Posted in Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1, KS2

Morfo: A long lost video message from the past…

Morfo is an app that allows the user to quickly turn a photo of yourself or a friend into a different 3D character by editing voice, appearance and style. It can be successfully utilised by teachers and students in a variety of lessons to captivate the students further whilst developing their computer literacy.

Once a picture of a face has been taken, you align the white lined facial features up with the picture and then you are all set to customise.

My attempt: 

I thought this app would be highly useful within many lessons but in particular English lessons in which students could read a diary entry from a characters perspective or the teacher could ‘morf’ their face into a character from the book. In addition, students could describe characters the teacher creates using the app or invent characters for their own narrative.

You could become Medusa from the Greek Myth Perseus and create a story from her point of view. Or you could explore the motions felt by ‘Plop’ within the story ‘The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark.’

Similarly, it could successfully be utilised within a topic lesson, such as history, whereby the teacher introduces a new topic or task by ‘morfing’ into, for example, a Viking.

It could captivate a students curious mind if introduced a long lost video message from ancient history which has set quests for them to solve. 

I attempted to ‘morf’ myself into a Viking, hopefully one that isn’t too creepy or scary. I found the app super easy to navigate and it didn’t take me long to explore and get to grips with the various settings.

morfo5
Potentially scary Viking Chloe

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Posted in Cross-Curricular Computing Links, Uncategorized

Music Technology: My own band in my hand…

Music and the appreciation of music can be enhanced by the use of technology. This blog will focus on the GarageBand app: A free music creation app that is pre downloaded onto all iPads – what a bonus!

GarageBand is great to utilise within schools that don’t have access to a multitude and variety of instruments as it still allows children to explore a diverse range of instruments and their sounds.

GarageBand offers the perfect opportunity to learn and have fun with music technology. 

Children can delve into their musical learning as this app offers the opportunity to explore and focus upon:

  • Singing
  • Playing
  • Improvising
  • Composing
  • Listening

These are key aspects of not only music but learning on a wider scale.

SING UP music created a document to support teachers when using GarageBand within music lessons. They stated 3 easy steps to assess children’s musical development within the app. Can children:

  1. Make and explain their choices about their preferred drum and bass?
  2. Play a repeating improvised rhythmic pattern?
  3. Sing along to the chorus with correct timing, pitch and articulation?

My Experience: 

I found GarageBand really easy to navigate around and use. I feel that the app will add huge benefits to a music lesson and can be incorporated through free exploration sessions or through a structured lesson in which the teacher outlines specific outcomes.

I managed to loop some pre recorded tracks to a beat I improvised to create a latin samba style track. I was impressed with the track quality and number of differing options available on the app. It could easily engage and occupy children within paired of individual work. As songs can be saved, children could create a song, pass it on the next pair and they could peer assess the music.

This is without doubt a favourite app of mine!

Guide to iPad GarageBand:

garage-band-guide

  1. My songs (click here to save work and find other files)
  2. Instruments (click here to find instruments)
  3. Current instrument
  4. Click to go to arrange window
  5. Transport controls
  6. Master volume
  7. Loops (Very handy. A collection of short music excerpts that when dragged into the arrange area automatically work together in speed but not necessarily in tonality)
  8. Volume controls
  9. Settings
  10. Arrange area (The blocks are called regions or building blocks. They can be edited by clicking on them or lengthening/cropping from the edges)
  11. Track instruments with individual volumes when mixing.

Below are some links to youtube clips regarding the app.

GarageBand Tutorial 1 – Getting Started in GarageBand on the iMac and iPad version.

Extensive GarageBand iPad tutorial

Posted in Uncategorized

Debugging

‘Bugs’ in computing terms, refer to errors in algorithms and code. Therefore, ‘debugging’ refers to the process of finding and fixing the bugs.

Debugging within computing and the curriculum shouldn’t be seen as an error but more so as a learning opportunity and a way to promote characteristics of learning such as perseverance and problem solving skills.

There are a number of ways in which pupils can approach debugging, however it simple terms debugging consists of (Barefoot Computing):

  1. Plan and predict what should happen or what you want to happen (e.g. The ‘sprite should move across the screen and grow within Scratch).
  2. Test it to find out what actually happens (e.g. Press the green flag button within Scratch).
  3. Decipher the mistake/where something has not gone to plan (e.g. The ‘sprite’ did not grow, why?).
  4. Debug (fix) it (e.g. recode the script within Scratch).

Then this basic process is repeated until it goes to plan. This assists children in their knowledge of programming as well as developing their computational thinking skills.

Debugging within the National Curriculum: 

KS1: pupils are taught to create and debug simple programs.

KS2: pupils learn to use logical reasoning to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs. Logical reasoning is important as pupils should be able to explain why their program didn’t work, and why their fix worked. Additionally, pupils need to become self reliant in their computing and debugging, they are not likely to learn and persevere if help is always readily available from other pupils or adults. Pupils also learn to design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals. This can easily be modelled by the teacher creating ‘failed’ codes and in which the pupils must debug in order to achieve a specific goal or similarly, it can be done by peer assessing or creating problems for a partner to debug using their logical reasoning skills.

Rubber-ducking – a strategy to help debug: 

I read about a strategy to help students debug on a blog post titled Debugging and the growth mindset. The technique was called rubber ducking. Each child is given a rubber duck within computing lessons. If their program goes wrong, the chilrubber-duckd should explain to their rubber duck what their program was meant to do, and what it actually does. By articulating their plan and results, children reflect on what they have inputted and often spot the mistake and fix the bug whilst explaining. I would use this within my computing lessons, as personally I often talk myself through problems and it really helps in spotting where the issue has risen from and how to fix it. I think it is a great strategy that helps children to realise that randomly changing aspects of the code and programming might not always fix the bug. Logical reasoning is key to computing.

The blog post Debugging and the growth mindset details many other additional techniques to help children develop as debuggers and how to take advantage of the cross curricular links debugging can offer.

Posted in KS1, KS2

Module 2: Learning through games

The second Pick ‘n’ Mix module looked at:

  • Class Dojo as a behaviour reward system
  • Classroom Voting Systems
  • Handheld learning devices
  • Learning through games

This particular blog post will focus upon learning through games as I believe it can enhance and reinforce learning, knowledge and understanding. In addition, games are a huge motivator for students, particularly students with a competitive edge, so by incorporating ICT learning games within lessons will help create engaging lessons for all.

Learning games online are designed to be accessed and enjoyed independently by the child with limited teacher direction and input. As they are designed for children for children, learning games are usually media rich, entertaining and child centred, thus will keep children occupied whilst facilitating learning. However, the educational worth and learning potential of each game must be evaluated and decided by the teacher.

Great learning game sites include: 

  • educationcityEducation City: This website is great for not only educational games, but also teacher resources. It is broken down into year groups, ages and subjects and is very easy to use. I have seen games on education city used regularly within KS1, particularly in phonics lessons and the children throughly enjoy accessing this site to reinforce learning.
  • ictgamesICT games: Once again, this site has copious amounts of games for both maths and literacy. They are broken down into areas of learning such as multiplication, money, odd and even etc., therefore it is easy to establish the games required to enhance learning. I have personally used this website within teaching and found it very useful in motivating children in areas they find difficult.
  • bbc-bitesizeBBC Bitesize: This site is also extremely easy to use and the learning games relate to children’s TV characters that they will be familiar with. It is broken down into english, maths and science with specific areas of learning further broken down into sub sections, for example, within maths, there is a 2D shapes section which includes a game and revision aspect. I have used this website for revision and subject knowledge and the learning games are both relevant and entertaining.

Entertainment OR learning:

It is vital to ensure pupils are still learning whilst also enjoying the games being played. Therefore, teachers need to choose learning games that facilitate this balance. Whilst researching this area, I came across this blog: ICT across the curriculum . It outlined reasons for utilising ICT games within the classroom and these are listed below:

  • Motivation – games can engage and motivate students and in doing so they are more likely to interact in topics covered
  • Games can provide feedback to both the learner and the teacher outcomes help students to identify their current levels of achievement and staff can intervene, scaffold and adjust learning opportunities as necessary in relation to the outcomes.
  • For many students the nature of a game or quiz is less threatening than some other learning opportunities.
  • Can be used to review learning in the classroom through starters and plenaries.
  • Can be used as useful revision aids and through online sources can be used to support independent revision by students.

I have had positive first hand experience regarding the use of ICT games to support learning. When working as a 1:1 TA, my child struggled to stay focussed within maths lessons but was highly motivated by the iPad. The class were tackling word problems involving money but not really in a contextual way. I found a supermarket game : ICT games – Giving change . This game allowed my child to be the shop assistant who had to work out the change for customers purchases. As the context of and link to the learning was easy to identify the child progressed his skills quicker by verbally talking through the word problems and receiving instant feedback on his answers when playing the game than by calculating word problems in their book.

As a teacher I will try to incorporate opportunities to reinforce and enhance learning through games to motivate my students further. Children who struggle on certain topics may be motivated by ICT games where they always receive instant feedback. Similarly, a class plenary game such as ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ in which the children give their answers via handheld voting systems may also motivate students.

Further reading/links: 

Using ICT to enhance learning

ICT and Pedagogy

 

 

Posted in Cross-Curricular Computing Links, E-Safety, KS1, KS2

Module 1: Children as Publishers

The first Pick ‘n’ Mix module focuses on InformationTechnology and Digital Literacy, particularly blogging and tweeting within schools or ‘children as publishers’.

Some schools have adopted class blogs, whereby either the class has a blog they update together or each child has their own page which they can update regularly with lessons, investigations and anything they have enjoyed or found interesting at school. However, this area of computing is still relatively new as schools will have concerns over e-safety, staff who may not be confident in blogging themselves and time constraints.

Nevertheless, schools that have engaged fully and adopted blogging as part of the weekly timetable have found many positives. The University Blackboard Computing site highlighted these benefits to blogging:

  • it is highly motivational for many children at key stage two in writing
  • can transform children from being writers into publishers to a wider ‘real’ audience
  • promotes critical thinking ‘about’ writing e.g. children can learn about constructive peer assessment
  • a real sense of an authentic audience and purpose for children’s writing
  • can motivate children to improve, care and realise that their writing can affect a reader to comment
  • helps children to understand and comment on features of ‘good’ writing

Furthermore, children can access school blogs from anywhere in the world, opening up a whole new discussion area for the classroom regarding similarities and differences within different countries. Online pen pals across the continents could be a follow up activity.

Quadblogging incorporates this international blogging idea. It is a tool which allows teachers and schools to produce blogs within a  global network of class blogs. With over 40 countries and 150,000 pupils from around the world participating, it demonstrates to children to positive uses of communication over the internet. Similarly, pupils may feel a sense of pride and achievement when a school from say America, reads their blog. This way children will take an interest in their writing as they are writing for a purpose and a reader.

It has been stated by teachers Quadblogging ‘brings something new to our classroom’ everyday and that that cant be planned.

quadblogging2
Quadblogging

The link below the screenshot above discusses the potential issues teachers face when introducing a blogging initiative to schools. Firstly senior leadership would need to be behind the idea and that teachers need to persevere if they face and initial negative response. The effect of student engagement that blogging has is discussed in the video and it is outlined that blogging does not have to be an e-safety concern. However, if the school does raise concerns over safety, access can only be granted via passwords, that way the children would be producing the content for their parents, teachers and family.

It is also evident from case study videos of a school in Greater Manchester that blogging elicits eagerness, excitement and enthusiasm towards content production, particularly amongst boys. The module suggests ideas to help introduce blogging to your class through three easy steps. These steps emphasise that it is mainly a child lead activity.

  • The teacher creates a post which children respond to through comments. Or children respond to posts on other blogs.
  • A whole class blog is created whereby the children create the content and the posts.
  • An individual student blog for each child is set up, which they take ownership of and create posts for.

Blogging can be  part of almost any lesson, for example showcasing science results, english narratives and poetry, PE dances and gymnastics and computing lessons.

Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to create a class blog on GPP, but there is always a possibility within my final professional placement. Hopefully, when I have a my own class I can create  a class blog, as my confidence regarding blogging and improved dramatically since starting Chloe’s PGCE adventure. There may even be the possibility to integrate Quadblogging and use blogging as a cross curricular tool, parental insight tool and schools news bulletin site.

Relevant links:

Quadblogging: www.quadblogging.net

Teaching Primary Science and Technology, Alan Cross: http://primaryscienceandtech.blogspot.co.uk/

Kids Learn to Blog: http://kidslearntoblog.com/

kidslearntoblog

 

Posted in E-Safety

Recent Developments in Online Safety

In today’s society, it appears that the internet is deemed a necessity in everyone’s lives. However, does everyone always truly understand what they sign up? Safety is super important when browsing online, not only for adults but children too. Therefore, internet safety is paramount to children comprehending what is acceptable and safe on the internet.

“Children are being left to fend for themselves in the digital world, regularly signing over rights to their private messages and pictures unknowingly and with scant advice from parents or schools, according to England’s children’s commissioner.”

(Children in England sign over digital rights ‘regularly and unknowingly’, The Guardian, January 2017)

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield,  wanted to uphold children’s digital rights and stated that internet safety and learning about its use should be included within the curriculum from the age of 4. Similarly, all children aged between 4 and 14 should study ‘obligatory’ digital citizenship at school.

Social Media sites, such as Instagram, had comprehensive terms and conditions which adults could not fully comprehend and ‘ran to more than 5,000 words on 17 pages of text’. They have argued that terms and conditions should be written in a child friendly format so children can make an informative choice about what they are actually signing up to and therefore may reconsider joining at a young age. Children are the biggest users of the internet daily but the internet has not been designed with children as a focus.

Just like within the real world, children need to be educated and supported on the dangers of the digital world they are continuously immersed in. Although there are many positives and endless opportunities of using the internet, it is vital we protect them from any risks they may face and try to make the internet a safer place for children.

 

Posted in E-Safety, KS2

Resources for teaching KS2 E-Safety

These videos, although on YouTube so please be aware of comments and other videos, will begin discussions and debates within KS2 regarding internet safety, what to do whilst online and the information they give out. The content is relevant and useful to how KS2 children will use the internet and will help children understand the dangers of the internet.

  • This Newsround video ‘Caught in the Web’ displays well the need for safety on the web. (Published in 2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgCNGvL0g1g&t=8s

caught-in-the-web

 

  • CEOP KS1 film as part of the ThinkUKnow programme. Brother and sister, Lee and Kim navigate the online world with the help of the trusted superhero friend, SID, who outlines the dangers on the world wide web. (Published in 2011).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nMUbHuffO8

lee-and-kim

 

  • Norton healthcare created this Online Safety: Facebook safety for Kids video in order to get the message across that not everyone on social media is who they appear to be online. (Published in 2012).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-k4q6V7ERc

facebook

 

  • PlanetNutshell, an American animation group, have created a series of videos with different aspects of internet safety looked at within each one. The issues looked at include:

Cyberbullying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peDosNN7l3w

What is personal Information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypGJTW3LRo4

Tell an adult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxJX-porZtA

Understanding online friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmagbhMC24U

Posting Pictures online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iAodD2heks

Planetnutshell.png

 

Posted in E-Safety, KS1

Resources for teaching KS1 E-Safety

These videos, although on YouTube so please be aware of comments and other videos, will begin discussions within KS1 regarding internet safety and what to do whilst online. The content is relevant and useful to how KS1 children will use the internet and making children aware about the dangers of the internet from a very young age is vital.

  • This Newsround video ‘Caught in the Web’ displays well the need for safety on the web. (Published in 2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgCNGvL0g1g&t=8s

caught-in-the-web

 

  • CEOP KS1 film as part of the ThinkUKnow programme. Brother and sister, Lee and Kim navigate the online world with the help of the trusted superhero friend, SID, who outlines the dangers on the world wide web. (Published in 2011).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nMUbHuffO8

lee-and-kim

 

  • Creative Conspiracy (CC) created a Child Focus ‘E-Safety’ awareness video about pop ups and unwanted links online. (Published in 2012)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5kW4pI_VQw

child-focus

 

  • Digi Ducks Big Decision is another useful ebook to make children aware of internet safety. (Published in 2012)

http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/teachers/ks1/sourcesDuck/projet/DigiDuck-eBook.pdf

Digiducksdecision.png

 

Posted in E-Safety, KS2

Sexting in Schools

Sexting is defined as “images or videos generated by children under the age of 18 or of children under the age of 18 that are of a sexual nature of are indecent.”

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety produced a document in 2016 outlining how to educate young people of the dangers of sexting, handling incidents as parents and teachers and how it is viewed by the law. The full document can be accessed by clicking on the caption of the screenshot below.

sexting-document
Sexting in schools and colleges

From reading the document, it is of my understanding that in the case of a sexting incident occurring, the following steps/course of action are advised to be taken:

  • The student may disclose the sexting incident to you and if that is the case, the safeguarding policies and procedures must be followed.
  • Support the pupil whilst detecting the location of the image.
  • Confiscate and secure the mobile device, especially if it has been shared.
  • Block the network if the image has been shared across a network.
  • Make sure the safeguarding policy is still being adhered to but ensuring the safeguarding officer is dealing with the incident and appropriate members of staff have been informed.
  • Decide on the course of action and response to the incident.
  • If the incident is high risk, external agencies may need to be contacted.

 

PlanetNutshell have also made a video that can be shown to children to warn them about the dangers of sexting.

Say “No” to Sexting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMFD5HuQDcU

Planetnutshellsexting.png

If a sexting incident was to occur or be disclosed to be, I feel confident and knowledgeable to deal with and respond to it. It can be a sensitive and difficult situation for all those involved so it is necessary for it to be dealt with correctly and promptly. It is of upmost important that the student is well supported during and after the incident and all procedures and policies are adhered to.

Posted in Uncategorized

SEND and the supportive technological world that awaits…

‘Inclusion’ as used in this briefing means the efforts made to include students with a range of physical, sensory, communication or cognitive disabilities in both learning and wider social opportunities. ICT can be vital for these students (Becta ICT Research, 2003).

Becta ICT Research, which summaries research surrounding the supportive and inclusive nature of ICT to aid within SEND, found that there are many benefits of technologies being utilised within schools. Not only does technology help some children communicate more easily but the programs and technologies allow tasks to be personalised to suit the needs of the individual child. Therefore, these children can complete tasks at their own pace enabling a greater learner autonomy.

Recently, I completed the Pick’n’Mix module on ‘Professional issues’, in particular regarding the inclusion of SEND and how computers can enhance the learning of children with SEND.  This is an area that greatly interests me as I believe inclusion is paramount to successful learning and every child reaching their full potential.

During my time as a 1:1 TA, I often utilised iPads and a laptop to engage the student and enhance learning though educational software and games. I found that my student was often more focussed and engaged within learning if the task included a computational aspect as sitting and writing frequently resulted in frustration and refusal to do the work required.

notetalker_blog_post_header
Notetalker: an example of a program that records speech allowing for easy access to lessons at a later time to help pupils learn and take in information at their own pace.

There is a plethora visual-timetableof apps, programs, software and accessories that are often used to support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. During my time in various schools, I have seen certain technologies utilised such as large font keyboards, speech to text computers, recording devices and adapted iPads with specialised apps. However, the module also introduced me to software I had never encountered before such as eye trackers, visual timetables and converters which large-print-keyboardlower the reading age of a text type.

I found the Understood website particularly useful and informative. They have included sections on how assistive technology can help within multiple subjects including reading, writing and maths and sections on speech to text technology.

In addition, the article titled ‘8 Examples of Assistive Technology and Adaptive Tools’ was extremely informative. Not only did it outline the technologies that could be of use, but also explained why they are useful and aid in children’s learning within education.

The links below offer extra information in reference to ICT as a supportive tool:

Planet PDA: http://planetpda.net/blog/using-ict-to-support-pupils-with-send/

  • Explores and explains a range of technologies that can be used within the everyday classroom to support students with SEND. They include:
    • Visual timetable makers
    • QR codes to allow easy access to internet links
    • Screen magnification with Dophin
    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC)

Inclusive: http://www.inclusive.co.uk/

  • Inclusive is jam packed with information about software, resources and products that assist in the inclusion of and support for children with SEND. IT even includes explanations on how to use the technologies and how/why they are useful. A few worth mentioning include:
    • iPad apps; there are over 40 apps reviewed which are available to download on android and apple products.
    • A plethora of software to support communication and produce communication and symbol based resources.
    • Apps and software which aids those with visual impairments and complex needs.

The ICT service: http://www.theictservice.org.uk/uploads/RenHPSE8kbfDWQrq.pdf

  • A one-page document produced by Cambridgeshire County Council that outlines what they do to help support children with SEND within ICT.
  • They state that ‘Schools are recognising the benefits of using technology to support learning and promote independence for children with special educational needs.’

Barefoot CAS: http://barefootcas.org.uk/activities/sen/

  • This showcases an extensive list of activities to assist pupils with SEND within computing. Some activities include:
    • SEND Scratch Tinkering Activity: In this activity pupils will tinker with the program Scratch through guided questioning to find out how it works and then adapt to make their own activity. Support and extension worksheets are provided to differentiate within your class along with exemplar Scratch files for your pupils to explore, before having a go at their own!
    • Sorting Objects Activity: In this lesson pupils sort objects according to their features and develop their ability to spot patterns. Some pupils may also create rules for their patterns and in doing so work with This activity is supported by a picture cards, a ready-made Scratch project and Communicate:In Print resources.

However, as each child is different, it is best to find out what works best for them and I will adopt that mindset during my teaching practice.