|Blog Task||Description of Task||Points||Point tally|
|1.||Initial thoughts on ICT||200||200|
|2.||The use of iPads in the classroom||200||400|
|4.||Digital Citizenship and
|5.||The use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom||200||1000|
|6.||Online Task – Website Review||200||1200|
|7.||Key Stage 1 Computing||200||1400|
|8.||Key Stage 2 Computing||200||1600|
|·||School Experience ICT Badge||100||2100|
|·||E-Safety Awareness Badge||100||2200|
In our seminar last week, we briefly looked at a programming software called Scratch on the iPads. This week, we developed this further by exploring Scratch on the computer. The program is free to use at https://scratch.mit.edu and is designed for children to use as it simplifies coding into blocks that are easy to use.
The children have a vast range of different characters to choose from and keep them engaged.The variety also allows for the software to be linked to the curriculum, for example, when studying the ocean as a habitat, the children can create an ocean themed Scratch animation using the different sprites. choose a ‘sprite’ and give commands for the sprite to carry out, such as ‘move 10 spaces’ and ‘turn 90 degrees’.
The computer program gives a wider range of functions to use, such as making sounds or changing costumes, whereas the app ‘Scratch Jr’ is more restricted. However, the app is a good starting point to introduce children to the software and to coding.
The children also have the option to change the background that their sprites are on. This can help when the children are creating their own stories or habitats as they can either choose a background, upload an image, or design their own background using the paint software embedded in the scratch program.
These websites offer a range of ideas for using scratch in the classroom:
For this badge, we were asked to look up e-safety awareness posters that show children how to be a ‘digital citizen’. There were many different poster designs all describing how children can stay safe online, such as acrostics and mindmaps. Some key points that the posters put forward to children were:
- Do not share personal information online such as your full name and address.
- Think about what you say as it may be hurtful to others.
- Don’t talk to or meet up with people you don’t know.
- Be careful accepting files or opening emails from people you don’t know as they may contain viruses or nasty messages.
- Stay secure by choosing a safe password and changing it often.
We were then given the task of creating our own posters advertising how children can stay safe online:
In our seminar this week we continued to look at computing in the national curriculum, this time focusing coding and programming in Key Stage 2.
We began by looking at a website called ‘purple mash’, which provides many different activities relating to different areas of the computing curriculum. One of these activities allowed children to program fish to move in the directions instructed.
We also explored ‘Logo’ on the ‘purple mash’ website, a software that allows children to practice their programming skills by typing commands to create shapes and patterns. This can have cross-curricular links with both maths, as it looks at shape and angle, and art, as the children can create images by programming. We also learned how to conduct a ‘procedure’ where a series of commands can be activated with one command.
We also looked at a computer programming software called ‘Scratch’, which allows children to be introduced to programming in a way that is both simple and fun. They begin by choosing a ‘sprite’ character to give commands to, and then are able to explore all the different functions that the software provides.
Thinking of new ideas is really important in keeping children engaged and motivated to learn so resources that cater for this are helpful. One site that lets users discover new ideas is Pinterest as it allows you to create boards for each area of interest and ‘pin’ different images and links to the board. It also gives the option to follow certain boards so that you can see anything new that they post. This is a really useful tool in sharing and gathering ideas for the classroom.
Here is a link to my professional twitter page:
In our ICT seminar this week we looked at computing in KS1, specifically at the use of Bee Bots. These are used for teaching children about algorithms and programming as they can be programmed to move in different directions. They are effective as children can see a visual representation of what they have created.
An extension of this is to use Blue Bots, which are the same as Bee Bots, except they can be programmed using iPads over Bluetooth instead of the physical buttons. The app is easy to use and helps children see the connection between the sequence they create on the iPads and the movements the Blue Bots make.
In our exploration of this, we were asked to create an activity or map using the Bee Bot software. Our activity was ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ themed where the children would make a dance routine for the Bee Bots to do. This can be used in teaching counting steps, symmetry because the children could be asked to make the Bee Bots mirror each other in the routine, and dance as the children could perform the routine themselves after planning it using the Bee Bots. They could also design their own stage for the Bee Bots. As an extension, the children could add a third Bee Bot and see how it could fit around their existing routine, or use the Blue Bot software on the iPads. Similarly, to simplify this activity, the children could begin with only programming one Bee Bot.
Our activity could be improved by creating a visual path or map for the children to program their Bee Bots around as some children may prefer this.
On our school experience, we saw many ways that ICT can be used in the classroom and were shown majority of the resources available for us to use. In our Reception class there were two iPads. These were occasionally used by the children, but were mainly used by teachers and supporting staff to assess the children’s progress using an app called tapestry. This app allows teachers to make observations of the children’s work during discovery time and select the areas of the EYFS curriculum that the work applies to. Parents also have access to the observations written about their children, and can make their own observations of children at home, which is useful for the class teacher to track progress and keep parents informed.
We also had access to the teacher’s computer and interactive whiteboard in the classroom. This was used throughout the day for many things such as the register, choosing lunch options, and songs. It was especially useful during discovery time as children could use the ‘ActivInspire’ program without adult input to practice letter writing, mark making, and drawing. The ‘ActivInspire’ software was also used by the teacher during phonics and ‘speedy maths’ sessions where the teacher wrote letters and numbers on the board for the children to see.
During our time on placement, the school participated in ‘Anti-Bullying Week’, where a focus on preventing cyberbullying was strongly emphasised. The children were given an assembly on the importance of stopping bullying both virtually and in real life.
This website is full of resources for teachers to use in their lessons. It is focused around the use of the interactive whiteboard in the classroom as the activities are mainly designed to support this tool, however there are a vast range of additional resources for each board activity such as work sheets, information sheets, and lesson plans.
One activity I chose to look at was looking at adding one more or one less to a number. The resource had rabbits in a field and asked how many there would be if one were added or one were taken away. Then the teacher, or a child, can use the interactive pen to select the number the class decides on and see if it is correct. This activity is engaging as it puts maths in a real life context and can let the children interact with the resource. It is possible that, for activities such as this, children may be able to participate without adult support as the resources are easy to use.
There are many other activities like this on the TES iBoards website for a wide range of ages and subjects and, although it is a paid subscription website, it is a highly useful resource in the classroom. However, one way it could be improved is by having a way or recording work that children do on the interactive whiteboard when they are working without adult input for assessment purposes.
Along with individual activities, this website also offers ‘packs’ of resources and activities for different units of work, for example, I explored an activity where children can make their own weather reports and have them played back to them, I then discovered that this activity was part of a set of resources in the weather theme. The pack was full of documents and activities that related to weather for different areas of the curriculum, for instance, news articles for literacy and season cycles for geography or science.
I would recommend the use of this website in the classroom as it is fun, interactive, and offers a large variety of activities.
Although interactive whiteboards are only recently introduced, they are an extremely useful resource in the classroom when used properly. They are a prime example of how children are immersed in the modern world as they are an example of the use of technology in the classroom and education.
They can be used in many ways, for example, whole class activities such as showing videos or images and input or plenary sessions, individual work including writing practice and colouring, and group work such as presenting. They are a helpful aid to teachers who know how to use them to their full potential, so teachers need to be educated in how to use interactive whiteboards. Many resources that are designed to help teachers in learning to use an interactive whiteboard can be found online, such as BBC Active (http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/Whatisaninteractivewhiteboard.aspx).
Some specific examples of the use of interactive whiteboards are using games and quizzes such as ‘PhonicsPlay’ (http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk) and TESiBoard (http://www.iboard.co.uk) . This is especially useful in plenary activities to assess what children have learned in a lesson, or to review what was learned in a previous lesson as a starter activity for the next lesson.
In our ICT seminar on interactive whiteboards, we were given the opportunity to explore a software called ‘ActivInspire’ and look at how it can be a useful resource in the classroom. We were able to discover all the different functions that can be used, for instance, children can use electronic pens to draw or write on the board. This is especially helpful for Reception children in letter writing because they can have a large version of the letter as a reference, along with a big space to write in.