Digital Technologies Week 11.

Today’s focus was centred around the use of QR codes within outdoors lessons. We explored the QR Scanner and Pic Collage applications. Alongside this, we considered the benefits of outdoor learning.

“Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences […] provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors”, this excerpt from Education Scotland (2010), clearly identifies the long-lasting benefits that outdoor learning provides for children. They further go on to state that the outdoor environment provides children with several different experiences and that outdoor learning is believed to be; motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible.

Outdoor learning provides students with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about a subject area that they may be struggling with. For example, a child may be struggling with problem solving in the classroom however, once the activities go outdoors this can often spark children’s skills. Thus, they are problem solving often without realising they are doing so. From this, the child could end up being a group leader and encouraging their peers, which may not have occurred otherwise.

After discussing the advantages of outdoor learning we moved on to link SHANARRI with outdoor learning. There are eight different aspects to the SHANARRI wheel which are as follows;

  • Safe
  • Healthy
  • Active
  • Nurture
  • Achieving
  • Responsible
  • Respect
  • Included

Myself and my partner considered how respect can relate to the outdoors and children in our classroom. From outdoor learning, children gain respect for the land/environment, people, animals and property. Alongside this, children feel respected due to being provided with trust and responsibility.

In the practical side of today’s lesson, we started by exploring the Pic Collage application. We were asked to create a themed collage, my collage was of my friend. We then discussed how to use the QR Code application and how to create QR codes for ourselves. Afterwards, we went outdoors as our lecturer had set up a QR code activity for us to complete, the activity was with regards to the social subject topic of Scotland. We had to scan the code and answer the question. For every question, we were then given a letter, at the end we had to look at all the letters and guess the word that it made. In this case, the word was “haggis”. Alongside doing this activity, we were given a second iPad to take pictures throughout and we created another collage using these pictures.

Upon arrival back to class, we were then given the opportunity to create our own QR code lesson. Myself and my partner based our around the science topic of mini beasts (Question sheet attached). This lesson is aimed for early level classes and the outcomes for this lesson are as follows;

  • I have observed living things in the environment over time and am becoming aware of how they depend on each other. SCN 0-01a.
  • I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts. TCH 0-01a.
  • In movement, games, and using technology I can use simple directions and describe positions. MTH 0-17a.

QR CODE CRACKER

I am very excited to use this method of teaching whilst out in schools, I believe this is a fun and interesting was to engage children whilst they are learning. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience personally and I believe my classes will too. Overall, I think this is a great cross-curricular activity.

References

Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.

Digital Technologies Week 10.

This week’s session was a continuation on from last week’s “Games based learning” input. The focus of today however, was not on Mario Kart but Minecraft within the classroom.

A report created by Ofcom (2011) states that within the United Kingdom, almost 86% of five to seven-year-old children and 90% of eight to eleven-year-old children are using gaming devices regularly. I found these figures quite staggering as I had not fully realised the impact to what gaming is having upon the newest generation of children. Based on this, it is accurate to assert that gaming should be within schools if children are so fascinated by this type of technology. Not only will children be engaged whilst playing these devices, they are gaining life skills which are necessary for their future careers as adults. Furthermore, Ofcom also state that computer games are firmly embedded within the 21st century. Thus, through the evidence provided, teachers and educators should be ensuring that they are also firmly embedding these types of consoles into the curriculum, as they are arguably going to play a significant part to many children’s lives in the future of the 21st century.

Whilst discussing the impact of games in education, Bray (2012), constructed a table of what is involved in games and the outcomes children gain from them;

  • Games are a form of play, which provides children with feelings of intensity and involvement.
  • Games are a form of fun, which provides children with enjoyment and pleasure.
  • Games have rules, which gives children structure.
  • Games often have a final goal, which gives children motivation to complete the game.
  • Problem solving is a feature of most games thus, sparking creativity within our children.
  • Games have storylines throughout and can encourage children’s emotions.
  • Within games, interaction is a key feature therefore, encouraging and developing children’s social skills.
  • Games always provide outcomes and feedback, which provides children with significant learning experiences.

Because of this, there is sufficient evidence of the benefits of games based learning within today’s classrooms if the technology is used within the correct context. Furthermore, Bray agrees with this by stating “Games based learning has the most transformation impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching”. Beauchamp is another supporter of technology within the classroom and agrees with Bray by stating, “in recent years, interest has grown considerably in the potential for play to form the basis of learning”.

It can be argued that there is a lot of apprehension and anxiety amongst teachers with regards to digital technologies due to feeling like they do not have sufficient knowledge on this area. Stephen Reid (2016) agrees that there has been a ‘difficult history’ around games based learning, due to teachers feeling threatened that children are more experienced with technology than themselves. These feelings should not be shut away but should be embraced by teachers. Due to many educators feeling intimidated by children having extensive knowledge of games consoles, they should learn from the children and that is what we did in today’s class.

Pupils from a local primary school had come in to visit our class for the morning, they exhibited their work from the game, Minecraft. Alongside this, they taught us how to play the game. I found this experience very enjoyable and pleasant as the children could be the educators for once. It was clear that the children had also thoroughly enjoyed this experience as they left with very smiley faces. They informed us that their current project on Minecraft was based around their topic of Harry Potter and they had created the Hogwarts school and Hogsmeade.

Upon my attempt at playing the game, I struggled at first as I did not know what to do however, the children were very supportive and by the end of the session, I had managed to create my very own house with two levels in it.

Once considering lesson possibilities of this game, I had concluded of four other areas. For example, the game can be used for topics including; Ancient Greece, Titanic, Egyptians and Romans. With Ancient Greece, the children can incorporate literacy and digital technologies i.e. reading one of the ancient stories then recreating the scenery as they had imagined it in their mind using the game. Another example is using Minecraft to teach about the Titanic, children can use the game to create what they imagine the cabins may look like in the boat, this then provides a stimulus for them to write a diary entry and describe what their room looks like. Furthermore, Egyptian and Roman architecture can be explored using this game as children can attempt to create their own pyramids or coliseums.

I have identified several Experiences and Outcomes in relation to this subject area and are as follows;

  • I can convey information, describe events, explain processes or combine ideas in different ways. LIT 2-28a
  • I have the opportunity to choose and explore an extended range of media and technologies to create images and objects, comparing and combining them for specific tasks. EXA 2-02a
  • I can create and present work that shows developing skill in using the visual elements and concepts. EXA 2-03a
  • Through observing and recording from my experiences across the curriculum, I can create images and objects which show my awareness and recognition of detail. EXA 2-04a
  • Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities within art and design. EXA 0-05a / EXA 1-05a / EXA 2-05a
  • I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and can construct models. TCH 2-09a

There are endless opportunities that this game provides and I am extremely excited to use this within my own practice in the future.

References

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

Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education [Online] Available from: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 2.3.18].

Ofcom (2001), Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes [Online] Available from: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 15th March 2018].

Stephen Reid (2016) Teachers Experience Games-Based Learning at Minecraft Launch [Online] Available from: http://futurescot.com/educators-encouraged-open-minds-possibilities-games-based-learning/  [Accessed: 15th March 2018].

Digital Technologies Week 9.

The objective of today’s digital technologies session placed its focus upon games based learning within the classroom.

The Higher Education Academy website states that digital games-based learning is “the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation”.

At the beginning of the session we were asked to consider reasons as to why games-based learning is a vital tool to use within educational establishments, my partners and I provided examples such as:

  • Games based learning is exciting for children thus, increasing their motivation to learn.
  • Easy to use across the curriculum.
  • Increases children’s fine motor skills, for example, hand and eye co-ordination.
  • Alongside fine motor skills, games based learning also develops social skills for example, communication and planning.

Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky both studied play and considered the effects it has upon children’s development. The findings of both of these theorists appear to agree with one-another and both claim that play is vital for children’s cognitive development. Based on this, it is accurate to assert that play can in fact improve an individual’s cognitive development from the beginning of their life right through until adulthood (Higher Education Academy, 2017). Thus, through the evidence provided, it is clear that play holds an importance within our classrooms, which arguably shows why teachers should include games-based learning within lessons.

“Like novels, films, plays and other media, games can be high quality materials a teacher uses to enable students to access the curriculum.” (Farber, 2016) This statement advocates the use of digital technologies for learning as it provides both pupil and educator with high quality learning materials and skills for life. It is important for educators to incorporate games into lessons as it allows for children to delve into their education and the curriculum alongside having fun.

For the practical side of today’s input, we were asked to consider how we could use the Nintendo Wii, with specific focus on Mario Kart, as a stimulus for learning. With such games, there are several teaching possibilities with regards to literacy, mathematics, art and music. Teachers may wish to focus on literacy and can ask the children to produce their own storyline for the game, which allows for practice on spelling, grammar and punctuation. For a mathematics lesson, the educator can ask the children to create price lists for the Mario Kart event, price lists may be created for merchandise and/or tickets for the event. Alongside this, the children can calculate profit and loss from sales. Furthermore, to incorporate art into this lesson, the class can create their own race track, design characters or create their very own tickets for the event. Finally, the educator can ask the children to use music apps on the iPad or classroom instruments to recreate the theme tune for the game.

There are a number of Experiences and Outcomes linked with these activities and are as follows;

  • I can use my notes and other types of writing to help me understand information and ideas, explore problems, make decisions, generate and develop ideas or create new text. I recognise the need to acknowledge my sources and can do this appropriately. LIT 2-25a
  • I can use the terms profit and loss in buying and selling activities and can make simple calculations for this. MNU 2-09c
  • Through observing and recording from my experiences across the curriculum, I can create images and objects which show my awareness and recognition of detail. EXA 2-04a
  • I can use my voice, musical instruments and music technology to experiment with sounds, pitch, melody, rhythm, timbre and dynamics. EXA 2-17a

Having played this game myself as a child, I believe I have sufficient knowledge of Mario Kart. I think this will be an effective teaching tool within the classroom as the children will be extremely engaged in their learning whilst playing and having fun. I look forward to incorporating Mario Kart into lessons in the near future.

References

Higher Education Academy (2017) Gamification and Games-Based Learning [Online] Available from: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed: 6 March 2018]

Matthew Farber (2016) Three ways to use game based learning [Online] Available from: https://www.edutopia.org/article/3-ways-use-game-based-learning-matthew-farber [Accessed: 6 March 2018]

Digital Technologies Week 8.

The purpose of this weeks session was to use mobile devices to create a poetry lesson for the curricular area of literacy. The mobile device that we used was the Easi-Speak microphone. Alongside this, we considered the impact of mobile devices within the classroom and we were able to read articles with regards to this topic.

Whilst carrying out reading for the subject of mobile devices, I found a statement that really grasped my attention that “over four in 10 households now have a tablet, meaning that children are becoming computer-literate before they’ve even started school”. This statement emphasises the importance of digital technologies within our classrooms, digital technologies is the future of this generation of children and teachers should be embracing this rather than holding back. The fact that children are computer-literate prior to starting school clearly shows a deep interest of digital technologies from them. Thus, if we use digital technologies to carry out lessons, most children should be very engaged. The same article also stated that the average six-year-old child may have the same knowledge of technology as a 45-year-old once again, this is clearly depicting the importance of digital technologies in a child’s everyday life (Curtis, 2014).

As we progressed on to the practical part of today’s session, we were shown Talking-Tins and Easi-Speak microphones. However, the sole focus was to learn the functions of the Easi-Speak device, use the device then successfully transfer the files into a PowerPoint presentation. We were provided with poem templates for an ‘I am’ poem, I worked alongside a partner and we decided to do the poem from the perspective of a student teacher (Attached below). We then recorded ourselves reciting the poem with the Easi-Speak microphone. We took the approach of saying one line each, the poem had 18 lines in total. The device was simplistic to use and I believe that it is child-friendly and for all ages. We then transferred the audio clips into a PowerPoint presentation and added pictures that corresponded to what we were saying.

Elise and Nicola’s I am Poem

Whilst looking at the Experiences and Outcomes, this activity had linked in with several literacy outcomes including:

  • Within real and imaginary situations, I share experiences and feelings, ideas and information in a way that communicates my message. LIT 0-26a
  • By considering the type of text I am creating, I can select ideas and relevant information, organise these in a logical sequence and use words which will be interesting and/or useful for others. LIT 1-26a
  • By considering the type of text I am creating, I can select ideas and relevant information, organise these in an appropriate way for my purpose and use suitable vocabulary for my audience. LIT 2-26a

Due to poetry fitting the outcomes for all three stages within the Curriculum, I believe that this lesson can be taken into any classroom and used as a means of getting to know your students at the start of the year. The children are able to be very unique with what they submit and I believe that this will give them a high sense of achievement when writing about themselves. Personally, I am aiming to use this lesson in my BA2 placement to get to know my class better.

References

Curtis, S. (2014) Digital Learning: how technology is reshaping teaching [Online] Available from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/11051228/Digital-learning-how-technology-is-reshaping-teaching.html [Accessed: 27th February 2018].