Young Children Can Create

In England we teach young children (Birth to 5 years old) from a non-statutory curriculum now known as Early Years Outcomes (formally Development Matters). The curriculum is structured around 7 areas of learning but themed on A Unique Child, Parent Partnerships, Enabling Environments and Learning & Development. Learning across these themes, principles and areas of learning are woven together through The Characteristics of Effective Learning.

Development Matters, and Early Years Outcomes, explain that theEE theme Enabling Environments theme should ‘value all people’ and all learning. Yet there is a division in the early years community about the role of technology in learning. Our young children have access to technology in the home and there are an abundance of reports and opinions claiming screen time is a contributing factor towards low attainment in physical, social and language development. For this reason, there are settings who switch off to technology provision.

Technology is the one strand in our early years curriculum, and throughout the National Curriculum, where the application in the learning environment is different to the application at home:

  • talking at home is similar to talking at school,
  • sharing at home is similar to sharing at school,
  • reading at home is similar to reading at school,
  • numbers at home is similar to numbers at school,
  • whereas technology at home is different to technology at school.

At home, children (and adults!) watch TV and video rather than film movies ourselves. We use the internet at home to browse and shop. We more often choose to listen to music rather than make it. We look at photographs at home rather than take them. We regularly relax in front of screens. 

At school and nursery, the Early Learning Goal for Technology states that children should ‘select and use technology for particular purposes’. In the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 this extends to digital skills such as using images, video and sound for creative projects.

We should be teaching children how to create with technology, in meaningful ways that are cross-curricular where ‘experiences respond individual needs’ and interests.

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An Early Years Shape Book about Bonfire Night

We are getting ready to teach the children how to make Maths Journals again this year, but before we hand children their own iPads, we need to model book creating in maths first. You can read more about Maths Journals here.

Bonfire Night is a British festival remembering The Gunpowder Plot from over 400 years ago. Guy Fawkes attempted to murder King James who would be in The Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605 (I hope I have that date right?). Guy Fawkes obviously failed as The Houses of Parliament still stand today and every year on November 5th our children visit a bonfire and watch fireworks which depict what could have happened should Guy Fawkes have been successful.

This festival, like many others, lends itself well to cross-curricular learning. However, it also lends itself well to my connected classes project as our friends across Europe and America will not be celebrating Bonfire Night. Therefore it is a great opportunity to use technology to share this festival with 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.

Continue reading

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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 18.22.46

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

Paperless Assessment in Early Years: apps and ideas to consider.

This time last year we discussed a move towards using an assessment app in our Foundation 2 Unit. Up until September 2013 I had always gathered my photographic evidence using a digital camera and organised them easily using iTag software. I wrote a post about this a few years back here. So much has changed with the way photographs and cameras are used in Foundation settings since that, so here is an update.

Using ICT has always reduced the time it takes me to organise my assessments and by having a note taking and photo gathering app, which creates a learning journey, the time it takes us to file has been reduced considerably. Our workflow has also been significantly streamlined as observations no longer need to be collected and then manually filed in date order. You cannot deny it is much easier to put your finger on ‘that piece of evidence’ when 30 learning journeys are on one iPad screen!

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Our second week using iPads in Foundation – Let’s be published authors!

Creating content on our iPads is an important part of our new computing curriculum and it begins in the foundation stage. The app I introduced was My Story and the skill was to import photographs on to pages.

Last week we worked on the basics on the iPads- switching them on/off, handling them safely, making videos and taking photographs. These basics are still being covered as part of our review each time we start working on the iPads.

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Our first week using iPads in Foundation – mastering the basics!

I have had just over a week settling our new Foundation 2 children in to school. As well as the usual rules and routines of a new setting, I have introduced them to iPads and how they can be used at school.

Some children are more confident than others, which challenges the perception that “the kids already know how to use them” and “they will end up teaching you to use them”. Some of the children didn’t know how to turn them on and off, and most children have had to learn new vocabulary involved with using the iPads (sleep/wake button, home button, home screen). This language was introduced as we were using the iPads, as well as correct ways to hold and carry them around school; “two hands, fingers on the back, thumbs on the front”.

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