Within this session we considered the opportunities in ICT for speaking and listening. These involved making videos, podcast and the use of the digital camera. We also considered the use of webcams, especially with regards to software such as skype, and the different recording devices available. In addition, the interactive whiteboard was seen as an effective tool for speaking and listening in that it encourages class discussion. Nonetheless, during the session we focused on the use of video recording, creating photo storyboards and podcasting.
A podcast is an online broadcast. Rather than being broadcasted live, like a radio show, a podcast is pre-recorded and then distributed over the internet. Therefore, podcasting is an effective way of encouraging children to share their work and to celebrate their achievements. You can either listen to podcasts directly from websites or using software like iPodder and iTunes. During the lesson we made our own podcast. The technology was easy to use and effective, and had some impressive results. Our group decided to conduct an interview on our experience at Middlesex University which was an enjoyable group exercise, which required teamwork and lots of active involvement.
The advantages of making a podcast:
Unquestionably podcasts have great benefits for developing literacy skills, such as speaking and listening. They also allow children to learn new ICT skills, such as how to use recording software and how to upload their work so it is available to a large audience. Similarly to a blog, podcasts can be interactive and often invite feedback from family and friends. They are also interactive in that they provide opportunities for group work, which can increase motivation and enthusiasm. Furthermore, podcasting requires that children both plan and research what they are going to say, thus encouraging them to critically select what information they want to share. An article by Jimmy Leach (2011) from the Guardian, available at http://education.guardian.co.uk/appleeducation/story/0,,1682639,00.html, discusses how podcasting can be an effective method of reaching the children that formal method fail to engage. This may be especially true of those with special educational needs (SEN) or English as a second language (EAL) who struggle with writing. In addition, podcasts allow students to listen again to what the teacher said in a lesson. This is especially beneficial for EAL students who may have had trouble translating what was said the first time round. By repeating the podcast they are able to check their notes and amend any errors.
The website, http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/ict/podcasting.htm, includes examples of different podcasts used in schools. It also suggests when it might be appropriate to use a podcast. For example:
* To communicate school news to parents and children.
* To share and celebrate children’s work. This may involve a recording of a story or a reflection on an activity completed in class.
* To share interviews with members of staff, children, members of the community, and visitors to school.
* To share music made in the school.
* To share national or international news if appropriate.
Disadvantages of podcasting:
Regretably there still remains some disadvantages with using podcasts in school. Firstly, there may be some issues with accessibility as some children might not have a computer they can use at home or a removable recording devise, such as an Ipod. As a result, they will be unable to access any of the podcasts out of school. In addition, to access big files you will need a good internet connection and not all file formats will be compatible with every computer. Secondly, the use of Ipods and MP3 players in school can prove distracting for some children and can result in poor productivity. Instead of doing the work children may be tempted to watch videos and listen to music.
Creating a Photo Storyboard:
During the session we also made a photo storyboard using a digital camera. This involved taking still pictures and putting them into a sequence. We were then able to add a caption under each image to communicate the story. An advantage of using this activity in the classroom is that it not only develops technical literacy but also requires children to draw upon their knowledge of English and Story telling. It can also be used as a group activity.
Our Photo Storyboard: PhotoStory1
When researching the use of digital technology in schools I found a website that lists several different lesson plans, all involving the use of digital media. It is available at http://edexchange.adobe.com/pages/d4178d15ff, and would unquestionably be an extremely beneficial resource for teachers. One activity suggested includes students using digital photography to collect images on plant growth. They are then required to create a time-lapse video in Adobe Premiere Elements to present their findings. Furthermore, a maths activity involves children taking photos of geometric figures in the real world and creating a vocabulary Photo Book in Photoshop Elements that links the definition of each shape to the photo examples.
In the session we also looked at ‘talking postcards’ and ‘talking photo albums’ that also achieve a similar effect. However, they involve still photos and use voice recording, as opposed to being connected to a computer.
A further activity we did in the session was video recording. We used a video camera to record a sequence of images and then made them into a video using “Digital Blue” software. This activity will undoubtedly engage and motivate most children as video is likely to be a form of ICT children are most familiar with. However, they will extend on their pre-existing skills by using new software and will be engaging with video in an educational context, as opposed to using it for leisure. Video recording also encourages children to be creative and use their imagination. It provides opportunities for group work and the final product can be demonstrated to the whole class. Examples of videos made by school children can be accessed at http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/teacher39s-guide-making-student-movies
Reflection on ICT using these technologies:
After using all of the technologies listed above in the session I can see that ICT can also be creative and evoke imagination. Furthemore, it does not always require inndividual work that is later shared with the class, but can incorporate group activities and working as a team. Each of the technologies discussed in the session are excellent tools for reflection. Therefore, for those who find writing troublesome they are an effective means of communicating ideas.