Laura G

Blogging for ICT

Technology is not new in education. There has been a gradual progression in technology in education since the 1800’s, moving from children bringing any old book to school to learn form, to standardised books with the National School System, to more colourful, child friendly books in the 1900’s, to the introduction of ICT in the late 1990’s, where we had our termly trip the the big old computer at the back of the classroom, to write your story and put in WordArt. The significance of ICT in edcuation was acknowledged by the Department of Education and Science as far back as 1987, where they termed the invention of the “microcomputer….as significant as the invention of the printing press”.  iPads are just the next step, where each child has their own station to work with more frequently than once a term.

The concept of a book-less classroom is no longer a futuristic concept. One example of a school that has already successfully made the transition is Mr Mitchell’s classroom in Alaska. He speaks about how iPads are fantastic for developing independent learning. From the children’s point of view, they are so enthusiastic to work with the iPads and get work done, that they comment on how they love how “efficient” it is. Has a child ever told you that they love something about school because it makes it efficient? It is also very interactive from the point of view of interacting with the teacher, as the teacher comments on how he is not merely communicating with the children when they are in school, the children email their work and questions to him at any time of the day. This also means that “missing work” no longer exists, as there is an electronic history of everything. This doubles as a lovely collection of work for the child. Imagine having a collection of their work from junior infants to senior infants, so that they can see how far they have progressed, without having folders and folders of paper. It would also be a lovely collection for when they are leaving primary school. This also saves room in overcrowded classrooms with very little wall space.

Barry (2006) also outlines how useful ICT is in multiclass situations, catering for all differentiated class levels very easily. The iPad does this in a single sweep. Also, Mr Mitchell, along with mentioning how the iPad is fantastic for independent learning, makes an interesting comment about the ease of use of an iPad for children. When asked about “How much do you have to explicitly have to teach them about the iPad?”, he replied “Well how much to you have to teach children how to finger paint?”. This ease of use and instinctiveness, along with the research to show how the use of ICT is very helpful in a multiclass situation got me thinking about how the iPad can be used as an inclusion and integration tool in the classroom, to ensure whole class participation, regardless of level or difficulty.

The iPad, in one unit, holds many supports for a child in a mainstream classroom suffering from special educational needs, and with cut backs of SNAs, it helps the teacher to more easily cater for everyone’s needs:

    1. The fact that only one app is open on screen at any one time helps children to focus and not get distracted by other windows or tabs. It also means a clear desk, as clutter on desks can confuse and cause anxiety for children with disorders such as autism and Asperger’s.
    2. It is an excellent tool for sensory learning for children on all levels, something that is helpful with all special educational needs. It is obviously good for touch and kinaesthetic learning, and the sensitivity can be adjusted to suit the child. It is equally versatile for the other senses, as the zoom feature makes it easy for the child to see whatever they want, and make it as big as they want. Colours can also be inverted and so on to make it easier for children to read. Failing this, there is a “speak” feature on all text so that what is on screen can be read to the child, so learning is can take place through a number of modes. The volume is also easily altered for each child’s requirements.
    3. It tends to be more real life than a computer and mouse, for example, if you want something to increase in size, you pull it. It is also exact, it does exactly what you want, rather than being as jumpy as Microsoft programmes can be. This sense of control is again very calming for children with SENs such as Autism and Asperger’s. The absence of the mouse on screen also makes it easier for children to focus on the task rather than being distracted by it.
    4. Games are easily differentiated to suit the level of the individual child, and nobody knows the difference, helping the child to integrate with the class rather than stand out as being very different. This echoes Ann O’ Byrne’s message of emphasizing what the children have in common rather than what is different. As far as everyone else in the class is concerned, they are all just playing the same game on the iPad.
    5. The iPad provides instructions at all times for the children, so a child who might not understand the first time hearing instructions, or simply forgets, can easily independently go back over the instructions themselves, without feeling like they are annoying the teacher of the person sitting beside them as to what they have to do. It gives them independence, which in turn raises self-esteem.
    6. The iPad is very must a systematic, step by step process, which is favorable for a child with Down Syndrome. Things are well laid out, so there is no stress or confusion, and the child is able to follow on step by step.
    7. The “Explain Everything” app is said to be the app that will replace interactive whiteboards, and as it is, it is replacing copybooks in schools who rely heavily on iPads, but it also has a function for children who may have a physical disability which makes it difficult for them to get to the board when other children are leaving their seats. The child can take part equally in the class, but just from their place.
    8. There are fantastic apps for creating social stories, for example, “SS Stories”, so that children who suffer from anxiety or tantrums can have tailor made books to help them to prepare and get through novel situations, complete with real photographs, for example, to help them prepare for a trip to the local church. It is also fantastic for creating books for EAL children to help them to learn the language that is relevant to them.
      There are also fantastic apps for creating visual timetables for the day in school, to help children to organize themselves and know what is coming next in the day.
    9. Studies have found that children with autism who were thought to be non-verbal were merely prisoners of their minds, and once they were handed a keyboard they were able to communicate effectively. The iPad works as just such a tool, allowing everyone to communicate anytime, anywhere, with ease. It is bringing Steven Hawking technology to every single child. “Proloquo2go” is an especially effective app in this case, as seen below

  1. There are several apps to help children with social difficulties to practice with everyday things without any stress, such as looking into people’s eyes (“Look!”) or knowing how to decode a situation to smile or frown (“Smile at me”). Other apps, for example, “Too Noisy” help children with hypersensitive disorders, such as the app that tells you when you are making too much noise. This can be useful for the other children around the child to adjust their behaviour so as to not make too much noise.

However, as useful as the iPads are in classrooms, a teacher cannot become lazy and over-dependent on them to teach the children. This danger was spotted as soon as the “microcomputers” were invented and introduced into schools. iPads are

      “Neither the answer to all our educational ills nor the end of all that is great and good in our education system”
(Geoffrion, 1983)

For example, writing with your finger on an iPad cannot replace writing with a pen and paper. Neither can it replace active, experiential learning, children still need real life learning, only to be supplemented by virtual learning. The outside world should not become a strange place to children. Also, I am a firm believer in “active” learning being very much “active”, and using iPads, there is a danger that the class will become far too sedentary. It may be a coincidence, but there seems to be a positive correlation between rates of childhood obesity and use of technology in school.

Picture1

No iPad app can replace hands on, get-your-fingernails-dirty learning. It can have detrimental effects on development of motor skills, as it requires only one time of movement.  It can, however, supplement the learning. For example, it cannot replace getting out and going on a nature walk, but children can take photos of their trip, or learn more about something they come across with the iPad. But it is certainly not enough to just go on a virtual nature trail.

However, with sufficient planning, a happy balance can be made between the outstanding advantages of the iPad, and preventing lazy, sedentary teaching.

Picture2

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

20 Ways Teachers Are Using Legos in the Classroom

20 Ways Teachers Are Using Legos in the Classroom

Leave a comment »

Learning to teach or teaching to learn – computer programming in initial teacher education?

Discuss the benefits (or lack thereof) of computer programming initiatives such as Scratch in the Classroom to develop the personal and professional attributes of students in initial teacher education? 

Planning & preparation (lesson notes, objectives, resource materials, creativity & originality)

  • It is very much about planning for active involvement. You cannot expect children to sit and watch you doing something on the computer. They have to be actively involved at all times, and teacher talk needs to be kept to a minimum. This is imperative for this kind of subject, but it would get you thinking about how to reduce teacher talk in general subjects as well.
    Planning needs to include examples of work from the teacher, a “here’s one I made earlier”. That way it is setting an aim for the lesson, helps to plan the lesson in a certain order so that each part of the lesson builds on the next, all the while with the children knowing what they are aiming to have as their end product. This is a method that can be applied to other subjects also, having a clear outcome to work towards in an active manner.Classroom management (communication, scanning, praise, positive cueing, opportunities for group work/pair work, maximising pupil engagement)

     

  • It is difficult to monitor all the work of the children at all times with computers. However, I found that if you keep them busy enough and give them a task challenging enough and on something they are interested in, they will remain on task and not go browsing online etc.
  • In order to monitor their progress, it is necessary to set a task to them and allow them to work on it as you go around the class to see what they are doing and where they are having difficulty.
  • Pair and group work plays a vital role in the lesson, as they collaborate to come up with ideas and solutions to problems
  • Children are more likely to stay on task for computer coding lessons as it seems to be something they are interested in without being forced. For example, even children with ADHD seemed to be more on task. This provides a lesson to the teacher, that ICT helps children to focus in school. It should be used as a learning aid. Just as pictures may have been used in the past. ICT is the learning aid of the future to the new generation of children to maximise engagement.

    Teaching and learning strategies (lesson structure, pacing, subject knowledge, questioning, consolidation of learning, pupil-centred learning) 
  • By eliciting from the children what they should do next, it is getting them into the frame of mind of how to work computer programming. Get used to the type of questions they should be asking themselves about how to go about doing something, to get in touch with the logic of the programme. This will cause them to eventually become independent with their interaction with the programme.
  • Consolidation of learning takes place in the form of setting a challenge of creating a sprite creation involving all the skills taught in the lesson as well as prior lessons, so allow for revision and practice from other lessons, nothing is learned without purpose. Everything builds on the next thing.
  • Pupil centred lesson at all times. The lesson is pitched at the pupil’s level of learning and interests. The coding is built around what they like, so learning is not a chore. It is something that they want to do, for example, bring their Sprite to life in a theme of something they are interested in. The children are actively engaged at all times in the lesson, the longest they go idle is about 30 seconds for teacher talk, and then proceed to elicit from the children what needs to be done next.

    Assessment & evaluation (appropriateness of lesson objectives, reflection, lesson consolidation)
     
  • A lesson progresses at fluctuating levels, it is difficult to guess how fast they will pick up each element. Sometimes something you think might take them 5 minutes might take half an hour, and vice versa. Lesson objectives need to be simple and short, but each building on the previous one. As previously stated, each objective should be working towards and overall aim, so that at the end of each lesson every new element learned works together to create a completed project. That way they children feel they have achieved something functional.
  • The children are assessed in their challenge at the end of the lesson, starting from a blank Scratch file to apply all skills learned. This involved reflecting on the lesson as a whole and seeing it from a new perspective in isolation. This should also take place at the start of a lesson to ensure that everything learned from the lesson before has been learned before moving on.

    Personal qualities & professionalism (motivation, diligence, rapport with pupils, pupil-teacher interactions)
     
  • As a teacher of Scratch, like any other subject, the teacher needs to be full of enthusiasm about the subject. Being careful about how you word things regarding Scratch also help. For example, referring to coding etc too early could put children off as they may think it is too difficult to attempt.
  • You also need to know what the children are interested in in order to build the lessons around them, hence a rapport is required.
  • Scratch isn’t something that you can look up the night before and be able to teach flawlessly. A teacher needs to have plenty of practice with not only the programme, but also be able to deal with minor computer problems as they arise, as chances are with that many laptops in the room, there will be problems. When there are problems, you need to be able to deal with them swiftly so that the lesson can continue, as computers are scarce and when it is already 2 or 3 children to each computer, you need to keep as many computers functioning as possible.
  • You also need to be adept in the programme, so that you are not holding the children back because of your lack of knowledge. There will be children who will be adding in additional items to what you have already shown them. Telling them to try to work it out for themselves only goes so far, as then when they do attempt and possibly still have questions as to how to do it better, you need to be able to guide them as much as you can.
  • Interaction with the pupils involves treating them like professional working with their computer coding. Take each thing they create seriously, as it takes quite an amount of coding, even if it is to move from left to right.
  • Praise, then follow up with an additional challenge to improve on what they have already, to get them into the habit of constantly adding more.
  • Each of the children will be doing something entirely individual and unique, requiring feedback to match
  • Best bet is so save to the Scratch class website, that way everyone can have feedback on their work and see everyone else’s work. And then the teacher gets to go through them all in their own time to see their progress.

To conclude, teaching Scratch and coding in schools is a futuristic style of teaching. In the course of our careers, we will more than likely witness the crossover from books to using computers full time in schools. Teaching computers is very different from teaching other subjects, as you have to think of different elements. It is keeping with the times. Children now are far different from when we were in school. Evolution in the computer age will result in their brains different, which will result in them requiring being taught in a different way from methods that worked well ten years ago.

Also, it was worth thinking about how using computers would be useful for children with SENs, such as ADHD, as I saw in my limited experience in the classroom what a difference it meant to put a computer as their point of focus. These children need this to keep them occupied in a way that suits them in all lessons.

Leave a comment »

Scratch and the Primary School Curriculum

According to the Primary School Curriculum (1999), learning can be described as any experience that contributes to the child’s development. Scratch is a fantastic resource that applies to all of these learning principles in one formor another. However, areas that Scratch seems to be especially applicable are

1. The child is an active agent in his or her learning, and learning should involve guided activity and discovery methods, higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills should be developed

Scratch involves active learning at all stage. It generally begins as a guided activity, then the children are able to work more freely, building on what they learned in the guided activity, and move on to make their own creations by playing around and discovering, giving them only hints for guidance if needs be. This also ties in with higher order thinking and problem solving when they go on to discovery methods, that is, when they are set a challenge to work out on their own without guidance.

For example, in my lesson, I first showed them a simple version of a bat flying, to show the aim of the lesson. We then went through how to build the blocks in order to make it simply change the costumes. The children were then allowed to discover more about how to make their sprites animated by changing costumes and move around the screen, accompanied by music and backgrounds, and some children developed it even further of their own accord adding text, sensing etc. I then showed them a more complex creation of a sprite dancing to music, which they then went ahead to decipher how to create themselves, engaging in higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills.

2. Collaborative learning should feature in the learning process

Scratch is a highly collaborative learning tool. Using computers in the classroom, by their nature, are instantly collaborative lessons. So the children are learning from each other, talking about their ideas, helping each other realise them, as only one person can use the computer at a time, while the other person watches and offers advice Usually this might cause problems in other subjects, where one student is idol while the other works, but in this situation, both children in the pair are fully engrossed in the task at hand. Even a child with who has ADHD in the class, the teacher mentioned to me that she was amazed at how engrossed he remained for the entire lesson.

The children can also use the Scratch website as a collaborative tool, to learn from other people’s scripts from across the world. Most of the learning for Scratch that takes place in a collaborative environment.

In the lesson I taught, I also tried to add another element of collaboration to the task. I asked the children to code two sprites so that  it could become a two player game, that is, using the arrow buttons to control one sprite, and the a,s,d,w  keys to control another. This challenge also engaged them in collaboration of how to make it this way.

3. The range of individual difference should be taken into account in the learning process

When it comes to computers in general, it is natural that some children are more advanced than others, depending on  their socio-ecomonic backgrounds, general experience with computers and so on. In any class, you will have children on the spectrum of children who have no computer at home to children who attend computer classes outside of school weekly. But somehow Scratch still manages to differentiate itself. Children can work at their own pace without feeling under pressure from others. In the course of a lesson, the task is very easily differentiated, as when some children are finished long before others, they are able to work on themselves without even having to be told to, adding in extra details to their creation. For example, during my lesson on putting sound into creations, one boy deciphered how to record his own voice to get his Sprite to speak in his animation.
Also, the program itself is suitable for children with both ends of the spectrum of special learning needs. It is a visual resource, requiring simple motor skills, is colour coded and well labelled. It is also challenging, offering limitless opportunities for what can be done with it.

 

1 Comment »

Scratch – A Mental Workout?

Based on my experience of using Scratch in the classroom, I can say that I agree that it is both an excellent “mental workout” for cognitive and collaborative skills.

Firstly, with laptop and computer work in the classroom, the lesson automatically immediately becomes collaborative, as children share the machines. This brings not only IT collaboration, but also works with the social skills of the child. For example, the children get used to taking turns with the computer and being the observer. In this kind of situation, they automatically collaborate on the Scratch projects, working together to come up with how to solve a problem, create a script, and then make suggestions of how to improve it. Where in other projects this may be problematic with children, in the experience I have had, the children work really well together to come up with scripts. In fact, I noticed that most children who were working alone were more likely to be slower in deciphering how to create a script for the sprite to perform an action than children who were working together.

However, this trend seemed to only apply to children who were beginners at working with Scratch, which was the majority of the children. There were some children in the class who had been to “Wiz Kids”, where they had learned Scrath before, or children that like to practice at home a lot tended to prefer working alone and creating more advanced creations than what the rest of the class were doing. But that’s the beauty of Scratch, once you gone through the basic element, you can build on it to make it your own. Its just like any other school subject, there are some children stronger or more experienced than others at Scratch, but the lesson differentiates itself. While on one side of the classroom, there was a child still wondering how to decipher the x and y axis, on the other side of the classroom a child had balls bouncing randomly in a game.

Also in relation to working together, we have set up a class Scratch account on the scratch.mit.edu website for all the children to submit their work and see what other people in their class are doing, perhaps get a few ideas from their scripts and so on. It also allows them safe access to a larger collaborative Scratch network of the over 3 million Scratch projects available to look at on the website.

Cognitively, it is clear that Scratch is an excellent challenge for children, no matter what level they are at. It involves problem solving that is rewarded with a cool outcome, be it that the lion sprite actually does what you wanted it to do on the trampoline, or that you have created a fully functioning, glitch-free game. It involves designing, analyzing and predicting how the blocks are to be used effectively and efficiently. They are also able to draw links between different subject areas and Scratch, such as maths.

Other computer games have seen this potential for cognitive development in children, For example, in the last few years in Sweden, children play the popular mining game “Minecraft” as part of their schooling, for the same reasons we are doing Scratch with our classes. It involves creativity and problem solving that is rewarded with something children of today value more than a gold star sticker. More information at http://edudemic.com/2013/01/this-swedish-school-now-has-a-mandatory-minecraft-class/

Leave a comment »

What most schools don’t teach

Interesting little video about the importance of coding, and the benefits of learning it in school, especially for the future

Leave a comment »

This is an interesting piece on how WordPress can be used by schools and classrooms, well worth a read!

The WordPress.com Blog

WordPress is an elegant solution for education professionals looking to create a website for their class, and today we’re excited to announce the launch of WordPress.com Classrooms. Whether you need a group blog for your high school history project, or to keep your 3rd grade students’ parents up to date about the next field trip, you’ll find the solution here at WordPress.com.

Get up and running — fast

We know you’re busy educating the world’s young minds, so we’ve made the site creation process as easy as 1-2-3: Register your site, customize your theme, and start posting — that’s it! No more excuses about how the dog ate your homework website.

Connect and collaborate

We’re all about engaging discussion. Invite students to post their thoughts on your latest lecture and submit their reaction papers as comments. Or maybe you just need a place to get the word out about class happenings — turn off…

View original post 289 more words

Leave a comment »

We started from Scratch….

I’m meant to be in a school right now, this very second, introducing Scratch to children. But I can’t because I’m not exactly the most mobile I’ve ever been. So I’m just going to reminisce about that little program of building blocks that I have grown to become obsessed with. This week saw the end of our Scratch tutorials with Ronan.  Ronan gave us a fantastic introduction, with really helpful and clear resources, bringing us step by step through the world of Scratch, while giving us the odd challenge to make us think outside the blocks. And yet, this was only a mere glimpse at the possibilities of  this FREE resource, meaning there is no barrier between Scratch and school, even in this economic climate. And it is entirely user friendly, it all just comes down to using your imagination, logically placing blocks together that are very clear of their purpose, or, failing that, messing around with the codes until what you want to happen happens. There is also the back up help and inspiration from the http://scratch.mit.edu/ website, as with the endless supply of Scratch creations comes and endless supply of codes available to copy, manipulate or, in some cases, just sit back and gaze in awe. For example, this creation by a secondary school student in Cork who won the Scratch National Finals in 2012.

Scratch Project

Even the other runners up from that year are mind boggling, and are excellent examples to show to the children so that they can broaden their minds and see that there are no limitations with this program. For example, I know the class I had for senior teaching practice would have loved this creation as they were working on a project for a competition about fingerprints and forensics:

Scratch Project

There are so many applications that I can think of for use in the primary school. I’m delighted that I have this chance to learn about its uses before I go on my home teaching practice as opposed to finding out about it after I finish. It has to potential to really spice up a lesson and keep children enthralled. I’m just afraid that I’ll end up spending too long playing with it myself the night before rather than preparing my lesson plans, because you simply get lost in in the world of Scratch, never before have I felt a lecture fly by so fast as I have felt for the past few weeks! And if I get that enthralled by it, imagine what way the children will be!!

Scratch will allow the children of today and tomorrow to explore imaginatively and constructively in the same way we did with Lego back in the day fadó fadó. And in a society where we are trying to promote equality of gender, where boys may traditionally have been more involved in a constructive activity such as this, girls are now equally interested and involved in the construction of the Scratch creations. It is like a virtual, primary school equivalent of metalwork or woodwork, combining a creative design element with a functional, constructive element.

We have only “scratched” the surface with the possibilities so far (geddit?…..yes, too little sleep and too much time spent in front of a computer…I’m going to be one of those teachers that makes the really lame jokes that the children will just cringe about). You probably have already heard of my very first attempt at something at Scratch where I made Tommy Walsh and Lar Corbett dash around Croke Park that I am terribly proud of…

Scratch Project

WELL, since then I have gotten the sprite to make all kinds of shapes in all kinds of colours, made an interactive sprite, made a psychedelic mouse-movement controlled sprite, and most importantly, made still pictures come to life! My very own little cartoon of a girl dancing! Yes, again not the most exciting thing you may ever have seen, but I think its pretty cool. And in the spirit of the week that’s in it and all.

Scratch Project

What I find the most exciting about all this is how this will bring life to the children’s work, imagine drawing a picture and then you, at 10 years of age, making it come to life before your very eyes. Its every child’s dream! Image how that will be able to spice up a writing lesson, knowing that it can be used as a script to their very own little cartoon, and not alone that, but the characters can be their own literally handmade creations. This in itself links in with so many curricular areas, such as English and art, but also in critical, forward thinking and planning. It is the copybook corner cartoon of the 21 century! I know I would have enjoyed my writing lessons in school so much more if I thought I could bring them to life like that, giving them a moving image element. So it also helps children keep and interest by integrating with the lesson, and possibly unlock an area to their imagination they never knew they had.

I look forward to hopefully getting out into the school very soon and spending many more hours playing with Scratch. To the detriment of all other modules. Oh well.

Leave a comment »

Blogging in the Primary Classroom – Initial reactions and possible relevance

Blogging gives children a realm to publish what they write, something that is stressed as important for writing in the Curriculum, giving the child’s writing a purpose rather than something that will be written into a copy and never seen again. It allows writing to become something to be proud of, to be able to show it off to family members that something they wrote is actually on the internet. Also if being published publicly, gives the children a reason to do the best they possibly can.

As mentioned by the NCTE, it also acts as an interactive “reflection tool”, as they can then comment on other blogs. This interactive element can allow children to peer review and learn from each other’s work very easily. Critical and analytic thinking are very much promoted through reading work that they are interested in reading, rather than irrelevant pieces of text from a teacher’s book.

It also offers a safe environment for them to follow controlled links to different websites to allow for the children to find additional information on various topics. It expands the walls of the classroom infinitely. It is also a good introduction into navigating properly thought the internet. The accessibility of a blog allows children to also learn so much from each other’s comments, so that they can become each other’s resources and sources of information. It also allows them to practice IT skills, such as navigating through the internet, attaching files or embedding pictures or videos, something that previously may only have been learned in adulthood.

It is also a good method of interacting between school and home. As outlined in the NCTE, a blog serves as a class notice board, an archive of links and documents or as a collaboration or discussion tool. No longer is “I lost the page”, or “I didn’t know that was due today” an excuse, because it can all be in the blog as a back up. It seems to be the 21st Century equivalent of a diary or notes to communicate with home. Parents can be right up to date about what is going on in school, especially when it can be set up that the parents can receive a notification directly when something is posted. This notification service also helps the parents to keep track of their children’s work as well as what is going on in the school, and possibly relieve any concerns about having their child posting material on the internet.

Blogs just have to be controlled so that it doesn’t turn into a social tool instead of an educational tool. Comments must be supervised and approved by the administrator. An edu blog should not become a journal, it should just be a way of sharing ideas.

Blogs serve as a filing cabinet: nothing ever gets lost once it is set up properly. Ideally, in the future, it may come a time when one can have an edu blog from the day the start school to the day the start college, and be able to look back at how far they have come. Even as it stands, a teacher may be able to give a child a boost of confidence by showing them something they did in junior infants in comparison to their work in senior infants. Blogging just makes it easier than keeping each piece of paper written on. This is helpful in the case of where classrooms are small and class sizes are very large.

Blogging also gives shier students a platform to express themselves that they never had before. People can take on different persona’s once they get a chance to write, and blogging allows a method to publicly allow this to happen.

Blog sites are more than just a space to blog though. For example, in a lot of cases blogs are replacing school websites as they are more likely to updated regularly. They are also a novel way to submit homework, and if something is novel it is more like to be of interest to the children and therefore be done without boredom setting in.

Edu blogs are also a good way for schools to connect, both for students and teachers. Students can engage in joint projects, while teachers can interact and share ideas for the primary classroom.

Sources: NCTE Guidelines on Blogging,
Richardson, 2001. Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts and other powerful web tools for the
classroom

Leave a comment »

Playing with Scratch

I am enjoying playing with this Scratch business far too much, so much so that I have stayed in on Saturday night and played with Scratch and considered it a night well spent. Because it was a night well spent.

The satisfaction I have gotten from learning even the basic elements so far is unbelievable. Creating a game to make Lar Corbett chase after Tommy Walsh in Croke Park was the best thing I did all week. My poor housemates have heard me rave about this Scratch business so much as this stage that they are starting to revert to a Mrs Brown approach….

However, I am still looking at other games that have been put up on http://www.scratch.mit.edu/ and felt my brain melt with the level of coding involved in some of the games. I am hoping that if I keep at it I will be able to create games that are at that level. For the children to enjoy of course. I’m too grown up for all that carry on. Now where is my Pokedex…

Leave a comment »