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Teaching found me in the slums of Mumbai whilst working for a Charity and this is where I learnt that teaching children was something I loved and something I felt truly passionate about. After 5 years of teaching humanities, being in charge of a department and being an advocate for different approaches to Teaching and Learning, I am now working for an Education Technology company that truly believes in addressing the simple obstacles that teachers face in the classroom. Such as how do you keep children engaged every hour of their school day for 5 days a week? Or how can a teacher gain insight into individual pupils learning gaps without spending hours on marking? My aim is to work with Quizalize and Zzish and to make a difference to the lives of teachers and students by helping to create the future of education through technology.

iPads, Smart Boards, Promethean Boards etc…I’d used them all in my PGCE year! I tried to take risks and try the newest trend in order to keep my pupils interested and enthusiastic. I wanted technology to enhance my teaching and subsequently their learning. Unfortunately, more often than not, I ended up back with PowerPoint to show my lesson plan (plus or minus the occasional video explaining key theoretical concepts) and my trusted interactive whiteboard to integrate Assessment for Learning! As a humanities teacher, technology really wasn’t my best friend in the classroom. Nothing I found had been worth using consistently enough for it to have any impact on my teaching day.

So how can technology be my best friend if it doesn’t acknowledge my subject?

Then I discovered a quiz website that not only allows you to create online assessments, which you can store until the end of time, but it has also created a new way to assess progress as you can see live results projected on an online dashboard instantly. What’s more, the pupils loved it. They instantly connected with the concept and were all a dab hand at navigating their way through the quiz! For them, it brought an interactive and competitive element to the classroom.

‘Quizalize’ very quickly changed my stance on technology. It allowed me to intervene and address any problems that my pupils had with a particular question or topic straight away.

Technology that saves me time and workload are always welcomed in my classroom and Quizalize does just that. It saves me the money I spent on printing assessments, and time I spent on marking, redistributing and providing feedback to the children’s assessments was all done in the next lesson. I can do all that and more in the classroom instantly with Quizalize.



Accepted friend request!

Quizalize is very much driven by the needs of teachers and children. It provides a website that teachers can use to assess and record children’s progress, as well as providing children a fun and engaging way to learn. It doesn’t only cater to the main subjects, such as Maths and Science, but it is versatile and can be used across all subjects such as, the one that I specialize in, humanities. In fact, I liked Quizalize so much that I actually joined the team to help spread the word.

Quizalize Vs. Ofsted

• Engages pupils in their learning through a game based learning approach.

• Differentiation can be easily done as teachers are able to set personalised quizzes depending on pupils needs. It also enables the growth mind-set theory as challenges are embraced, as it is believed that children can improve at a task.

• Progress can be shown in the live dashboard allowing the teacher to address the learning gap instantly as well as adopting the flipped classroom model.

Check it out now www.quizalize.com or get in touch if you’d like to find out more @TeachersEdTech

I have been at my current placement school since January. Working in a year 5 classroom I could see how engaged children were with technology and had a passion for playing games and using their iPads and consoles in their home environment. When thinking about what computing lessons I was going to teach during my block placement I decided to take a risk and ask my class teacher if I could show the children Scratch. From the first lesson the children loved learning about programming and creating their own projects and games. Other classes have started to use the software and children’s learning is becoming more fun!

From seeing the childrens “buzz” off this new topic of computing and learning new things during my computing specialism lessons (which can be found in my blog below) I decided to create a lunchtime club that showcased what had happened during the week/fortnight, in the format of a newspaper report. Using iMovie the children could act out the scenes and put the video sections together. I created an example video to show the children exactly what they would be doing and to encourage children to join my club. This proved successful as I then had all of year 5 and 6 wanting to participate so I had to rotate the groups weekly. I also had to have smaller groups as the school didn’t have iPads and I had to provide a couple whilst I was on placement there.

Firstly I taught the children the basics of iMovie before setting them off on their own tasks.

Each week during their session the children would select two or three ideas and between themselves then select their roles and the filming of their footage. Once they had completed that in the following session the children would then edit together their video clips or images also adding music, transitions and sound effects etc.


As I am a first year student I had never created a club before and didn’t know what to expect or what exactly to do. What was evident for me was setting rules! With my first group I didn’t do this (BIG MISTAKE!) and as they enjoyed my club, were having fun and saw this as downtime from lessons the children acted differently. It was clear that boundaries and the children creating their own rules was important for successful and proactive time.

As well as setting rules I also had a few other challenges! During lunchtimes I found it hard to find a space within the school that was not only quiet enough for filming but where other children wouldn’t disturb the session coming in and grabbing things or looking for a member of staff. But most of these things are expected within a school! Once a quiet space was found, it was then a challenge to ensure that all children were focused and on task whilst being silent if a few people were filming and others were script writing. Due to the circumstances of this being my placement school I also had to speak to members of staff about their children’s needs or personalities so that I could group them accordingly and ensure that I was supporting them correctly.

As the children were enjoying my club so much, I decided to link this in with my English topic where we were covering The Highwayman. As part of our second week on the topic the children discovered the class teacher and teaching assistant dead in the classroom, they were playing the parts of Bess and the Highwayman in our classroom crime scene. This became our stimulus for our film project after we watched and evaluated other KS2 Highwayman films. The children then came up with their own running order for their film, scripts, acting it out and editing it together. For this project I decided to bring in a green screen to show the children extra skills and how to edit things further within iMovie. The children were fascinated by this and our finished outcome was amazing.


I believe that since being at my placement school I have been able to show them many new ways of incorporating ICT into the classroom. I have also been able to understand how these projects will work in a classroom and overcome challenges so that during future placements they can be more successful. One of the outcomes I am most pleased about is the PTA (parent teacher association) are hoping to raise money in order to provide iPads within the classroom environment.



by Ewa Wilson, deputy headteacher at Bonners C of E Primary School in East Sussex

I have used Teach Your Monster to Read with her students over the past few years. I currently teach Year 1 and 2 and is also the SLE (Specialist Leader for ICT/Computing) at the school.

I discovered Teach Your Monster to Read while searching for phonics games online. I was looking for a fun and engaging phonics review game for students in Reception and Year 1.

Teach Your Monster to Read is relevant for key stage 1 and works as an effective additional tool for classroom phonics teaching and intervention groups. It is also free to play. The game was a instant hit with the children. It captured the children’s imagination in an interesting and colourful way and the children just wanted to play it.

How do you use it in class?

I have used Teach Your Monster to Read in our phonics and literacy lessons, with the Reception class students, Year 1s and also with the after school reading intervention class. We generally use the games for 20 minute individual computer sessions, 5 minute bursts (when children had some spare moments free), or as a class IWB session.

During our IWB sessions, children identify the sounds using a button within Teach Your Monster to Read that enables you to press on the grapheme so you can hear the phoneme. This works as a brilliant introduction to the sounds they will be working on that day and it also helped the children practise the sounds that appear on the screening test.

Who plays the game?

The game is split into 3 levels. The reception class use the first game in the series, First Steps which is an introduction to the letter sounds, high frequency words and also includes simple blending and segmenting practice. Even young reception class students were able to access the game, log on and go straight into playing.This accessibility encourages independent practice and also mouse control.

Year 1 students progress on to the harder levels and begin to practise sentences, learn further graphemes and phonemes and also tricky words. Game 3, Champion Reader has been particularly useful for those children who were coming up to the phonics assessment.

The game is also used in the after school intervention class. The children are always excited to show their parents their monsters and the game. It’s a good homework resource and parents can easily sign up their children to the game. It’s also simple to set up as a teacher, and there’s a parent letter that you can download and share.

Why does the game work?

What stands out for me is that children are completely engaged with the game. They are immersed in the world of Teach Your Monster to Read. It is an adventure rather than a set of stop and start mini games, so the reading practice flows along without stopping, which helps with independent learning.

The children become very attached to their monsters and want to make sure their monsters are learning to read. They also see the monster as their little learning partner, and this is one of the unique features of the game that really brings it alive.

The children are teaching their own monster to read and this is taking the pressure off their own learning. They grow in confidence because they are acting as the teacher and this confidence helps them engage with wider reading in general.

It’s so easy to use too. Sign in and off you go. Children can very easily use this at home or in the classroom, and work through it at their own speed.

How does Teach Your Monster to Read improve teaching/learning?

I noticed a big impact in their phonics knowledge, particularly when using the ‘sound button’ within game 3’s Champion Reader.

The game also helped children learn their ‘high frequency words’. These words are integrated into Teach Your Monster to Read. The children have to collect the little ‘tricky’ creatures and put them in their monster’s pocket. They see the words, and also read them within a sentence, which helps retain this new knowledge.

Progress is also monitored in the game and it is possible to see which sounds need extra work. This helps me to make an instant formative assessment of the student’s level and ability.

What difference has it has made to the classroom?

The children’s enthusiasm for Teach Your Monster to Read is astounding, and it has created a real excitement around learning to read away from the computer.

Teach Your Monster to Read can also be relied on as a homework tool. The game contains all the relevant information to help fill in the gaps in learning; high frequency words, blending and segmenting practice and lots of sentence practice.

It’s made phonics lessons more exciting, and it is a brilliant addition to a teacher’s phonics toolkit.

Going forward…

It would be very easy to integrate the game into other classroom activities; storytelling, character and personality descriptions. We’ll be using Teach Your Monster to Read in the coming year, and hope to make more of this fantastic resource.

About Teach Your Monster to Read

Teach Your Monster to Read is a free online series of games that helps children practise the first stages of reading. It complements all major synthetic phonics programmes taught in school and has been very popular amongst Key Stage 1 teachers and the home market.

The idea of Teach Your Monster to Read is that children create a monster and take it on a magical journey. Children are rewarded throughout the game with prizes for teaching their monster to read.

The educational content of the game gets harder as the student progresses, offering new challenges and adventures at each stage of the student’s reading journey.

Sign up and play at: www.teachyourmonstertoread.com

 www.facebookteachyourmonstertoread. com


Watch the new game trailer!

https:// vimeo.com/129715970

I have recently become interested in the ways in which computing under the new National Curriculum will have an impact on children’s learning, and how new areas of study within the subject will influence their daily activities, providing new and more meaningful life skills that can be applied to their adult lives. Studying the subject as a specialism as part of my Initial Teacher Training has demonstrated the value of computing within the classroom and the ways in which links with the wider world and home life can be created, to engage children in the subject and demonstrate modern applications to their learning.

When considering the application of an effective computing curriculum and the subsequent progression within the primary setting, it is interesting to also look into my own skills and progression within this area so far. On reflection, my own experiences of technology within school were somewhat limited, which is a stark contrast to what I have witnessed in my current teaching practice. Having attended primary school during the nineties, I found that the only computers within the entire school were those in the offices of administrative staff. Interactive white boards, iPads, laptops, advanced gaming consoles and even mobile phones were all visions of the future that had not yet been invented, or were not widely accessible. It was only throughout my time in year six that the first generation Apple Mac computers were provided to each year group. Even so, these were merely used for copying particular works into ‘neat’ and it was only at secondary school where sole computing lessons were taught, albeit still extremely basic word and excel skills. The last decade or so has seen huge leaps forward in computing advancements, and attending primary school throughout this transition meant my experiences of useful computing were lacking. Children of the current generation are far more equipped in terms of their access to and experiences of technology when they enter school, which is something that has become apparent to me at university having highlighted my lack of knowledge in this area. With the New National Curriculum introducing more advanced procedures such as coding and practical applications of computing as tools of communication, I have found myself being exposed to unfamiliar programs for the first time and having to learn the basics myself before progressing forward.


Reflecting on my experiences of coding, it is apparent that the opportunities for progression within this area are extremely promising. Training sessions have helped to scaffold my knowledge effectively and introduce more complex programs as my experiences grow, with subject engagement being far more widespread with these hands on approaches. From experience, the use of Beebots within the Early Years Foundation Stage is an excellent way to subtly introduce children to the idea of coding at an early age, without using any new terminology or software. This helps to set the foundations for this knowledge to be built upon throughout their time in school.

Before I continue, it is important to point out the concept of ‘debugging’ when it comes to coding. When children do not achieve their desired outcome on their first try, teachers should highlight this opportunity for exploration as part of their learning process. There is no right or wrong assessment in such cases, but more of an observation on how well a child understands the processes of programming and how well their digital literacy is developing. Learning through experiences and practices of specific situations is far more beneficial than receiving a list of instructions to follow, as this can limit creativity. Resnick and Rosenbaum (2013) refer to this as “tinkering” and point to the benefits of programs that allow children to experiment and adapt their ideas as they go along, rather than having a set goal in mind that they must achieve through strict processes.

Further study has exposed me to a range of programs that are excellent tools to use within school to expand children’s computational thinking. Scratch is one of the most widely used programs within education and has been an underlying point of reference throughout my progression. Using what are known as ‘sprites’ (characters which can be controlled), coding blocks from a pre-set list can be used to create a variety of movements and animations. Scratch can be used for a number of cross-curricular approaches such as developing knowledge of coordinates in numeracy, creating stories in literacy and designing animations in art and design. Allowing children the freedom to create projects in their own individual ways also helps to remove the gender barriers associated with coding (Robertson, 2012).

I was initially apprehensive as to how well I could deliver a lesson in this area, being less than confident in my own background knowledge. However, Scratch can be stripped back to the basics for beginners, as was the case throughout my introductory sessions to the software, which allowed me to explore the functions of this program independently, applying the ‘tinkering’ approach as mentioned previously. As my confidence and experience of the program grew, the more structured activities increased in difficulty, which was a rewarding challenge stretching my knowledge of Scratch further. I found the progression within training sessions to be very effective and my knowledge of Scratch was built upon regularly to create more complicated animations. While some people are more suited to a strict design process before they begin their work, others like myself, are more comfortable adapting their approaches as they go along in light of their experiences. A study conducted by Kafai & Resnick (1996) found that most children use a mixture of both approaches when designing their own computer games. The terminology within scratch is easy to understand and the properties of certain coding blocks could be altered where necessary to make my work more individual, which is something that would appeal to children using this software in the classroom. Such software is extremely interactive and engaging and will most certainly encourage children to participate and develop in this area of computing. The program is easily differentiated for all ability levels and is an inclusive tool with adaptable activities. Through programs such as this, the ability to develop creative thinking skills, expand mathematical knowledge and apply computational ideas is endless (Resnick & Rosenbaum, 2013). The adaptability of Scratch means appropriate lessons and schemes of work can be provided to children as early on as upper key stage one, progressing through to year six with more advanced projects.

On a more physical level, Lego WeDo is one of the most enjoyable programming tools I have been exposed to, partly because Lego is a product which almost every generation can identify with and know how to use. Where this differed from other software is that the Lego provided hands on, physical stimuli, allowing me to see the results of my work directly in my hands as opposed to on a screen. This benefit allows those children who are not as confident with computers to still take part. As instructions are picture based, children who are not as confident at reading, or that are SEN or EAL learners, can still become involved in these sessions without feeling overwhelmed. I found the software to be extremely user friendly and the versatility in what I could choose to create was fantastic. As fine motor skills should be adequately developed to use Lego WeDo, I would suggest this as being more appropriate to introduce to upper key stage one and above.

I enjoyed the use of Lego WeDo and found it extremely user friendly and engaging. I worry that given the cost of one set, certain pieces may go missing within the classroom, but acquiring generic Lego pieces as ‘spares’ should hopefully counteract this issue. As well as having a physical creation that I could handle, interacting with the Lego using proximity sensors made this an even more immersive experience and I would highly recommend the use of such software within primary school, especially for the more kinaesthetic and creative learners.

The wealth of media that children use at home is also a far cry from the ways in which they are exposed to technology within school. This has meant that in the past the subject has been largely irrelevant to learners, including myself (Buckingham, 2007, cited in Allsop, 2012). The new curriculum is aimed at creating stronger links between the exterior and interior influences within a child’s everyday lives i.e. bringing their home experiences into the classroom and applying such knowledge to computing within school (Department for Education and Science, 2013). The Internet is one of the most widely accessed tools for modern consumers and this should be reflected within lessons. Allowing children to create their own websites to record their work, or to present research findings on a particular topic will enable them to share their learning with their peers and the class teacher. The sense of ownership that comes with such creations is extremely beneficial to a child’s self-esteem and creates pride in their own work. Not only does the use of websites have cross-curricular advantages, but the types of content children can incorporate into them can help to expand their knowledge of wider technologies, such as embedding content into websites in particular contexts.

The main advantages of using this form of media, is that it caters for children who learn in a variety of different ways. Those that are more visual learners may choose to include more picture or video based elements, whereas others may be more narrative in nature. This is backed up by Robertson & Good (2005) who stated that “Enabling children the opportunity to express their ideas in a non-textual medium…” allows them to apply their knowledge and creativity in a way that is comfortable to them. This is also a good assessment tool for teachers to use to establish the understanding of a particular topic with certain children who may not be able to express themselves in a pen to paper fashion (Kafai et al, 1998).

Documenting my own development though the creation of a personal website has been extremely beneficial to my learning and brings with it a sense of achievement. The individuality of my site is something I take pride in and having full control over something that is a huge communication tool in modern day society shows a real life application to my learning and to my work. Allowing children to see these benefits and use technology in a practical fashion will allow them to see the different ways in which technology can enrich their learning and their lives in a useful manner. I would however, consider the implications of Internet safety when delivering this topic. As sharing content in the virtual world is now easier than ever (Resnick et al, 1996) I would emphasise the importance of excluding personal, identifiable information should the website be made public, as well as the danger of accessing inappropriate material when conducting internet searches within the classroom.

Building upon this idea of using web tools as a form of communication and assessment, podcasting has become an extremely enjoyable way to incorporate computing in a cross curricular fashion across almost any subject. Children can apply this software in a variety of ways, from creating news reports based on topics such as World War II to practicing debating skills, which would tie in well with Literacy. It is particularly useful for children who are good at verbally expressing themselves but struggle in more formal situations such as descriptive writing. EAL learners can practice their speaking and listening of English and the collaborative teamwork of children when creating their podcasts makes this experience both fun and educational.

My personal exposure to podcasting has been limited, although from my short experience I found it engaging and enjoyable. Interestingly, my colleagues and I each learnt something different through our exposure to this software, and the opportunities for discussion allow this knowledge to be shared, which is crucial to developing a good understanding (Robertson & Howells, 2007). Although I haven’t used podcasting much, I can appreciate its merits and aim to incorporate this into my future teaching practice and develop my knowledge and application of such software further.

Reflecting on my own practices and experiences thus far has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which computing can be used in school in practical ways, and ensuring that knowledge is learnt in a cross-curricular fashion will enable pupils to see everyday uses to their learning. The new curriculum in regard to computing is perhaps one of the few benefits that can be seen from the recent educational changes, as it places much more emphasis on the understanding of the inner workings of certain technologies rather than simply being able to use them. I have felt a significant development in terms of my own digital literacy and the skills I have developed through a good computing scheme of work will span far wider than computing as a singular experience. Roberson & Good (2005) point to the benefits of creative technology forming links with a range of other subject skills. The move from a user to a creator within computing is a long process but provides numerous benefits to children in their everyday adult lives (Robertson, 2012).

Continuous advancements in technology will undoubtedly restructure the approaches of computing further, as well as having children entering school year on year with increasing levels of competence with regard to computing, perhaps removing the subject from the timetable as a singular lesson altogether and incorporating the appropriate application of skills in a cross curricular fashion in future.


Allsop, Y. (2012). Exploring the Educational Value of Children’s Game Authoring Practices: A Primary School Case Study. In 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning (p. 21). Academic Conferences Limited.

DfES (2013) The National Curriculum in England. Computing Programs of Study key stages 1 and 2. Cmnd. DFE-00171-2013. London: HMSO.

Kafai, Y. & Resnick, M. (1996) Constructionism in Practice: Designing, thinking and learning in a digital world. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., Publishers.

Kafai, Y., Marshall, S. & Ching, C. (1998) Collaborative Educational Multimedia Design by Children: Do all learners benefit Equally? Presented at: Proceedings of the 19th National Educational Computing Conference. San Diego, California. 22nd -24th June 1998.

Resnick, M., Martin, F., Sargent, R. & Silverman, B. (1996) Programmable Bricks: Toys to think with. IBM Systems Journal. 35 (3&4) pp. 443-452.

Resnick, M. & Rosenbaum, E. (2013) Designing for Tinkerability in Honey, M. & Kanter, D. Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators. New York: Routledge. Pp. 163-181.

Robertson, J. & Good, J. (2005) Children’s Narrative Development through Computer Game Authoring. Tech Trends. 49(5) pp. 43-59.

Robertson, J. (2012) Making games in the classroom: Benefits and gender concerns. Computers & Education. 59. pp. 385-398.

Robertson, J. & Howells, C. (2008) Computer Game Design: Opportunities for successful learning. Computers and Education. 50. pp. 559-578.




When something is new, or we are teaching outside of our comfort zone it is only natural to keep our lessons ‘safe’ and potentially a bit dull for our students. As teachers are developing their practice in computing education here in the UK, potentially, they could focus on their own subject knowledge and resources rather than creativity in the classroom. Here at Manchester Metropolitan University I wanted to challenge the trainee computing teachers, and their subject mentors in school, to add a sense of innovation and fun to their classrooms. One way to do this was to join in with the #poundlandpedagogy challenge.

The Poundland Pedagogy challenge requires teachers to have a shop and find something that they could use to provide a fresh idea in their classroom. The initiative was originally developed in the UK by Isobella Wallace and you can see lots of ideas on Twitter using #poundlandpedagogy or #poundstorepedagogy. The students here were presented with a range of poundshop items and had to take a ‘lucky dip’ to see what they got. They then had to take their item into school and use it in some way in their computing teaching. They were so creative and have managed to use just about everything from blindfolds to plastic cups. There’s just a giant furry moustache that has us stumped at the moment.
Ideas we have used include clothes pegs and a washing line to place instructions in our algorithm in order, an egg timer to compare the length of time our different sorting algorithms take and string to make different network topologies. We have also used lolly sticks to write pupil names on to choose groups and used a kitchen timer when the interactive whiteboard was otherwise engaged.
In the example below the students are learning about signed integers in binary using sign and magnitude. The student in the pound shop shower cap represents the sign. The pupils loved it and strangely, all wanted a turn to wear the shower cap! You can imagine them all now remembering that for their exams.ellie 1

In this lesson pupils are programming for a prize. The more complex their code the more chances they have of winning at the end of the lesson in the prize draw. For each feature their code has (in this case IF, ELIF and WHILE) a raffle ticket with their name on it is added to the draw. Pupils are really keen to develop their code to win the prize (today, part of a poundland pen set). The raffle tickets cost (you’ve guessed it!) a pound and last for lots of lessons.


‘Splat mats’, designed to go under toddler high chairs to catch all the mess when they are eating, work wonders in a classroom – no, not for the mess – for writing on with dry wipe markers and using again and again. In this example, the pupils are designing apps for a business. They use the green pens at the start of the lesson to identify what they need to learn during their lesson (journey) and then red pens at the end to identify how far they have come and summarise their progress. A great way of getting reluctant writers to do some planning and evaluating.


These suggestions are by no means exhaustive and I’m sure you will have many more creative ideas of your own. Go and have a browse in your local pound shop (or Euro / Dollar equivalent) and let you imagination run wild. Once you try something, tweet your idea with the hashtag #poundlandpedagogy or #poundstorepedagogy and include us @ICTinPractice too so we can see all the great ideas out there. In the meantime if anyone has an idea what to do with a giant furry moustache that fits on bicycle handlebars – let us know!

This article is written with massive thanks to the Manchester Metropolitan University Computing PGCE students, their pupils and mentors.

The gap between theory and practice is a long standing issue in education (Korthagen, 2011). Traditional university-based teacher preparation programs are also faced with making an undergraduate’s learning meaningful by the use of instructional methods by which the digital savvy student wishes to learn (Keengwe & Georgina, 2013). Combining the aforementioned two concepts with a university’s intention to take teacher preparation courses/program delivery into exclusive online formats to meet student demand, presents unique challenges (Perna, 2010). Below please find one of those challenges described and one university program coordinator’s solution to that challenge.

The Challenge
A unique challenge is the verification of k-12 school-based visits for observations or teaching activities that an instructor has assigned that a university student pre-service teacher candidate must complete in order to fulfill the requirements of the course. The purpose of the field based observations/activities is to satisfy a state requirement that teacher candidates have so many clock hours in a classroom before their internship/clinical teaching practicum. Also the purpose of the field based observations/activities is to provide a bridge between the theories and strategies a pre-service teacher candidate will learn in their course work and teaching actual students in k-12 schools (Brannon & Feine, 2013). In a more traditional setting, a university will have established a partnership with the local public school system, or systems, within a short driving distance from the university. Teacher candidates will visit these local schools to perform the necessary visits during the time the course is supposed to meet in a face-to-face manner, and the university instructor/professor will also be at the school at the same prescribed time to make sure that the teacher candidates are indeed there. The k-12 school personnel also will sometimes require that the teacher candidates sign a visitor’s log book. In this scenario, if the university class is large, then there might be several different school campuses to which the teacher candidates may be assigned, leaving the university instructor/professor limited options of which schools and which teacher candidates to visit within a limited time frame. This does present the problem of some teacher candidates who may not be observed by the instructor at any one time. It also does leave an opportunity for some teacher candidates to sign the visitor’s book at the k-12 school’s front desk and immediately leave campus without ever stepping foot in the classroom (which unfortunately has happened). To assist with this problem a solution was developed for the teacher candidate to not only sign in at the front desk, but also in the teacher’s classroom. This solution works on a limited basis as classroom teachers cannot be expected to monitor a teacher candidate’s comings and goings. The classroom teacher has his/her hands quite full performing their own responsibilities. Collecting those sign in sheets can become a challenge at the end of the semester. Experience has shown that some teacher candidates did offer to collect those sign in sheets and bring them to the university unfortunately some of those sign in sheets did prove to be fraudulent.

Moving from face-to-face content delivery to online content delivery, but still maintain the k-12 campus mandated field experiences presented mind boggling challenges. In addition, the “anytime, anywhere” initiatives of e-learning in higher education certainly “throws down the gauntlet” (Bischel, 2013). At our particular university we are also faced with teacher candidates who work at jobs in order to pay for their college courses. We needed to give them the flexibility to arrange and complete the field experience observations/activities during the k-12 school day to work around job schedules. The caveat we did give them was that they needed to make the once per week visits to the k-12 campus at the same time and the same day of the week, every week, so that the teachers and the administrators of the k-12 schools knew when to expect them and could plan for those visits. There were also constant reminders to the teacher candidates that they were guests in the k-12 schools, they were to dress and behave accordingly.

Taking into consideration the previous problems with the pen and paper sign in sheets, an idea to combat the fraudulent signatures issue was to use mobile devices and QR codes. Since the majority of the current teacher candidates belonged to the Net Geners (Berk, 2010), the use of QR codes seemed most appealing. The teacher candidates were instructed to download free apps to read QR codes onto their smart phones. The instructor for the course held hands-on trainings for the teacher candidates at each of the assigned campuses to train them how to download the app and then how to scan a QR code. The instructor for the course created different QR codes for each k-12 campus front desk and each individual teacher classroom. The k-12 campus administrators and teachers were quite happy at the thought of not having to keep up with physical paper sign-in sheets. Also this shifted the burden of accountability for the teacher candidates out of their hands and into the hands of the teacher candidates and university. Again, they have enough to be concerned about in this era of high-stakes testing other than to also monitor university teacher candidates. The teacher candidates were given instructions to scan the QR code at the front desk when entering the building, go to the teacher’s classroom and scan the QR code inside the classroom door. When the observation was over, the teacher candidates were given the instructions to scan the QR code inside the classroom door, then scan the QR code at the front desk when leaving the building. Therefore, each visitation required for scans. The QR code scans were to be emailed immediately to the instructor. In the beginning of the semester this method was tried, all went extremely well and messages came into the instructor on time. Then as the semester progressed, messages of teacher candidates campus visits started showing up on weekends and k-12 school holidays. Upon investigation, not all, but several teacher candidates had figured out how to save the QR codes in their smart phones and would message them to the instructor when they remembered them without having step foot on the k-12 campus. This was discovered when the instructor changed the QR code for the sign in at the front desk of several campuses just to check and see which teacher candidates may be involved. Also as further proof, the instructor had a picture roster of the candidates and showed those photos to the k-12 administrators and teachers to see if they remembered seeing them. This method using the QR codes definitely proved to be not the answer sought.

The reader of this article may be wondering why all of this was necessary anyway, just what does an instructor do all day if all they do is teach online? Like many other places, we at the higher education level are being asked to do more with less. More committees and projects with fewer faculty; more accreditation requirements with less personnel to establish the assessment and data collection; more service to college, university, community and profession with less time available; plus, more demands to become innovative and move as many courses as possible to online delivery formats but still maintain best-practices. Also, there are more stringent requirements for accreditation accountability, therefore, we need to utilize technology smartly and effectively.

Drawing from the 2011 Horizon Report, more and more educational facilities are investing in the infrastructure to support mobile device access. Many schools are investing in mobile devices and digital resources for educational purposes (U. S. Dept. of Ed, 2014). In addition, Chromebooks are as popular among school systems as are iPads and may become even more popular (Kosner, 2014). Our university had some Chromebooks not being used by faculty, so It made sense to combine all of these elements to come up with another high-tech sign in procedure for our pre-service teacher candidates. The idea was born from the fact that many of our pre-service teachers are quite adept at taking selfies from their smartphones and posting them to social media sites. Why not take advantage of this? A university Chromebook was placed at every k-12 campus where the teacher candidates had been assigned. The teacher candidates were instructed to take a selfie from their assigned k-12 school campus using the Chromebook placed there and then upload the photo into a designated area in the university’s learning management system (LMS) every time they make the field experience visit. The photo was done using the webcam app on the Chromebook and saved into the Chromebook’s files with date and time. The photo is then uploaded into the LMS again with date and time designations provided by the LMS. It is a very simple procedure, taking less than 5 minutes of a teacher candidate’s time to take the selfie, save it to the Chromebook’s files, log into the LMS, and upload the selfie into the LMS assignment area. At the beginning of each semester, course instructor training sessions were held on each k-12 campus to help the teacher candidates learn the Chromebook sign in process. Several of these sessions were held and it was mandatory for the teacher candidates to attend one of them. It also gave the instructor and the teacher candidates a chance to meet one another face to face. However, it was recognized early on that not every teacher candidate could attend the training sessions, so complete detailed instructions were given in the course LMS.

Fortunately, the school campuses the teacher candidates were to visit have a Raptor School Security System. The visitor to the school campus surrenders his/her driver’s license to the receptionist. The receptionist inserts the driver’s license into the Raptor System. The Raptor System then compares the identity on the driver’s license to criminal offense data bases. The system also printed out a name tag with the school’s name, the visitor’s name, the date, and the time of the visit. To serve as another verification for the date and time designations, as well as school campus locations, the teacher candidates were to take the selfie and include the Raptor ID name tag somewhere in the photo they are to upload into the LMS every time they make a visit to the k-12 school. The school personnel would require the teacher candidates to surrender the name tags before they left the building at the end of their visits, so providing the name tag labels the Raptor System provided was out of the question. An added benefit to the Raptor System is that if there was a question about a teacher candidate’s campus attendance, the system did keep internal records as to who visited the campus when, and the teacher candidate could be searched for by name.

Teacher Candidate Response

The Chromebook log in procedure did guarantee that the teacher candidate visited his/her assigned campus. It did not guarantee that the teacher candidates actually went to the k-12 mentor teacher’s classroom, however, that is a challenge to be worked on next. What we did have was a dually verifiable campus visitation procedure that would continue to assist the online instructors. Overall, the teacher candidates’ responses were very positive. Using a very informal focus group to gage their perceptions of the process, they seemed to have enjoyed the whole selfie procedure and the chance to use technology in a different manner. Many of them were not very familiar with Chromebooks, had seen Chromebooks being used in k-12 school classrooms, and liked the idea of learning how to use one. It is to be noted that some of the teacher candidates struggled with the process. They were not as far along the digital native-ness spectrum as is mentioned in the 2011 Horizon Report, however, they were willing to learn, recognizing the need for themselves to become more tech savvy.

Berk, R. A. (2010). How do you leverage the latest technologies,

including Web 2.0 tools, in your classroom? International Journal

         of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 1-13.
Bischel, J. (2013). The state of e-learning in higher education: An eye

         toward growth and increased access. Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE

Center for Analysis and Research. Retrieved from   http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ers1304/ERS1304.pdf
Brannon, D. & Feine, J. (2013). The effect structured participation

experiences have on pre-service teachers’ preparedness to teach

reading. Education, 134(2), 185-194.
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., & Haywood, K., (2011).

         The 2011 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media

Keengwe, J. & Georgina, D. (2013). Supporting digital natives to learn

effectively with technology tools. International journal of

         information & communication technology education, 9(1), 51-

  1. Korthagen, F. (2011). Making teacher education relevant for practice:

The pedagogy of realistic teacher education. Orbis Scholae, 5(2),

Kosner, A. W. (2014, December 1). Google unseats Apple in U.S.

classrooms as Chromebooks beat iPads. Forbes.com Retrieved

http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2014/12/01/google      -unseats-apple-in-u-s-classrooms-as-chromebooks-beat-ipads/
Perna, L. W. (2010). Understanding the working college student.

Academe, 96(4), 30-33.
U. S. Department of Education. (2014). Use of technology in teaching

and learning. [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/oii-        news/use-technology-teaching-and-learning.
Raptor Technologies, Inc. (2014). Visitor management made simple

and secure. [Website]. Retrieved from





Hold a beating 3D heart in the palm of your hand and watch as blood flows through it, travel to the centre of the Earth’s core, or share a yarn whilst floating along the Milky Way. Augmented Learning cuts new waves into education by resurrecting a lost race of dinosaurs inside a schoolbag, floating the entire solar system across children’s fingertips, and by injecting an additional edge into mathematics. Imaginality Augmented Learning is a 3D learning tool that uses a set of smart cards or ‘paddles’, any ordinary webcam and unique software to close the gap between the everyday and the seemingly impossible.

1Designed to enhance students understanding of spatial, temporal and contextual information, this software brings education to life using Augmented Reality.

Rooted in two main platforms, Play or Create, Imaginality has a database of 47 modules in Science, Geography, History, English or Mathematics to choose from; including The Earth Builder, Story Creator, and Volume of Pyramids modules. Imaginality also offers teachers the flexibility to create their own entirely individual 3D lesson plans and content via Google Sketch up.

Augmented Learning promises and encourages the following:

• Reduced errors in tasks, while boosting student confidence and academic progression.

• Delivery of complex concepts with an engaging flair that is easy for students to understand.

• Assisting kinaesthetic learners and children with special learning requirements.

• Encouraging high achieving students whilst reducing disruptions within classrooms.

Imaginality Modules

Please get in touch to book your complimentary demonstration and we will be delighted to showcase Imaginality Learning’s unique software at your school. In the meantime, take a look at what our primary school visitors had to say at BETT 2015!


Twitter: @Imaglearning

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This book has been written for primary teacher trainees, in service primary school teachers and teacher support staff to develop their knowledge and understanding of primary computing. The book is also useful for parents and teachers, from any country, to gain an insight into what young children learn, when working with different types of technology, from the Early Years Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3.


Yasemin Allsop

Yasemin Allsop worked as an ICT Coordinator in primary schools in London for almost 10 years. She is currently employed as Senior Lecturer in Primary Computing and ICT at Roehampton University. She has MA ICT in Education from the London Knowledge Lab, University of London. She is also an MPhil/PhD student, focusing on children’s thinking, learning and metacognition when designing digital games. She published widely in quality journals and presented at conferences. She is the editor of an online magazine called ICT in Practice where educators from around the world share their experiences of using technology in education. More information can be found on her website at www.yaseminallsop.me.uk

Ben Sedman

Ben Sedman is a Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University. Previous to this role he taught for 7 year within the Primary sector. Ben currently teaches within the STEM Division at MMU, delivering primary D&T and Computing sessions to trainees and teachers. He has completed his MA in Education, has been involved in a European funded project and helps coordinate the Erasmus Exchange Programme. Ben is interested in a range of creative teaching approaches and enjoys photography. This is his first book. Some of his work can be viewed at www.bensedmanphotography.com


1) What is computing? – Yasemin Allsop

2) Computing in the Early Years – Eleanor Hoskins

3) Tell a story and make a game –Yasemin Allsop

4) Computer science unplugged! – Alessandro Bogliolo

5) Tinkering time: Adventures in 3D designs -Selcuk Ozdemir & Ahmet Celik

6) Film, animation and podcasting: lets get creative! – Ben Sedman

7) Embedding computing in science -Maggie Morrissey

8) Linking mathematics and computing – Sue Pope

9) E-Safety and digital citizenship – Ben Sedman

10) Imagine, write and share: blogs, wikis and – Ben Sedman

11) Transition to Secondary: Mapping Your Skills – Ellie Overland

12) A brief overview of monitoring, evaluation and assessment of computing – Yasemin Allsop
13) Planning and assessment of computing and computational thinking- Mark Dorling and John Woollard

* We would like to thank Susan Adams for her contribution to Chapter 3 with an activity.

Bir süre önce İnternette Minecraft’ın Türkiye’de yasaklanması gerektiğine dair bir haber okudum. Beni bayağı düşündüren bir haber. Sonra aklıma Londra’da Wilbury ilkokulunda yıllarca hem öğretmenlik hem de teknoloji kordinatörlügü yaparken eğittiğim öğrencilerim geldi. Beni okul koridorlarında aylarca takip eden, Minecraft’da yarattıkları dünyalardan hiç durmadan bahseden ve bana günde bin kere ne zaman Minecraft’ı okulumuza getirecegimizi soran öğrencilerim. Zaten oğlumla da evde oynadığımız için bayağı bir bilgim var idi. Acaba onlara Minecraft yasaklandı desem yüzlerindeki ifade ne olurdu? Canavarlar, hep o yaramaz canavarlar yüzünden desem anlarlar mıydı sebebini, ya da bu yeterli olurmuydu onlar için.

Bugün eğitim alanındaki en büyük şikayettlerden biri öğrencilerin derslere olan ilgisizligi ve motivasyon düzeylerinin düşüklüğüdür. Ve bu sadece bir iki ülkede değil, dünyanın her yerinde eğitimcilerin karşı karşıya oldukları bir sorundur. Tabiki bunun bir çok sebebi vardır, özellikle öğrencilerin kişisel durumlarından kaynaklanan çok farklı sebepler. Ancak günümüz çocuklarının ve gençlerinin okul dışındaki hayatlarında son teknolojik gelismelerinde etkisiyle öğrenme ve düşünme biçimlerinin değiştigi artık bir çok araştırmalarla ortaya konulmuştur. Ana sorun eğitimden sorumlu devlet birimlerinin bu değişimlerin eğitimin doğasında yarattığı etkiyi algılayamayıp yeniliği sınıflarara taşıyamamasıdır. Sonuç ortada, öğrenmekden zevk almayan, ezberleyerek öğrendiklerini bir ay sonra unutan, işlemsel düşünme yeteneğinden ve hayatın her alanında faydalı olacak transfer edilebilen becerilerden yoksun bir nesil. Goldsmiths, University of London’dan Dr. Jessel ile yaptığımız son araştırmamızda, müfredat, pedagoji ve derslerde uygulama arasındaki dinamik ilişkillerden bahsettik. İlginç olan ülkelerin kültürel ve felsefi inançlarının bu dinamik bağda olan etkisi idi. Kısacası, eğitimin bilimsel gelişmelerden edinilen veriler ile değil, politikal etkenler ile şekillendirilmesi eğitimin ilerlemesini durdurur ve gerilemesine neden olur.

Gelelim Minecraft’a…

Minecraft eğitimde öğrencilere hem eğlenerek hem de yaparak sınırsız bir öğrenme dünyası sunan bir araçdır. Yalnız dikkat edelim araç diye tanımladım ve bir aracın etkili olarak kullanılması, eğitimcilerin aracın içeriğini anlayıp başarılı bir şekilde derslere entegre etmesine bağlıdır. Yani araba kaza yapınca, kazaya sebep olan araba mıdır yoksa arabayı kullanan mı? Minecraft’da canavarlar olduğu ve küçük yaştaki çocuklarda olumsuz etki yaratma olasılığı doğrudur, ancak bu Minecraft EDU’da oyun ayarlarındaki düzenleme ile kontrol edilebilir.

Minecraft’ı okul müdüremize ilk gösterdiğimde, “ah, bu çocukların hep konuştukları oyun değil mi?” dedi. Sonra bana derslerde nasıl kullanılabileceğini sordu. Örenklerle bildiğim kadarıyla açıkladım. “Bunu okula getirelim” dedi. Önce okul sistemine yükledik. Sonra çocuklara haber vermeden okuldaki her ögretmen ve öğretmen yardımcısına programı kullanmayı öğrettik. Öğretmenlerle toplantı yapıp hangi derslerde hangi konuyu öğretmeleri için kullanabileceklerine dair sohbet ettik. Ve sonunda öğrencilere Minecraft’ı derslerde kullanacaklarını söyledik. Öyle bir çığlık attılar ki müdüremiz bile odasından duyup geldi.

 Nasıl kullandık?

Ben Minecraft’ı ilk olarak 6. sınıfların(10-11 yaş) tarih dersinde kullandım. Dersimizin konusu antik uygarlıklardı. Roma, Mısır ve Yunan uygarlıklarının mimarileri hakkında öğreniyorduk. Önce çocuklara gruplarını kurmalarını ve bu uygarlıklardan birini seçmelerini söyledim ve sonrada seçtikleri antik uygarlık hakkında bilgi toplamalarını. Neredeyse iki ders araştırma ile geçti, bir ders de dizaynı kağıt üzerinde planlamakla ve son olarak 4 dersde binaları Minecraft’da yapmakla. Bu proje detayları https://wilbury-minecraft-ancient-egypt.wikispaces.com sitesinde öğrenciler tarafından paylaşılmışdır.

Aynı zamanda yeni öğretmen olan iş arkadaşım Elliott Plumb 5. sınıf (9-10 yaş) ögrencilerine Viktoryalılar hakkında öğretiyordu. Kendisine Minecraft’ı kullanmasını önerdim ve nasıl kullanıldığını gösterdim. Beraber ders planını hazırladık ve kendisi sınıfını Forty Hall adında Viktoryalılar döneminden kalma müze olarak kullanılan bir yere gotürdü. Çocuklar binanın resimlerini çekip, boyutlarını ölçtüler. Sonra okula dönüp gruplara ayrılıp projeyi kağıt üzerinde planladılar. Binayı Minecraft’da yaparken kullandıkları ölçeğin yanlış olduğunu farkedip, tekrar planlama aşsamasına döndüler. Proje detaylarını https://fortyhallminecraftproject.wikispaces.com sitesinde okuyabilirsiniz.

 Peki, öğrenciler ne öğrendi?

Aşagıdaki listeye baktığımızda, Minecraft’ın sadece teknoloji becerileri ögretmekden ibaret olmadığını, öğrencilerin STEAM kavram ve yeteneklerini geliştirmesine de olanak verdiğini söyleyebiliriz.

  • İşbirliği içinde takım olarak çalışma
  • Problem çözme
  • İletişim kurma
  • Yaratıcılık
  • Kritik düşünme
  • İleri seviyede teknoloji bilgisi
  • Tarih
  • Matematik- binaların boyutlarını ölçmek ve ebatlarını hesaplamak
  • Coğrafya- ölçek kullanmak
  • Sanat- Tasarim
  • En önemlisi zevk alarak öğrendiler ve eğlenerek, yaparak öğrenilen her şey daha ozone süre hafızamızda kalır.

İngiltere’de ICT

İngiltere’de ICT okullarda 1988 Educatıon reform Act ile 5-16 yaş arası çocuklar için zorunlu oldu. 1999 yılında müfredata ayrı bir ders olarak girdi ve araç olarak her dersde kullanılması gerektiği belirtildi. 2014 yılında ise ICT yerini Computıng dersine bırakdı ve öğretmekde olduğumuz teknoloji derslerine programcılık da eklendi.

İngiltere’de her sınıf öğretmen adayı cok güçlü bir teknoloji eğitiminden geçer ve teknolojiyi her dersde etkili olarak kullanması beklenir. Atama sistemi de olmadığından herkes kendi işini kendisi bulur. Dolayısıyla teknoloji alanında kendini yetiştirmemiş bir öğretmenin iş bulması zordur. Teknoloji koordinatörleri de yıllarca öğretmen olarak çalışmış kişiler arasından görüşme ile seçilir. Bu sınıf öğretmenliğine ilaveten bir isdir ve seçilen sınıf öğretmenine bu görevi yerine getirmesi için ekstra zaman ve para verilir. Ben 10 yıl Londra’daki ilkokullarda sınıf öğretmeni ve ICT coordinatörü olarak çalıştım ve son 1.5 yıldır Manchester Metropolitan Üniversitesinde İlkokul öğretmen adaylarına teknolojiyi bütün derslere etkili şekilde entegre etmeleri konusunda ders veriyorum. Artı STEM merkezimizde teknoloji alanında okullara yonelik eğitim seminarları düzenliyorum. Bu yıl ögretmenler için ilk Minecraft atölyemiz Temmuz ayında yer alacak. İlgi çok yüksek ve yakında Minecraft’ın eğitimde nasıl kullanılması gerektiğini örneklerle açıklayan kitabımız yayınlanacak.

Biliyorum Turkiye’de farklı bir sistem var, ancak ben bilişim öğretmenlerinin ve sınıf öğretmenlerinin bir arada çalışarak teknolojiyi anlamlı bir şekilde kullanıp eğitim ve öğretimi geliştirecekleri kanaatindeyim. Böyle hazır eğitilmiş bir iş gücü var iken, etkili şekilde kullanılmamasını bır türlü aklım almıyor.

Diyecegim o ki, teknolojinin eğitim ve öğretimin doğasında yarattığı etkiyi anlamayan, müfredatı buna göre şekillendirmeyen ve eğitimcilerine kendilerini bu alanda sürekli geliştirme imkanı vermeyen eğitim sistemleri ilerlemeyip gerileyeceklerdir. Eğitim sistemleri geride kalmiş ülkelerin ne kadar ilerleyebileceğini tahmin etmek de sanırım zor değildir. Yalnız hatırlatalım ki, eğitim reformu sınıflara akıllı tahta koymakla veya sınıftaki sıraların yerini değiştirmekle olacak bir iş değildir. Eğitimin siyasi etkenlerden arındırılıp, eğitimcilere bırakılması şartdır!

Sorumuz neydi? Minecraft yasaklansın mı, yasaklanmasın mı?

Bu soruyu soranlara tavsiyem önce bir oturup Minecraft ile oynamalarıdır. Teknolojiyi aynen çocuklar gibi kullanmak, onların geçtiği düşünme ve öğrenme sürecini anlayıp etkili dersler planlayıp öğretmemize yardım edecekdir. Çocukların zevk aldıkları her şeyi ellerinden almak yerine, bunları eğitimde amaçlı ve planlı şekilde kullanıp onların öğrenmeyi sevmelerine destek olalım. Olalım ki okula gelmek ve öğrenmek için can atsınlar, öğrendiklerinide hatırlayıp hem okulda ve hem de okul dışındaki günlük hayatlarında karşılaştıkları sorunlara çözüm üretmek için kullansınlar.

Bırakın da çocuklar zevk alarak, yaparak, oynayarak öğrensinler. Bırakın da çocuklar yanlış cevap verdiklerinde ellerine vurulan cetvelleri değil, soru sorduklarında tek ayak üstünde bekletildikleri günleri değil, bir sınavın bütün geleceklerine karar verdiği bir sistemin stresi ile değil de Minecraft’da arkadaşlarıyla tasarladıkları muhteşem dünyaları hatırlayarak öğrenip büyüsünler.

Yasemin Allsop

Senior Lecturer in Primary Computing and ICT

Manchester Metropolitan University




This year we have decided to meet up with our local community. We wanted to have a day of tinkering with ideas together with children, parents and teachers. What we have in our mind is different from a conventional summit. We don’t want to sit and listen to others or watch another Power Point presentation. We usually have a nap half-way through anyway. We want to have fun, make things, break things, re-make them, then break them again! Basically just explore the world of learning with technology through play.

We are very privileged to be partnered with the WOW Zone for this event. Please visit the WOW zone website to find out more about their amazing activities.

Submit a Workshop

Would you like to share your ideas or complete a project with children, parents or teachers? Then this is the festival for you. We are not limiting your imagination. You can play games or make games, or maybe create a podcast show, even design a robot. Join us and unleash your creativity. Visit  http://festivaloflearningwithtechnology.ictinpractice.com  to find out more.

Remember the deadline for submission is June 30th 2015.