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Posted in Coding, Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1, KS2, Programming Devices

Module 4: Computer Science

 

The final Pick ‘n’ Mix module was all about computer science. Many of my previous blogs give information regarding the topics discussed within this module and they are linked below:

Unplugged:

Algorithms can also be taught using the unplugged concept. Children complete challenges which relate to that of an algorithm, for example, children describe to a partner how to complete simple daily tasks such as getting from one place to another, making a jam sandwich or even tying your shoelaces. Whilst explaining, children will have time to adjust and amend their instructions or debug them, creating problem solvers and computational thinkers.  Computing unplugged can be adapted for use in many lesson such as DT, English, Maths and PE.unplugged cs

Computer Science Unplugged offer some great activities to use within the classroom to help introduce and develop computational thinking.

KS1:

KS1 computer science is a little different to KS2 as they learn to:

  • Write and test simple programs
  • Manipulate data
  • Organise data

Below are some useful resources to use with the children when teaching and learning about the areas outlined above:

Write and test simple programs: understand algorithms and how they are implemented as programs on digital devices

Manipulate data: manipulating and retrieving data in a range of digital formats

Organise data: organising and classifying whilst working creatively using digital media

KS2:

KS2 has significantly more computer science aspects and these can be read about in detail on my KS2 National Curriculum blog.

Areas addressed within the module include (some are linked up to previous blog posts):

  • Analysing and presenting
  • Computer Networks
  • Control
  • De-bugging
  • Decomposition
  • Discernment
  • How an algorithm/program works
  • Programming
  • Repetition
  • Variables

Below are some useful resources to use with the children when teaching and learning about the areas outlined above:

Analyse and Present: use and combine a variety of software to analyse and present data and information

  • Google Trends – great way for children to explore and compare data series. Links nicely with Google Flu Trends
  • Piktochart: create your own infographics combining global and local data by adding images, text and data to ready-made themes. Alternatives are easel.ly and infogr.am. A successful Year 3 student project
  • worksheet to use with children in order to teach them the difference between random data and data organised in a table.  They initially attempt to answer impossible questions based on random data – they can only really guess the answers.  They turn over and answer the same questions once the data has been organised into a data table
  • Hackasaurus: mash up and change any web page like magic. Use ‘x-ray goggles’ to hover over a website to see behind the scenes, then remix, make and share webpages or create your own, all within your browser. This makes it easy for children to tinker and mess around with the building blocks that make up the web. Includes resources for teaching webmaking: printables, cheat sheets, lesson plans, assessment rubrics, and a slideshow.
  • Popcorn Maker from Mozilla makes it easy to enhance, remix and share web video. Combine video and audio with text, links, maps, pictures and live feeds to make your own interactive newscasts, pop-up videos, multimedia reports, fan videos, guided web tours and more. Remix your favorite videos on YouTube or sounds on SoundCloud, add your own comments and links, or drag and drop in content from across the web.The result is a whole new way to tell stories on the web.
  • Mozilla Thimble: Thimble projects are hackable webpages that allow you to complete a challenge, play a game or build something cool by editing the code of the page, and learn webmaking skills like HTML and CSS in the process. Beginners can tinker around with template projects such as ‘Build your own Awesome Animal’, ‘Make an Animated Avatar’ or ‘Make Your Own Meme.’ Or you can hack into a pre-made game, customise it and share with friends
  • Text2Mindmap: A simple way to organise and classify information and show it visually. Outline your ideas as a list of topics and subtopics and an animated mindmap is automatically generated. You can drag and bounce your mindmap around the screen, edit fonts, colours and lines, rearrange the layout and save as a .jpg. Provides a quick focus on the hierarchical relationships between topics
  • The Rebirth of Rails: Amazing infographicvideo from General Electric about capturing and converting energy from braking to power trains. Also see two more interactives on the theme of trains
  • Book Creator App for the iPad- simple book creation for children
  • CBB app for ipad Creative Book Builder
  • Popplet for the iPad- organising ideas
  • Whodunnit? – Analyse a database to solve crimes

Computer Networks: understanding computer networks including the internet

  • How the Internet Works A module aimed at Year 5 with activities and resources.
  • Modelling Google A class activity. [CC by-sa Graham Hastings]
  • CS Unplugged: computer science without a computer. A collection of lesson ideas aimed at primary students that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles using cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. The activities introduce concepts such as representing information, networks, binary numbers, algorithms, procedures, and data compression, with practical guidance, worksheets, photos and videos.
  • The internet map: an interactive visualisation of the relationships between websites. Enter a well-known site and zoom in and out.
  • ScrabbleNet : Acting out the Internet An activity with Y7 to demonstrate the concept of how data is transmitted across the Internet.

Control: using computers to control simple devices such as toys

  • Pro Bot – classic floor turtle robot car from TTS. Not cheap but a great way into Logo.
  • Examples of worksheets for projects involving input/output control – Flowol based.  LighthousePelicanLevel Crossing.
  • Robots and computers activities from theOregon Museum of Science and Technology(OMNI). You can program a robot to complete an online obstacle course and download activity instructions for programming a friend around a maze or a robot to tie your shoes. Other online interactives include a binary number balance activity, manipulating colour mixing and resolution, how computer pointing devices work, exploring passwords, and the history of communication technologies.
  • Low Life Labs: a robotics activity from the Museum of Minnesota to find out how “CAPTCHAS” tests whether you are a human or a computer. Explore how you read letters versus how a computer reads them. Look at human vision and how human brains use “pattern recognition” to help us understand what we see.
  • Lego robots activities aimed at 8-13 year old girls: how do we design a robot that moves quickly and tuns in a tight circle? Extensions explore how to program a LEGO robot to perform specific tasks, testing and retesting modifications to maximise the effectiveness of each design feature.
  • Lego WeDo and Scratch – Resources for using Scratch to control the Lego WeDo control kit (for 8-12 year olds)
  • Education WeDo Resources for using the Lego WeDo software
  • Robotics Concepts for Kids from IBM: workshop materials that bridge the gap between computer science (programming using NetLogo) and engineering (designing and constructing a magnetic Braitenburg vehicle). The introduction uses a prepared presentation and film clips about artificial intelligence and the history of robotics. A computer simulation and construction of a mechanical vehicle that responds to magnetic force reinforces robotics as a practical pursuit. Suitable for Years 5 and 6.
  • Lightbot: control a robot by giving it commands using programming logic. A great introduction to simple programming with the more complex levels introducing recursion and conditionals.
  • Stencyl: a complete game-creation toolset based on Scratch blocks. Click and drag blocks to program your characters and choose from many ready made blocks.
  • Enchanting Scratch meets Lego NXT.
  • FlowGo Line Following Vehicle – sensing and control with feedback.  Ideal for KS2 extension and STEM project.  See Word doc at the foot of this page & video on Youtube

Decomposition: solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts

  • Before pupils create something in Scratch it can be useful to look at a working example and decompose what is happening. Spider Game on the Scratch website is here. Use right and left arrows to steer the spider. Spider Game planning is here.
  • Children (yrs 4-6) begin by working in small groups to develop a dance routine and record it on a flip cam. They break down the dance routine into parts and develop flow charts for each part.Pupils then edit screen gabs of them in different dance positions, whilst performing dance routine then import into Scratch costumes. Finally pupils use Selection and repetition to reconstruct the dance routine in scratch.
  • Thinking Myself: Computational Thinking in K-12 A peek into computational thinking through a series of lessons and games for children in grades K-12 defining the terms decompose, patterns, abstraction, algorithms and variables through examples and interactions

Discernment; Not believing everything that is read online

  • All About Explorers: what looks like a regular history site is full of inaccuracies. Activities are designed to help children learn to check facts and apply critical thinking skills to their research.
  • Internet Research (Fact or Fiction): Use this PDF guide covering urban legends, myths, hoaxes, opinions vs fact, web suffixes and dates to instigate class discussion around the accuracy of Internet information and maybe create your own urban legends. (from SNegreid on TES).
  • Media Smart – resources to help children and teachers understand digital advertising

How an algorithm works:

  • BrainPop animated movie on Computers: How does a computer work? What’s the difference between ROM and RAM? What’s an operating system? Covers what a central processing unit (CPU) is and how a hard drive operates. Also mentions modems, circuit boards, and sound and video cards. A related resource looks at Data Storage Devices: how CDs and DVDs, USB drives and memory cards store data. Resources includes a graded quiz, vocabulary activities and related information pages (subscription needed).
  • Jam Sandwich Algorithm Pupils program their teacher to make a jam sandwich

Programming:

  • Programming Basics A Prezi guide to some programming constructs with simple Scratch examples.
  •  Khan Academy Computer Science: an engaging and fun computing environment that has a coding pane and a canvas. You can change things in real time and explore how patterns, drawings, simulations and animations interact by changing core variables in Javascript or Processing. Watch the code and what is running simultaneously. This encourages you to experiment and make it your own, save to your profile and then share. You can listen to a tutorial as you interact on screen.
  • Redware lesson plans adaptable for upper KS1 and great for KS2 on Scratch.
  • A series of Scratch lesson plans aimed at KS2 and used with Y4-6 following the principle of not always showing pupils how to create each block
  • A series of Python lessons taught to Y6 pupils. Python needs MUCH more teacher time investment to teach successfully at KS2 – its a rarity just now
  • Python Video Help Files
  • Scratchel:introduces computational thinking through a series of problem solving activities set in Scratch based around Scratchel the robot and his friends.
  • Teaching LOGO in Lower KS2 series of lesson plans taught using programming principles
  • Series of Scratch Projects created by Phil Bagge and used in Y4-6.

Repetition: 

These are largely a collection of downloadable PDF’s that you can use with Microsoft’s LOGO program.  Children’s activities on this sort of application are often enriched and enhanced by working in pairs due to the opportunities for developing mathematical language and reasoning.

Variables: 

  • Scratch Maths Quiz which uses a single variable to hold the score. This is increased if the user answers questions right and is reported to the user after each question. (Yrs 4 & 5)
  • Scratch Automated Maths Quiz This builds on the concepts explored in Maths Quiz. The numbers are generated randomly and stored in two variables. The two variables are multiplied and the result stored in another variable. The user answer is compared to total variable. (Y5)
  • Text Based adventure game in Scratch Main Planning Variables used for hitpoints help sheet
  • Python Code (Adapting a poem) This module looks at the creation and use of a variable within a poem. The variable can be created by the programmer or by the program user or selected randomly from a list of items. (Yr 6) I think it is easier to explain variables with Python than Scratch but Python needs MUCH teacher training time investment!
  • Creating a shape calculator in Scratch where the number of repetitions is dependent on the number of sides on a shape.
    Thinking Myself: Computational Thinking in K-12 A peek into computational thinking through a series of lessons and games for children in grades K-12 defining the terms decompose, patterns, abstraction, algorithms and variables through examples and interactions.
  • Duck builder – free simulation resource that allows you to change and test variables
  • Virtual experiments – many of these allow you to test variables
  • A sense of murder  – from Kent ICT. A way of engaging children with data logging equipment.
  • Creatorverse and monster physics are great little apps to promote this area of ICT

Computer science is a key aspect of the computing curriculum and underpins many of the teaching strategies. I would always utilise computer science where necessary within all of my lessons as I believe it helps to set children up for future life within this technological world.

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Posted in Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS2

Blippit

BLIPPIT is a tool in which children and teachers can create and publish apps.

Blippit has a wide range of uses:

  • as self-contained projects in their own right
  • as part of a wider topic in the classroom
  • to engage reluctant writers
  • to personalise learning & promote children as independent learners
  • to help you as a teacher assess children’s knowledge and understanding

The apps can be created and once published, accessed by iPhones, smart phones, tablets and even on a web browser. In addition, the apps created only need to be approved by the teacher before they can be submitted for the world to see. A quick guide and tour of the programme can be accessed here.

If in a 2 form entry school, one class of children could create apps on aspects of a book, or Viking life, whilst the other class could create an app regarding other aspects of Viking life or a different book. Collaboratively, the year group could have a book review app or two apps all about Viking life. This would therefore tick plenty of cross-curricular boxes as an activity such as the one mentioned above fits into computing, english, topic and DT. By using Blippit, children would be developing their digital literacy skills, whilst tapping into computer science and information technology so its a very useful resource to incorporate into the classroom and curriculum.

There is also a video outlining how to use and navigate Blippit which is extremely useful to use yourself and to show aspects of to the children ‘Blippit How to Use’

Blippit how to use
A screenshot of the Blippit How to Use video
Posted in Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1, KS2

Module 3: Children as developers and animators

The 3rd Pick ‘n’ Mix module focuses upon the information technology and digital literacy strand of the National Curriculum. It focuses in depth upon:

  • App making
  • Animation
  • School Radio
  • Immersive environments

blippitBLIPPIT is a tool in which children and teachers can create and publish apps. Blippit has a wide range of uses:

  • as self-contained projects in their own right
  • as part of a wider topic in the classroom
  • to engage reluctant writers
  • to personalise learning & promote children as independent learners
  • to help you as a teacher assess children’s knowledge and understanding

The apps can be created and once published, accessed by iPhones, smart phones, tablets and even on a web browser. In addition, the apps created only need to be approved by the teacher before they can be submitted for the world to see. A quick guide and tour of the programme can be accessed here.

ANIMATION

Film Education is a charity organisation which supports and promotes the use of film within the curriculum and classroom. The web page details about getting started, tasks for pupils to complete and resources on animated film.

Stop Frame animation is a technique that can be used and adapted within the classroom to create short videos on a variety of topics. Oscar Stringer is an experienced stop frame animator and produced an ‘Animation Course for Teachers‘ resource which introduces the basic skills to get started alongside some project ideas. model animation

Another great video to show stop frame animation in action is ‘Making a model from clay‘. It quickly shows you how to create an animated video from modelling clay in a simple yet effective way.

I believe that animation is a brilliant skill to teach children. It will know only give the children chance to use their creative side but as projects can sometimes be quite big, it allows children to communicate ideas, collaborate and create as a group. Animation could be used in every curriculum area, ranging from a persuasive advert in English, explaining a concept in Maths and re-enacting a historic battle or past time within Topic lessons. In addition. children could be split into teams and each team creates an informative animation regarding an aspect of Viking life, different aspects of a contrasting culture/country or even book reviews.

There are many different resources that can be used to enhance the children’s digital literacy and information technology. These include Monkey Jam , Pivot Stickfigure and Stykz.

The possibilities for effective use of animation in the classroom are endless and therefore teachers should try and incorporate these were appropriate.

SCHOOL RADIO

School radio is a great motivator for students to write for purpose within English. It gives children a contextual reason to plan, research, write, read, speak and listen. It may be a story for younger years or a podcast outlining important details about ancient Greeks for their peers. Teachers could also incorporate

AudacityAudacity is an app that can be used to record, rerecord and edit voice clips, particularly useful for school radio and podcasts. This would enable students to work individually or collaboratively whilst improving their digital literacy and information technology knowledge and understanding. Audioboom is another website which allows students to create and broadcast podcasts and school projects on a ‘school radio’.

Children could be split into teams and create podcasts about E-safety, informative talks and discussions about the decision made by characters in a book or furthermore, interview other staff and students at an event such as sports day or world book day. This would enhance the learning of students within English as well as developing skills they can use in later life. I believe a school or class radio would be invaluable to the learning of every student and that many students would thrive and prosper on such an exciting opportunity.

IMMERSION ENVIRONMENT

Many schools now have access to rooms known as immersion environment rooms. These rooms offer many opportunities to enhance learning and improve creative writing. Immersion rooms are where a projector projects moving images onto the walls around the room. These images could be space, world war 2, bonfire night, a forest etc giving the children chance to ‘immerse’ themselves within an environment they may not have had opportunity to visit or to give them an idea about what it was like. More recently, in newly built schools, rooms which have screens on every part of the all are built to facilitate the same effect as the projections.

immersionenviro
An example of one type of immersion environment

I believe that these immersion environments would be beneficial to children of all ages to enhance and facilitate learning of specific topics. It would create an atmosphere in which students can generate plenty of ideas to take back to the classroom and even then incorporate back into immersion environments. For example, a projection of a soldier within world war 2 could be accompanied by a student composed and read aloud daily diary entry to bring about emotions and thoughts amongst other children.

Animation and developments using computing and in particular developing digital literacy and information technology skills can greatly enhance other curriculum subjects aiding in the overall individual development of children. I will use plenty of these ideas and techniques within my own teaching as I feel they will be of great value.

Posted in Coding, KS2

Hopscotch

hopscotch logoHopscotch is an app that prides itself on creative expression and the belief that anyone can code.

By signing up and entering the app you are faced with many options to learn how to code. Once a game or training video is selected it takes you to a screen that allows you to create and code a game by following a smaller step by step video screen.

The video guides the learner through exactly what needs to be done to achieve the desired goal whilst also explaining and defining terms such as code, emoji, algorithm etc.

This app would be extremely useful within the classroom as it allows learners to work at their own pace by either following the pace of the video or a separate group could follow the lead of the teacher.

There are so many options available on this app, children would be kept captivated and engaged whilst learning how to code. It can be linked to instructional texts and even PE; by making instructions clear to a peer to carry them out, for example around an obstacle course.

I am no computer whiz, but I picked up this app and instantly felt confident in creating my own game. I managed to make a ‘whack-a-dinosaur’ and a ‘jump in’ game. It is super easy to follow and s the aspects of code are regularly spoken about, the children will learn definitions and computer vocabulary through free time and exploration on this app.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Hopscotch blog has many useful pages relating to the importance of coding, computational thinking and creativity. 

I will definitely be using Hopscotch within my teaching to enhance the knowledge and skill set of the children within my classroom. I feel the simple, yet effective app allows children to individualise coding to suit their interests and foster their creativity.

 

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

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.