Taking My Life In My Hands!

I was recently given the opportunity to present to link officers from my local ELB. This was a great opportunity for me to articulate my vision of ICT to those officers who go into schools and speak to other teachers.

However, a point was raised regarding the use of ‘screen’ technology in Foundation Stage with children. That many of them come into school with poor social skills and having them focused on a screen will not help this at all.

This is something I have a lot of sympathy with and agree that there has to be a balance with this type of interaction. It can’t all be based around watching a screen to the detriment of fundamental communication skills. However, I also feel that children are at their most creative and inquisitive at this age and we can harness this using technology properly. I got a lot of inspiration from watching my own three-year old son working out how to use my IPod Touch and within half an hour being able to use the Labyrinth app. So, it got me thinking…

Last week I took the iPad into the Primary 1 classroom during their structured play and let some children experiment with the ‘Tesla’ app. This is a firework type of app that reacts to the multi-touch of the children and generates patterns, etc. I gave very little guidance but just observed as much as I could and was deeply impressed by what happened.

There was collaboration, talking, demonstrating, listening, describing, sharing, ‘hogging!’ exploration, amongst other things during this short demo. So I have decided to take it a step further…

Next Friday, I will be taking a creative writing lesson with this Primary 1 class using the IPad’s ability to output to the Interactive whiteboard to demonstrate the patterns generated by the app! We will look at using descriptive language, put it into a class poem and follow-up by creating our own ‘firework’ paintings using blow-paints and finger paints to illustrate our ideas.

I’m looking forward to it and will let you all know how it goes…



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