June 2

Buckingham (2007): Chapter 1

After reading this it is interesting to find both the negative and positive aspects of BETT. The initial aim of setting up BETT is inspiring. as it was initially set up as a prospect for businesses. However, as time has gone by, companies started to invest a lot more money in to educational funds and resources.

Education has come so far since the start of BETT. So many technological advances have been introduced to help and assist SEN and EAL children by using technology to support them. Companies are investing money day in, day out to fund and initiate these technological advances in schools with new updated software and hardware.

Buckingham highlights, ‘There are no problems at BETT, only solutions, end to end solutions and many more”. However, when reflecting up on the reading I see several disadvantages with BETT. Schools are limited to certain amount of ICT budget and it is difficult for them to spend it on the right equipment. However, BETT has become increasingly commercialised and equipment costs a lot more. How do schools decide what to sped their budget on? Do the products really benefit the students or is the market open for business prospect alone?

Just how the health system has become marketised, it seems that the education system is slowly seeing a shift towards privatisation. Examples like the BETT show demonstrate that the market is only open to school which have the most funding and organisations which are most likely invest most in to companies. When visiting the BETT show myself, it felt as though businesses were driven with making sales. Of course, it is a sales convention and a lot of time will be spent on pushing for these items, however, marketising education is certainly not the step forward.

 

 

May 31

KAHOOT Presentation

When delivering a seminar on a e-learning resource, I decided to choose kahoot. Kahoot is a game based learning site which enables a large group of children to take part in class quizzes and games through the pin the class teacher provides.

Image result for kahoot

When delivering the seminar to the group, I discussed the various factors which makes Kahoot an effective learning resource. The slides are available on the link provided

During the presentation I discussed how it could be used in the classroom. For example, as the teacher makes the quizzes, all of the questions and activities that are made to suit the subject topics the class learn about. The class teachers take control of who is allowed to enter the classroom and who can take part in the quizzes so safety is not an issue. In terms of making a Kahoot page, it is very easy. For the seminar I made a simple quiz in order to model how the programme works. The site allows teachers or users to enter relevant links so children can access websites or watch relevant videos to assist their learning.

The user guide above demonstrates how different quizzes can be made.

There are many uses of Kahoot in the classroom. However, it is mainly used as a formative assessment strategy. Using technology to assess students’ understanding is a change to the traditional testing strategy, however, it is one which is more relaxed and children feel more engaged whilst doing so. The e-learning resource is an example of how the ‘use of  collaborative technologies and learning platforms  support 21st Century learning’ (Becta, 2010).

Kahoot! has successfully been used across mnay classrooms and is now used internationally as a form of formative assessment in the classroom as demonstrated in the video.

May 31

The use of kidSMART in primary schools.

Familiarise yourself with the resources available on the kidSMART website. Evaluate their effectiveness for use in primary school and post this to your blog.

E-Safety is such an important aspect when providing education to children about the effective use of the internet and how it works. With so many online threats children are exposed to through the internet, it is important for them to be guided and educated as to how to keep safe online. KidSMART is an amazing online tool which provides children with helpful information on various popular uses of the internet with an interface that is attractive and child friendly.

The use of kidSMART is effective for the use in primary schools as internet safety is divided in to different sections. Children can select the section which is most appropriate for them. For example:

Each section provides children with helpful top tips on how to safe, provides video explanations and gives a general overview of the topic.

It is effective in primary schools as the information is already readily provided. Therefore, teachers don’t have to make resources to teach the topics and can be used as a good stimulus for developing their further knowledge about online safety

KidSMART is also effective to use in primary schools as it benefits the teacher.

               

 

With a bank of readily available resources, teachers who are less confident with teaching the topic are supported with a solid basis for providing good quality lessons to their students about e-Safety. The differentiated pages also help as resources are divided in to age related phases of EYFS, KS1 and KS2. This makes the site applicable and relatable to all students. Overall, the use of KidSMART is an effective teaching tool in primary schools mainly because of the high quality resources and information that is provided. The site is very child friendly as the user interface is easy to use and looks presentable. However, it is a good stimulus for teaching online safety. Teacher would have to plan further about how to ensure children understand the topics through planning lessons which include assessment. For example, asking them to write blogs on how to keep safe, or making posters which display the various topics they have learnt about.

 

May 30

The Horizon Report Video Conference

The video conferencing lecture was a really interesting experience of sharing each other’s knowledge about our own sections from the Horizon Report. My section was about redesigning learning spaces and through reading, it was interesting to find how the layout and formation of an educational environment can deeply affect the educational performance of a classroom. A step towards ‘active learning classrooms’ such as moveable furniture and interactive whiteboards has resulted to a more collaborative learning environment.

What does this mean?

This has meant that the focus has been taken away from traditional lecture formats to more class discussion and collaborative learning classrooms.

The lecture itself was delivered online through video conferencing. This was the first time I have experienced doing this however, it was a positive experience. It allowed us to listen, engage and partake in the discussion together through having options such as asking questions through the interactive ‘hands up’ and  having a live discussing of thoughts through written conversation. Also being able to see everyone in the group at the same time meant that the lecture was not based on one person, instead, it gave everyone the equal opportunity to voice and partake in the session. Therefore, I would not have classified it as a lecture, instead, a discussion which was led by different individuals.

 

The picture above illustrates how we were able to view the presenter’s power point on one side of the screen and on the other side we could see the lead speakers and the other group members in order to listen and discuss the matter.

I would most definitely use online video conferencing again due to its ease of access, simple nature and also being an interesting means for collaborating with a group of people from long distances. It presents a professional approach and does not take much effort or computing equipment to set one up.

May 30

Badges: Perspective from the teacher and student

Class badges is an online tool where teachers can award children with badges for a variety of reasons, whether it be good attendance, effort, achievement etc. Class badges can be customised by the class teacher so it meets the needs for the students within the classroom. Badges can be personalised for the group of children you have, for example:

Smithsonian Quests - interdisciplinary learning experience with digital badging.  Awesome!:

(https://uk.pinterest.com/InnovativeTech/badges-for-students-staff/?lp=true)

Badges is very similar to the reward system such as class dojo. However, the difference is that class dojo is fairly generic, the teacher is not able to personalise the rewards given.

For the teacher this is advantageous as the badges awarded can be personalised to meet the academic goals of the school, additionally, it can be altered to the needs of specific students. For example if a particular behaviour policy is in place for children with behavioural issues, badges can be used by teachers as a means of positive reinforcement as children can aspire towards achieving and earning the goals and badges needed.

How does it benefit the student?

Badges benefits the children as it keeps children motivated to track their progress online. Unlike other award systems, class badges encourages children to think outside the box. With such a wide choice of badges to earn and the choice of teachers being able to personalise them, the children are more likely to use their imagination and become enthusiastic learners by aspiring towards achieving a wide range of badges.

 

May 30

(Part 2: Edited) Tim Burners-Lee: Answers for Young People

Full article available at: https://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Kids.html

Berners-Lee was the founder of WWW and his inspiration was rooted from having various separate information systems and converting them in to one. In this way, it turned in to a system which was open for everyone to read. In this respect, the WWW presents a social constructivist approach to learning whereby users can share, alter, gather and benefit from a variety of open resources. In relation to learning, this is specifically helpful as the WWW allows children to take control of their learning through independent research with a variety of online tools to help them. The Plowden Report (1967) endorsed the move away from formal teaching to group work and learning through play and creativity (Cooper, H. 2011:8). This reflected a move away from traditional teaching styles and since then, the social constructivist approach to learning has evolved through the use of online tools including the WWW.

Below shows an example of how the learning process has shifted to a more collaborative and social environment through the use of the WWW:  

For example, taking experience from my own education, the WWW strongly forms the basis of research and this is a practise which I carried out until today. The easily accessible and quick nature of accessing reliable information makes the WWW one of the strongest information providers. Of course, there are always limitations of having loose and inaccurate sites, however, this is another lesson in itself for children to learn.

Furthermore, the WWW can not only be used as an information provider, however, it is increasingly being used as a base for creating new materials. Berners-Lee describes the web as being ‘unbounded opportunity which is limited only by your imagination’. This is practised through computer programming. For example, children have been exposed to playing computer games online that have been created by business companies. Sites such as Scratch, enables children to form their own pieces of work and share with the online community. This is a significant step in relation to learning as children are learning skills such as coding, problem solving and debugging. Programmes such as Scratch are also enjoyed by pupils and has been such as success that Scratch Junior has also been released. It is important that children do enjoy their learning experience and even more helpful to know that the WWW contributes towards achieving this.

       

Additionally, the WWW can be a great basis for communicating. The rise of video conferencing has been such a positive aspect for children. In relation to learning, children are able to communicate with those from all over the world. For example, ‘Google hangouts’ have been used by lots of teachers to promote collaborative learning whereby children can benefit from experiencing different cultures all over the world. As Time Burners-Lee states, ‘With the web, you can find out what other people mean. You can find out where they are coming from. The web can help people understand each other’.

The WWW is additionally an effective way of achieving a successful learning environment. Not only does it provide learners with a wide range of scope to work from, it is also organized, manageable and easily accessible for a large audience which may include students, teachers, parents, governors etc. The benefits of using the WWW has been widely recognized by many establishments and institutions even to the point of the government pushing forward online workspaces. For example, the Department for Education and Skills highlights the benefits of using e-learning strategies for the 21st century as they can ‘offer personalized support, online communities, flexible study, tools for innovation, collaborative learning…’ attributes which are all necessary for leading a progressive and successful learning environment.

When reflecting up on the benefits of the WWW it made me plan upon the properties I would like to incorporate in to my e-learning platform we have been developing on google classrooms. The characteristics I would like to integrate in to my e-learning platform would include supporting teaching and learning (by allowing teachers to have a platform where they can communicate and collaborate with students) and unifying learner support (allowing students to learn from each other). Revolutionizing teaching by embracing the shift from traditional whiteboard lessons to online classrooms is something “Braincert” is passionate about  and emphasizes on the increased opportunities for collaborative and interactive learning. However, spectators may argue that the increased use of online collaboration builds a wall between children and real life society. For example, Ofsted recognises children who may not have access to the WWW.

‘Although individual access was not seen as an issue for the college learners, three colleges did express concerns that, if the internet did become an essential part of learning, any learners without home broadband internet access could be disadvantaged in their learning.’ (Ofsted, 2009).

This viewpoint definitely needs to be considered as although the WWW gives children the opportunity to work creatively and discover new learning experiences, it can also create a boundary between those who can and can not gain sufficient access. On the other hand, Wenger recognises the potential of the increase in flow of information as he states, ‘It does not obviate the need for community. In fact, it expands the possibilities for new kinds of communities based on shared experience’.  (Wenger:2015). Although it can create a bigger scope for creating online communities, there is still an issue of whether it is accessible for all individuals in reality. If not all children have the same level of access then it is limiting the scope of which all children can equally benefit from the tools the WWW has to provide.

Therefore, the WWW has the power to achieve so much however, it also has its drawbacks, especially when it comes to teaching.  ‘In the same manner students use the Internet as their primary source of information, teachers come to rely too much on the Internet in their planning/teaching’. (Tuver and Blomqvist:2009). The WWW has become so influential in people’s daily routines that it may have taken over the role of independent research as information is so easily accessible. Berners-Lee also recognises the dangers of the WWW as he states, ‘Some people point out that the Web can be used for all the wrong things. For downloading pictures of horrible, gruesome, violent or obscene things, or ways of making bombs which terrorists could use’. However, the WWW is undeniably a powerful source for this generation of learners, it is up to the users when deciding upon how to implement it into their lives… ‘I think the main thing to remember is that any really powerful thing can be used for good or evil.’ (Berners-Lee). As teachers, we can only inspire children by modelling the vast range of opportunities and tools the WWW has to offer.

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March 8

Session 10 Reflection: Darren Savage Presentation

During our lecture we received a presentation on the changing state of the internet, how it is being developed and the various changes that are being made to progress this world in to a more web led culture. The reality is that the internet has no owner, society has the freedom to publish content they would like freely. Everything is being made freely available and this was described to being a ‘connective fabric of society’ by Darren Savage.

New products such as wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular. For example, apple watches and google glasses. Having products which essentially have the power to organise and schedule one’s life. Personally, although progression such as this is impressive, I can’t help but think that we are slowly being governed by technology. We are taking the responsibility away from human control and human power, and society is encouraging and marketing this to occur through introducing new technology products. However, there are benefits to such developments. When reflecting upon how it can be used within the classroom environment, wearable technology such as “Google glass” would assist children with autism. Delgado, R. comments on how wearable technology can help children with autism. His comments on how google glass assists children with autism to read emotions and feeling fascinated me. Technology often holds connotations to being robotic and impersonalised, however, google glass is an excellent example of how software can be used to bridge the gap of someone with autism to accurately interpret an individuals expression. The developments made by google glass has been given positive recognition by NBC News through stating ‘Glass and wearable technology are the future. They’re going to play a pivotal role in how we understand, manage and diagnose disorders like autism,’ said Robert Ring, chief science officer at Autism Speaks.

Other wearable technologies such as ‘Reveal’ also considers emotional moments for children by monitoring wearer’s heart rate, sweat levels and body temperature. Factors such as this are important then practising inclusion within a classroom to ensure all children are involved within their learning experience.

Wearable technology obviously has its downfalls. The most obvious one being cost. Schools are not able to fund for such expensive equipment. Wearable technology has been criticised as being ‘Expensive, bulky, and most often associated with experimental and research-based tasks, these devices lacked an aesthetic appeal and meaningful purpose for consumers’. (Sultan, 2015). This view is definitely relevant, especially when considering the aesthetic appeal, the cost does not always correspond to the service or product customers receive. This is a significant limitation in education as schools can not afford to spend their budget aimlessly on products that do not have a beneficial and worthy cause. However, wearable technology within education has been praised for benefiting the virtual learning experience of children. A report by insights states, ‘With budget constraints that have reduced the number of field trips in many schools, teachers have also pointed out to the possibility of using virtual travel to replace or supplement class trips to zoos, planetariums and other common field trip destinations’. (Roland, J, 2015)

As Darren Savage suggested, ‘The law of a network increases proportionate to the number of people who have the ability to understand, access and benefit from it’. Examples which illustrated this is through a company called ‘Ivyrevel’.

Image result for ivy revel customization

A bespoke business which tailors outfits based on the lifestyle one lives. This presents a theme of customisation and we can apply this concept in to the classroom setting. How can we personalise and customise teaching to the needs of all pupils through ICT? Well, tailoring learning to your classroom would be a start. Instead of using generic websites available for a general audience, a teacher can personalise learning to create a social environment. For example, websites such as Edmodo enable teachers to personalise learning based on the learning taking place within the class through posting homework, regulating chat rooms for help, sharing resources etc. Essentially, the equivalent of a social networking site for students. However, an issue with wearable technologies would include how long they would be used for. In the UK, a survey by Accenture indicates that ‘less than 30% of the population is interested in wearables devices.’ and continues to explain ‘…a third of users abandon their use at six months’ (2014). This means in order for wearable technologies to be successful, they need to be consistently used but sufficient research shows that its uses are not being used to their full advantage, therefore, not being worthy investments for schools.

After seeing this example, it made me reflect up on one of our prior lectures. The use of Class Badges offers this tool of personalising learning through the use of ICT by individually recognising children’s achievement’s and awarding them with awards by making it exclusive to the child rather than being a generic reward system. Sites like this inspire children to achieve their next step, a progression that is focused and exclusive to themselves.

However, incorporating such advances in to classrooms is arguably unrealistic in many cases. Firstly, schools do not have the sufficient funding to buy products like this, however, there is also an issue of not having the experienced staff members to research and find the appropriate tools. This is why conventions such as BETT are so influential in the progression of implementing teaching tools in to school which are technology based.

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March 7

BETT Show 2017

As a student, I have never been to a BETT show and therefore did not know what to expect. My initial thoughts was it being a convention with large education related businesses trying to sell their up and coming products. Buckingham recognises this through stating, ‘As the number of teachers leaving the profession has grown… educational technology has become an attractive opportunity for potential entrepreneurs…’ (2011:9). I could relate to this opinion as I personally felt that businesses were there for private interests rather than the focus being primarily open for  educational platform. However, there is a contrasting opinion which considers the need of having to sell technology to school in order to enthuse children about ICT. This is stated in the Becta Report, ‘Without some effort to ‘sell’ ICT based learning in this way it is unlikely that young people will force any ‘bottom-up’ change in schools’ uses of ICTs. Pupils clearly have an important role to play in the development of future forms of school ICT use, but it would seem that the lead should be taken by schools and other education technology stakeholders if meaningful change is to be initiated.’ (2008:40). This stance presents that there is a need for commercial advertisement in order for ICT and computing to progressively evolve in schools.

Nevertheless, the experience alone was a beneficial one as there were a range of interesting talks and presentations delivered. Upon arrival, it was easy to sign up as a student and enter the hall. After being phased by the busy and large spread, I decided to wonder. After walking around it was evident to see the variety of technology based products that were up for sale. My perspective on most of the items which were up for sale was that they were unnecessary. Although classrooms do require an element of technology based learning resources, there is no need for items such as a “Robotic Arm Education Kit”, which is essentially an kit which helps bridge children from using coding programs Scratch to more sophisticated areas such as Python. I personally did not see the benefits from an educational perspective, the main focus just seemed to come from a money making stance. However, an area which seemed to be quite popular included the use of interactive and physical approaches to learning through whiteboards. Using projector boards to present games where children can physically move and engage in an activity was interesting to me as it was a tool which could be used across many subjects. This is a strategy which I have seen being used in the children’s area in McDonalds, but until seeing at the BETT show, I never thought about the benefits of introducing the concept in to education. The Alliance for Excellent Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) also recognises the advantages of interactive learning and by stating, ‘…that technology – when implemented properly -can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk.’ (SCOPE:2014)


Whilst at the BETT show I watched a presentation by John Galloway which discussed inclusive approaches to teaching programming.

He discussed how introducing practical activities in to teaching can contribute to a child’s understanding of the concept of coding. For example, asking children to write the directions of their journey to school, this forms an algorithm and develops their understanding of computational thinking. Allowing children to make connections with real life situations is important because coding is a topic many students feel intimidated by. However, incorporating practical activities makes the subject easily relatable. I would personally use this technique, especially for lower KS1 students and is something I would consider planning for during my next BSE placement as I teach in a year 1 class.

One aspect of John Gallway’s presentation particularly interested me. When discussing coding he discussed how ‘coding can be a hands on experience’ and suggested the resource ‘cubetto’ as a prime example of how learning coding does not need to taught through computers. Instead, it’s a playset which is based on touch. A learning resource which would be particularly beneficial for KS1 students.

The above example demonstrates that although BETT can be criticised for driving a consumerist market, simple learning tools like this continues to place educational values at the forefront of the conventions philosophy.

My overall experience of the BETT show was that it was interesting to see the different products that are out there, however, I found that many of them are unnecessary and are simply not needed. In terms of the BETT show as a whole, it was  busy and many of the stands did not seemed interested in students, they were more interested in making sales to bigger companies. Would I take my future class for a visit? Perhaps upper Key Stage 2 so they could experience the community, especially if there are children who are interested in such products. However, I would ensure to take them to a talk or presentation which would inform their learning.

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March 7

Video Based Conference

The Horizon Report addresses areas which focus on how technology can change the outlook on how we teach and deliver lessons. During our last lecture, the video conference enabled us to collaborate and present an area of the Horizon Report where we discussed and delivered information on a particular area. This was beneficial because we were able to not only converse in a large group, however, we could also chat, ask questions, brainstorm ideas etc. all through the tools that were provided online. This manner of learning was effective because it provided an alternate stance to sitting in the lecture room, instead, we as students led the learning. The area of discussion I presented included “Redesigning Learning Spaces”. It was interesting to find that there had recently been a shift from a teacher-centric approach to student-centric pedagogies. We learnt that simple changes such as the infrastructure of a school can deeply effect the academic performance of a student. For example, a study from the University of Washington stated that simple adjustments such as better lighting, a collaborative based layout, interactive whiteboards and so on, meant that academic performance increased by 15%. The use of technology can also be adopted in to re-creating a learning environment, this led on to making me think that the video based conference which we were engaging in mirrored such practise. The learning environment was through our laptop at home, however, it enabled us to participate in active learning where we listened to others, commented and partook in discussion. In the future, I would include this approach in to my own teaching practise, although I understand children may not be able to carry out video conferences at home, we could try to incorporate it in to the classroom as a group. For example, setting up video conferences with students from other parts of the world to benefit and learn from their experiences. Through reading, it was interesting to see how the use of ICT has also been used to embrace learning difficulties. The article,‘Embrace ICT to curb learning difficulties in children’ (https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/03/06/embrace-ict-curb-learning-difficulties-children/) discusses how technologies such as c-pen readers and dragon dictators (scanning pen reader to assist dyslexic students) can assist children with SEN. Spectators are often quite skeptical about using technology to assist students with particular needs, however, if it positively assists them then surely we should be adopting them in to our education system? Therefore, it is vital we discover the various learning tools out there as technology provides us with such a wide scope for learning. E-learning approaches are becoming particularly popular and our video conference enabled me to understand why as I benefited from the alternate approach to engaging with education.