Below is a Prezi that I have been working on as part of my CAS Master training. It is a simple presentation aimed at KS2 to introduce the Binary 'Base 2' counting system. I would love you have feedback to see what you all think! It would be used alongside a class teacher
I have been using Android tablets in my classroom for the last 2 years and through doing this alone have learned through trial and error. I have been trying my hardest to inspire schools in my cluster to consider buying tablets purely for their price and usability.
Having worked with a range of schools to support their implementation of tablets a few questions have sprung up. Will they be used effectively or will they just become a tool to use "Google"? How will I ever find the time to plan for these?
My one piece of advice when considering using tablets in your school is think outside of the box! Don't do what I used to do and spend hours looking for an App that might have a tenuous link to your normal school planning. Try to alter slightly your way of planning and instead find an App that you think would engage the children, and then plan a unit of work based around that App. You will have the children engaged from the start by introducing a new, fun App but you will also be able to introduce the use of ICT within cross curricular activities.
An example would be my use of Augmented Reality Apps mentioned earlier on my blog. I found that App at home one weekend and instantly spent the rest of the day playing with all the different features. To just teach children to use the App would have been a 20 minute lesson and then that's it. I instead thought of ways that I could use it within different subjects to engage and inspire my learners.
The problem comes when you give the tablets to a non-computational thinker, someone who technology does come easy to, what do they do? They need support! We cannot expect everyone to easily pick up this new technology straight away but we can help to guide them in the right direction. One thing the teachers in my school have found most helpful is having just 5 minutes in a staff meeting to share Apps we have found and brain storm ways that they can be used within different year groups and subjects.
I would love to hear your opinions on the subject!
Below is a presentation I recently made to try and demonstrate how your computer finds the data for web pages that you view, it is amazing the journey it travels! Please feel free to use or share!
As tablets are becoming more common place in education so more schools are buying into new hardware. I have been working in a small rural school for a few years and this has taught me that the ICT school budget is almost non-existent! One of my main concerns is that I have seen a few schools who have jumped on to the Ipad bandwagon, have spent thousands on hardware and are now not sure how they are going to implement them through their school infrastructure. When contemplating purchasing new equipment there are a few things to take into account...
I have seen many schools using Ipads in a variety of ways, from a class set used daily to a single device in a classroom. There is a wealth of fantastic APP's out there that can be used in so many ways but I personally feel that their limits far outweigh their benefits. Apple are keen to make these fantastic products that all will use but make it very hard for you to personalise the device, meaning it is hard to set the device up for your school network settings and file systems. One thing that Ipads do well is just work! You can download an APP on and Ipad and you just know that it will work! But with the cost of an Ipad ranging from £300 upwards I feel as though schools are wasting money if they are just used for word processing or internet research!
I have been using Android tablets in my class for the last 2 years and have seen the benefits instantly, not just with the childrens academic ability but with the improvement to my teaching style. I have found that Android tablets have been easy to set up on the network and when rooted can access all of the schools network and file systems through free APPs. Another benefit of an Android device is the price, I bought ours for £99 so we were able to have 10 in class for a fraction of the cost of Ipads! One negative point of the tablets is the ability for them to go wrong, some APPs just dont seem to want to work well on certain devices and this does sometimes cause problems in class, but with abit of a discussion with the children they are soon able to troubleshoot the problem and get the APP working.
One thing I would suggest before spending your whole budget on tablet devices is do your research, make sure that you are buying for the right reason and that they will be used in your school! My main advice is don't buy these expecting for your whole teaching style to change or for your classroom to become something that it isn't. Take your time to introduce the devices trying one new thing at a time so you build your confidence as the children do. Also, don't plan a se
We are so lucky these days to have on of the most powerful tools in our world at our finger tips, the internet! There are so many fantastic resources online that teachers are luckily able to use free of charge. From phonics games to online media sharing, the classroom is becoming a very online friendly place.
One thing I was finding in class was that I was trying to use online resources more often in day to day lessons, things like Letters and Sounds games during phonics or Maths Games online for mental oral, but the problem was that only one child could use the whiteboard at a time.
One fantastic thing about Android tablets is the ability to handle flash content, which the majority of these online games are. Now when I find an online resource that I would like to use in a lesson I can simple "push" the link to the tablets and the children can interact with it themselves. This works really well as an extension activity based around our class session work. If a child finishes their work and I am happy with the quality they can then access the online resource at their tables.
I have to be honest and say that I have never really been a fan of Espresso and have therefor never really used it reguarly in class. Don't get me wrong, the resources are fantastic and the effort that goes into the website is amazing but I have always planned sessions and created resources to match the childrens needs. This being said I have become a great fan of the Espresso handwriting videos for the children. They are fun for the children to follow and not only demonstrate the formation of letters but also talk about the sounds, great for my year 1's! By creating a link to the Espresso cache on our tablets the children are able to access the videos from their desks. Now when I do my handwriting in small groups the children can plug headphones in and choose the letters that they would like to practice (or that I have "suggested" they practice.) The children remain very engaged watching the videos and then use their handwriting books to write the letters. I have also seen some of my children use their finger to follow the video before they write their letters. I would highly recomend these videos or any similar found online to allow children to lead their learning from an early age.
Having worked in year 1/2 for a couple of years now I have come to realise that when teaching effectively you need to find those gaps and fill them! Now this can happen through day to day teaching, intervention groups or even 1:1 support during the day, but I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say, there is just not enough time in the day!
One solution I have been trialling in my school is to use the Android tablets to support children with specific learning needs in a hope to plug some of those gaps, (based around assessment data or IEP targets.)
The children in my class come in every morning and are provided with a morning task, be it some creative free writing, a numeracy task or maybe just some finishing off. This is a perfect time to target specific children. Before the children come in to class I set up the tablets on a table with headphones plugged in. I then target APP's for specific children's needs. On each tablet I have a free whiteboard APP that can be used just like a normal whiteboard in class. I open this on the tablet and write the child's name in big letters and then underneath will write the name of the APP that I would like them to use. This way I don't have to tell the children each morning what I would like them to do.
Phonics APP's like 'Sight Words Lite' provide a fantastic way to give children a 1:1 phonics intervention with specific focus on gaps in their phonetical awareness. I use APP's like this a lot with the children in class as it allows them to self differentiate the diagraphs or blends that the find hard and practice those.
There are many great APP's to use with young children to help with their numeracy ability. One that the children in my class have loved using has been 'Lola's Math Train.' There is a free version of this APP but it does come with adverts included! As the children play the game they are given a series of tasks that involve a wide range of numeracy tasks.
I have used lot's of APP's in class to try and provide some extra intervention support and have found them to be very successful in areas of literacy and numeracy and are a great way to reinforce the great teaching that we do in class anyway! Tablets should be seen as a replacement for effective practice but instead a tool to use to increase the teaching opportunities.
As always, feel free to contact me for any support or other APP's that could be used in your school!
I have recently been lucky enough to work as part of a team for Somerset to create a range of documents to helps schools implement the new computing curriculum in September. By doing this we have created a whole set of exemplified units of work that schools can use to teach from foundation stage all the way through to year 6.
Part of the project was to create a reference chart of APP's that can be used in schools to cover all of the strands of the new curriculum. Below you will find a list of fantastic Android and IOs APPs and an example of how they can be used in schools. Feel free to take a look!
Click below to find out more!
With programming becoming such a crucial part of the new curriculum it is vital that we make sure we are enabling children to experience programable technology as early as possible! One fantastic way of doing this is through the use of APP's on both Android and IOs devices.
Below I hope to list a few of the APP's that we use in school with a brief description and age range.
I have started adding an APP of the week section in our weekly newsletter as most of the children use these devices at home, the feedback I have recieved has been fantastic with parents telling me their children have been teaching them at home.
Daisy the Dinosaur is a fantastic APP to introduce keystage 1 to the idea of programming and sequencing of instructions. The children work through a series of challenges to get Daisy to complete a set of tasks. As the challenges go on the children are introduced to more complex codes as well as the use of variables. Available of IOs devices.
Hopscotch is an APP that is freely available on IOs decives and would normally be introduced at early Key Stage 2. It builds on the idea of Daisy the Dinosaur and requires the children to use Blocks to animate a character. The children can they link these controls to the accelerometer in the device to allow the user to play their game. The characters that come with this APP are bright and colourful and the children love being able to experiement with all the different blocks on the screen.
An APP that can be introduced as young as foundation stage is the great free APP called 'Kodable'. In Kodable children have to guide their fuzzy character through a series of challenging mazes using directional blocks. As the levels continue the children can start to add variable blocks to change the direction in which their fuzzy character travels. I have used this game with year 1 children and the quality of their language is amazing!
Tablets can be used in many ways in the classroom and it can be hard to encourage the children's writing by hand when using technology. A Great resource I have found comes in the form of a free APP called "Aurasma" which is available on both Ios and Android for free.
Aurasma is an augmented reality APP that allows you to overlay moving 3d videos on top of objects or documents in your class room. I used this APP within a literacy unit where the children were studying the book "The whale's song." during the unit of work I asked the children to draw a picture of the island from the story and add all the relevant parts of the story; the jetty and Grandma's house. Using Aurasma I was able to then overlay a video of a pirate ship, full of pirates, sailing around their island. Now when the children looked at their own drawings through the tablets camera their pictures were brought to life. The children were then inspired to write a piece of creative writing that involved pirates invading the island and meeting the characters from the story. I have never seen the children so fired up by an activity and they had absolutely no idea how it worked! It was magic!