Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Updates from Anthony and Nicholas Week 3

It has been another varied and busy week in Redbridge Primary ICT. The picture above shows the two new Asus Windows version, which RM came to show me this week.

(more details in a subsequent post, but for now let me just say they are very nice)

In this weeks issue:

  • Maths ICT and Ofsted

  • Self registering on an IWB

  • Clicker - as a communication tool

  • Free multimedia control software for upper KS2 - 'How tos' now live

  • New feature in You tube - Nicholas tells us how to avoid video nasties
Maths ICT and Ofsted

Today sees the publication of an Ofsted report on the state of Maths in our schools. There are some mentions of ICT and these are as follows:

  • In the survey schools, primary pupils had some opportunities to use ICT in mathematics but there was scope to develop this further. Typically, one or two pupils at a time used a couple of computers in a classroom to practise basic skills. Many schools had a separate computer suite, where lessons across a range of subjects enabled pupils to learn how to use ICT as a mathematical tool, for example using spreadsheets to generate number patterns or present statistical information, but using it to enhance learning in mathematics was more limited.

  • The interactive whiteboard featured in many (but not all) primary and secondary classrooms, bringing positives and negatives to teaching and learning. Good practice included the use of high-quality diagrams and relevant software to support learning through, for example, construction of graphs or visualisation of transformations. Pupils enjoyed quick-fire games on them. However, many of the curricular and guidance documents seen did not draw sufficient attention to the potential of interactive whiteboards. Additionally, too often teachers used them simply for PowerPoint presentations with no interaction by the pupils.

  • A negative effect of interactive whiteboards was a reduction in pupils’ use of practical equipment: software is no replacement for hands-on experience, for example in measuring angles and lengths. Teachers generally underused practical resources and games to develop pupils’ understanding of mathematical ideas and help them to make connections between different topics.

An example of the above is given later on in the report whereby a teacher is showing the class 3d shapes on screen. Even though the shapes can be rotated on-screen it is still essentially a 2d representation of 3d objects. It is therefore difficult for children to gain a full appreciation of the properties of these shapes as they have not handled them for themselves.

Self registering with the IWB

I have been working with some teachers in early years on using the SMART Board and their digitalis camera.One simple activity for the board is self registration. This is simply importing all of the class photos onto a notebook or flip chart page, and then allowing the children to drag and drop their picture from left to right. The activity can be improved further by cropping each picture and by grouping each image with the child's name.

Here is an example that one teacher created this week.

Self Registering

Teacher wishing to create a self registering tool for lunches can use an this free online tool found here, or on the image below

Clicker as communication Tool

I have long since been an avid fan of Clicker as a great tool for children of all abilities. It can allow children to build up sentences very easily through using words and phrases as building blocks, and as such it makes a great Word Processor in Key Stage 1. It can also free children from the dread of the blank white screen, as teachers can add Clicker grids as a scaffold and support to unsure writers. Furthermoe it can be used to create presentations and 'on-screen' books.

Last summer I worked with Dan (ICT) @ and Scott (SALT) @ Hatton school on another use of Clicker. Many children both in the school and within the Outreach service make use of 'All About Me' books. These allow the child who struggles to communicate a way to share information about themselves using a combination of PECS symbols and relevant digital images.

I knew that if we created an electronic version , then the book could contain a greater number of durable pages as unlike the paper version, they don't fall out! Furthermore this e version would allow the words to be spoken back and allow for smooth navigation as readers would be working on a PC a medium that many children are far more motivated by.

I have created a short film showing the difference between the two books below, though please note I still think there is huge value in the paper versions, it would just be good to see the paper copy in use alongside it's electronic counterpart.

Free Multimedia Control Software for Upper KS2

Many of you will remember SCRATCH, free control software which we showed you last year at Subject Leaders. Some teachers were eager to use this new and exciting programming tool, though they were unsure where to begin. Now a consultant from Bradford has put together some helpful lesson plans and tutorials to help teachers get going.

If you have not seen Scratch before, then here is an introductory video made by its creators, MIT:

The lesson plans and tutorials by Paul Scott, are available from the Bradford learning Platform.

New feature in You Tube

We all know the issues with the 'other' content on youtube, that we don't want out children to see. Embeding the video in a blog, like below, is one way round that. But at the end it still give you other related videos - depending on what you search for these might be unsuitable. Click play and skip to the end to see the suggested videos.

Now on the You Tube website itself - next to the embed code is a little gear icon - click on it and you will see what is below. Here you can change the colour of the video player, add a border if you want and most importantly remove the related video results.

Click below and now skip to the end - look no results. Very quick and usable tip. Enjoy.

Links just in

Teachers are piloting multi touch screens - this from the BBC news

Nintendo - Make 10 - could this be the new game that we all want to use with our class on the DS?

How to sheets for the Digi-Blue Camera- these from the Welsh Grid For learning

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