWB to practice their multiplication tables from moving the numbers and symbols into the correct box to create the correct calculation. This specific hands-on approach is very relevant to the technology incorporated classrooms we have. (Beauchamp, 2012) However, I also observed the sheer look of panic on the teachers face when active inspire was down for the day! We can’t always rely on technology, it is crucial to have a back-up plan.

Overall, recent studies convey that the use of the IWB can greatly enhance teaching by supporting classroom management, pace and variety. It was also noted that the use of the IWB was also beneficial for childrens memorisation skills and writing development. On the other hand, using the IWB can create the danger of being loured into a “show and tell” form of teaching. The need for a balance of activities is paramount. (Deubel, P) To be concise, there needs to be a balance of pupil to teacher talk. Pupils need the opportunity for kinaesthetic and tactile learning for example 1 to 1 engagement to identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Overall, although the use of the IWB is a positive attribute within the classroom further long-term research is needed to test the accuracy of these institutions. (gray, C) “The ability of ICT to present ideas in a variety of ways can help to structure new experiences but only if you as the teacher have sufficient understanding on the area yourself.” (Beauchamp, 2012) This effectively means the quantity of teaching is more important than the technology being used to portray it.

Multimodal forms of technology allow us to present the same idea in multiple formats. Multimodal presentations can capture our leaners imagination and they can have freedom with it. However, ‘active inspire’ is not easily accessed on all devices which can cause disruption and frustration for learners. For example, one of my peers was not able to participate as they only have access to their macbook which disenabled them to work on this at home as well as on campus. This further supports my previous point about always being prepared for upcoming challenges in the classroom as not everything can be fullproof. I found active inspire to be very time consuming as I was not aware of all aspects of this function which made it difficult to work at times. Surely, as teacher we should be focusing on since our time is limited anyway.

Once I had finalised my experience and outcome:

  • I have investigated how whole numbers are constructed, can understand the importance of zero within the system and can use my knowledge to explain the link between a digit, its place and its value. (MNU 1-02a)

 

I was able to focus on my decided topic- numeracy. We specifically targeted our activity at first level mathematics. The concept of our activity was to drag away the box to reveal the magic number. The pupil would then have to create the number using the concrete materials (base 10 materials) provided at the side. For instance, if the number was ‘48’ the child would move 4 tens into the tens column and 8 units into the units’ column. The child would need to have prior knowledge of base 10 materials to complete this task. To make this text multimodal we had hand clapping sound effects as children will then feel a sense of confidence when getting it correct.

This was our final flipchart:

I fully understand how important this tool is as a teacher. However, I don’t feel I had enough time to explore this in full detail which left me at a disadvantage for this specific task. I spent so much time creating this task for it to be completed in less than five minutes. Next time I will focus on an extension task for my class – ensuring there is plenty of work to get through, no time for slacking! – I sometimes find the best resource in the classroom is the ‘old fashioned’ form of the blackboard with no technical errors able to go wrong.

 

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

 

Deubel, P. (2010) Interactive whiteboards: truths and consequences The Journal [online] Available: https://thejournal.com/Articles/2010/08/04/Interactive-Whiteboards-Truths-and-Consequences.aspx?Page=4#

 

Gray, C. (2005) The pros and cons of interactive whiteboards in relation to the key stage 3 stategy and framework  [online] available: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09571730585200171

 

Haul, L. (2010) The five semiotic systems- Prezi [online] available: https://prezi.com/m6eovk3fvhyi/5-semiotic-systems/

 

Week 2- Programmable Toys

Programming is an excellent way to highlight todays contemporary society as it is another learning process. Specifically, programmable toys can help improve a childs critical thinking skills at pre-school age and their numeracy skills through instructing the toy and solving problems along the way which also improves their numeracy vocabulary. ‘learning should be an active and interactive process’ (Janka, 2008) Today was my second week of digital technologies. Our lesson consisted of an introduction to programmable toys. To be specific, we were experimenting with ‘Bee-bot’. This excellent programmable toy is perfect for enhancing early years education. I was very fortunate to have had the chance of interacting with Bee-bot during my time at primary school. This specific programmable toy is a very fun, sufficient way to teach children within any area of the curriculum through playing an educational game. The first recorded programming tool in education dates back to the early 1960’s, it was a programming known as ‘Logo.’ This specific form was used to offer pupils a chance to explore a challenging programming system. On this game, you are provided with a list of instructions. The child directs the arrow to move in a specific direction by inserting commands using the keyboard. It is meant to be a simple task to engage children and make them familiar with creating shapes and sequences. However, when I tried this out myself it was proven to be quite the opposite. Initially, I found it quite challenging to work this programming as the instructions are not the most precise. I can only imagine how hard this must have been for infants!

Programmable toys are an excellent resource to use in the classroom. Some of the benefits include:

  • Very attractive for younger pupils- big buttons and bright colours.
  • They are an excellent way to get children working collaboratively and helping one another.
  • They help children retain vital skills such as counting/ measuring and conveying concepts in words.
  • Hands on approach to learning
  • Cross curricular links (numary/ literacy/ social studies etc.)

Before this lesson I had previously read the article ‘Robots in early education.’ This gave us an insight into how children react to Bee-bot. “We have found our nursery children have improved their problem solving, thinking, numeracy and literacy skills whilst using robots and whilst having FUN!” (Lydon, A) The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy interacting with Bee- bot whilst having an academic impact on them as they were able to practice their numeracy skills.” The programmable toy Bee-Bot4 was awarded as the most impressive hardware for kindergarten and lower primary school children on the world educational technology market BETT 2006” (Banka,2006) There is a lot of positive feedback directed specifically at the use of Bee-bot- it is a great interactive tool for working collaboratively in the classroom for early years. Beebot moves for 15cm and then stops and processes the next step. This wonderful little toy can also turn a full 90 degrees and remembers up to 40 commands!

 

The allocated task we were given was to create an interactive game with ‘Bee-bot’ for pupils pitched at a specific age range suited to your selected experience and outcome. Digital technologies permit children to excel not only within technology but also within other cross curricular activities along the way. We were provided with a week to complete this task and then presented it to our module coordinator. I was overwhelmed with ideas for my Bee-bot mat but some were too easy and others were too complex as I did not have the resources. I fully understand as a student teacher how important every subject is to a childs learning overall. However, I wanted to pick a subject that they will utilise throughout the rest of their lives. I then came together with a couple of my peers to come to a final decision. The best option for us was to decide on our experience and outcome first:

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

 

We then were able to decide on a topic. We decided to embark on my literacy idea-phonics. Phonics is first introduced at early level and is something that will continuously be developed hence why we chose this idea. We created a dual- function Beebot mat with 20 hand-drawn images on either side. One side with the sound “oo” and the opposite side- “sh.” We included words such as ‘Shed’ and ‘wish’.   We created this mat to embed phoneme sounds into a child’s learning as they are crucial for the development of their literacy skills. This activity would be perfect for a group of pupils who have prior knowledge of the specific sounds. I linked this to the experience and outcome from Literacy:

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

To complete our game, we also created a wheel with multiple letters of the alphabet specifically linked to our allocated task. A pupil would spin the wheel and whatever letter it landed on the child would direct Beebot to move to a word beginning with this letter and spell out the word. Then practice a ‘look, cover, write say check’ technique in their jotter. This further test their knowledge on spelling- the teacher can then see where a child is struggling- it is also a good way to reiterate previous learned sounds.

This was the completed “oo” side of our Beebot mat.

 

This was the completed “sh” sound of Beebot mat.

Our spinning wheel:

 

Finally, I must say that I believe me and my peers worked well collaboratively. We all had our own specific allocated task which kept us on track with timing. Reflecting on this experience, next time I would not be as precise with the layout- quantity over quality- I understand the importance of time management as a future teacher and I am keen to improve this. I really look forward to using Beebot specifically when I have my own class as it is an excellent tool to reinforce curricular subjects in a childs learning.

 

 

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online] available: http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf

 

Lydon, A. (2008) Robots in early education. [online] available:http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39830/mod_resource/content/1/Reading%20Programmable%20Toys/ICTopus%20-%20Sharing%20Good%20Practice%20-%20Robots%20in%20Early%20Education%20%20.pdf

Week 1- An introduction to Digital technologies

Hiya! My name is Niamh Derbyshire. Welcome to my blog. Over the course of the next few months; I will be engaging you in my digital technologies journey.

While deciding on my selective module for BA 1, it came to my attention that digital technologies was an option. I chose digital technologies as my selective module due to my lack of knowledge as a student teacher about what technology truly involves within a classroom environment. According to Prensky I would be identified as a ‘Native speaker’ as I have grown up in a capacity with video games/ computers/ smart phones (Prensky 2001)  However, I know the basics of technology but if you threw me in the deep end and asked me to teach a lesson on QR codes, I would stare back with a blank expression. “it does underline the need for teachers to be aware of the full range of ICTS capabilities from which they can select the most appropriate uses. “(Beauchamp, G.) I am eager to develop my awareness of technology and experiment with resources I have not previously explored. By doing so, this permits me to fulfil my teaching needs and enhance childrens learning in the classroom through my own personal experience within digital technologies. I will hopefully by the end of this module feel competent in teaching areas I previously had no experience with.

Fortunately, I was privileged to go to a primary school with access to a multitude of digital tools. However, I was not always digitally academic. Therefore, I decided this module was an appropriate choice for me as I wanted to familiarise myself with the most recent initiatives implemented in schools as it is crucial to have an awareness of this as a student teacher. Technology is incorporated into lessons on a daily basis in primary schools. Children of today’s generation were born into a technology-based environment. It is now an integral part of their daily lives. During our first lesson, we spoke about The Scottish government introduced a strategy for educators/ parents to take advantage of technology opportunities etc and know how to utilize these effectively. This is formally known as ‘digital learning and teaching strategy’ (Scottish Government 2016) There was four main objectives introduced:

  • Assist teachers to enhance their skills and build their confidence.
  • Adjusting the system to ensure all pupils have easy access to digital technologies
  • Within the Curriculum for Excellence utilise technologies to assist cross curricular subjects.
  • Delegate educators to enhance digital technology for upcoming students.

 

This strategy was put in place to increase attainment in schools and attempt to close the attainment gap. Furthermore, provide support for a child who may not have access to the internet at home will get the chance to experiment with various forms in school. This might enhance a childs learning as they will be more engaged and feel equal to everyone in the class which is crucial for their development. We need to ensure every child is included in lessons and we are equipped for all levels of learning.

Overall, I will complete four assessment tasks over the next 12 weeks. For instance: programmable toys, coding, Imovie and Ebooks. I thoroughly enjoy being creative within my own learning and having the freedom to design my own tasks. I am eager to expand my level of knowledge from what this module has to offer and portray this in the classroom. We are future teachers and it is vital we have a deep understanding about the extents of digital technologies. In addition, I am keen to reflect back on my blogs every week and notice myself improve over time. I am very excited to get started with this module and improve my digital skills.

 

 

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

Prensky, M. (2001)  Digital natives, digital immigrants [online] available : http://moodle1819.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/39816/mod_resource/content/1/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives%2C%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf