ICT & A Curriculum for Excellence Session 2

Session 2 for the ICT & A Curriculum for Excellence training was held on Tuesday 1st May. This aim of this session was for staff to look at the digital photography skills checklist and decide what skills they have and what areas they want to focus on. Staff would work collaboratively to support one another and share ideas.

Rather than both myself and Kathleen blogging about these sessions we have decided to post the information on Kathleen’s blog, so to find out more and to get downloads from the session click here.

Using a sand pit, stones, tin foil and ICT to learn maths!!!!

With the children I covered stones in tin foil then wrote a number on it. The children hid these in the sand pit then took turns to search for the ‘treasure’ using a metal detector. They then matched the numbered stones to the number line. The children were really motivated by this activity and worked co-operatively to hide/search and also to identify the symbols and match them to the number line. Pre-Five units make regular use of ICT toys, this highlights that ICT is not just about computers, whiteboards etc. This activity allowed us to incorporate ICT into our outdoor learning experiences.

Digital Microscope

At the moment we are learning about planting and growing. At the end of last week we went outside on a minibeast hunt. We then used the digital blue microscope and our whiteboard to have a closer look at what we found. This allowed us to look and talk about as a whole class.

This week I have set up an interest table where the children can choose to use the microscope and laptop to look at a variety of seeds. There has been lots of collaborative learning going on. Their interest has extended through the conversations they have been having together. They are now looking at their fingers, materials and lots more.

The digital blue microscope is really child friendly and fun. As well as the usual features of using a microscope the children can also take a snapshot or movie of their objects then create a slideshow by adding special effects and music! The features are simple to use and very similar to the digital blue camera which we also use regularly.

Interviewing People Who Help Us in School

At the moment we are learning about ‘People Who Help Us’ and over the last week we have been focusing on people who help us in school. One example of how I have incorporated ICT into this is by using the video camera with the children to interview staff. We decided on two basic questions to ask, ‘what is your name?’ and ‘can you tell us about your job?’ Next, rather than simply watching it back I have embedded the movie clips into a flipchart along with photographs the children took (using ACTIVprimary software.) I have still to let the children record their voices into the flipchart explaining what we did.
The children will be able to look back at their interactive story and learn about people who help us in school whenever they choose. This was a simple activity which the children enjoyed. It was a great way of using ICT purposefully to enhance learning rather than simply using ICT for the sake of using it.

Child & Parent Involvement using ICT

Last year we held a parent workshop with an ICT theme which allowed us to show parents the new Promethean ACTIVboard and ACTIVote. This year I wanted to show the new parents the same equipment so they knew what their children were going home talking about without repeating what we did last year with the other parents. We were also due to review some policies so I decided to kill two birds with the one stone by using ACTIVote to gauge parent’s and children’s comments.

With the children I set up scenarios with different pictures, for example two children sharing, one child pushing another child etc. along with pictures of different emotional expressions. The children then voted for how they thought the children in the pictures would be feeling and compared this to how they would feel in the same situation. Some scenarios also asked the children to choose what they could do and what they thought the adult could do to help. This and the discussion that went with it allowed us to consider the children’s views when updating our Behaviour Management policy. The benefit of using ACTIVote was it engaged the children’s interest and they could all have their say, not just the outspoken few who always like to talk. By using ACTIVote the children are also developing citizenship skills by recognising that their ideas and opinions are valued.

The parents were also motivated by using ACTIVote, “it’s just like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire!” They were amazed at how their children had been using it after I spoke about some of the other voting activities we have been doing.

Compared to using traditional paper questionnaires we got some really useful discussions going with parents that we could use to update the policies on Parental Involvement, Behaviour Management and Complaints. We used a rating scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. We wrote the comments and ideas that came from the discussions that arose from the results of the votes. The flipcharts were saved and examples were printed and filed with the policies- great evidence of parental and child involvement!

Alien Puppets

The children made alien puppets using a variety of art and craft material. I incorporated ICT into this activity by using a digital camera. Before the activity started I took photographs of all the resources on offer to the children and printed them onto sticky back paper. I also made a sheet with two boxes- ‘what I used’ and ‘what I made.’ After the children made their puppets they helped each other to take a photograph of it. The children then used scissors to cut out pictures of what they used and also the end result. They really enjoyed this activity. There were lots of skills being developed- creativity, cutting skills, their confidence in using a camera, working co-operatively with others as well as the variety of language they were using to explain what they made, why they used what they did, what their alien liked/disliked etc.