Archive

Monthly Archives: October 2011

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.

Rachel

References:
Linda Morts blog: http://earlyyearslearning.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/vles-in-eyfs-and-ks1/
Mike Herrity’s blog: http://sharepointineducation.com/the-personal-learning-environment-moving-beyond-the-vle-and-sharepoint-learning-platform

http://jminto.wikispaces.com/Learning+Platforms

Advertisements

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.

Rachel

This week we learnt about some of the technologies being used by Primary schools to aid learning. ICT is becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives, so it makes sense this is reflected in Primary schools.

Things have moved on from my own days at Primary school. Computers, interactive whiteboards, and the Internet are now part of everyday school life for the children. At Primary School, I was excited to use the class computer. As most people didn’t have one at home so it was a novelty. I’m interested to know how children view computers now. I wonder if computers are just like a book, or pen to them, because they’ve grown up surrounded by this technology.

I can see it’s important for us to keep up to date with the technologies used in schools. But as technology develops, the e-safety issues also grow. So, it’s equally important to be informed of the health and safety issues that come with this new technology.

Our task was to find out about the e-safety issues in schools today. I was surprised, there were lots of key issues such as aggressive marketing to children, I hadn’t considered. I found the BECTA website useful. It’s a shame the organization no longer exists.

CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has many resources, for childen, parents and teacher need information on e-safety. It has dedicated areas for children, teachers, and parents.

This video is made by CEOP  for children, to explain some e-safety issues  they might come across and teach them how they can be safe.

 

The e-safety issues reported in the media are often sensationalized, such as children being ‘groomed’ online. These are still real dangers, but I worry some of the other issues, such as aggressive marketing, or children being exposed to explicit content will be overlooked. It’s important parents and carers know about these issues and steps they can take to keep their children safe.

Here is a video we saw in our child protection lecture. It makes some interesting points about why parents need to be aware of their children’s internet use, and the importance of training them in how they ca protect their children.

 

 

Looking at my ‘digital identity’ (DI) for the directed task, I was surprised at how much I could find out when I ‘Googled’ myself. So, I have changed my Facebook settings to private. My DI didn’t promote an unwanted or harmful image of myself, but I didn’t like the idea of my personal life and private information being available to the whole world. With more Primary age children using social networking sites, I now see it’s important they are aware they have a ‘digital identity’ and the image they are portraying of themselves on the Internet.

On my five day pre course placement, I observed a Maths lesson where children were using the ‘Mathletics’ website. This website allowed the children to compete in Maths games with other children around the world. I thought it was a nice idea for the children to know that other children in other countries do the same work as them. The teacher set the children ‘games’ to complete and they had to finish the set work before the website allowed them to choose games. The website sounded safe; only schools could join this website and children can’t use it to ‘chat’.

The class discussed why they were using cartoon ‘avatars’ to represent themselves instead of photographs, and why it was dangerous for them to put photographs of themselves on the Internet. I now see this was a perfect opportunity to bring up safety issues with children, and get them thinking of their DI.

Rachel