Digital Technologies | 20.3.18

QR Codes & Outdoor Learning 

Today was our last class of Digital Technologies and we looked at the use of QR codes and the Pic Collage app. We also learned about promoting Outdoor Learning using digital technologies and they many benefits this can bring. This encouraged me to think about different lessons plans that incorporate technologies with the outdoors.

Outdoor Learning is more than just being outside; to offers “motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessibly activities from pre-school years through to college” (Education Scotland, 2010) and it is said that outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010). Outdoor learning also provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010).  Education Scotland (2010) builds on this as they say “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”. Other benefits of outdoor learning include developing critical thinking skills;  giving children opportunity for personal development; promoting healthy lifestyles and being aware of personal safety. Outdoor learning also provides a chance for children to showcase skills and abilities that are not always visible in the classroom, and this can therefore boost their confidence. Outdoor learning also allows links to be made across other curricular areas, such as health and wellbeing, where children can capitalise on the challenges of the outdoor environment and science, where children can study the local, natural and built environments. Our class also looked at the link between outdoor education and children’s wellbeing: the eight indicators of wellbeing are that the child is safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achieving, responsible, respectful/respected, and included (or SHANARRI as it is commonly referred to). Examples of this would be that a child has to be safe outside as there could be roads nearby, they need to be respectful of the wishes of their teacher and should feel included in the community of the class.

The SHANARRI Wellbeing Wheel

We then learned about QR codes and QR code scanners. QR code is short for Quick Response Code and these codes are a type of two-dimensional image-based hyperlink. It is an updated version of a standard barcode, which can store up to 30 numbers, whereas a QR code can store 7089 numbers. QR codes can also link a short piece of text, and audio recording, a website, a map location or even a calendar event. Our first task was to retrieve one of the iPads with a QR code scanner already installed and a worksheet with questions on it. We all went outside and had to run around completing a treasure hunt as it was a race against the other teams! Every time we found a QR code, it had to be scanned to unveil the question with 2 choices for the answer. Each QR code also had a clue for the next QR code to help us along the way. Once we had all the answers, each associated letter formed a six letter word and cracked the code. It turns out our group came last, but it was so much fun in the process! This would be an amazing activity to do with children as it was so engaging and encouraged us to work really hard to beat all the other teams – a little healthy competition! If this activity was to be used with children, clear boundaries would have to be set, ie a point that they are not allowed to cross (and why) and to listen out for the teacher calling them. If activities like this are carried out, trust starts to form between the teacher and the pupils and it goes both ways: teachers can trust that their pupils will respect the rules, and the children respects the teacher enough to follow the rules. We were also set a task of taking photos along the way of completing the treasure hunt and then creating a collage of our journey with the app, Pic Collage. This is another great tool to use with children as it provides a platform for children to share their journey and give a short round-up of their experience. It would be helpful, in a classroom, to ask the children to talk us through their collage and explain what is happening in each picture: this gives the children more structure and guidance when sharing stories with their classmates, which in turn may give them more confidence. Learning outcomes for an activity such as this in the classroom could be:

I am learning to assess and manage risk, to protect myself and others, and to reduce the potential for harm when possible.
HWB 0-16a / HWB 1-16a / HWB 2-16a / HWB 3-16a / HWB 4-16a

Within and beyond my place of learning I am enjoying daily opportunities to participate in physical activities and sport, making use of available indoor and outdoor space.

HWB 1-25a

I explore and experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts.

TCH 1-04a / TCH 2-04a

Today’s class was so exciting and engaging, even for us as adults! This kind of activity would definitely be a hit with children, while educating them on not only digital technologies but also on whatever the topic was (it could be maths, literacy, Vikings etc) – with extra cross-curricular input too!

Today was the last input of Digital Technologies for this semester! I can truly say I will miss this class. After completing the sheet given to us on the first day and realising my lack of knowledge of digital technologies, I now feel that, after twelve or so weeks, I have improved massively. I now have a confidence with using these technologies and even better, how to use them to teach! I feel inspired to learn even more about digital technologies and use this effectively in my classroom. I believe that digital technologies are the future of education, and to be able to have knowledge of these amazing resources will really help me in my future career.


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

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

›General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012) The Standards for Registration.

››Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.

›SHANARRI Wheel image taken from:

Digital Technologies | 13.3.18

Game-Based Learning with Minecraft

Today’s class was all about using games, specifically one called Minecraft, as a stimulus for learning. We looked at how to how to plan, create and design using Minecraft, and then how this may be of benefit in the classroom. We also reinforced last week’s learning of explaining why we use game-based learning in the classroom and outlined some of its benefits, continually making links to the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Experiences and Outcomes. We were lucky to have a local primary school send their Digital Leaders out to show us some of the fascinating work they have been doing with Minecraft, which really showed us the true reason as to why we use this in education.

It makes sense that game-based learning is being introduced into schools more and more; an Ofcom report (2011) states that gaming is hugely popular in the UK – almost 86% of 5-7 year old children and 90% of 8-11 year old children use gaming devices regularly, and so it follows on that this be mirrored in their school environment. Video gaming is a part of of 21st century youth culture (Ofcom, 2001), and to avoid this would mean our children’s school life is disconnected with their home life, which doesn’t bode well for quality education. The connection between playing and learning is not a new one; Vygotsy and Piaget introduced the idea of learning while doing, and Beauchamp (2012) states that “in recent years, interest has grown considerably in the potential for play to form the basis for learning”. Beauchamp (2012) states that there are many skills that could be developed by the use of ICT games such as strategic thinking, planning, communication, negotiation and group decision-making skills. Furthermore, Bray (2012) suggests that game-based learning could have the most transformational impact when it is used effectively, along with good teaching. It is also important to remember that using games solely as rewards or for entertainment is not the way forward, using games as an approach to learning is what will engage and motivate your students. Games can be used across the whole curriculum but it needs to be well thought out and planned, using an IDP (see last blog post) can ensure that games are being used in the most effective way possible. Beauchamp (2012) suggests that teacher not only have to become familiar with the games, they also have to be clear on exactly how they want that game to be used. He goes on to claim that a game’s effectiveness in a classroom is more related to the teacher’s knowledge of the curriculum than their confidence working with the game.

There are many different games out there to choose from, but today’s focus was Minecraft. MagBook (2014) claims that Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon since it’s release in 2011, with thousands and thousands of gamers playing it regularly. We looked at YouTube tutorial to show us the basic controls on the game and what it’s all about; we learned to collect/mine for different materials and then use them to create a simple house. It was at this point that the Digital Leaders worked with us to show us their amazing creations in the Minecraft world and then teach us their tips and tricks. The group had been creating their own Harry Potter world, with each group creating an iconic shop on Diagon Alley. The leaders walked us through what is possible on “Creative Mode” (basically, anything is possible!) and gave us a tour of their world. Their teacher also spoke to us about all the curricular content that the class have gained from using Minecraft. Harry Potter was already their Topic, but Minecraft has allowed this to come to life in their classroom! They have a physical representation of their imagination, which can aid in any expressive art or literacy activities that they may do. Once the Digital Leaders had shown us how to work Minecraft, they let us loose in their world! We were able to create buildings using different rare materials and introduce animals using the ‘spawn’ function. I had great fun learning how to work Minecraft and could completely understand why it is such a great creative tool for the classroom. Outcomes for a lesson such as this in the classroom could involve:

I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and can construct models. – TCH 2-09a

When I engage with others, I can respond in ways appropriate to my role, show that I value other’s contributions and use these to build on thinking. – LIT 2-02a

I have the opportunity to choose and explore a range of media and technologies to create images and objects, discovering their effects and suitability for specific tasks. – EXA 1-02a

Today’s input has really inspired me and I look forward to using tools like Minecraft in my future classroom. Traditionally, children would always either have to use words to describe an image in their imagination, or they had to draw it, which is not easy for everybody; but now, there are digital tools available to allow children to express their creativity in a different way. I think this is amazing as someone who never felt very confident with my drawing ability in school, to have an outlet for creativity that didn’t need fantastic drawing skills would maybe have allowed me to use my imagination more.


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

Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] [Accessed: 2.3.18]

MagBook (2014) How to Do Everything in Minecraft

Digital Technologies | 6.3.18

Game-based Learning

The focus for today’s input was game-based learning and its benefits in the classroom. We brainstormed why games-based learning could be beneficial and then looked at the use of inter-disciplinary plans. Graham showed us examples of childrens’ work based on one game – I was amazed at how many lessons and how much content could be created and achieved using just one video game.

In groups, we brainstormed the question: why is game-based learning an effective tool to use in education? Our mind-map:

Our original mind-map was written in pink, we added to the mind-map at the end of the input with orange pen

We spoke about how games used in education bring a sense of enjoyment to lessons in school, and are interactive and engaging. The Higher Education Academy supports this as it states “the link between learning and playing is longstanding and predates the digital era by thousands of years” and theorists such as Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky have argued that play is a crucial component of cognitive development. We also noted that bringing games into school would create a connection between home life and school life for children. The idea of learning by doing is very current in today’s education system, and using games to learn helps with this. Using games can also mean teamwork, and therefore improves children’ communicative and collaborative skills. Games can also be used across the entire curriculum, while also building on the pupils’ digital skills. It is argued that games are as high quality materials to deliver lessons as novels, films and plays are (Edutopia).  Furthermore, using games allows for imagination and creativity in the classroom with can overlap into creativity in other subject areas such as art and literacy. The Higher Education Academy defines games-based learning as “the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation”. At the end of session, we returned to our mind-map and added some extra information that we had learned. This included game-based learning increasing children’s motivation and grabbing attention. We also thought about how games could help the recall of information and to reinforce knowledge. It is also important to note the ‘stress-free’ aspect to using games to learn – some children may find textbooks and traditional techniques stressful and games in the classroom should help with this.

Despite game-based learning having countless benefits in the classroom, it is critical that the games are being used effectively to achieve the best learning possible. Different ways to integrate games into teaching is using the games as a stimulus, using the games to teach content, using the games to teach social skills and also, creating games. It can be daunting to introduce an idea like gaming into a traditional school, as some other teachers may not be as keen to try new things. Stephen Reid says that “although game-based learning has had a ‘difficult history’ with teachers who may have felt threatened by children becoming more expert in technology than they are, there is no denying that such platforms offer them a way to engage the pupils in a way they understand and can relate to”. As Reid has stated, we, as teachers, should try to build our confidence in new areas of technology as it is the key to unlocking our pupils’ creativity and imagination as it is something they can directly relate to. Other challenges to overcome while trying to incorporate game-based learning in class could be resources/budget restrictions; it may seem time consuming; identifying a suitable game; integrating the game into the structure of the school day; and lack of knowledge on how to assess. Some support on how to evaluate a game and its suitability for a classroom could be: make sure the game can be used to develop specific curricular content (eg maths, literacy etc); look at assessment opportunities or the lack of; does the game provide stimulus for further work; problem solving and collaborative working should be involved while using games to learn; how involved will the teacher be and is it likely to engage pupils. Positive answers to these questions leads to an age appropriate game being suitable for use in the classroom.

Inter-disciplinary planning (IDP) allows a teacher to take a single game and make sure that it will cover the curriculum. It shows the number of curricular areas that game-based learning can achieve. Working in a group, we came up with an IDP for using Mario-Kart in the classroom. Before we had brainstormed this, I struggled to even think of one lesson for the classroom, but it is amazing what you can do with one single game. For example, for a Literacy lesson, the children could write a diary entry based on being in the audience of a Mario-Kart race. Asking the children to use adjectives to describe the setting around them and to describe their thoughts and feelings allows them to really immerse themselves in the game. I am learning to use language and style in a way which engages and/or influences my reader. – ENG 2-27a.     I can convey information, describe events or processes, share my opinions or persuade my reader in different ways. – LIT 1-28a / LIT 1-29a.   For an art lesson, the children could be asked to design their very own kart! They could use large cardboard boxes to wear, decorated to look like a kart that could feature in one of the races. This could be taken even further to produce a drama performance of a tense race between rival competitors.  I can create and present work that shows developing skill in using the visual elements and concepts. – EXA 2-03a. I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances. – EXA 0-01a / EXA 1-01a / EXA 2-01a. 

Our full IDL is shown below: 

Today’s class has really inspired me to use game-based learning in my future class. I can really see its benefits for all children as it is something they can relate to, that brings excitement but also that brings content, questions and growth.


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

Edutopia [Online] [Accessed 6.3.18]

Higher Education Academy [Online] [Accessed 6.3.18]

Stephen Reid [Online] [Accessed 6.3.18]


Digital Technologies | 27.2.18

Mobile Devices 

In today’s class, we looked at the potential of mobile devices in the classroom. We looked at how the use of mobile devices could enhance learning and be a useful tool in the classroom. At the beginning of today’s session, we were asked to answer the question: should mobile devices be used in education? After reading different articles and journals, it seems apparent to me that mobile devices, if used effectively, can be very beneficial for both teachers and learners. In today’s society, it is clear that digital technologies and mobile devices are used by the majority of us on a daily basis. Research has shown that most children have access to some kind of mobile device at home and are even able to use an iPad before they learn to tie their shoelaces.  These “techno-babies” have been immersed in a technology saturated world and that is all they know – to go to into a school environment that does not take advantage of these technologies would seem foreign to them. Ofcom research has found that six year olds have the same understanding of communications technology as 45 year olds. Children are entering schools as “digital natives”, as Marc Prensky (2001) would call them, and are ‘naturals’ with how to use technology. The use of mobile devices in classrooms would create a link between home life and school life. The Children’s Parliament paper (2016) noted that children mostly use digital technologies to play games and socially, to instant message with their friends. It is important, as teachers, that we educate the children that these technologies are a great thing, but there are so many more ways to use them effectively and productively. And, because the young generation are really interested in technologies, having mobile devices in the classroom seems to be a tool to get (and hold) their attention! It is for these reasons that I thoroughly believe that mobile devices are a positive addition to the classroom and teachers should be encouraged to use them effectively.

We were then introduced to Talking Tins, a recording device that is simple and easy to use and therefore very child friendly. The controls on the recorder were very simple: start, stop and playback. This simplicity is key to its usefulness within schools. There are a wide array off possibilities inside the classroom, for example, children studying a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) could record themselves saying a phrase and then play it back instantly to practice pronunciation. This instant feedback makes these great tools for self-checking in the classroom. The learning outcome for a lesson such as this could be:

 I enjoy playing with and exploring technologies to discover what they can do and how they can help us. – TCH 0-05a.

After exploring the Talking Tins, we moved on to look at Easi-speak microphones. These are similar to Talking Tins, with some more functions, but most importantly the ability to transfer the files onto the computer. Our task was to complete an I Am Poem, record sound clips of the poem, find images that tell the story and make a PowerPoint presentation including the images and sound. The format of the poem was as follows:

My group and I chose to make our poem about a mermaid who wished she was a human. Our final poem:

Using the Easi-speak microphones was reasonably easy. It took a couple of tries to get used to it, but after that, we all found it simple. Uploading the files to the computer was so effortless as there is a USB stick attached to the microphones and this plugs directly into the computer port. We changed the settings on the PowerPoint presentation so that each audio clip would play automatically on its specific slide, this means there is no ‘speaker’ icon and the reader doesn’t have to click for the sound to come on.

Our finished product:

Completing a task such as this in the classroom is very much an inter-disciplinary activity. Children will be actively using and improving upon their literacy knowledge when creating their own poem but also improving their confidence on mobile devices such as Easi-speak microphones and on the computers. This type of digital storytelling combines the old with the new (Porter, 2004). Outcomes for a lesson like this could be:

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 regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to create texts of my choice. – LIT 1-01a / LIT 2-01a

Today’s class was really interesting to get a flavour of what simple “start/stop” recording devices can do in the classroom. Even if a specific school doesn’t have Talking Tins or Easy-speak microphones in their resources, using the recording function on iPads and phones could theoretically do the same job! I love seeing the creative ways to use digital technologies with children – it’s not all about computers, there are fun, engaging activities to do that children love and will even help with their other subject areas!


Children’s Parliament (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland: The View’s of Children

[Online] [Accessed: 27.2.18]

Porter, B. (2004) Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean Porter Publication.

Prensky, Marc (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.

Digital Technologies | 20.2.18


Today’s class looked at the use of animation in the classroom, and allowed us to create our own animation using iStopMotion on the iPads. We explored the creativity of animation and its limitless uses. It is so easy to create on iPads with programs available at our fingertips, which makes it a great tool to use with children. It provides an outlet for creativity that may have not been possible with paper and pen or to describe in words. Beauchamp (2012) states that ICT allows pupils to “achieve something that would be very difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way”. Animation also allows for inter-disciplinary learning in the classroom, as you can use the digital tools to create an animation about a topic on the Vikings, for example. Beauchamp goes on to explain how children do not separate experiences into different compartments and therefore it is important that ICT is not viewed as a separate ‘subject’ but rather, something that contributes to all areas of learning. Going further, Beauchamp advises that ICT should not just be  about learning, but also part of the pupils’ play as this reflects how much ICT is a part of their daily life. Using digital technologies should aim to help with problems that pupils with ASN experience and should strive to have a sense of inclusion, or e-Inclusion as Beauchamp calls it.

Learning about animation involved more than I had expected. Plainly, animation is described to involve the stringing together of a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move (Jarvis, 2015). We found out about the different types of animation such as cutout, stop-motion, pixilation, drawn and computer. We looked at how animation can enhance learning: Bertrancourt (2005) suggests animation enhances learners’ visual representations, illustrates processes and provides an interactive element. Jarvis (2015) explains that using sound and video enhances the quality of information processing and therefore, the quality of learning. He says that “animation can have a big visual impact”, however, Jarvis goes on to say how time consuming this can be. Moving Image Education explains how animation “breathes new life” into something that wouldn’t normally move.

We were tasked with creating an animation using a range of resources provided by our lecturer, Graham. We were to use the iPad app called iStopMotion and hence use the animation style of stop motion. This was an easy way for us to introduce ourselves into animation. We looked at some YouTube tutorials to help us get to grips with the app. I created an army themed animation using a hand-drawn camouflage backdrop and toy soldiers and tanks. I also used pieces of paper to communicate a ‘bang’ noise into my short animation clip. It was very rewarding to make the animation as it didn’t involve too much artistic skills and it produced a good result in not too long. Moving Image Education says that you don’t have to make using animation in the classroom complicated, use basic cut-outs to create some really interesting animations.

A still picture from my animation clip

Using an activity such as this in a classroom would again use inter-disciplinary skills. It would therefore cover more than one outcome, and help to ‘bundle’ our outcomes while teaching.

I can explore and experiment with sketching, manually or digitally, to represent ideas in different learning contexts. – TCH 1-11a.

To show my understanding across different areas of learning, I can identify and consider the purpose and main ideas of a text. – LIT 1-16a.

This class has opened my eyes to the vast uses and benefits of using animation in the classroom. It has allowed me to grow my confidence with using apps such as this on the iPads and given me inspiration on how I could use this in the classroom. I feel passionate about using lessons that children will enjoy while they are learning, and I think using animation would definitely excite the children and give them many skills at the same time. I look forward to using animation when on placement and ultimately in my own class!


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

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

›Porter, B. (2004) Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean Porter Publication.

›Moving Image Education website: [Online] [Accessed: 20.2.18]

YouTube Tutorial: [Online] [Accessed: 20.2.18]

Digital Technologies | 13.2.18

Movie Making

Today’s class focussed on making movies on an app called iMovie. There was also a theme of internet safety throughout, as Safer Internet Day 2018 was last week (6th February). During the process of taking this module and learning about digital technologies, it has always been at the forefront of my mind that when we teach children about the amazing possibilities of digital tech, we need to remember to inform them of the more negative side as well. Beauchamp (2012) states that “the key idea [is] that e-safety is not about restricting children, but about educating them”. However, Beauchamp also suggests that “most schools will have in place a policy regarding e-safety, but they are more likely to reflect official policies and perhaps not the reality of pupils’ lives”. As Beauchamp has said, we, as teachers, should be aware that school policies may not cover real life situations that children may come across and we must be on hand to help in this circumstance. As a class, we took a quiz that asked questions surrounding internet safety. This would be a great tool to use in a classroom as it gives the teacher an idea of any child that isn’t sure what to do in dangerous situations online. Further lessons can be carried out to ensure all children have the knowledge and skills to know what to do and who to tell if something doesn’t seem right online. This is very important, as Beauchamp also states “the most successful schools.. in terms of e-safety ensured that pupils knew what to do when things went wrong”. There are resources available on the Safer Internet website and on Glow applications such as ‘thinkuknow’.

When children are being safe online, it allows them to use the technologies for what they are there for: giving them additional knowledge and skills. It has been proven that using technologies can raise attainment: the Scottish Government (2015) states that “there is conclusive evidence that digital equipment, tools and resources can, where effectively used, raise the speed and depth of learning in science and mathematics for primary and secondary age learners”. It is absolutely vital that the children in our schools are given the right tools to be digitally literate as Weiss (2017) says that digital literacy is the set of competencies required for full participation in society. Bennett (2004) goes further and states that “being literate in the twenty-first century incorporates more than simply being able to read and write. Children need to also learn how to use [and] present…”. Not just that; digital literacy also helps to develop a wide array of skills such as critical thinking skills, collaboration skills, effective communication and creativity.

Today’s task was to create a movie using iMovie on the iPads. The movie was to promote being safe online. Our group completed a plan template to follow before starting to record the film. Each member of the group had a role (editing/recording/making fake Instagram accounts etc) to ensure we made the movie in the specified time frame.  

Our idea focussed on the idea that not everyone is who they say they are online, and the story was as follows: a bear has an Instagram profile and suddenly gets a follow request from a stranger. After the bear accepts the request, the stranger (a unicorn) starts to message the bear and asks questions about him. The unicorn asks to meet up and eventually the bear realises that this is not safe. He blocks the unicorn account and tells his parents about it. Thank goodness he did, as it turns out the unicorn was really a werewolf! From watching this, hopefully children would see the dangers of speaking to people you don’t know online and should become aware of the signs of strange behaviour.

A copy of our movie is here: BEar Safe.m4v

Our group won “Best Original Script” at the film awards in our module!

Our award for “Best Original Script”

Using the iMovie app to create our movie was challenging to begin with, but we got the hang of it eventually. It was very rewarding to produce our own film within one lesson – however, with children, this would be spread out over multiple lessons. This would be a great activity for children to not only improve their digital abilities but also learn more about a current issue, in order to advise others. The idea of digital storytelling is not a new one, according to Porter (2004), sharing stories through digital medium will be “the principle hobby of the world’s people”. Therefore, learning about this unique way of telling stories will unlock a new world of creativity for children. Doing an activity such as this one in the classroom would cover Literacy, Technology and Health & Wellbeing outcomes:

I can extend my knowledge of how to use digital technology to communicate with others and I am aware of ways to keep safe and secure. – TCH 1-03a

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 can convey information, describe events, explain processes or combine ideas in different ways. –LIT 2-28a

Through contributing my views, time and talents, I play a part in bringing about positive change in my school and wider community. – HWB 0-13a / HWB 1-13a / HWB 2-13a / HWB 3-13a / HWB 4-13a

Today’s class allowed me to explore the creative and imaginative ways you can teach children about sensitive issues, it doesn’t allows need to be a negative discussion. These fun and engaging lessons allow children to learn about serious topics but also have it be light-hearted and fun. The most important thing is that children are being safe online and know what to do if and when anything goes wrong. And, not to forget the countless positives that digital technology brings to our classrooms!


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

›Bennett, R. (2004) Using ICT in Primary English Teaching. Learning Matters Limited.

›Porter, B. (2004) Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean Porter Publication.

Weiss, D. (2017) Time to Know blog [Online] [Accessed: 13.2.18]

iMovie Planning Templates available [Online] [Accessed: 13.2.18]

Digital Technologies | 6.2.18


In today’s session, we looked at the advantages of using mobile devices, and, more specifically eBooks in the classroom and how this can be beneficial to students’ learning. We explored the BookCreator app and discovered its capabilities and thought about what uses this could have in a learning environment.

Firstly, we had to learn about what an eBook really is. The Oxford Dictionary defines them as “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device.” From this definition, we brainstormed why using these devices in the classroom could be beneficial. We came up with the following mind-map:  

Our ideas at the start of today’s session are in red. Once we had learned more about eBooks, we added to the mind-map in blue.

The benefits to eBooks are vast: they are portable which means learning can take place wherever you’d like, whether that be in the classroom, the playground or in a setting relating to the text. Also, the digital element of eBooks makes the act of reading more enjoyable for children and may even light a spark for them to realise their love of reading. One of the best advantages of using eBooks is the unlimited choice of books that you have access to at your fingertips – it means the joy of reading is not limited to the budget of the school library. Other benefits include working out cheaper in the long run; enhancing children’s digital literacy and the use of audio-books for children with ASN.

The Scottish Government have set A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland, aiming to use digital technology to raise attainment, ambition and opportunities for all by improving the standard of teaching and learning for young people and parents when it comes to digital technology. It sets out four main objectives: developing the skills of teachers; improving access for all learners; ensuring digital technology is considered in all areas of the curriculum and empowering leaders to drive innovation and investment in digital technology.  A document was also published by the Children’s Parliament called A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy or Scotland: The Views of Children. In this paper, questions such as “What digital technologies to do you use?” are asked and the answers are recorded. The children were asked if they use digital technologies at school. The use of Smartboards were mentioned often but this was mainly/always used by the teacher. Even though it is positive that digital technologies are used in the classroom, it is important that we, as teachers, remember to give the children time to use these devices on their own to explore and discover them. When asked if they want to use digital technologies more in the classroom, most children said that they thought the use of iPads etc should be a common thing and not just a reward at Golden Time.

Book Creator is an app that you can get on the iPads which allows you to make your own eBooks. There has been over 25 million eBooks created using the app so far, including children’s picture books, comic books, photo albums, journals, textbooks and more. We used the following tutorial to learn more about how to use the app:

In today’s session, we were asked to, in groups, make brief e-brochure on Book Creator for prospective UWS students. We were given a short time frame to complete this task. This allowed us to see how easy and quick it was to familiarise ourselves with how to work the app. Our group took a walk around campus and thought about what we wanted to include in the brochure, such as information about lecture theatres, library, canteen etc. We were able to include pictures, videos, audio and texts, and then personalise it the way we wanted it to look. It was amazing to see a brochure come to life in such a short space of time! This kind of activity would be great for children as the instant gratification factor is there (you have a completed brochure within 15 mins or so).

We were then tasked to create an eBook summarising a well known story individually. This task allowed us to focus less on the content of the book (as we were just retelling a story) but more on the different tools on the app, this allowed us to really explore what the Book Creator app had to offer. I chose a book called “Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones” – about different animals getting ready to go to sleep. I added audio clips of me reading aloud on each page of the eBook. The book that I created included pictures from the original on one side of the page. The other side of the page had questions to help the children think about the book a little more (ie food for thought).

An example of one of the pages of my eBook

This shows how eBooks can be used as not just an electronic form of a paper book, but also as a teaching tool. It can be adapted and completely personalised to suit many situations. This is the beauty of digital technologies – its versatility and personalisation options make teaching/learning an enjoyable thing to do. The lesson that I have created would cover literacy and digital technology outcomes:

Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select, sort and use information for a specific purpose. – LIT 1-14a

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

Today, we used mobile devices (the iPad) to create eBooks, but there are countless other programs that can be used on tablets such as iPads. The use of these tablets in the classroom mean work is produced that is of a high standard and easily edited. Beauchamp (2012) states that “mobile devices, especially mobile phones and tablets, have very advanced capabilities and can be used to supplement or even replace a laptop computer.” This gives so much more freedom to the classroom than the use of computers or even laptops, and means the children and the teacher can be more creative in lessons.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on mobile devices in today’s class. I loved exploring the Book Creator app and discovering how easy it was to make my own book! I can really see how this lesson could bring so much joy to a classroom of children, while teaching key digital technology lessons at the same time.


Youtube video – ›

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

›Children’s Parliament Consultation (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland: The Views of Children.

Digital Technologies | 30.1.18


In today’s session, we focussed on coding and, in particular, the program called Scratch Jr on the iPads. I have had some experience of the Scratch program on computers, while at a school for experience. The iPad version was slightly different, and I hadn’t gotten the chance to experiment on my own with it before, so I was excited for this class! Throughout the input, we also looked at why coding is so important in today’s society and why children should learn it, and looked at the links to the Curriculum for Excellence outcomes across all levels.

Firstly, it is important, as a teacher, to fully understand why you are teaching a lesson – if you can’t justify the reason you are teaching something, you shouldn’t be teaching it! You have to pass on the reasons and the context to the children to ensure they are a invested in the learning as they can be. This is why we have looked at the benefits of coding in the classroom. Firstly, it is becoming more and more important to have the ability to code in today’s society, and it can be expected that in years to come, coding will be an even bigger part of our lives; as I have mentioned before, it is important to always keep in mind that we are preparing children for jobs of the future. It can even be said that coding is the ‘new’ literacy! This may seem far-fetched just now, but the coding language is used a lot in day-to-day life, even if we don’t realise it ourselves. Also, the act of learning coding can help people use strategies for solving problems, designing projects and communicating ideas.

Scratch Jr is a programming language designed specifically for young children to allow them to create their own interactive stories and games. The program makes coding into a visual experience, as the child drags and drops ‘blocks’ that tell their character what to do: jump, walk, talk etc. However, children using Scratch Jr not only improve upon their computing skills, they learn to “think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for success and happiness in today’s world.” (The Lead Project, 2014). The Scratch programme is specifically designed to enable children to explore and experiment, with no limits to their imagination. It is for this reason that Scratch is so versatile and can aid teachers in subjects like mathematics, English, music, art, design and information technology. This also links with the Curriculum for Excellence’s Experience and Outcomes: first and second level outcomes such as “I explore ad experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts” (TCH 1-04a/TCH 2-04a) can be achieved by working with programmes such as Scratch.

As part of this class, we were challenged to create our own story using Scratch to illustrate it. We had to at least: change the background; add characters; program the characters to move and add in some speech. It was really interesting to use the programme for ourselves as it helped us to get into the mind of a child and how they might meet obstacles while exploring, and how they may overcome them and use their problem solving skills. It is obvious that children would get a lot of enjoyment out of working with this programme as well as quality learning and problem solving experience.


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

YouTube Tutorial – Welcome video and short introductory tutorial:



Digital Technologies | 23.1.18


Today’s Digital Technologies input focussed on multimodality and how it can enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. We then looked at different ways to create multimodal texts, and in particular, explored the program called ActivInspire. As a cohort, we have learned about multimodality in our semester one module, Literacy for Understanding; however, time did not allow us to look at this in depth, we now have the opportunity to fully explore multimodality.

We learned that a text is considered multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems; there are five semiotic systems altogether: linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial. It is understandable that it is so important for teachers to fully understand multimodality, as we all know that children all have very different learning styles, and multimodality can cater to a wide range of them. Beauchamp (2012) states that multimodality “allows teachers to present an idea in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it”.

The curriculum displays the need for multimodality in the classroom, as the Literacy and English Principles and Practice document states that the “framework reflects the increased use of multimodal texts, digital communication, social networking and the other forms of electronic communication encountered by children and young people in their daily lives”. Beauchamp (2012) also goes on to say that “we must challenge the implicit assumption that speech and writing are always central and sufficient for learning.”

The reasons for using multimodality in the classroom are vast – presentations that include more than 2 semiotic systems tend to be: captivating, motivating, interactive, personalised, dynamic, memorable and engaging. Multimodality can be introduced into a classroom in many different ways: one of which being presentations on interactive boards. Prandstatter (2014) states that “touch displays can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences thereby helping children learn by doing.”

We focussed on a program called ActivInspire, which is very common in schools. It allows you to create interactive flip charts which bring lessons to life. There are two forms of ActivInspire: Primary and Studio. The former being more suitable for younger children with bright colours and enlarged, simple icons, with Studio being slightly more advanced and functional. ActivInspire has many features: adding annotations, highlighting texts, adding handwritten notes or drawings, inserting images or videos, creating shapes and designs, adding backgrounds etc.

We were tasked to work in pairs to create some ActivInspire flipchart slides to create an interactive lesson in a classroom. My peer and I chose to make a French lesson. The focus of the lesson was learning basic French colours. The slides included interactive activities for the children to complete such as drawing a line from the English to the French translation and unscrambling the letters to create the French word for certain colours. The idea being that this flipchart would assist in teaching the children, by getting them to be active in the lesson. Completing this task really made me understand how an interactive flipchart is so much more captivating for children, as opposed to regular PowerPoint presentations.


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

Education Scotland

YouTube ActivInspire series of support videos:


Digital Technologies | 16.1.18

Programmable Toys

Today’s session involved learning about programmable toys and, in particular, Bee-Bots. We looked at the history of programmable toys, the benefits of using them in the classroom and the links to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Programmable toys being used in the education system dates back to the 1960s when the programming language Logo was created by Seymour Papert. This involves controlling the ‘turtle’ (arrow) to draw lines on the computer screen. We were able to give this a try in class today – it was really interesting to use and find similarities between this and the Bee-Bot. We also got the chance to use the Bee-Bot app on the iPads – this is a great tool to use in schools that might not have the physical Bee-Bots.

The benefits of programmable toys are seemingly endless: Janka (2008) claims that these types of toys are “a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world”. Janka (2008) also states that programmable toys help children to “develop the ability to describe simple journey and instruct the programmable toy in order to develop positional language and estimation.” Lydon (2008) claims that children “gained independence faster than anticipated” when using Bee-Bots. The benefits are inter-disciplinary: The National centre for Technology in Education (2012) say that floor robots such as Bee-Bots help with “development of skills such as logical sequencing, measuring, comparing lengths, space orientation, and expressing concepts in words.” Other benefits include: there is instant feedback gained by the learner; their problem solving skills are developed; it is a hands-on lesson; the pupils experience challenge and enjoyment; the learner is in control and has the platform to be creative.

I found it really interesting to think about all the different ways these toys could be used in the classroom to support a vast range of learning. When using programmable toys, it is important to keep in mind the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes (Es&Os). To ensure that the child is receiving the most from the lesson, a teacher should make sure the lesson is targeting at least one or two of the Es&Os, if not more. Es&Os should be the bones of a good lesson, and the success criteria should be made clear to the pupils at the start and end of the lesson.

As a class, we were challenged to come up with a lesson in groups, using Bee-Bots, with a numeracy focus. My group and I used a treasure hunt theme, incorporating the 3 times table: the idea was the the learner would start at the ‘ship’ square, and would have to complete the sum on that tile, in this case 3×1. Once the learner had gotten the answer, they would look for the card with the answer on it, in this case they would look for the card with the 3 on it. If they turn the card over, they would find instructions on where to go on the map, using the points of the compass such as north, south etc. The learner will have to answer different 3 times table sums in order to eventually reach the treasure.

The hunt included some obstacles, such as the shark which you cannot pass! This encourages the learner to use problem solving skills and also brings more enjoyment to the game.

We even made a little eye patch to immerse the Bee-Bot fully in the game!

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about these programmable toys and can’t wait to take what I have learned into a classroom soon!

I have included a small clip of the the Bee-Bot in action!


ICTopus Article (2008) Sharing Good Practice: Robots in Early Education by Alison Lydon.


[Accessed: 20th January 2018]


Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How?


[Accessed: 20th January 2018]


NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy.


[Accessed: 20th January 2018]


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