Friday, 28 November 2008

Update on Promethean training

I have now got a login and have started the training program.

I think it is quite useful and you can do as much as you want at a time. It is a walk through of how to use 'ActivPrimary', showing you through flash animation how to do each each step and what the icons mean. If you pass all the assessments you can print yourself a certificate! I have only done assessment 1 so far.

I'm not sure that other people in my group check others blogs, so I will put a link in our group C facebook group.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Serial Days

I have not seen much use of ICT in the past couple of days. The interactive White board (IWB) is used a lot for introductions, these are mainly PowerPoint. It was also used in science to show an explanation of sound and sound waves through cartoon demonstration and explanation. This was good as it was able to focus in on the detail/ magnify and also slow down the action. Another function the IWB serves is count downs. you can set up a timer with lots of different alarms when the time is up, the children seemed to really respond to knowing how much time was left. I think it helped them to stay on task.

Our University session on IWB was useful and fun. It was useful to be hands on with it and discover what we could do. It also made using one a little bit less scary, as you only know if you can do it once you try. It was fun to develop ideas and games that could realistically be used in teaching. I have found that all of the schools I have worked in or visited use Promethean boards and a program called 'ActivPrimary'. This is quite different in the way it functions compared to the Smart boards and the Note Book software. However I think after familiarising ourselves with the boards in the particular schools, they can be easily transferable ideas. Also in ICT you have to be able to use a variety of programmes.

There is a free training programme on the Promethean Website, I don't know if its any good as am in the process of investigating (you have to create an account).

Monday, 10 November 2008

Recently I have been using my computer, facebook and last fm to keep myself sane. I have been working hard on planning lessons, DAs and Assignment research, all of which have been computer based. So it has been nice to give myself little breaks to browse through photos and chat to friends online whilst working. Also I have enjoyed listening to new music suggetsted by Last fm radio!

I am also in the process of setting up a pottery business online. This has taken a back seat since I started the PGCE course though. But I have purchased a lovely light tent to photograph our pieces so we are now in the processes of taking lots of photos, before constructing our website. It is up at the moment but very raw, with not much actual content (

I had power cut yesterday evening and most of the night, although I very much enjoyed the peace and quiet (no machines buzzing!), it did highlight that it could happen at any time and I should get into a better habit of saving regularly so as not to lose what I am working on. It also made me promise myself not to leave any work right to the last minute/ night before (eg assignment)!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

On School Placement - Serial Week

The school that I am at, use a program called dancemat typing every week. It is a touchtyping trainer which is set up as a game with levels pf progression. I think this is a great idea as it is a valuable skill for children to have. The children really enjoy it, though i have seen a few which type with one finger anyway.

So far apart from this ICT is only being used for introdutions to lessons (ie powerpoints) - the class teacher is away though so this will probably change.

The way in which I access information is changing - I think that for this assignment i have made much better use of internet resources. I have let sites leading to other sites take me on a journey of information gathering, which throws up some unexpected and interesting results.
Digital Imigrants - I will paste in my notes on the two Prensky readings.

Critical Summary DA 1
Article 1 Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

Whilst reading these articles online, I have quoted key points from these documents. I have then commented about them, also about any relevant issues.

Students have changed. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. Which is due to the arrival and rapid dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century. This is a point that is plain to see, and un-ignorable. ICT is an integral part of modern life.

Marc Prensky suggests that the way in which children think is so completely different to ours, their brain structure could even be different:
‘Students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures,’ – Dr B Perry.

Prensky describes these children of the digital age as digital Natives - native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. He describes all those born before this age as digital immigrants. Prensky suggest that although DI learn to adapt to these new ways (some even embracing them) they always retain, to some degree, their "accent," This is shown in differing levels, such as printing of emails. I think this is a very true conception.

Prensky goes on to suggest that for children the fact that there is this difference in ages :
school often feels pretty much as if we’ve brought in a population of heavily accented, unintelligible foreigners to lecture them. I think this is far too strong, I think ICT has its place and should be integrated further into each subject base, however it is not the only method of communication that children’s lives are enriched with.

Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics. Digital Immigrants typically have very little appreciation for these new skills. Digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been, and that the same methods that worked for the teachers when they were students will work for their students now. I don’t agree with this last point, I don’t feel that lack of ICT knowledge equates to the assumption that nothings changed in the world. I think there are ways incorporate new methods and recognize the fact that our children’s learning has changed. I think that it also important here to remember that all children are individual and learn in individual ways.
Prensky suggests new methodologies should consider going faster, less step-by step, more in parallel, with more random access, among other things.

Future content is to a large extent, not surprisingly, digital and technological. But while it includes software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology, genomics, etc. it also includes the ethics, politics, sociology, languages and other things that go with them. This ‘Future’ content is extremely interesting to today’s students. I think this is an important point to take on a teaching and learning perspective as interesting the children is key.

We need to invent Digital Native methodologies for all subjects, at all levels, using our students to guide us. I think that Prensky argues some very valid points within this article, which need to be addressed, however I think it is important to treat some aspects with caution and to bring in other learning theories.

Article 2
Do they really think differently?
Based on the latest research in neurobiology, there is no longer any question that stimulation of various kinds actually changes brain structures and affects the way people think, and that these transformations go on throughout life. The brain constantly reorganizes itself all our child and adult lives, a phenomenon technically known as neuroplasticity.
Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWard program requires students to spend 100 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 5 to 10 weeks to create desired changes, because ―it takes sharply focused attention to rewire a brain.
Prensky draws conclusions from this, linking it to the video game playing culture of today’s children.

Prensky suggests that due to children’s saturation from the computer age they think in a different way to us. They develop hypertext minds. They leap around. It’s as though their cognitive structures were parallel, not sequential. I’m not convinced that about the evidence for a change, is my brain sequential or parallel – I would say a bit of both. I think it makes the assumption that all children think in the same way, which I would disagree with.
Prensky then goes on to argue that it has been suggested that they have short attention spans, he suggests this is just for the old ways of learning. He suggests that they in fact have good attention spans for games (or anything else that interests them). I think this is a important fact, getting children to hook into something is key to their learning and this could be done through games on the computer or fun activities which don’t involve the computer.
As a result of their experiences Digital Natives crave interactivity—an immediate response to their each and every action. I think this is a good point the best learning is not passive but interactive, and immediate response makes that response more effective.

One key area that appears to have been affected is reflection. There is less and less time and opportunity for reflection, and this development concerns many people. There is a great deal of evidence that children’s learning games that are well designed do produce learning.

Games capture their attention and make it happen. Prensky makes clear however that the design of these games must be right, the knowledge must correct and the games interactive and fun.

Monday, 20 October 2008

I have put this picture on as was using picasa to edit photos and noticed at the bottom it had a 'blog this' tab. So I have!
Posted by Picasa

My first Blog

This is my first ever blog! I am very excited as it was not to hard! I hope to use it regularly, and think it will be a useful place to reflect on what I learn in ICT lessons and reading. It will also be useful to think about the ICT is experience in schools. I have created a link to our ICT website. - that was easier than I expected. I hope that it works! I have included this as we have been talking about how blogs and web pages are not just text - but are linked with picturers (eventually).

Adding an image....