Light and Dark Exploration with iPad Controlled Toys.

This term our learning has been investigating “what happens when the sun goes down”. One of the earliest observations is that it gets dark much earlier and the moon comes up. With this comes the need for light to see in the dark so out comes our tents, black bed sheets and den building. In our dark spaces we play with torches and light sources. In terms of technology learning in Early Years Outcomes, this play links to the switching on and off of light sources & looking at batteries.

We wanted to take this early technological learning a little deeper, and closer to a modern home. We made use of two different Bluetooth controlled devices in our dark spaces. This activity is all about controlling light sources as a connected device, getting a device to respond to instructions on an app.

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Maily! e-mail that’s possible in early years.

This year the national Anti-Bullying Week in the UK challenged teachers to bring an e-safety focus to their classroom. As an early years teacher, talking about safety online is quite tricky and modelling good practise online has always been my focus. My class regular experience positive uses of the internet and our Connected Classes are an important part of our classroom life. As a class we make FaceTime calls to other early years children around the world, we share books that we have written on the iPads with them and we often help each other out with answering questions about our localities.

For Anti-Bullying Week though, I wanted to make these experiences more personal for the children. This is how I found Maily on the App Store.

Maily.

This is a free app and it is free to set up an account and to use the service. There are no adverts or in app purchases either. Maily is designed for the travelling or far reaching family though. It’s there for the kids to be able to send a special message to mum when she’s working away, or the grandparents that live in Spain.

FullSizeRender 17It’s perfect for early years though. Maily has very little reading involved, it’s all pictorial and within a couple of taps your children have opened their inbox, scrolled their contact lists to find a friend, wrote an e-mail and sent it. All within the app, inside one secure account.

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Designing and Controlling Bumper Cars with Dash Robots.

At the end of September a huge travelling fair arrives in our city, a 700 year old event which expands year on year. It’s the Goose Fair. There isn’t a school in our region that would ignore it and in true Early Years style, it’s a great opportunity to cash in on some great learning and play opportunities!

This year we are using Dash and Dot robots from MakeWonder as part of our coding curriculum. They fit perfectly in to a classroom with just a few iPads and bring coding to life as children control Dash and Dot from a suite of apps produced by MakeWonder.

The apps for Dash and Dot follow a clear progression in skills and with as this was our first experience coding and controlling, we started with the first app in the collection: “Go”.

Think remote controlled car… The app connects to Dash over Bluetooth and the user steers Dash from the iPad screen. There’s options to send sounds to Dash from the app and even record your own sounds to play over Dash’s speakers. The colours on Dash’s body can also be changed and flashed from the app. It’s that perfect app to teach children early control skills and introduce direction language.

What’s more, Dash and Dot come with ‘building brick connectors’ that can be attached to the sides and head of the robot allowing Lego to be built on to them.

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Invent! – apps to support an early years robots and machines topic. #EYTalking #UKEdChat

Over the summer it’s time for us teachers to prepare for our new class and the year ahead. Over the next few weeks I’m going to put spotlights on particular topics or themes, highlighting some apps which can support learning.

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I’ve made a few searches on the AppStore  and picked out a few apps which look like good fun for early years and ones which can develop knowledge and understanding in this topic.

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Go! – apps for an early years cars, planes and trains topic. #EYTalking #UKEdChat

Over the summer it’s time for us teachers to prepare for our new class and the year ahead. Over the next few weeks I’m going to put spotlights on particular topics or themes, highlighting some apps which can support learning. This year the AppStore team have selected the best interactive stories, games and knowledge apps for a collection called ‘Cars, Planes and Trains’. Their collections are always interesting and pick out great apps to use for lessons in the classroom. Take a look at this featured collection here. Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 08.01.24 I’ve taken a quick walk through this latest collection and picked out a few apps which look like good fun for early years and ones which can develop knowledge and understanding in this topic. Continue reading

Bones – apps for an early years dinosaurs topic. #EYTalking #UKEdChat

Over the summer it’s time for us teachers to prepare for our new class and the year ahead. Over the next few weeks I’m going to put spotlights on particular topics or themes, highlighting some apps which can support learning. This year the AppStore team have selected the best interactive stories, games and knowledge apps for a collection called ‘Dinosaurs’. Their collections are always interesting and pick out great apps to use for lessons in the classroom. Take a look at this featured collection here.

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I’ve taken a quick walk through this latest collection and picked out a few apps which look like good fun for early years and ones which can develop knowledge and understanding in this topic.

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Explore the World – apps for early years understanding the world learning. #EYTalking #UKEdChat

Over the summer it’s time for us teachers to prepare for our new class and the year ahead. Over the next few weeks I’m going to put spotlights on particular topics or themes, highlighting some apps which can support learning. This year the AppStore team have selected the best interactive stories, games and knowledge apps for a collection called ‘Explore the World’. Their collections are always interesting and pick out great apps to use for lessons in the classroom. Take a look at this featured collection here.Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.08.17

I’ve taken a quick walk through this latest collection and picked out a few apps which look like good fun for early years and ones which can develop knowledge and understanding for this area.

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Underwater Adventures – apps for an early years sea and ocean topic.

Over the summer it’s time for us teachers to prepare for our new class and the year ahead. Over the next few weeks I’m going to put spotlights on particular topics or themes, highlighting some apps which can support learning. This August the AppStore team have selected the best interactive stories, games and knowledge apps for a collection called ‘Underwater Adventures’. Their collections are always interesting and pick out great apps to use for lessons in the classroom. Take a look at this featured collection here.

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I’ve taken a quick walk through this latest collection and picked out a few apps which look like good fun for early years and ones which can develop knowledge and understanding in this topic.

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An Outdoors Photography Project for Early Years: Taking Your “One Best Image”.

In the summer term we take our Foundation Unit to Sherwood Pines, a Forestry Commission park here in Nottinghamshire. As the name suggests, it’s a large woodland with tall pine trees and a great outdoor education team and facilities for all ages. During the day we did all of the outdoor education activities you could think of in a forest: mini beast hunts, woodland art (Andy Goldsworthy), story trails (The Gruffalo) and for the purpose of this blog post, photography.

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Changing Spaces: Focus and simplify learning in continuous provision areas

I have decided to write another post about the wider curriculum and classroom organisation. Over the years I have posted a few times about my classroom spaces and provision as it adds a bit of flavour to the technology focus of my blog. It shows another side to my work.  

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I always look to Alistair Bryce-Clegg for inspiration, he is a one-stop-shop for all things early years. Not only does Alistair share great ways of working, his recommendations are well within the reach of all early years settings. They are cheap, sometimes free, and every time his ideas are effective! Alistair’s post Creating an Environment to Provoke Learning gave me the confidence and vision to go ahead and put all my energy in to redesigning our areas.

“As a class teacher, when it came to my environment less was definitely not more! In fact more was more with a bit more chucked in for good measure!” writes Alistair.

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