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 England site 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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Introducing MakeyMakey to Early Years Children.

This week saw the arrival our MakeyMakey and the first time I got hands-on with the kit. Having followed the work of ADE Mark Shillitoe for 2 years, I thought it was about time I tried it out for myself. I ordered the MakeyMakey from Amazon, just over £40, and the kit comes complete with enough crocodile clips for simple projects. The instructions are clear, set up took about 5 minutes and we were up and running with a Banana Piano in a matter of minutes.

Wait a minute though, what is MakeyMakey?

MakeyMakey is an invention kit for everybody. It is a USB device that replaces keys on your keyboard. IMG_7551IMG_7549 IMG_2708 Continue reading

Using Puppet Pals beyond story telling.

I have always been a fan of the Puppet Pals and it was one of the first apps I came across when my journey with iPad began. At BETT 2013 I worked with Ian Wilson ADE again and we had a lot of time to chat about new apps. During the week the Puppet Pals 2 app was released and that was one of the apps we talked about. This addition to the Puppet Pals series makes further use of animation and has some very cool characters which interact with other objects on the set… But we agreed that the simple charm of the original app was what we liked. I have always enjoyed putting in my own characters straight from books, and Ian talked about using the app beyond the obvious story telling purpose.

He explained how he has used Puppet Pals to discuss physics, moving objects (put in as characters) around a plain white background and recording the conversation in the app. Straight away I thought this was a great idea and I knew that when the opportunity came for me to adapt this to an early years context I would pull it out of my bag of tricks…

And the time came to use it…

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Getting more from Windows 7 and your Interactive Whiteboard: Gadgets, Widgets and Snipping… #ukedchat #edtech

This half term our school have had new Promethean interactive whiteboards and a priority within the ICT team has been to improve whiteboard use. As I always say, training and sharing is the best way to improve staff skills. So this is the route we are taking.

Here a few ideas, tips and tricks that are easy ideas for whiteboard use. All of them are free, most of them are already installed on your Windows 7 machine!

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Transformation in Education: Can iPad help to transform learning?

This has been a very busy half term, as it always is at the end of the year, so I feel that I have neglected my blog. It’s time to update you on what I’ve been doing and how my thinking has been enhanced by the people I’ve been working with recently.
I am very lucky to have a headteacher who values my continual professional development and allows me to work at, and attend, ICT conferences on a regular basis. This half term I feel like I’ve been on tour. I’ve spoken at several events in various counties about iPad and it’s potential in Early Years and Primary education. Bedfordshire, Birmingham, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have welcomed me to their events and the feedback I’ve had has been overwhelming.
At an ICT Subject Leaders conference I had the chance to listen to Craig Wilkie who speaks passionately about Transformation in Education. I really valued his honesty, and almost his vulnerability, in promoting this thinking in schools (Transformation sounds like a big deal, and a scary concept!) However, as his presentation went on, I realised that my school and other settings I have worked with are transforming the learning culture.
Wilkie provoked discussion on ICT and how it is playing a part in transforming learning but ICT is only ‘one spoke of the bicycle wheel’. He wanted me to unpick the steps to transforming my classroom and gave me 3 labels to place in order along a line: “Transformation” “Replacement” “Enhancement”.

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