Modelling and Computer Programming

We looked at modelling and computer programming today in I.C.T.

Modelling refers to activities which encourage children to pose the question ‘what happens if?’

Modelling software gives children the opportunity to formulate ideas and designs in a risk-free environment through a process of trial and error and experimentation. Modelling software is particularly used in spacecraft and architecture.

There are several modeling websites children can explore including 2Simulate and 2Do-It-Yourself. They provide brilliant educational resources for children that also cater for cross-curricular links too, particularly art and design and technology. I especially liked designing my own alien and bus.

The skills that are particularly associated with modelling software include:

Problem-solving strategies

Learning through trial and error

Coming up with ideas

Reviewing ideas and improving them

We also looked at computer programming, more specifically at LOGO. This works in much the same way as the programmable toys looked at previously. We experimented with this by typing in a series of commands to make shapes. This is a very useful resource for children, particularly for children with poor fine motor skills and teaches them the following skills:

An understanding of shape/geometry and polygons

Direction

Spatial awareness

Programming

 

We also looked at Scratch

“Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.

As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively”.

(http://info.scratch.mit.edu/About_Scratch)

I had a good play around with this – I used it when working with year 7 children during my TA days in a secondary school so was already quite familiar with it. You can do so much with it – you can pick from a variety of sprites and make them do all sorts of actions. I picked a school background and made a witch glide across the sky while hanging upside down on her broomstick. It is clear that children can be really creative and imaginative with Scratch!

Ok guys, not long to go until the xmas holidays now,

 

Until next time,

 

I’m out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking and Listening and Digital Imaging

I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson. We looked at how speaking and listening could be used in ICT. We looked at a variety of gadgets, including talking photo albums, EAL books, talking cards, talk boards, talking tins, podcasting and we also looked at digital imaging.  All of these devices offer brilliant learning opportunities for children.

I never thought ICT could be so much fun!

I particularly liked the talking EAL book – this helps to bring learning to life for EAL children and make learning more accessible.

The talking tins are a great learning resource and can be used right across the curriculum.

They have a variety of uses:

  • Children can record the sounds they make when they decode words in phonics and compare them against the way they are expected to decode them
  • Teachers can record instructions for children (learning objectives and corresponding success criteria) and place the talking tin on each table
  • If less able children forget what they have been asked to do, they can just replay the instructions
  • Extension material for the more able children could be recorded and accessed by the push of a button – this is a way of assessing children’s learning as it reveals who has moved onto extension work
  • Children who are particularly socially withdrawn and shy can record questions or answers by recording their voice into the tin – this is a means by which teachers can assess children’s learning
  • They can make displays interactive –push the button to reveal information

 

We also looked at podcasting. This is like a radio show but unlike radio, it is not broadcast live. Instead you can record what you want to say, upload it onto the internet and listen to it anytime you want. Anyone in the world can also listen to the podcast! I particularly like tuning into football podcasts.

Podcasting is also used across schools and has a range of benefits:

  • Children like the novelty element of being able to record and play back their own voice
  • Children are given a voice to share their interests or raise issues that matter to them
  • It can help to improve children’s literacy skills and allows them to practice their speaking and listening skills
  • They also become more proficient in ICT-
  • Podcasts are interactive as other people can comment and offer feedback
  • Children can develop teamwork skills when working on group podcasts

Further reasons for why podcasting is such an effective resource is provided by the link below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/sep/18/link.link16

E-safety is obviously an important issue with podcasting just like it is with blogging and children and so children should be warned against providing important personal information on the internet.

We also looked at digital imaging, more specifically at the use of digital cameras.

Digital imaging or digital image acquisition refers to the creation of digital images, typically from a physical scene. This can be done by a number of ways.  My group and I explored one of the ways – by using Photo story 3.  We created a story in picture form – it was brilliant as I got to practice my acting skills! You can upload the pictures taken with the digital camera and bring them to life by adding sound, text and special effects. I got to see the benefits of this first hand – children can certainly have a lot of fun with this. It can be used right across the curriculum and can be used to make projects. It is particularly useful for EAL children.

I have added a link of a Photo story 3 tutorial on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0oH9qE9qEY

Check it out !

Until next time guys

 

Control and monitoring technology

Computer control refers to machines which can be programmed with a set of instructions to act in a predetermined way. The machines can then be controlled by pressing buttons.

These machines are all over the home, e.g. sky plus, microwaves and cookers. They are also outside of the home, e.g. CCTV cameras, traffic lights and barcode scanners can also be operated by computers.  

There are many reasons for why computer control is so widely used:

  • Accuracy and consistency
  • Cost effective
  • Convenience

 However we also learnt to look at the negative impact of computer control and technology – many unskilled workers on the production line in industry have become largely redundant – leading to loss of employment.

We looked at a range of programmable toys that could be used to extend children’s learning in the classroom. This actually brought back a lot of memories of my time in primary school. Other programmable toys looked at were the Pixie, Bee-Bot and Pip.

These toys are great because learning can take place in a fun, creative and enjoyable way. Many key concepts can be taught including learning to provide accurate instructions for a partner, distance, direction, angles, coordinates, spelling and spatial awareness.  Children can do a range of activities with the toys, e.g. they can estimate how much distance the toy has to cover in order to reach a destination on a map (see picture below), they could spell words by selecting appropriate letter cards on the floor and they could create shapes on the floor. Thus it is clear that toys of this nature have a lot of cross-curricular links, particularly to literacy and maths. The activities can also be extended for the more able children by for example asking them to follow more complex instructions, to draw more complex shapes, to spell longer words and by giving children a map and asking them to get from one destination to another and to write down the instructions needed.

Less able children could have simpler and fewer instructions to follow and could make simpler shapes and words.

Children’s progress and learning could be assessed by observing children’s use of the toys during the lesson.

An important consideration for planning a lesson with such toys is to make sure that there is sufficient space in the classroom, e.g. tables and chairs could be moved to the sides so that children have room. Children should also be told to be respectful of other children’s toys and not touch them if they are in use at the time.

I have added a useful link to worksheets that children could use with their Bee-Bot:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en-GB&source=hp&q=bee+bot+worksheets&gbv=2&oq=bee+bot+worksheets&gs_l=heirloom-hp.3..0.1360.4141.0.4422.18.15.0.3.3.0.62.499.13.13.0…0.0…1c.1.Rq6LSVXEN3Y

 

 

This is a Bee-Bot

 

 

This is an example of a map that could be used with the programmable toys

 

We also looked at how the digital microscope and data logger could be used with children.

The digital microscope is brilliant because you can take pictures of what you can see under it and print them out on the computer. This may particularly be useful in science lessons if doing a work on microbes found on food.

Data loggers are also useful because you can record and compare temperature, light and sound in different settings. Children can then view their results on the computer.

Here is an excellent YouTube link on how data loggers are used by school children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDh4fxaYXpM

 

Until next time