Digital Technology Week 3- 23/01/2018 (Multimodal)

During today’s lesson we discussed multimodal presentations, how they can be used in the classroom and the benefits which come alongside this. In order to be described as multimodal a text must combine two or more semiotic systems. The semiotic systems are as follows;

  • Linguistic
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Gestural
  • Spatial

During the lesson we discussed the many positives to using multi modal texts effectively within classrooms including engagement, personalisation, captivating, interactive and the depth of learning which can be not only taught but discovered; “The multimodality of technology…allows teachers to present an idea in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it” Beauchamp (2012, p.8).

There are many different ways in which multimodal technology is used within classrooms today however during our lesson this week we focused upon the ActivInspire programme. At first I viewed the ActivInspire programme as similar to Powerpoint however by the end of the lesson I realised that it was so much more. There are almost endless interactive options within the programme as it can be used alongside the interactive whiteboards found in many schools in Scotland and so as I mentioned previously children can not only learn but discover for themselves with hands-on learning opportunities. Janice Prandstatter, a teaching and learning consultant also discusses the use of touch displays with children, “Touch displays can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences, thereby helping children to learn by doing.” (Prandstatter, J, 2014).

After watching some tutorial videos we began creating our own ActivInspire presentations for a chosen lesson using some of the new skills we had gained from watching the videos but also giving us a chance to work the programme out for ourselves. It took me a while to get to grips with the programme as it was so new and different to any programme I had used before and I would unconsciously revert back to built in habits from other programmes. Once I began to feel more confident with it I began discovering some of the countless opportunities available for creating unique and personalised learning materials. I love the interactivity which is available for children to be able to interact with the presentation you have created for them in order to enhance their lesson. Below are some pictures of the ActivInspire programme which I used to create my presentation. The second photo showcases some of the various tools which are available to be used on the interactive whiteboard via this programme. I especially like the ‘spotlight’ feature which turns the whole page black, hiding everything on the slide. You can then control a ‘spotlight’ to highlight specific areas on the page as and when you want them highlighted. Having used this in schools previously I have found this is an enjoyable and engaging way to check the children’s knowledge and understanding at the end of a presentation.


Interactive lessons and multimodality can, and should where appropriate be used across the curriculum and as teacher’s and educators become more familiar and confident with multimodality it is becoming increasingly relevant within Literacy and English. “The Literacy and English 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 every day lives” (Scottish Executive, 2004). Children currently in schools have grown up with technology and multimodality this therfore must be acknowledged and the way we teach must adhere to this new, highly stimulated, way of life as well as acknowledging the different text types children are both used to seeing and are comfortable with, many of which are multimodal.  However as I have discussed in previous blogs, as always, as Beauchamp (2012, P100) discusses;  “The ability 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”. This is one of the many reasons why digital technology modules are so important to students studying to become teachers, thus ensuring the next generation of teachers can effectively use various digital technologies in the classroom. Including incorporating multimodality by understanding how, where and when is best to use it.



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

Prandstatter, J (2014) Interactive displays in early year classes [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 29 January 2018]

Scottish Executive (2004) Curriculum for Excellence. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive

Digital Technology Week 2- 16/01/2017 (Programmable toys)

This week in our Digital Technology module we are looking at programmable toys, specifically Bee-Bot which I have previously been briefly introduced to so I had a basic knowledge of what it involved. We began our lesson by looking at our learning intentions and success criteria before moving on to a brief history of programmable toys. Here we looked at Logo which is an online programming opportunity where children type various pre-composed directional commands to move around an arrow head which then draws lines (Transum, 2018). This system is similar to one I used when I was  in Primary school, without the new addition of an animal to move around in place of the arrow head. Even this small advancement from an arrow-head to an animal shows the ways in which technology is constantly improving to new and engaging heights. Reflecting on how far programmable toys have come, children can now physically programme a colourful, engaging toy themselves which also has an app with the same Bee-Bot children can use, making the toy more accessible to all the children as whilst some are using the Bee-bot toy others can be playing the Bee-bot game on their tablet.

We were given some time to explore the Bee-bot app for ourselves which is similar to the Bee-bot itself however with obstacles on-screen to avoid and a goal to reach. Having forgotten the basics of reseting Bee-bot every time you input more directions I at first found this task surprisingly challenging however after being reminded of the reset button which you had to use every time you were inputting new information this task was a lot more enjoyable, although still required a high level of concentration. I was therefore surprised when I read Alison Lydon’s Sharing Good Practice article which discussed using Bee-Bots in the nursery setting. I found it especially interesting when she discusses how 12 out of the 28 children, after the initial instructions were then able to use the Bee-bot without any adult help (Lydon, 2008). For children of nursery age to be able to understand and use a programmable toy  such as this, the benefits for learning, development and confidence would be extremely beneficial. In the British curriculum practitioners are encouraged to use programmable toys particularly as a way of both developing knowledge and an understanding of the contemporary world (Janka, P, 2008).


After looking at the background of programmable toys and more specifically at Bee-bot itself we seperated into small groups to begin our assessment task. We had to create a mat for Bee-bot which we could use for an activity specifically focused on mathematics. We had a chance to look around at some other examples from previous years and were then given resources and time to think and create our own Bee-bot activity. Emily, Emma and myself began thinking of what sort of activity we wanted to do. At first we decided on a fun shopping activity incorporating Spanish where we would give the children various coins so they had real-world materials to use and ‘spend’ as Bee-bot went shopping with the items labelled in Spanish. However, as much as we liked this idea as a creative  and engaging activity for the children it became clear rather quickly that it was quite complicated to set up and explain to children in early level as subtractions became involved if they only had a certain amount of coins to spend so we decided we would look into this further on another day but that for the assessment we would focus on daily routine and time.

‘I can tell the time using 12 hour clocks, realising there is a link with 24 hour notation, explain how it impacts on my daily routine and ensure that I am organised and ready for events throughout my day- MNU 1-10a’ (Curriculum for Excellence 2004).

This is one of the first level outcomes we decided to focus our Beebot activity on. We wanted our activity to be fun and engaging as well as a meaningful learning activity which really would help towards children being confident in telling the time, in 24-hour, using analog clocks alongside their daily routine. As well as the clocks we also put words beside each clock and one option for the activity is children would have to find their way around their morning routine. This means they would take Beebot to the square which was the time for them waking up, then getting dressed etc. Another option for running the activity; we created cards with instructions on as can be seen in the pictures below. Some of the cards said ‘the time school starts…’ and so the learners would take Beebot to the clock that said 9 O’Clock this means they would have to recognise the time whilst also linking this to their routine and remembering what time their school starts at. Alongside set times we wanted to make our activity more interactive and so some parts of the daily routing, e.g. ‘I brush my teeth at…’ has hands for the children to place on themselves. As well as being a more ‘hands-on’ part of the activity this could also help the children understand that everyone has their own routine and so not everyone in their class does everything at the same time. It also allows the children to place their own hands on and can then explain to you at what time they have chosen, this could help check for further understanding of how the hands on the clock work to tell us the time.

I found this class really enjoyable and invaluable for use in the future. It was really good to work with others and helped to talk aloud discussing and sharing ideas which can be used in our future teaching.




Curriculum for Excellence (2004) Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 January 2018]

ICTopus Article (2008) Sharing Good Practice: Robots in Early Education by Alison Lydon. [Online] Available at: https://oponoa- [Accessed: 16 January 2018]

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 January 2018]

Transum. (2018) Logo [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 January 2018]



Digital Technology Week 1- 09/01/2018

Today being our first lesson in our new Digital Technology module we were introduced to a lot of new information including the Scottish Government’s approach to Digital Technology in our educational establishments, the positives and some negatives of their approach. Alongside this we looked at what is being done by both the Scottish Government and our local authorities to ensure we are using digital technology effectively in order to enhance and enrich our education system.  As well as discovering the Scottish Government’s aims in regards to Digital Technology we also reflected upon our own areas of strengths in Digital Technology and areas for improvement so as we are aware of our own strengths and at the end of the module we can look back on this and, as most of the areas I felt I had little to no knowledge/experience of,  hopefully see all of the improvements we have made and knowledge we have gained throughout the module!

After being introduced to the module and how it would run we were asked to discuss with each other a term to describe what digital technology is. After bringing our ideas together as a class we learned that within National Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy the term digital technology is used to describe digital applications, services and resources which are used to: find, analyse, create, communicate and use information in a digital context (Scottish Government, 2016, Annex A).

We looked in depth into the National Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy (2016), the vision of which is to raise attainment and achieve equity, in particular by closing the poverty related attainment gap. Digital Technology plays a crucial part in achieving this vision as, if used effectively and appropriately it can enrich every area of the curriculum. The emphasis I found upon further reading in this area is on using digital technology effectively and teachers understanding how to properly use the technology in order to enhance their lesson. During my time reading the National Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy I found it extremely interesting and encouraging that childcare professionals are attending training courses to assist them with their own digital technology skills so they are comfortable, confident and enthusiastic and they can then transfer these feelings onto the children and get the best out of the use of digital technology in the classroom (Scottish Government, 2016).

If used correctly digital technology allows teachers and students access to an almost endless number of resources, materials and information as well as a plethora of engaging opportunities for the learners. The use of digital technology is especially important for those children who are struggling to engage. During my time on placement a child really struggled to engage during maths lessons however he loved playing a competitive times tables game on the computer. During my short time there I saw how much this use of digital technologies improved not only his times tables but his confidence in his own mathematic abilities. Education Scotland state that by placing “digital technology at the heart of learning” it could help to achieve their aim of raising attainment and closing the poverty related attainment gap (Scottish Government, 2015).

Many of the reasons above are why I chose the digital technology module. Digital technology can bring so much to the classroom environment and most importantly to the learners and I want to ensure I am both competent and confident enough in my own abilities in order to use this effectively in the classroom. I am looking forward to improving my own confidence as well as learning and creating lots of exciting and innovative ways in which I can use digital technology out in schools and classrooms.




Scottish Government (2016) Digital Learning and TeachingAvailable at: [Accessed: 15th January 2017.]

Scottish Government (2015) Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and TeachingAvailable at: [Accessed: 15th January 2017.]