I downloaded Daisy the Dinosaur to try, first hand, an app that can be used to teach and support KS1 computing. I had seen my year 4 1-1 student enjoy this app during their free i-pad time but hadn’t seen it utilised in a lesson context, so I had a vague idea about how it worked.
Setting up Daisy the Dinosaur:
Daisy the Dinosaur is an app thats only available on i-pads, but once downloaded, the access to all the features of the app is instantaneous. It loads quickly and the character ‘Daisy’ is cute and thus, attractive to children.
My Personal Experience of Daisy the Dinosaur:
The app itself is extremely easy to use and introduces algorithms and their effects in an inviting way for children. It informs the child/user that Daisy the Dinosaur will move/grow/shrink/turn as a result of the instructions given to her by the child/user and the sequence and number of these movements can be adjusted. The app as a whole is big and clear enough to work on in pairs and the challenge mode is set out like a game, in which children go through challenges and once completed successfully, can move onto the next challenge. Therefore, the children are learning through play, making it more enjoyable and engaging.
Potential Cross-Curricular Links:
A potential cross curricular to PE could be made using this app. The teacher could use the app on an interactive whiteboard and children programme an algorithm, either in groups or individually. The rest of the class, watch Daisy the Dinosaur follow these instructions and then try and copy the pattern through memory as a way of discovering movements and their body. This could be also be done, dependent on the behaviour of the class, in pairs or small groups with the class activity used as an example. This could also be made into a class video by using another app such as iVideo. An augmented reality app could be used to further the computing knowledge and understanding. By saving the videos to a certain picture, and then scanning that picture using an i-pad, the activities the children completed during that particular lesson will come to life on the i-pad screen.
Assessment for Learning:
Assessment for learning is difficult with this app as there is not an option for the children to save their work, either remotely or to an accessible file. This means teachers will always need to keep an eye on the children’s progress, ability and understanding during the lesson before any potential progress is deleted. It might mean that the teacher may split the class whereby half work with a TA or other adult using the i-pads and the other children use the Bee-Bots. This could be beneficial as its likely KS1 children may get distracted or venture onto an app they enjoy playing in their own free time rather than concentrating on the task in hand.