Augmented Reality

Whilst volunteering in my mum’s prep classroom this week I had the opportunity to introduce the students to an awesome app called Augmented Reality (AR) which assisted them in practicing their initial sounds as well as being great fun using the Ipads!

AR is available on smartphones and devices and allows the user to bring books, drawings, flashcards and more to life!  It is a fantastic tool and serves multiple purposes including education.

I used a flashcard AR app which allowed me to download and print flashcards for the letters A-Z.  Each flashcard had a picture of a different animal.  I held up my flashcards for the class to see and told them that they were magic cards! The students were intrigued and I laughed as twenty five little voices piped up asking ‘Why?’ and ‘How are they magic?’

I selected a card, ‘What letter is this?’ the students eagerly told me the name of the letter and the sound that it made.  ‘That’s right, now watch this!’  I opened the AR app on my Ipad and held the card behind it so that the camera could scan the image.  The students watched carefully and all of a sudden the animal on that card jumped out and appeared in 3D on the Ipad! The students thought that this was awesome, ‘Woah! It’s a lion!’. We went through the alphabet practicing the name of each letter and the sound it makes before I showed them the 3D image using the AR app.  This was a great experience for all involved and I think I will definitely be using those ‘magic cards’ again!

Click here to watch a video of a child using AR to practice letter recognition, you will be amazed!

Copyright Issues

Throughout the week 3 learning path we learnt a lot about copyright issues and what we are able to use in our assignments etc.  I found out that every single image (even if it’s just a clip art image) must be referenced.  The only way we can get around this is if we use our own images.  Luckily enough for me I volunteer in my mums prep classroom regularly and she was more than happy for me to come in and snap some photos of the student’s using ICTs such as Ipads and touch screen computers.  Of course I ensured that I didn’t take any photos of the student’s faces and seeked further permission before going into the class to take these photos.  I have so far used some of these images as headers for each of the pages of my online artefact and I am really happy with how it is looking.

One of my fellow students also talks about the importance of referencing and attribution on her blog.

Click here to learn more about Australian Copyright Laws!

Assignment 1

In about week 3 we started discussing assignment 1 in class and it’s a big one.  At first I was a little overwhelmed with what we required to do but once I looked at the criteria sheet and broke it down into chunks I began to feel a lot more confident. 5% of our marks for the assignment are for our blog posts and the completion of weeks 1, 2 and 3 learning paths on our study desk, so there’s some fairly easy marks there. Part 2 of the assignment is to create an online artefact explaining three explicit reasons for the use of ICTs in the classroom.

I selected the prep classroom as the context for my assignment as I am majoring in early childhood.  Once I made this decision I began looking at some examples I found on the internet and found a couple that I really liked.  After exploring these online artefacts I decided that for my artefact I would like to create a website, aimed at the parents of my students about the importance of ICTs in the prep classroom.

One of my fellow students found an interesting article about how teachers should be implementing ICTs in the classroom.  Click here to view her blog post where she discusses this.  This articles really prompted me to think of some excellent reasons for implementing ICTs in the classroom that I can use in my first assignment.

Postman’s Five Things

During the week 2 learning path for my ICT course we learnt about Neil Postman, an American teacher, author and cultural critic.  Postman developed an essay entitled ‘Five things we need to know about technological change’.  These ‘five things’ were:

  1. Technology is always a trade-off
  2. Technology creates winners and losers
  3. There is a powerful idea embedded in every technology
  4. Technology is ecological, not additive and;
  5. Technology tends to become mythic

We were asked to look at the article and then select one of these aspects and write about what it means to us.  I discussed number 4 – Technology is Ecological, not Additive:

I took this statement to mean that when new technology is created it is not simply ‘added’ to the world, it further develops and improves the way we use other existing technologies.

For example, I only use my laptop for university studies, it is uncommon for me to access the internet for social reasons via my laptop.  When I access the internet in my down time I generally do so on either my Iphone or Ipad through the use of apps i.e. applications.  Being able to access the internet in this way has both changed how I use technology and made it more accessible to me as a regular user. Therefore, I believe that technology is constantly evolving.

 Click here to read Postman’s essay!

Engaging ICTS in the Prep Classroom

Throughout this week’s lecture our guest speaker, Merilyn, a prep teacher at a local school, introduced us to a variety of technologies she uses in her prep classroom. Personally, I dream of teaching prep when I graduate as I really love working with that age group.  Therefore, I found this lecture hugely beneficial.  After looking at other student blogs I realised that I was not the only person with a passion for teaching prep.  My classmate Mallory Meade found an excellent powerpoint on using ICTS in the prep classroom.  The ideas within this powerpoint aligned with some of the teaching ideas put forward by Merilyn.

One of my favourite things we got to use were BeeBots.  For those non-early childhood people you have probably never heard of them before.  BeeBots are small programmable robots that can be implemented across the curriculum in the early years.  Students are able to input a series of steps or instructions into the BeeBot i.e. forwards, backwards, left and right in order to complete a sequence.

BeeBots can be used in maths.  For example, Snakes and Ladders using a dice to count the number of steps and using the BeeBot as a counter therefore programming it to move to the appropriate position on the game board. We had great fun using these in our lecture and even had to be asked twice to pack them up, Whoops!

Click Here to see a small group of students Play Snakes and Ladders using the BeeBot!

Excel with Evernote

In our lecture today we had the pleasure of speaking with a local Prep teacher with several years of experience in early childhood education.  Merilyn’s main purpose for speaking with us was to inform of some of the many ways in which she incorporates ICT’s into teaching and learning.  She stated four main reasons:

  • As a teaching tool
  • As a learning tool
  • As a way of record keeping
  • As a way of collecting student data

In this lecture I was amazed to learn about the capabilities of the Ipad app/ Computer Program Evernote.  Although I have used this Evernote before I did not fully understand its capabilities.  Merilyn uses this app to keep records of student data and results and to formulate individual portfolios for all of her students.  I was particularly amazed at how within ten minutes, a photo/video/voice recording can be taken of a student via the Evernote app, added to that student’s portfolio and a link sent home for parents to view the artefact.  I believe that digital student portfolios will soon take over in Australian schools, especially with fantastic programs like Evernote available.

Click here to check out Evernote now!

Hello Kitty Visited Where?!

Hi all,

Today as I was going through my course work I came across an awesome video.  In the video a Grade 7 girl had completed a science project using a range of different technologies.  The short video displays each stage of the young girls project.

Her aim was to send her Hello Kitty Doll into space.  In order to do this she created a rocket ship.  Some of the devices attached to the rocket ship included four Go Pro cameras to film Hello Kitty’s journey, a GPS tracking device in order to be able to track Hello Kitty’s journey and to find her when she falls back down to earth and various devices measuring the temperature and altitude of the rocket ship throughout the adventure.

I was truly amazed at the efforts this young girl had gone to in order to send Hello Kitty into space!  This is a perfect example of embedding ICTS in education.  Furthermore, this video also demonstrates the level at which students engage in their learning when technology is involved!

Click here to see the video now!

Thanks, Bree 🙂

Information Overload

Hello Again,

Throughout the first week of this course we have been asked to look at a range of different things such as the Toolbelt theory and PKM (personal knowledge management).  These ideas or theories are supposed to help us throughout this course in arranging our ideas, contributing to online discussions and completing assignments.

Also this week we were asked to create accounts on a variety of online sources such as Twitter, Diigo and to create a blog.

I created my blog using WordPress.com, which is where I am currently writing this blog post.  I also created a Diigo account.  Diigo is an online community in which one can find information and share their knowledge with others.

As creating a Twitter account was an optional choice I decided against it.  I made this decision as I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information we were receiving, as well as the amount of study we were expected to do for this particular course.

On the plus side, Diigo is a fantastic resource that will prove to be beneficial later on in the course! Click here to visit the website now!

Thanks, Bree

My University Course – ICTS & Pedagogy

Hi all,

My name is Bree.  I am a fourth year education student studying a bachelor of education, majoring in early childhood.  This semester I am enrolled in four very different courses.  One of these courses is an ICT course entitled ‘ICT and Pedagogy’.  The aim of this course is to teach us about the importance of using ICTS in our classrooms and how we can implement them into teaching and learning.

As a part of this course we are expected to make regular blog posts discussing what we are learning as well as our thoughts and feelings regarding ICTS.

This topic really interested me so I began to research ICTS, their progression throughout history and their importance in education.

Click here to see an interesting video regarding these issues.

Thanks, Bree 🙂