This week has seen the creation of my Curation project developed for the subject EDP4130 Technology curriculum and Pedagogy.
After much consideration, I chose the topic – Primary School Resources supporting the Australian Curriculum: Technologies – ‘Food and Fibre Production’, after reviewing the draft Australian curriculum for Technology. Food and Fibre Production was evident across all primary years and as I am a farm girl at heart who enjoys learning about agriculture, this topic seemed to fit.
To share my project I have chosen WordPress and I am slowly adding resources regularly. To date I have around 4 with many more to come. It is envisaged that this resource can be used by other teachers to provide a site where they can go to access resources when the Technology curriculum is introduced.
Please feel free to visit and add any comments. http://technology4schools.wordpress.com/
Yet another experiment with Scratch saw us programming a simple racing car game. Amazingly I did it, although the challenge activities proved to much for my poor brain. Again following the instructions were easy however the time taken to complete the activity was frustratingly long. My attempt at the racing car game is below.
The next activity was similar to the car game but was focused around a SIMPLE ping pong game which reminds me of the old tennis game we played on the television when we were younger. This maybe showing my age.
Now that the activities are completed, could I see this being used in the classroom? I believe that in the younger years, teachers may struggle with a class of 25-30 children trying to teach this type of simple programming. In order to maintain motivation, success needs to be quick, which means instructions would need to be followed precisely. Middle to upper year students could benefit from these type of activities and would pick up the concept quite easily. Like others I believe I would need to have a lot of practice with programming in order to confidently teach these ideas. But teaching is a lifelong journey.
Computer programming, coding! Both of these terms create a slight feeling of nervousness in my tummy unlike some of my fellow students, like Jenni Brown, who enjoy the idea. I was however determined to give it my best shot.
Activity 1 has us experimenting with simple commands. Yes, I did those and all worked out fine. Slight increase in confidence. The next step was to draw regular polygons and again, yes I could do this. All I needed to do was to follow the simple instructions given to us and to match it to the diagrams. When it came to the challenge activity however, I could not get it to do a triangle in order to make a SIMPLE house. Confidence decreases slightly here.
Not to be put off by a slight setback, I continued on to the next activity, diligently following instructions. This activity was programming an Etch-a-Sketch. Yes I did it, although my creation is rather different from those of Corinne Owen or Katie Reed.
So this ended my day experimenting with scratch. Honestly I would say it was very frustrating. If I happened to miss one simple command it required going back and finding the step and starting over. For simple experiments, it was very time consuming.
What is Scratch?
Scratch is a computer programming environment and online community which allows individuals to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations for free. It was created by Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab and is created to appeal to children between 8 and 16 years old. and can be used in the classroom for math, computer science, language arts and social studies curriculum.
So why are you learning Scratch I hear you ask?
To finish my degree I have 2 subjects remaining. One of those is EDP4130 – Technology Curriculum and Pedagogy. To begin this subject, we need to review the draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies which incorporates the strands of Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies. Under the Digital Technologies Strand, the following content descriptors appear which are congruent with the ideas of the Scratch program.
2.4 Identify, explore, and use digital systems (hardware and software components) for personal and classroom needs
- Exploring and identifying hardware and software components of digital systems when creating ideas and information, for example experimenting with different ways of providing instructions to games software using a mouse, touch pad, touch screen, keyboard or stylus, and using different software to manipulate text, numbers, sounds and images.
- Recognising that a digital system follows instructions or commands, for example instructing robotic toys to perform a function
2.5 Follow, describe, represent and play with a sequence of steps and decisions needed to solve simple problems
- Experimenting and playing with very simple, step-by-step procedures to explore programmable devices.
So now you can see the link. The subject EDP4130 aims to provide us with the opportunity to explore some of the options for introducing Digital Technologies in the classroom, so in my next blog, you will be able to relive my experience of interacting with the Scratch program in a variety of ways.
I hope you enjoy reading about my journey.
I agree it has been a long time between blogs however life has a way of leading your attention to other places. This blog is short and sweet and is created as a way of recording the link to my personal framework of learning which was created for my EDP3333 assignment 2. It runs for approximately 10 mins and describes 4 of my main guiding principles along with my preferred instructional methods, strategies and skills. It does not however cover all of my beliefs.
My personal framework of learning
Here is a new link in case the link above does not work.
Why didn’t I find this link before my last professional experience. Using twitter, I came across The EdGalaxy page. My thanks goes to Kevin Cummins for showing me this link to a Huge Collection of amazing free teaching ideas for K-12.
From a quick glance (I will be exploring this is more detail soon), the link provided on the EdGalaxy page will take you to the Victorian Department of Education. It contains 101 ideas for using technolgy in the classroom and includes sites for games, documentaries, graphic organisers, quizzes and much more. This is well worth checking out if you are looking for inspiration and ideas.
I had never heard of LEM phonics until I started my last professional experience. My only experience with phonics was with Jolly Phonics or Thrass. It was very interesting (and slighly confusing), but I could see the potential. This was the first year that my placement school was using LEM so the children were just starting to understand it also.
I will try and give you a brief overview, but for more information, check out their website. In the beginning the students are taught to recognise the written symbols for the 42 sounds that make up the English language. A sound may be recognised by more than one phonogram such as: the sound ‘ay’ can also be represented as; ai, a, eigh, ey or ei depending on the word it is used in. A phonogram may also represent more than one sound such as ‘c’ can sound like ‘k’ in ‘cat’ or ‘s’ in ‘city. Students first learn to read and write the 26 Alphabets sounds then move onto these multiple letter phonograms.
Once students have learnt these sounds, they move onto rules and basic words. An example I remember was the sound ‘er’. The children say ‘er’ ‘as in father’ or if the card ‘ir’ is held up the rule was ‘ir’ ‘as in bird’.
From the LEM phonics website, there is a lot more to this program than just phonics. It extends to writing, grammar and speech.
LEM Phonics gives learners the skills to confidently break
a word into its parts and either decode them (for reading)
or encode them (for spelling). Rather than learning
thousands of unique words, they learn the component
parts of these words and the rules that govern them. (LEM Phonics, 2012)
In the 3 weeks I spent on professional experience, the children had memorised the majority of the rules.
I’d love to see the result in 12 months to see how the children are progressing with this.
Once again I must congratulate Jenni Brown for her insightful blogs. Once of her latest has led me to investigate a program named PicLits which she was lucky enough to use on her professional experience in year 1.
I had a turn using PicLits (as you must) to explore how user-friendly it would be and was amazed. It is simple enough that year 1+ could use it, but like Jenni mentioned for year 1 or 2 more age appropriate words would come in handy. This image shows a screen shot of my sentence. If you click on the image it will bring up a larger view.
Basically it works like this.
- Choose an image from the rolling selection at the top by clicking on it.
- Select words from the any of the selected columns to make a sentence (adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs and universal)
- If you need to change to tense to allow the sentence to make sense, just click on the down arrow beside the word.
Voila! What a great activity to practice descriptive sentences. I love it. Thanks Jenni. For a more detailed description and to see how this program worked during professional experience, visit Jenni’s blog.
Sitting here at my desk, I can now reflect on my professional experience that is now completed for this subject.
As mentioned in earlier posts, there was very limited ICT resources available to me. What was available was frustrating. Yes we had internet, however it was very slow and often could not be used as the system was hung. With no IWB (only an electronic projector), I had the children come to the teachers laptop and take turns to type or click on the mouse. This in itself was a time consuming feat. Let me explain.
This school was in a low socio-economic area. The majority of students do not have access to computers at home and as such many have no idea how to use them. Therefore any ICT useage had to be explicitly taught in the classroom. No working computers were available in this class also making this a time consuming task. I did have half hour access to the library daily where I was asked to teach the students how to use powerpoint. Lesson 1 included organising passwords and showing students how to logon. Lesson 2 involved how to open powerpoint and what it could do. You must be able to get the picture now. Half an hour is not long when you are trying to teach ICT skills from scratch.
Back in the classroom, learning objects through The Learning Place were often slow to load or stopped midway possibly due to slow internet speed. Several digital camera’s were available, but were booked out by other classes or were unable to be found. Unfortunately school policy did not allow me to bring my own ICT resources.
The children however were keen to learn about ICT’s and loved the learning objects when they were working. I had found digital versions of some of the required novels which bought a new meaning to book reading sessions. I copied these to a memory stick to avoid using the internet.
Although this was a very successful and enjoyable professional experience, I am afraid the ICT component was not. Mrs Todd’s blog about her professional experience is well worth reading and gives an insight into her professional experience that encountered similar circumstances. I would also love to hear if anyone else experienced similar issues.
Keep Smiling everyone.
Keyboard [Image]. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.freefoto.com/preview/04-20-23/Computer-Keyboard
It has been a few weeks since my last blog even though it seems just like yesterday. I am two thirds of the way through my professional experience and am loving the experience. Year 2 is delightful.
I have taught almost full days this week which is a wonderful experience although today (friday) I am dead on my feet and my brain won’t function. I have a mountain of planning to do for my final week, but this poor body needs sleep in order to make sense of what I have to achieve. I take my hat off to full-time teachers who have a family with sporting committments like I do.
Regarding ICTs implemented during prac, well there is very little I’m afraid. The class has almost no ICT’s available and it’s focus is on reading and writing. Yes I know, we have learnt about how ICTs can and does help here, but one can only work with what they have.
On the plus side, my classroom behaviour management skills have improved. I have successfully implemented a behaviour ladder which requires students to record their behaviour stage daily, and then obtain a parental signature at the end of the week. This week I introduced girls/boys team points and welcomed a new student into the class. During my maths unit (fractions), I have had a few of those ‘light bulb’ experiences with the children. I am so grateful that a few of these occured when the Deputy was watching me. This has given me the satisfaction of knowing that I must be doing something right.
So now for the final 4 days. This week I am teaching full-time. My previous weeks focus was to refine my transitioning however next week we are looking to improve my lesson times. Even though the children are learning most of concepts I am teaching, I need to be more aware of the timing. One other student, Mrs Farren-Price has also written about her need to monitor the timing, so I am not alone.
But first, this poor weary body must rest. I hope you are all enjoying your experience as much as I am.
Sleep [Image]. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/83905817@N08/7676645672/