Infographic on Mobile Phone Usage

Last year in our Digital Literacy seminar we were asked to create an Infographic on a technology dependency of our choice. I have decided to do some research on mobile phone dependencies as I feel that the demand for usage of mobile phones has become increasingly larger over the last couple of years. I also feel that the way in which consumers use mobile phones has changed accordingly.

The information that I was able to find out has surprised me in various ways and I hope that you find some of this information useful as well as interesting. Please let me know your views on mobile phone technology and dependencies that you may have too! 🙂

Infographic 2

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A Video on Educational Theorists

The next step of our task in digital literacy was to expand our knowledge on the theorist that we had studied by adding in criticisms and new ideas. We were asked to present these findings in the form of a video.  Myself with another of my colleagues decided that we wanted to explore the idea that all theories can be connected whether the connection is weak or strong.

The theorists that we had to create links with was Collins and Quillian’s idea of the semantic memory model along with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

Here is the link to the video that my colleague and myself created to put across our finishings:

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and to watch, the video created by my colleague and myself. Feel free to leave any comments of questions they will be appreciated.

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

We have now had our first digital literacy seminar if our second year and our module at the moment involves us looking at the all the different learning theories. After the session we were all given a learning theory to go away an research independently. I was asked to go away and research Maslow’s theory, this is a theorist that I immediately recognised after studying Business Studies at AS-Level.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory that was introduced by Abraham Maslow in his “Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943. Since then there has been slight adaptations to the theory.

Maslow suggests that “people are motivated to achieve certain needs” which is why he built the hierarchal pyramid of human motivational needs. Maslow also believes that everyone is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy towards the top (self-actualisation), however this progress is often disrupted by failure of meeting the motivational targets in the lower levels.

maslow

In adding an educational perspective to his work it has been suggested that students with a low self-esteem will not progress academically at a peak level until their self-esteem has been strengthened. This is suggesting that teachers need to ensure that their children’s emotional and physical wellbeing is met to an appropriate level in order for them to be motivated to perform at their optimum level.

When focusing on education Maslow adopts a more holistic approach to learning focusing on all contributing factors to an individuals learning.

Maslow proposed that at the bottom of the pyramid, humans physiological needs must be met, to link this to an educational setting it suggests that teachers need to be constantly aware of all of their student’s needs, however it is also vital for children to inform teacher of their needs.

The next step in Maslow’s pyramid is safety, this suggests that children need to feel safe in a classroom environment. This step can be met in schools my maintaining a safe classroom environment, this can be done by making sure that children are familiar with classroom discipline and aware of the consequences, only once these needs are met can children move up to the next motivational stage of the pyramid which is love and belonging.

Self Esteem is an important aspect in motivation, especially in the classroom, this is the stage in which Maslow suggests people feel confident in themselves as well as feel that they have a place in the world, this is important in becoming self – actualised, if a person stops feeling this way they will have disrupted their path to the optimum level of the pyramid.

Thank you for taking the time to reading my blog post. I am open to any questions that you may have after reading my post, or any comments that you may have.

Daisy the Dinosaur is another app that can be used to help aid computing in Primary Schools. This app is one at to Apple and can be downloaded onto any Apple device through the app store.

This is a computing programme that is designed to help children understand what programming is. Personally I would suggest that it would be something used in the foundation of KS1 setting, due to its fairly simple design.

An advantage of this programming app is that it slowly develops children’s understanding of algorithms in a fun way. The children have to set up a variety of steps in order to get daisy to move them, this is a nice introduction to explaining that algorithms, are a series of instructions/ steps which will then have an outcome (its the process in which things happen)

However a disadvantage of this software is that you could only have children using it if the school that you were in had the resources such as Apple Macs or iPads as it is only accessible through these devices. Therefore you may be limited on using this programme unless as an ICT coordinator you could get your school to buy some through explaining the benefits of them.

Daisy the Dinosaur is an app that has the same sort of layout as scratch so it could be beneficial to teach them this to get to grips with Scratch as it is argued that Scratch takes longer to tackle. It might seem easier if the children had been introduced to a less challenging software before hand which is why I would recommend it to be used in KS1 as I feel that Scratch should be brought into teaching in KS2 so that children have to time to explore the software fully.  

Computing Software

I am going to explore several different software’s/ activities that can be used in the classroom to help aid children’s learning in computing. I have decided to do this one because we are currently carry out a project in digital literacy but also computing has become more recognised in the Primary Curriculum and these are software’s that can be brought into the classroom.

SCRATCH

The first software that I have looked at is Scratch, this is an animation programme which allows children to programme the Sprites into making an animation or creating some sort of game for example programming the Sprite to walk through a maze and speak at the end etc. This software is a useful one which can be used in the Primary classroom, I believe that this software is more appropriate for children in KS2, however could be introduced at the end of KS1. Scratch allows you to share your animations online which allows you to learn about other people’s work, which helps children put their work into context and expand their computing skills.

Scratch can be used as a cross curricular piece of software not only can it help aid children’s knowledge in computing and programming, it can also be linked to aspects of maths as children are able to programme their Sprites to create different shapes such as triangles and squares. Scratch can also be taught in line with English when looking at story boards etc, as the children can create their sprite to act out the story.

Scratch is a unique tool when looking at computing as it is an easy accessible site that, is laid out well so that it is easier for children to use. The programming tools are set up like lego pieces that fit together, this helps children to understand the commands that come first and what comes after and they can follow the commands that they have asked their Spite to do. This software is very easy to amend any mistakes.

Personally I thought that Scratch took some getting used to and if I am being honest I am still getting to grips with how to use the software to its full potential. However I believe that once I understand fully how scratch works it will be a very beneficial learning tool to take into the classroom.

What do you all feel about Scratch? Do you believe that it’s a good learning tool to use in the Primary Classroom? Leave your comments here.

KODU

Another software that I have looked at is Kodu. Kodu is described my Microsoft Research as a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games.

Kodu combines the simple elements of computing into a fun learning activity for children to use. The game uses simple commands such as “when” something happens then the Kodu needs to “do” something else. Kodu allows the children to create their own little world that they can then set up their algorithms in. At first children may not understand that they are actually programming however as they progress in to the project it will become clear that what they are doing is creating sets of algorithms that their characters need to follow.

I liked the way that Kodu worked as it is very visual which suits the needs of some children. I felt that this programme was much easier to get the hang of than things such as scratch, this could be because there was a vast choice of tutorials on YouTube that gave you a step by step guide on how to use the software.

Kodu seemed to be the more popular software in our Uni group as well, most of the people in my group favoured this software to any of the others because of the easier layout and visual element of this.

What’s all of your opinions on Kodu I would love to hear from you all.  

BEEBOTS

BeeBots are another useful tool that can be used in school that can help children understand the process of computing and processing. BeeBots are small robots in the shape of bees that children can programme to move in a certain way. Beebots are most appropriate for the foundation stage and KS1. In the foundation stage children can explore some of the simple contents of computing through play. Although the children may not understand that they are learning how to programme, they are given the fundamental skills that they need to progress their knowledge of computing into KS1.  Not only can you get the BeeBots you can also download an online app from the Apple app store. This is very similar to the BeeBot however children would need to programme their bot to follow a path to get to the end of the maze. I favour this app as it has several different levels of ability so it allows all children to have a go catering for all abilities, this app also allows for differentiation in the classroom.

The idea of using the BeeBot is for children to programme it to move in a designated path, by using the control arrows, however there is no way for the children to remember what they have programmed their BeeBot to do so it is essential that you get your children to write down all the steps so the idea of programming is clear to them.

BeeBots are very child friendly, and is something that is relatively cheap to uses as a tool for teaching computing in the Primary classroom. The Beebot is a great tool to introduce the concept of algorithms to younger children, as it can be explained as a process of commands which can then be put into context using the BeeBots. The Beebots can also be used for cross curriculum work as well for example they could learn direction in geography my programming the BeeBot to go north, south, east and west, or could be used as an activity in maths for example programming the BeeBot to follow in the direction of certain shape patterns.

To conclude the use of the BeeBot to help aid computing in schools, I believe that it is a great tool, as they are easy to use and very child friendly. I believe that this activity is one that is should be carried out more in schools.

LIGHTBOX

Another software that I have looked at is Lightbox this is another app that can be downloaded from the apple app store. This game involves having to move the robot around through several commands so that it can reach the light bulb and turn it on.

I believe that this app is very good for keeping children motivated while teaching them some of the basic elements of computing and algorithms. There are 40 different levels to this game and as a result children have the desire to complete the levels whilst learning about the loops and algorithms. Like the BeeBot I believe that it is a positive thing that there is different levels in this computing software as it allows differentiation in the classroom which can involve low achievers as well as those children that need to be pushed. I believe that this software is better suited to KS2, probably best for upper KS2, you may find with this software that although the early levels seem to be portrayed as quite simple, the levels become more intense as they develop the ideas of computing and programming.

Have any of you got any views on the use of Lightbox with children in the classroom? Has anyone used this in the classroom and proved it to be successful? Leave your comments here.

CARGO BOT

Another computing software that could be used in a KS2 setting to help aid computing in the classroom is an app called Cargo Bot. This programme involves problem solving and thinking logically about a problem that is given, which fundamentally brings in the concept of mathematics and mathematical reasoning.

A disadvantage is that this app isn’t useful for using in front of the whole class as it doesn’t show the programme on the screen correctly. This programme involves the children looking at the aspects of loops in computing. This programme looks at all aspects of the national curriculum so is good to use throughout the duration of the course, with children.

Personally I wouldn’t use this software on children any younger than year 5 as I believe that it covers some of the much more complex elements of computing.

 

Thanks for reading this I hope you have found out some new information from this. Please leave comments on your opinions about these software’s to aid teaching and learning in computer programming. I will continue to blog my views on other software’s relevant to computing.

What I have learnt about digital technologies.

So I have now completed my first time studying digital literacy as my specialism as a trainee teacher. In this blog post I am going to be exploring all the different software/ technologies that we have been taught about and the ones that have stood out to me the most.

I cant believe that I have been studying digital literacy for 3 months now, when I think back to September when I had just started the course I feel that my confidence in using different technologies has advanced greatly. I remember back in our first week at University we were taken to a school with the digital literacy group which allowed us to have a greater understanding of how children viewed technology. This was our first chance to interact with children as a trainee teacher so I loved that we could bring the digital literacy aspect straight into the school environment. We took used iPads in the school to find out how much the children knew about the internet and other devices, as I have never owned an iPad or a tablet I was surprised how well the children could use the devices at such a young age as they were only in the foundation stage and KS1.

We have also started looking at how to use animations with children, we started looking at different devices that could be used in schools such as BeeBots, MyMaths etc, before looking at making animations using iPads and Laptops. On the iPad we used a pre installed app, we created one in our seminar before using it in school so we could look at the benefits and drawbacks of using animation software on both of the devices. When we taught the children in school how to make animations we used the iPads, these were more portable but it was more difficult foe children to aline the camera so that the new picture is taken in the same place as the previous, to overcome this we installed the onion skin setting onto the programme so it shows your where your previous photo was positioned, although this still proved difficult with the younger children. For this age range it would have been easier to use the laptops with the plug in webcams as the children wouldn’t have to worry about positioning the camera in the correct place. Both of these devices has allowed me to explore the positives and negatives of using them, this has given me a greater idea of what the devices offer.

This term has also allowed me to explore a range of theories that apply to digital literacies, two articles that I have read are NESTA: Decoding Learning and The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies by Doug Belshaw. This theory has allowed me to link all of the practical work that we had carried out to the theory that applies to it. The theory has suggested that their are 8 elements to digital literacy that can be linked into work and how that technology can help to support learning within schools. The theories that I am learning are continuingly developing, which helps me understand how the practical based work can be used in a classroom to aid children’s development and learning.

In the last couple of weeks we have started looking at programmes that can be used in the classroom such as the SMART whiteboard, our seminar leader introduced us to this programme and then we had the opportunity to create a mini activity that we could use in the classroom. I created a mini maths lesson that could be used as a starter activity children had to use the protractor on the whiteboard to measure the angles of all the shapes after estimating what they though the angle would be. The interactive whiteboard is an extremely useful tool if utilised to its full potential as it allows you to save all of your lessons onto it which means that they are easily accessible when they are needed.

This term has taught me a lot about digital technologies, although there are still aspects that I need to look into further I believe that my knowledge of digital literacy has widened since starting the course in September and I have found everything that I have learnt extremely interesting and I am looking forward to developing my digital literacy knowledge in the next term as eventually I would like to have the knowledge to be able to lead digital technology in schools in the future.  

Research Project

Following on from visiting Plymouth Creative School Arts, I have looked at the results that we collected from the surveys that we carried out. The question that I narrowed down my analysis to was ‘How do girls and boys use the internet at school differently to learn’. I found that these results were really interesting as although all the children learn in the same environment and through the same means it suggests that boys and girls perceive things differently in terms of how they believe they learn and what aids their learning.

The results shown that most of the girls (46.15%) stated that they watched TV on the internet at school to help aid their learning processes, whereas only a small number of boys agreed with this statement.

Differently a much higher percentage of boys stated that they played games on the internet at school to help them learn. To further explore this a question could be put forward asking the children what type of games they play at school on the internet, this would help us as trainee teachers to discover in what methods boys learn best and could then adapt our teaching style to suit them. A much lower percentage of girls stated that they used games to help them learn. This result may fit the stereotype that young boys enjoy playing games in their spare time so this style of learning may be ones that they find easier and may be why they believe that they learn in this way at school as they favour the technique in schools whereas girls more stereotypically learn through creations. This could link in with Doug Belshaws eight elements this suggested that “…..the creative adoption of new technology requires teachers who are willing to take risks… a prescriptive curriculum, routine practices… and a tight target-setting regime, is unlikely to be helpful.”  I believe that this corresponds with what I have said in my research this is because it suggests that teachers need to take risks and change their approaches to teaching. I especially believe this with the evidence that I have collected from analysing the boys answers on  the survey it shows that they believe that they learn better through creative and practical things such as playing games, as trainee teachers we need r=to recognise that children learn in different ways and need to be flexible towards this through teaching styles.

I was also surprised to see that children recognised that the internet was useful for sharing ideas with other people about what they have learnt, children were able to show that they understood that through the internet they could tell other people whether it was other teachers or students about what they had been learning sharing their opinions and experiences. This portrays that children from a young age have a knowledge of social networking and how it works which should be seen as positive as  they grow up this knowledge can be expanded.

Although the survey was successful and allowed us as a group to draw on many conclusions it also came with many limitations, the survey was only carried out on a small sample and therefor all of the results could not be generalised to the while population of children, as all of the children were from the KS1 age range and from the same school which was highly involved in technology. Another limitation of this study is that the survey was lengthy and towards the end the children were getting bored answering the questions therefore its didn’t give us a reliable result, as well as this the children were all young so we don’t know if they were being truthful with their answers or they were saying the answers that they believed that we wanted to hear as a researcher. However the study still allowed us to draw conclusions as there was still a huge variety between what girls perceived as helping them learn and school and what boys did.

Picture representations to come….

Who I am, and the start of my journey to become a teacher.

Hi my name is Alice and I’m an 18 year old, 1st year student studying B.Ed. Primary Teaching, specialising in Digital Literacy at Plymouth University. I moved to Plymouth from my hometown of Bath nearly three weeks ago. This is the first time I have moved away from my home where I have lived for 18 years!

As an undergraduate trainee teacher I have completed a fun filled two weeks of the course. In our induction week my specialism group were fortunate enough to visit The Plymouth School of Creative Arts. This was a great opportunity to see how a new free school works. The school portrayed children calling their teachers by their first names. In my opinion I think that this approach is one that can be seen as positive and one that personally I would favour, however this is a subject that is debated as others may see this communication as disrespectful to the teacher. Whereas I believe that respect comes from other traits such as professionalism.

This blog will be a place in which I can write down all things that I find out and feel strongly about, so that I can express my feelings about it and share my experiences with you as I continue with my journey to become a qualified Primary School Teacher.