Digital Technologies Week 4.

Today’s session was an introduction to the use of Scratch Jr in the classroom. Scratch Jr is aimed at children aged five and above to create interactive games, animations and stories.

The Lead Project (2014) stated, “As young people create Scratch projects, they are not just learning how to write computer programs. They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for success and happiness in today’s world”. From this, the benefits of coding programs are exhibited. Alongside having a fun lesson on the iPads, children are gaining skills which they will require later in life in the adult world. Furthermore, this organisation also believe that Scratch Jr is a key tool for a teacher as they can use this application for a number of lessons including: English, mathematics, music, information technology and art & design (The Lead Project, 2014).

The lesson that I created today was aimed for the early level within the Curriculum for Excellence. The lesson was based on phonics and the “oo” sound. The Experiences and Outcomes that I have highlighted for this lesson are as follows;

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

To introduce the lesson to the children, we will sit as a group and I will show them that the characters are looking for phonics with the “oo” sound. We will then progress on to the next slide which asks the children to identify the words with the correct phonic. One-by-one, I will ask the children to come up and select the word they believe features the “oo” sound. Finally, I will direct them to their tables where the game will be set up on an iPad and they will have to think of words for themselves with the “oo” phonic and they are able to add them into the game for themselves.

I will definitely take this lesson into the classroom with me. I believe that the children will enjoy this whilst gaining vital skills for later in life. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s session.

References

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

Digital Technologies Week 3.

The intentions of today’s digital technologies class was to learn about and use multimodal texts. Alongside this, we used ActivInspire to create slides that we can use within a classroom setting to introduce mathematics within the topic of Egyptians.

One of our many discussions included how to ensure lessons are suitable for children with additional support needs. We were informed that using a yellow background with blue writing and comic sans font is appropriate for helping children with dyslexic tendencies, as this makes it easier for them to read. Beauchamp (2012, p8), agrees with this by saying multimodal texts often make the lesson easier to understand, “the multimodality of technology is another reason to use it, as it allows teachers to present an idea in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it”.

The multimodal text that we created was from the programme ActivInspire. A multimodal text is where its creator will use two or more semiotic systems to create the text. There are five semiotic systems, these are as follows:

  • Linguistic
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Gestural
  • Spatial

Prior to creating our multimodal text, my partner and I agreed to create a numeracy lesson through the topic of the Egyptians. We created a key, where a number would equal to different hieroglyphics. The aim was for the children to be able to add up simple sums with the hieroglyphics, rather than numbers. Once the children understood how to add with the hieroglyphics, we moved on to multiplying with the hieroglyphics. Once the children have finished their work, they can come up and retrieve their answers by moving the revealer. The CfE level that we created this lesson for is first level as follows:

  • When a picture or symbol is used to replace a number in a number statement, I can find its value using my knowledge of number facts and explain my thinking to others. MTH 1-15b
  • 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 will definitely use ActivInspire within the classroom, this is an exciting and fun way to present lessons to children. As a result of ActivInspire, I believe the children will be very engaged as they can use the smart board.

References

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

Digital Technologies Week 2.

The focus of this weeks digital technologies class was based around the use of BeeBot with regards to numeracy. Due to previously looking at using BeeBot for literacy, this week we considered the advantages of BeeBot whilst carrying out numeracy lessons. Alongside this, we then began creating a BeeBot map which we tested out and will be assessed on.

Pekarova Janka is a supporter of the use of programmable toys within the classroom. There are a number of opportunities which arise from using programmable toys in class settings, Janka discusses the development of children’s instructional and positional language by stating that, “In the field of mathematical development, children should develop the ability to describe simple journey and instruct the programmable toy in order to develop positional language and estimation” (Janka, 2008, p2). Alongside this, The National centre for Technology in Education (2012, p1) provides further advantages of the use of programmable toys in education, they state, “[Floor robots in the classroom] help with the development of skills such as logical sequencing, measuring, comparing lengths, space orientation and expressing concepts in words”. Similarly, Kaur (n.d) agreed with this by saying that the use of the BeeBot encourages children to engage, communicate and interact with each other. He further went on to say that pupils can share learning experiences and learn in context through the use of the BeeBot. The use of the BeeBot allows the educator to provide her students with cross-curricular activities. Alongside this, educators can assess and observe the children’s literacy and numeracy skills whilst playing with the BeeBot.

Myself and my partner agreed to create a ‘snakes & ladders’ board. We made the game so that it was suitable to use throughout the full school. For early years and Primary 1, its just a simple game of snakes and ladders. However, for  Primary 2-4, the dice will be slightly different as it will have the name of the number, the visual representation of the number or the amount in the representation of circles from this, the children will have to look at these different representations of numbers and have to decide for themselves where the BeeBot should go. Finally, for Primary 5-7, the dice will have addition or multiplication questions and the children would need to work out the answer to see where the BeeBot should go.

The experiences and outcomes that we provided for the early level version of the game are as follows;

  • In movement, games, and using technology I can use simple directions and describe positions.” -MTH 0-17a
  • “I am developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills, as I play and learn with electronic games, remote control or programmable toys.” -TCH 0-09a

Overall, today’s session was very good for us to get a deeper insight to the Curriculum and the experiences and outcomes. I personally feel that using the BeeBot for both literacy and numeracy lessons is fun however, there is also great amounts of learning taking place. I will definitely be using this in the classroom in the future.

References

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How [Online]. Available from: http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed: 16 January 2018]

Kaur, K. (n.d). Benefits of bee bots in classroom. [Online]. Available from: http://beebotsed.weebly.com/benefits-of-bee-bots-in-classrooms.html [Accessed: 16 January 2018].

NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy. [Online]. Available from: http://www.ncte.ie/media/NCTE_Floor_robots_focus_on_literacy_numeracy_primary_12-06.pdf [Accessed: 16 January 2018].

 

Digital Technologies Week 1.

Today’s class was an introduction to our digital technologies module. Within today’s session we reflected upon what digital technology is, our own digital skills, the importance of digital technologies in schools and navigating Glow.

The definition of digital technologies that my shoulder partner and I produced is “the use of electronic devices to find, analyse, create and communicate”.

To reflect upon our own competences within digital technology, we self analysed through the use of a chart where in which we graded ourselves from 1-3 on each category. By putting down the number 1, it would signify that you have that category as a development need however, by placing the number 3 beside the category it would mean that it was one of your areas of strength. The categories included things such as; word, excel, powerpoint and iPads etcetera.

Whilst discussing the importance of digital technologies in the classroom, we were directed to the “Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of digital technology” strategy, created by the Scottish Government in July 2016. This strategy is aimed to shape the educational approach to using digital technologies within the classroom. This strategy will only be used for between 3 to 5 years, this is due to the fact that it is believed technology will advance so quickly that the strategy will become outdated within this time frame. There are a number advantages for the pupil when using digital technologies in school, it is believed that digital technology raises attainment. Another advantage to the pupil is that they develop skills and competencies which are vital in the ever-growing digitised modern world. Alongside having advantages for the pupil, the teacher can benefit from digital technologies. An example of a teacher benefitting from technology is through the use of digital assessment, this type of assessment eliminates marking time and therefore allows the educator to devote more time to quality learning and teaching. Parents can also be increasingly involved with their child’s education through digital technologies by keeping up-to-date with the schools online website or their Twitter page. Finally, the Scottish Government (2016), stated that digital technologies are also aimed to “encourage educators to share innovative and effective  practice through digital platforms”. Teachers can do so through the use of websites including Glow and Twitter.

Finally, we were re-introduced from Glow which we had explored in our previous module ‘situated communication’. We discussed the benefits of Glow and tiles to add to our launch pad which will come in useful during our time as student teachers and further once we have fully qualified.

Overall, I believe today’s input was very informative and interesting. I particularly enjoyed reading and discussing the advantages of which digital technologies can have within a classroom setting. However, I feel I need more practice with Glow, which I will achieve overtime through creating blogs. I am very  confident that I will thoroughly enjoy this module and I am looking forward to the coming weeks.

References

Scottish Government (2016) Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of digital technology. [Online]. Available from: http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/391375/mod_resource/content/2/Digital%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20Strategy%20.pdf [Accessed: 9 January 2018].