Here is a WORDLE of my blog!

Please see the post above to see an example of VOKI, an free animated avatar , which you can record a message in.

We also looked at Prezi the ‘zooming presentation editor, a mind map tool an example displayed below:

A survey conducted earlier this year by an antivirus software manufacturer, found that more of the children knew how to play a computer game than swim or ride a bike, and that more pre-schoolers knew how to use a smart phone than tie their shoelaces.

Other research carried out by Plymouth council, found that 72% of children under five spend on average half an hour a day online. It’s important to acknowledge that for many children, from an early age, ICT, computer games, and the Internet play a major part of their life.Programmers developing computer apps have realised younger children have access to Ipads and laptops and are developing games aimed for the under fives.

This is relevant for us as teachers to be aware that such young children are not only being exposed to computers, but becoming active users of them. As teachers, I think it’s important to remember not every child has access to a ‘ipad’ or computer or the internet at home and with the reports of child poverty rates rising, I think it will be very dependant on the area in which you are teaching. However the fact that for more and more children, this is a part of their life, which they enjoy, it was be used to make lessons more enjoyable, interesting and exciting.

VOKI of the article : Editorial: Play and learn: potentials of game-based learning, published British journal of technology (25 APR 2007) Maja Pivec


In the article Editorial: Play and learn: potentials of game-based learning, published British journal of technology (25 APR 2007) Maja Pivec suggests “primary education games have a high presence in non formal and informal segments of our learning. Unfortunately, in formal education, games are still often seen just as an unserious activity, and the potentials of games for learning often stay undiscovered” She goes on to suggest that games can offer a level of cognition which is useful in more formal areas of earning. She also notes that since the 1980s many scientists have stated that computers and other digital media can be used as a “cognitive tool for learning”.

Unfortunately, it is often just PDFs and Powerpoints which don’t offer a aspect of interaction which are used in the Primary classroom, and therefore don’t give an opportunity for this learning to take place.

This week we looked at recording devices for use in classroom, These include ‘talking tins’ speaking photo albums, and podcasts. These can be a useful resource for EAL children, who are new to the school and adjusting to the routine; they can record their own reminders in a language that they understand.

Taking tins:

Talking albums:

podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded. Podcasts have been “embraced by the educational ICT fraternity, some seeing them as the “next big thing” (Northcote et al, 2007)[i]

In the article Embracing emergent technologies and envisioning new ways of using them for literacy learning in the primary classroom’, Sue Halsey mentions that by her children uploading their podcasts to the internet, she is providing them with an audience and therefore a purpose. She also suggests podcasts posted on the school website have involved parents and enabled them to be aware of what their children are learning at school.

She proposes using podcasting to create book reviews has given a depth to the children’s knowledge and understanding of literacy, and has promoted an enjoyment of reading amongst their classmates.

Motivation and enjoyment in reading is can also be promoted through book review podcasts created for children by adults.

A school librarian called Sonja Cole has created a video podcast called Bookwink which was created with the aim “to inspire kids to read, using a medium that they already recognise and respond to: online video. The hope is that each book talk will be a hook that gets kids excited about reading.”

Anne-Marie Gordon in the article  ‘SOUND OFF! The Possibilities of Podcasting’, explains that that voice recording in the Primary classroom can ingrain the information deeper into the students mind. She suggests that teachers can create a podcast archive of important information for children to refer to when needed. In addition, podcasts allow children to express deeper meaning into their projects which they can’t express through writing, as they do not possess this skill yet. In other words children “can often explain something aloud more fluently than they can write about it”.

There are many lectures available in the form of podcasts to download on the web. A good example is ‘iTunes u’ which supplies educational lectures from Academic institutions around the world, available for free for anyone to download to download. This availability could be seen to be making education more inclusive, but on the other hand, this inclusion only extends to people with a computer.

In this weeks session we looked at the digital media and ‘computer control’. These include devices that can capture images, take readings or measurements, and simple programmable devices.

One of the devices I was most interested in was the digital microscope. In 2002 every maintained school was given a digital microscope from the government as part of ‘science year’. But apparently, they are often neglected and forgotten about. Nevertheless, these microscopes are a great resource. They connect to the computer through the USB hub and transfer the digital image or video of the magnification directly. This magnification can then easily be projected onto the interactive whiteboard. It could be a useful tool in Science to look at magnifications of ‘mini-beasts’, microbes, and the parts of a plant, or flower. I think it could also be a useful tool in Art lessons, to reveal another perception of the world that is not available to us with our eyes alone.

A Teachers TV video suggesting ways of using digital media including digital Microscopes, and how you can get more out of a digital microscope.

Due to the increasing amount we rely on equipment and devices which use ‘computer control’ in our everyday lives, I think it is important children understand the role of these devices, and why we use ‘computer control’ in these devices.

Many people are scared of technology and of relying on technology. This is often because they don’t understand how it works. This fear is reflected in the media, in Newspaper headlines such as the ‘Millennium bug’ and films such as ‘Terminator. This is a similar story in Science, where peoples misunderstanding of science is used to sell products and newspapers. Ignorance surrounding understanding in Science has resulted in children’s deaths due to a surge in measles outbreaks following the rejection of the MMR in relation to claims of a connection with autism.  Therefore, the importance of children’s understanding of basic science and technology cannot be underestimated.

Children can be introduced to the concept of ‘computer control’ through small programmable robots, which respond to simple commands. These include ‘bee bot’, a small robot whose “simple and child friendly layout is a perfect starting point for teaching control, directional language and programming to young children.”

Another resource to teach computer control is Lego WeDo. These kits, created by Lego, provide the resources for children to build their own structure around a programmable robot frame. You can view the promotional video here.

It’s useful to be aware of the many  resources and devices that may be available to us in schools, and to I am starting to think of ways to incorporate them into lessons.

On another note, In our Lecture on Dyslexia this week, I was made aware of a programs which are useful for children seriously struggling with reading and writing.

This were:

Dragon: a speech recognition program that writes as you speak.

Clicker 5 from Cricksoft: A reading and writing tool.

Word Talk: A Free text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word.

This week, we were introduced to learning platforms.

What is a learning Platform?

This video offers a good explanation of Learning Platforms

A Learning Platform (LP) is a term to describe a system of information and communication technologies that is used to deliver and support leaning.
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Managed Learning Environments (MLEs) are part of the same family of applications.

Learning Platforms are a new and constantly evolving technology, therefore it is hard to define one clearly. Becta (the recently abolished Quango), suggested that:

“Any Learning Platform should provide some or all of the following:
• Content management – enabling teaching staff to create, store and repurpose resources and coursework which can be accessed online
• Curriculum mapping and planning – providing tools and storage to support assessment for learning, personalisation, lesson planning etc.
• Learner engagement and administration – enabling access to pupil information, attendance, timetabling, e-portfolios and management information
• Tools and services – providing communication tools such as email, messaging, discussion forums and blogs. “

On the note of Becta being abolished, an article from last year in the TES, (September 2010) mentions that the UK is regarded worldwide as “years ahead of any major European country in using technology in schools, and Becta – the Quango axed by ministers – was essential in getting it there” and “the country needs to preserve the expertise and knowledge of the scrapped technology agency to maintain its leading position.” It will be interesting to see how the funding changes will affect the UK’s progress in ICT.

In my first post ‘Week one E-safety’, I mentioned the ‘Mathletics ’website. I now realize that it is an LP

As I previously suggested ‘Mathletics’ is a way for the children to know that other children in other countries do the same work as them. I can now see aspects of the ‘citizenship’ non-statutory framework. In particular, the concept of ‘multiple identities’ which overlap. Showing that we all have different identities, i.e. ‘British school child’ but also share identities with children and people in other countries. i.e. ‘Learner of Math’s’. I would suggest that these Learning Platforms, all have this potential, as with the Internet there is the possibility of a global connection.

Linda Mort suggests in her blog that Children could link up with a class in another country through the “Comenius e-twinning scheme and at festival times make a video of your celebrations to exchange with your twin. Send a puppet mascot to each other to make an appearance in both videos – each with a story to tell about their journey.” This is another example utilizing the global aspect of the Internet.
We had a look at ‘Knowledge box’ in the session. This was a learning platform. One of the advantages of ‘Knowledge box’, ‘Mathletics’, and other LP’s is the possibility of customising the work to the students individual needs: you can set the children specific work to develop their strengths/weaknesses in their learning. Linda Mort suggests in her blog that a “learning platform enables you to customise professionally-produced resources, to reflect the needs and interests of your children, families, school and community”.
Mike Herrity suggests in his blog, ‘share point in education’, that the key attribute in these the technologies being used in schools, such as LPs, is that they are ‘student centric’. The reason for these technologies should promote “independence and interdependence amongst learners and instant interaction and feedback with students and teachers to ensure we are engaging in meaningful learning.”

Although there are many advantages to using LPs, I think it is important to note that there are also disadvantages.

Although LPs can be inclusive of Children’s family and encourage connections to the local community, not every child has access to a computer and the internet at home. This means children can be singled out as different. For example if you set homework to be completed through a learning platform, and you have to arrange for the children who don’t have access to come at lunch or after school to do their homework it is singling them out.

There is also the fact that recent research showed that only 42% of primary schools have adopted learning platforms and that 22% of all primary schools have no plans to develop one. Perhaps this shows that there is not an immediate need for LPs, or they do not suit every schools needs and budget.


Linda Morts blog:
Mike Herrity’s blog:

Today we were introduced to the world of Interactive Whiteboards, or ‘IW’ for short. IW’s are now widely used in schools, especially Primary. An Interactive Whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus, or other device.

I used one for the first time in our first Math’s session, it was a lot harder than I expected, and not the same as writing on a real whiteboard. It’s something I need to get to grips with before we start our ‘Day-Link visits’. I will definitely be booking out the IW in the library to gain some more experience using it.

I’ve also started making use of some of the internet sites that were mentioned in the session last week, such as ‘Drop Box’, a file storage site, where you can upload your files. It seems like a really great idea to back up work, and for us as a group to share documents.

I’ve downloaded the SMART tech software so I can start create my own notebook documents for use on the Interactive whiteboards.

It can be downloaded here.

In Math’s we were shown a lot of useful Interactive Teaching Programs, which were developed by the National Numeracy strategy, for use with the IW. These ITPs were developed by the Primary National Strategy. I can anticipate them being a really useful visual aid. You can download them by searching for ‘Maths ITP’ on ‘Teach Find

A guide on all the interactive teaching programmes can also be found here.

During my Pre-Course placement, I observed a Year 5 history lesson on Ancient Greece. The teacher used an interactive program from the ‘Daily Life’ section of the British museum website to teach the children about daily life in Ancient Greece. It allows you to drag a character from an Ancient Greek family into a room of their ‘Villa’, and some information flashes up  about the room and on whether it’s a suitable room for the character. The children sat on the carpet and all had a turn dragging a character into a room they thought they would be suitable. I thought this was a great example of how the IW can utilize the internet in teaching. It involved all the children and they seemed a lot more engaged in the lesson.