Digital Technology Week 8- 27/02/2018 (Mobile devices)

Today’s lesson was focused on mobile devices and their use in the classroom. We began by reading various online articles and subsequently answering a forum question as to whether mobile devices should be used in the classroom.Upon reading the various articles one of the areas which really resonated with me was a Guardian article by David Andrews, a class teacher; ‘I want the children in my class to create content, not necessarily always accessing it.’ (David andrews, 2012). During both my own time in schools and through extended reading I have found that often if children are creating their own learning and are learning from each other this can be extremely beneficial to the children retaining the information rather than forgetting most of the lesson by the time they go home. Another aspect I believe is important to take into account is ‘Children now entering school are fully fledged digital natives.’ (Curtis, S.2014) and as such we need to reevaluate our school system in accordance with this new digital way of life. I believe mobile devices can play a crucial role in schooling today, if used well by a teacher confident in their own knowledge of the technology.

Sophie Curtis, the author of the article ‘Digital learning: how technology is reshaping teaching’ also took part in an experiment during which an English lesson was taught the ‘traditional’ way, with a teacher explaining the main themes of a play and the class then writing their own analysis using only pen and paper. During the second lesson video clips were used as part of the lesson and they used the internet to research and then a computer to type up an analysis. After the experiment Sophie Curtis detailed how the ‘traditional’ lesson ‘required intense and sustained concentration’ whilst she said of the lesson using technology ‘at no point during the second lesson did I find my mind wandering, which is half the battle teachers fight every day’ (Curtis, S.2014). In my opinion, from what I have learned, researched and witnessed it is important for children to be engaged in their learning and enjoy the lessons through various aspects digital technology can offer. However, the ‘sustained concentration’ Sophie Curtis discussed in her analysis of her first lesson is also an important skill children need to learn and so digital technology and more traditional methods need to be used in conjunction with each other for children to get the most out of their schooling. Digital technology is vital and can add so much to a lesson however it should only be used when it can add to and enhance a lesson.

 

The benefits of using mobile devices according to Beauchamp are:

  • Flexibility and portability – as devices are relatively small, portable and usable anywhere, they allow the learner freedom to learn on the move
  • Multi-functionality – mobile devices bring together more than one function that would previously needed separate devices: for instance, viewing web pages and viewing images
  • Multimodality – they allow users to create multimodal texts
  • Interactivity and communicative potential – communication between a large number of users can be achieved through text and speech.

(Beauchamp, 2012)

 

However, although there are so many advantages to using mobile devices and they play a crucial role in allowing all children in the classroom to engage in lessons. In a poll of 500 teachers it has been found that over a third of teachers are unsure as to how to integrate mobile devices into everyday lessons. Lack of training has been suggested as a cause for this. This means that expensive technology is in schools unused or not being used to it’s full advantage and so hundreds of children are not receiving the benefits this technology can bring to their learning (Curtis 2014).

Today we were exploring the Talking Tin and Easi Speak microphones. Our task was to create a powerpoint showcasing an ‘I Am Poem…’ which we were also to create. Each slide had to be a different line of our ‘I Am poem’ featuring an image and a voice recording. To record sound we used an Easispeak microphone. This is a small, handheld device which can be used to record your voice and can then be connected to a computer and the file is then accessible from powerpoint. As a learner this was a simple yet fun addition to the poem. At first I found it really difficult to record it and hear my own voice however the repetition of the poem forced me to overcome this which is another useful tool for building children’s self-confidence. If they are used to recording and hearing their own voice this can be a really useful aid for their own further learning. The poem could be used as a great health and wellbeing lesson to encourage children to think about their feelings as well as the feelings of others in their class and if I was to use a similar lesson in the future it could cover many Experiences and Outcomes from the Curriculum for Excelling including:

  • I am aware of and able to express my feelings and am developing the ability to talk about them. HWB 0-01a/1-01a/2-01a/3-01a/4-01a
  • Within real and imaginary situations, I share experiences and feelings, ideas and information in a way that communicates my message. LIT 0-09a
  • I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems, share ideas and thoughts. TCH 0-01a
  • I enjoy exploring and playing with the patterns and sounds of language, and can use what I learn. LIT 0-01a / LIT 0-11a /LIT 0-20a

(Education Scotland 2004).

 

‘I want the children in my class to create content, not necessarily always accessing it’ (Andrews, D. 2012)  David Andrews discusses his journey introducing iPads into his school, the positives and negatives. This quote from him is one of the main reasons I think technology is so important to education. A child creating their own learning, resources, materials and accessing these themselves is far more valuable to their learning, problem solving and self-confidence. The powerpoint we created during today’s lesson is attached below. This is one of many examples of what children could create themselves, allowing them to access technology, work collaboratively, improve their own self-belief, self confidence alongside covering many literacy outcomes. I think this is another valuable resource which can be used in an array of creative ways.

Emma Robertson & Shannon Scott I am Poem powerpoint

 

 

 

References

Andrews, D. (2012) An apple for the teacher: are iPad the future in class? [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2012/aug/13/schools-secondary-schools [Accessed: 27th February 2018]

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

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

Education Scotland (2004) – Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed: 27th February 2018]

Digital Technology Week 7- 20/02/2018 (animations)

Today’s lesson we focused on animations.  Upon further reading I discovered there are five main types of animation:

Cutout- this is one of the easiest and quickest forms of animation

Stop-motion – this includes but is in no way limited to, plasticine animation

Pixillation – Humans become the puppets

Drawn – A classic form of animation-such as many original Disney animations

Computer – Also known as CGI which is found in many  games and movies

(Moving Image Education)

Whilst exploring various sources on animation something I found really interesting was on the Moving Image Education website which discusses the almost endless opportunities when it comes to animations. As shown in one of their video examples; leaves can be turned into dolphins; rice; paint; jewellery; pasta; ice; almost anything can be placed under the camera and be animated. Likewise, just about anything can be used as the background (Moving Image Education) . I found this so exciting as children’s imaginations are often incredible and endless.  The following quote came to mind which I absolutely love when it comes to children and their creativity. I particularly liked the idea of incorporating nature into their animations as this would then allow you as a teacher to cover so many topic areas and could lead to discussions about anything from seasons to the importance of wildlife conservation.

(Pixabay. com, 2018)

 

This not only allows children’s creativity to blossom it also makes this a more accessible activity as at the simplest level besides the iPad children could use many every day objects found around the classroom from a pencil and a piece of paper to ‘treasure pieces’ used in mathematics. This could also incorporate arts lessons as children could design and create their own props.

Before creating our own animation with props we were given time to explore puppet pals and create an animation cased upon a fairytale we had previously read. We were to create a story with a beginning, middle and an end which included voice recording, movement and change in size of the characters. The app was simple and easy to use and if different packages were purchased it gave children the opportunity to take pictures and use the faces of themselves or friend to be the star of the story. After using this app I have found that this could be another great way to encourage and engage children who usually struggle in engaging with story writing. As Beauchamp discusses (2012, p.55); “e-Inclusion aims to use digital technologies to minimise the problems that pupils with learning difficulties experience”. It also gives all pupils the chance to bring their stories to life and “through the use of ICT and technology it could allow pupils to accomplish something that could be difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way”.(Beauchamp, 2012, p.54).

Once we had a chance to explore puppet pals we then discussed the IStopMotion app on the iPad. As a class we were provided with various props and there were no limitations as to what we were to create. We used paper and coloured pens to create the ‘sea’ and the ‘sky’ as a background as well as paper boats which we moved using the stop, start animation. I found this enjoyable however it was also challenging as there were so many small aspects to think about between each shot and often we would forget to move one piece and so would have to re-take the shot after watching it back. We used bear figurines as the main characters in our animation and the photos below show a brief example of what we created during the time given.

 

This was a fun task and I became more confident with using the app and I am impressed with what we managed to create using simple objects which would be found in most classrooms and basic colouring to create the sea and the sky. I am excited to bring the feeling of accomplishment I had to a classroom of children with all of their wonderful ideas. Below are the outcomes we decided could be covered within this lesson in a classroom.

“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 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”

“I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing these with others in imaginative ways. LIT 0-09b / LIT 0-31a”

 (Education Scotland, 2004)

 

This has been one of my favourite resources we have looked at so far as the opportunities for children’s imaginations are almost endless and the pride children would feel having created the animation from start to finish would be great for their self confidence as well as the opportunity to cover so many areas of the curriculum.

 

References

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

Education Scotland (2004) – Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed on 24 February 2018]

Moving Image Education website: Animation [Online] Available at: https://movingimageeducation.org/create-films/animation [Accessed: 24 February 2018]

Pixabay.com. (2018). Free Images – Pixabay. [Online] Available at: https://pixabay.com [Accessed: 24 February 2018]

Digital Technology Week 6- 13/02/2018 (i-movie)

We began today’s lesson by discussing safety online and the important role the teacher plays in educating children on how to be safe online. I found it interesting and a bit intimidating just how important a role I could one day play in a child using the internet correctly and being safe online. Some people may view this as the job of the child’s parent/guardian however some adults are not confident themselves in using technology and therefore may not understand or be aware of all of the dangers and threats which are all over the internet. As a teacher if we can show children that there is always an adult who they can go to for support and advice then we can help keep children stay safe online (Simpson & Toyn, 2012). One of the main teaching points I took from today’s lesson was that, as Beauchamp discusses, when educating children on how to be safe online, this is not to be done in a way which restricts what children can do, rather in a way that makes them aware of the dangers and how to seek help. Beauchamp discusses this further by stating that the schools which have been most successful in regards to internet safety are ones which ensured children knew what to do when they had an issue online (Beauchamp, 2012.).

Whilst discussing internet safety we were shown and given time to explore various online resources to help children understand safety online. One I found particularly interesting was a website which had various resources for different age ranges including animations such as ‘Hector’s World’ showcasing some of the dangers that may be encountered online (ThinkUKnow, 2008).

 

Once we had discussed the importance of teaching children about being safe online and discussed various ways to approach this alongside discovering helpful resources online, we formed groups with which we would create either a short movie or a trailer related to staying safe online. We worked collaboratively and decided upon a movie highlighting the dangers of meeting someone who you have began talking with online with some humorous aspects so it maintained engagement throughout a serious subject. We took advantage of using the iPad and visited various places on the university campus which would be extremely useful when using this with a primary class as they could use various different areas and settings so more than one group could work at the same time without interrupting each other. There are many experiences and outcomes which could be covered in this lesson including (Scottish Executive 2004):

  • I understand that there are people I can talk to and that there are a number of ways in which I can gain access to practical and emotional support to help me and others in a range of circumstances. HWB 0-03a/1-03a/2-03a/3-03a/4-03a
  • I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other peoples presentations/performances.   EXA 0-01a/1-01a/2-01z
  • I can explore digital technologies and use what I learn to solve problems and share ideas and thoughts, TCH 0-01a
  • 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 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/2-20a

 

We used a popular piece of film/literature to create an alternative, humorous ‘Hairy Snotter’ in place of Harry Potter to highlight one of the many dangers of online, you never really know who you’re talking to. This was a creative, fun, engaging and memorable task and so would be great to use in Primary Schools where the finished products could then be showcased for the whole school which would not only be an exciting and proud moment for the children involved but would also highlight some of the dangers of playing online to the whole school and could create an open forum for asking questions and reminding the children if there is anything they are worried about to speak to an adult.

 

References

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

Simpson D., Toyn M. (2012) Primary ICT Across the Curriculum. Sag

ThinkuKnow (2008) Hector’s World – Animated Safety Videos [Online] Available at:
https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/hectorsworld/ [Accessed: 18 February 2018]

Digital Technology Week 5- 06/02/2018 (e-books)

At the beginning of  today’s lesson we were asked to work in groups to create a mind map of what we thought an e-book was alongside any advantages or disadvantages of e-books based upon our current knowledge of them.  After some class discussion, various online videos and resources we then returned to our mind map and added any new information which we had learned about e-books. As can be seen in the picture below, the purple writing is our first attempt at describing e-books and the black writing is what we added to our mind map after our reading and discussion. Some of the main points we added after our research into e-books was the versatility of them, how many options you have to add, change, make bigger, smaller, and re-position colour, text, videos and images. Although I believe the e-book is everything we defined and much more, a more concise definition of what an e-book is can be found in the Oxford dictionary where it is described as “An electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device” (Oxford Dictionary 2018).

It is this personalisation which I believe makes it such an invaluable tool for teachers and learners. As Paul Beauchamp discusses; “ICT can allow pupils to record their thoughts in a wide variety of ways. They are able to write, draw, record both sound and video, or any combination of these depending on their age and ability.” this personalisation allows children to not only read and write but to engage in their story telling. It is also a more inclusive tool to use in the classroom as it doesn’t requite words to tell a story, those who find literacy more challenging are able to express their thoughts and opinions through pictures, videos and animations. (Beauchamp, 2012, p.101).

Our next task was to work in groups to create a brochure for prospective students of UWS. We were to do this using the iPads on the Book Creator app. I really enjoyed this task and it allowed me to explore the Book Creator app, I especially liked how you could record and use different sounds on each page and this featured heavily in our e-book to add humour and enjoyment to our brochure. As we were using the iPad we could take it anywhere. We went outside the university, downstairs, upstairs and anywhere else we wanted to take photos and videos. With the iPad being so light and portable this added another fun dimension to the e-book which I can imagine using with children and they would love the freedom, adventure and opportunities/choices it would allow them. Using sound recordings, videos and pictures alongside our placement of texts this turned our e-book into a multimodal text as it used more than two of the semiotic systems which I have discussed in previous blogs. This instantly makes it more engaging and interesting for the audience rather than reading plain text.

After completing this task the final part of our assessment task was to work individually and create a smart or a different version of a children’s book using Book Creator. This could be done with children in a classroom and would enhance their learning and understanding of a book whilst covering Experiences and Outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland, 2004.) two appropriate outcomes would be;

“I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to and asking different kinds of questions. LIT 1-07a”

“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”

We had been provided with various children’s books however by the time I got to the front all of the shorter children’s stories were gone and I was not familiar enough with the remaining Roald Dahl stories to construct an e-book without re-reading them. I therefore found it hard to get started as I was trying to think of an appropriate book with imagines online I could use to enhance my e-book. After some quick research I decided upon The Very Hungry Caterpillar as there were a lot of good aids online to enhance my story including audio and visual and I could create some humorous and fun sounds to further engage my audience. I found this task quite challenging as I only had the full use of one hand and so holding the iPad to take a picture and holding the iPad whilst trying to also record the sound from the computer was challenging so my e-book wasn’t as clean and well presented as I would have liked it to have been. However, I managed to include all the audio, video and pictures I wanted to they just weren’t as well presented as they otherwise would have been. I believe having a cast on one arm during this activity has possibly helped me for the future as before this task I did not foresee me having any problems using the eBook Creator app on the iPad as I had thought it would be relatively easy to use with one hand however there were a lot of features and movements I hadn’t taken into account which involved a lot of arm/hand movement. Due to this, in a future classroom I will now be more aware of anyone with a disability or an additional support need and the extra help they may require when using this app. Although I found this task more challenging I now have a good understanding of how to use the Book Creator app both for my own use to create engaging materials for learning and in the classroom. I think it is a good tool to bring in to the classroom to enhance children’s learning.

The Curriculum for Excellence defines literacy as: ‘the set of skills which allows an individual to engage fully in society and in learning…the range of texts, which society values and finds useful.’ (Education Scotland, 2004.). The breadth of this definition is intended to ‘future proof’ it as the Scottish Government acknowledges and is moving forward with the impact of digital technologies and the benefits they can bring to the classroom. The e-book allows pupils and teachers to bring story-telling to life and also familiarises children with another variation of text, one of which is moving more and more to the forefront of society. By allowing children to become engaged with and familiar with e-books in their daily lives, this is not only preparing them for life in the 21st century but also keeping education up to date with how life is changing and taking into account materials and technologies children are likely to be familiar with from their home environment.

 

 

References

Beauchamp, G (2012) ICT in the primary school: from pedagogy to practise Harlow: Pearson

Education Scotland (2004) Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes  [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed: 2 February 2018]

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

Oxford Dictionary (2018)  E-Book Definition [Online]  Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/e-book [Accessed: 10 February 2018] Author: Oxford University

Digital Technology Week 4- 30/01/2018 (Coding, Scratch Jr.)

In today’s lesson we explored coding, specifically through the programme Scratch Jr. which is used in many schools. We experimented with Scratch Jr. ourselves and discussed how coding could enhance learning for children. We referred to both further reading on professionals opinions of coding as well as through our own experiences and creations of lessons plans on Scratch Jr.

Scratch Jr has been designed to allow children to create and explore and so it can support many different learning styles which is essential in modern day,  busy classrooms where every child is an individual and has their own preferred style of learning. There are many other benefits to the use of coding programmes in schools; Children are not only being encouraged to be creative, they are also gaining reasoning skills and learning how to work collaboratively. All of these are skills are essential to becoming successful later on in their life. To have a programme which can engage and help children with many different learning styles in areas across the curriculum is an incredibly useful tool (The Lead Project, 2014).

During today’s lesson our objective was to create a story using Scratch Jr. to promote literacy skills in a chosen level of the curriculum i.e. early or first level. We had to link our story with our chosen level alongside the specific experiences and outcomes which we had also chosen from the Curriculum for Excellence. There were some online tutorials which talked us through various aspects of the programme; how to choose a landscape; how to choose various characters and how to move these characters around. I had never used any programme like Scratch Jr. before and so this style of tutorial with a step by step guide was very useful before the upcoming assessment. I decided to focus upon first level and I decided on the following outcomes;

 

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

I am learning to use my notes and other types of writing to help me understand information and ideas, explore problems, generate and develop ideas or create new text- LIT 1-25a

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

(Education Scotland, 2014)

 

In the story I created for my lesson I set out the basic outline for a fairytale story. My first slide featured a girl in a car driving away from a house. From experience in schools I have found that many children, and adults alike, find getting started the hardest part of story writing and so this is why I believed it was important to include this as my opening slide in the story. On the slide I provided various story starters for those children who may need more help to get their story started e.g. ‘Once upon a time…’. My next slide is an opportunity for children to describe the scenery and how the main character might be feeling at this point. I decided to leave my story at a disequilibrium to give the children some freedom and allow them to use their imagination to decide what happens next to the character.  Before starting this particular lesson with the children, in previous weeks I would have introduced the Scratch Jr. programme to the class and each week shown them a new feature of the application, therefore on this week they would be more confident in using the application so I could focus the lesson more upon literacy. I would read through my story with the children, pausing to ask what they thought on each slide and writing down different ‘buzz words’ that the class came up with to describe characters feelings or the scene so they could refer back to the board earlier, see the buzz words and use these in their own stories. I would also give the children some thinking time and ask if they had any ideas what might happen to the main character after the story as well as sharing some of my own ideas so that children who may find this a daunting task would have lots of ideas to use in their own  story.

This photo is an example of how customisable this programme is. For all of the characters provided in ScrathJr. you can add to them and change their colours. Also, for some of the other characters children can take a picture of their own, or someone else’s face, therefore allowing them to add themselves into their story, the child can become the hero, the driver, or one of the characters having a conversation with a dragon!

 

 

 

After thinking of how I would use Scratch Jr. in a classroom setting this made the idea come to life for me and I understood how useful a tool this could be to a lesson. It is very engaging and makes the story come to life which would be incredibly helpful for children who struggle to engage with story writing, before having to describe the dragon on paper the class could create their own purple dragon with red eyes, a jaggy jewelled tail and terrifying teeth on the ScratchJr. app.

 

 

 

References

Education Scotland (2004) Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf  [Accessed: 31 January 2018]

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

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.

 

References

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: http://connectlearningtoday.com/interactive-displays-early-years-classes/ [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.

 

 

References

Curriculum for Excellence (2004) Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [Accessed: 16 January 2018]

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

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

Transum. (2018) Logo [Online] Available at: http://www.transum.org/software/Logo/ [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.

 

 

References

Scottish Government (2016) Digital Learning and TeachingAvailable at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/Schools/ICTinLearning [Accessed: 15th January 2017.]

Scottish Government (2015) Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and TeachingAvailable at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/11/7786/2 [Accessed: 15th January 2017.]

1st year placement experience

I have just finished my first two week placement block during my time in the BA programme at UWS. Having spent most of last year in a Primary 1 class it was amazing to get back into the classroom and working with children again. This year I was in a small multi-composite school with 2 classes, one of Primary 1-4’s and the other with Primary 5-7’s.

Prior to placement I was unsure how I would feel about teaching in a multi-compsite class as I imagined this would be a lot more difficult than having a class all of the same ages however I absolutely loved it. There were varying abilities within the classroom however with there only being 9 children in Class 2 the different abilities in the classroom were able to be so well catered to. In an average class of 20-30 children, they would all be in the same year group, however the range of abilities would be just as vast with a higher pupil to teacher ratio.

Having experienced a small window of time within this village school, the range of activities the children can partake in is incredible and the sense of community and family in the school is amazing. Every member of staff worked so well together and really cared for each child, their wellbeing and their successes. The school had a community kitchen which the children cooked a new recipe in each week, this was so great to see the school introducing a love of cooking to the children and providing them with a life skill.

I have learned so much from my time in placement and it has given me so many great ideas that I hope one day I can carry out in my own classroom. As well as ideas for the future it has also given me an insight into particular areas of strength and areas for improvement in my own practice.

I believe a strength I have is quickly building up a rapport with each child. This is so vital as if children have a good relationship with you the will learn so much more from you and enjoy working and learning alongside you. I really enjoy getting to know each child, their strengths, areas for developments, likes and dislikes and using this to alter my own practice. Some people often forget that children at Primary are still so young an need to be nurtured and form positive relationships with staff within the school.

Although I really enjoyed working with the older children this did make me aware of an area of personal development. As some of the mathematics was at a much higher level I first had to understand this before I could explain it to the children. A few times I found myself getting stuck when trying to explain different maths aspects to the children as I didn’t have a good enough understanding in the first place in order to then simplify this and explain in necessary depth to the children to ensure they understood. I spoke with the class teacher about this and in mathematics at university we spend time each week going through various maths concepts and so I am confident that with putting extra work into my mathematics by the time I am next working with older children I will ensure I have the relevant knowledge to be confident helping every group of children with their mathematics.

 

The importance of self-evaluation

After watching the videos and completing the observation checklist myself and Emily discussed what we had both taken from the videos. We had both noted similar points in regards to body language, the teacher had mainly open body language, he got down to the children’s level when speaking to them and sat with them at their tables which seemed to provide a more inclusive and accessible learning experience for the children.  We both noted at times he did however appear to close himself for from the children with his body language however we both had a different example of this. I noted that he often put his hand, in a fist, up to his chin which could come across as boredom, Emily noted he sometimes crossed his arms, another sign of closed body language. We both found that he spoke at an adequate volume and pace however at times, as the lady who was assessing him at the end of the video pointed out sometimes standing up in certain situations would gain him more attention form the children so he could start his lesson quicker.

 

I found the idea of the teacher videoing herself fin the Bill Gates video surprising. However, after listening to her talk about this being her tool of self-reflection I think it is a really great way to self-assess, look at your own body language, voice, tone, every part of your teaching and the engagement of the class in different aspect so you can then reflect and improve on this for future lessons.

I enjoyed this task and as it was a video online I did not find it too difficult however it will be much harder within a classroom setting with children and assessing a peer as everybody wants to give positive feedback however on some occasions constructive feedback is also necessary for your own and your peers own progression in teaching.

I am really looking forward to placement and can’t wait to be back in the school environment and learn from both the children and the teachers/ all the staff in the school. I am a little nervous about all the placement tasks we have to do and ensuring these are all done to a high quality however I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity for observations in all the various areas.

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