Digital Technologies – Week 4

This week in Digital Technologies, we were focusing on the benefits of using coding in the class room. Coding is an important part of learning in today’s society and in order to explore this, we used the computer coding program Scratch Jr., to create an interactive story.

The ability to code computer programs is an important part of not only learning, but in many aspects of literacy, and becoming increasingly known as the new literacy. When people begin to learn to code, they learn the important skills and strategies for solving problems, communicating their ideas in a different way and designing creative projects.

Scratch Jr. is an introductory programming language that enables young children who are of age 5 and above, and create their own by having the improved knowledge of coding prior to utilising Scratch Jr. The Lead Project, (2014) discusses the skills acquired by the coding program: “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.” When a child is using Scratch Jr., they are having to navigate their way around the rules of coding, plan ahead, set the scenes and create different characters “Sprites”.

Scratch Jr. is widely used in education establishments, as it links in effectively with the Scottish Curriculum, ranging from Early level to Second level. “Scratch is designed for exploration and experimentation, so it supports any different learning style.” (The Lead Project, 2014) Schools are benefiting from coding programs such as Scratch Jr. as it’s benefits are endless for educators. it helps aid them in teaching subjects such as English, Maths, Music and Information Technology.

During the workshop, we created an interactive story using Scratch Jr., using our prior knowledge of coding and incorporating the Scottish curriculum Experiences and Outcome’s throughout the course of the interactive story. I had created a story, whereby an octopus and two other fish were in the ocean. The octopus had lost his lucky star and the two fish were to help him find it. The fish came across objects which were not the star, until the other fish had found where it may be. the children were then brought to a scene at night time, where the question was asked: “What might happen next?” This will allow the children to describe scenes, the character’s feelings and think ahead about what may happen next in the story line, developing their creative thinking skills.

The Scottish Curriculum Experience’s and Outcomes which link in with my Scratch Jr. story creation were:

“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.

In relation to Literacy, the relevant outcome which links in to the task was:

“I enjoy creating texts of my choice and I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to suit the needs of my audience.” LIT 1-20a / LIT 2-20a

Moreover, I felt that it was beneficial being introduced to Scratch Jr., as I feel that it is an extremely useful source to use within a classroom environment, when teaching different lessons in an interactive way. I definitely will use this in the future when I become a teacher as I think it will encourage the pupils to create stories, with the prompt of an educator. not only developing creativity, but problem solving, collaborating and logically reasoning.

 

References:

The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.https://www.facebook.com/

Digital Technologies – Week 3

The focus of today’s lesson during Digital Technologies, was to learn about the use of multimodality within a learning environment in order to enhance both teaching and learning in the classroom. In addition to this, we used the digital platform: ActivInspire to create a Numeracy interactive activity.

We learned that a  text is known as multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems: Linguistic, Visual, Audio, Gestural, Spatial. This is stated by Beauchamp (2012), “The multimodality of technology is another reason to use it, as it follows teachers to present an idea in a variety go different ways to help pupils understand it.”

The presentation of a lesson can be enhanced and projected to young learners by teachers by using multimodality within all aspects of learning throughout the Curriculum for Excellence. Also discussed by Beauchamp, (2012), “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.” With use of the semiotic systems, making a multimodal text to aid learning in the classroom creates a fresh and modern approach to teaching within a learning establishment.”

Activinspire enables engagement from all pupils as we also discussed that using a yellow background with comic sans font is an effective way to prepare a lesson for those with dyslexic tendencies, as this makes it easier for them to read. 

My partner and I created a Activinspire flip chart which made an interactive learning experience with regards to using co-ordinates in numeracy, with the CfE level targeted to second level. On one of the flip charts, we had created a basic grid, ranging with coordinates from 1-10 and with many different shapes plotted onto the co-ordinates grid. Here the children were to recognise which shape was which and then determine the coordinates of where that particular shape lies on the grid. Following on to this, using their prior knowledge of where points are plotted on a grid, the children were to click and drag the shapes to the points already stated by the flip chart, which allowed them to show their knowledge and understanding of plotting the correct shape to the correct point on that grid.

Overall, I think that I really benefited from this lesson on using ActivInspire within the classroom, as I know and believe that I will use this within the classroom. I have full confidence in using the digital platform and i am excited to portray lessons to children in a new and exciting way which engages all pupils.

 

References

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

Digital Technologies – Week 2

Commencing onto the second week of the Digital Technologies module, today’s focus was based on the use of programmable toys within education establishments: in particular using the BeeBot. To our advantage, having previously looking at using BeeBot for literacy purposes, we were able to take our prior knowledge of using BeeBot in a numeracy setting. As part of our assessment task, we were to create a BeeBot floor map which represented a numeracy Experience and Outcome, which we then tested out for our lecturer.

With regards to the programmable toys use within education, it can be shown to uphold many benefits to a child’s development throughout the Curriculum for Excellence. Pekarova Janka is in favour of the use of programmable toys within the classroom. There are endless benefits and opportunities which arise from using programmable toys in class settings, Janka explains the benefits of programmable toys: “The curriculum introduces programmable toys as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world.” (Janka, 2008, p.2) In addition to this, The National centre for Technology in Education (2012, p1) provides evidence as to the increased benefits of using 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”.

The benefits that programmable toys exhibit are endless, creating an interactive, responsive learning environment for the child. In terms of assessment strategies, educators can observe the children’s literacy and numeracy skills whilst playing with the BeeBot. This takes into account the children’s problem solving skills and sense of creativity, whilst experiencing the enjoyment of this hands-on learning experience.

For the assessment task, my peers and I decided to create a floor mat which contained shapes, represented by everyday objects, such as a clock, book, envelope etc. Alongside this, we created que-cards, which described the property of the shape that BeeBot was to travel to, for example: “Travel Beebot to the shape which has 4 equal sides.” whereby the child would program Beebot to the envelope. This Beebot floor map was targeted at first level, which allowed for the recognition of shapes and describing their properties, using their problem solving and prior knowledge of mainstream shapes.

The experiences and outcomes for this Beebot floor map we created are: “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

“I have explored simple 3D objects and 2D shapes and can identify, name and describe their features using appropriate vocabulary.” -MTH 1-16a

Overall,  I thoroughly enjoyed using the BeeBot for both literacy and numeracy lessons. However, I felt it required a lot of  creativity for an educator and I would highly recommend looking up ideas both online or in reading prior to creating a floor map. I will definitely be using this in the classroom in the future as I think it creates a new learning experience which is innovating and exciting for young learners.

 

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]

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

Within today’s introductory session of Digital Technologies, we as learners reflected upon what digital technology is, the importance of using digital technologies as prospering student teachers in schools and navigating Glow by using our own digital skills.

At the beginning of the module, the question: “What do you think Digital Technology is all about?” was asked of us by our lecturer. With previous knowledge and understanding of a former discussion I had with a peer, my answer was “Digital Technology is a way in which a young persons learning can be portrayed in a new and modern method. Following on from to our own personal answer and opinion as to what we thought Digital Technologies was, we were given the Scottish Government’s definition of what Digital Technology is.  described as “A digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland.” This enabled me to widen my understanding of digital technology and what lies ahead within my learning journey along the course of this module.

Within the workshop, a worksheet was issued to us, where we were to complete an honest review upon our strengths and weaknesses within our digital skills. In reflection upon my strengths, I found that my skills lie within digital platforms such as: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Throughout my years of schooling, these particular platforms were made mandatory through the different aspects of my learning which enabled my digital technology skills to Excel. This meant I was able to take these strengths I portray to University and beyond my teaching career.

In order to increase our awareness towards the use of Digital Technology within education establishments, we were directed to: “The national Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy (2016).” The strategy highlighted the importance of improving education in Scotland in order to give young people the best chances in life through the use of: “The National Improvement Framework” and the “Scottish Education Delivery Plan”. It links Digital Technology to this improvement plan in highly enriching education across the Curriculum in Scotland’s education. Through reflection on this document, it can be noted that digital technology not only develops a young learners skills and digital learning, but also the confidence in their use of technology. In this way, teachers and educators are given the flexibility within their practice to incorporate digital technology within their learning establishments, in order to aid young people to gain skills for life, learning and work, which is highly regarded within the Curriculum for Excellence. In terms of this, the wider economy will benefit by digital technologies incorporation into learning at an early stage in life, as their future workforce will be fully equipped with the skills and knowledge for a range of different sectors involving ICT.  The Scottish Government (2016), stated that digital technologies are also aimed to “encourage educators to share innovative and effective  practice through digital platforms”. I found it extremely interesting that not only young learners can benefit from digital technology. Parents/carers may see value within digital technology through communicating with their children’s school and supporting their learning.

Overall, I found it extremely insightful when looking into the benefits and value of incorporating digital technology within the Scottish Curriculum for young learners. Not only does it foster creativity, ambition and spark interest for life long learning, but it improves the attainment gap, in which it provides every young person with the same opportunities within their learning experience. This helps to promote equality amongst the children and will further widen their skills for life, learning and work. I am confident that I will enjoy this module and I am eager to see what lies ahead within my digital learning experiences.

 

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: 20 January 2018].