After visiting this school’s Facebook page, I noticed the following types of posts:
Photos of class work/displays
Photos of individual children’s work
Information/notifications/reminders for parents/carers
Events going on for the children in school (which may include photos) and events families can get involved in
Westfield Junior – types of posts:
The types of posts I observed on this school’s Facebook page include:
Reminders for parents/carers about events taking place
Congratulation/well done posts
Information for parents/carers (e.g. about school closures, school trip updates)
Posts about events (including photos)
Federation of Riders Infant and Junior Schools – types of posts:
Below is a list of the types of posts that can be found on this Facebook page:
Information/reminders for parents/carers (e.g. school trip updates)
Events taking place (including photos)
Link to questionnaire
Video clips (or links to these)
Porchester Junior School – types of posts:
Here are the types of posts I found on this school’s website:
Information/reminders for parents (e.g. about events taking place, school closures)
Posts about events (including photos)
Congratulations/well done posts
Good luck posts
Content the children are learning about
Reflection – how these schools use their pages in a professional capacity:
All of the above schools use Facebook very effectively in a professional capacity. Realising that in the present day many parents and carers will be users of Facebook, these schools have put this to their advantage by using the site as a fantastic communication tool. Each one of these schools uses Facebook to keep parents/carers up to date and informed, which is a fantastic benefit of technology. The social network is also used professionally, as parents/carers/relatives of the children attending these schools may feel more involved within the school community and are able to engage in conversation through posting comments. While the schools differ slightly in the content of their posts, it is clear by looking at their pages that Facebook provides a brilliant opportunity to gain insight into the life of each school.
The University of Winchester Facebook Pages – Liked:
‘Smart’ acronym poster (top left): this poster is very descriptive and is therefore suited to older children, however it is still colourful and eye-catching. The use of the acronym provides a way for children to remember their responsibilities as digital citizens.
‘All digital citizens’ poster (top right): this is a powerful poster as it briefly summarises the main points about what being a digital citizen entails, meaning that it is suitable for younger children also. By being concise, the key messages of the poster are more likely to be take on board by children.
‘I am a digital citizen’ poster (middle left): I would suggest that this poster is another one that is targeted at older children, due to the use of some more complex language. However, it is still child-friendly due to the use of pictures and colour. The words highlighted in bold enable the reader to create a summary in their mind of the important elements which make up a digital citizen.
‘eSafety Tips’ poster (middle left): The use of colour and pictures make this poster visually appealing. It describes in short the main aspects of internet safety to ensure that children know how to protect themselves and others, and could be shown and displayed to older and younger pupils (although a relatively good reading ability is required).
‘Be safe online’ poster (bottom left): Again, this poster uses colour, pictures and short sentences to impart knowledge of how to be safe online. Its simplicity also makes it suitable for all children with a fairly good reading ability, old and young. It also focuses on the safety of individuals, while reminding of the importance of respect for others.
‘Staying Safe on Your Learning Journey’ (bottom right): This poster holds a substantial amount of content – although this is not necessarily something negative, as headings are used to summarise key points, while the descriptions underneath add a greater degree of precision. It would be aimed for display to older children.
What the posters have in common:
They are all visually appealing – each of these posters use colour to attract readers.
They all provide a summary of key points – whether that may be in the form of a short sentence, a heading or by using bold writing.
Reiterated points in multiple posters include: retaining the privacy of personal details, being kind and respectful, receiving adult support, taking action against cyberbullying and the danger of strangers.
Reflection on how the schools use their Facebook pages in a professional capacity:
Cornerstone Church of England Primary School Whiteley use their Facebook page as a platform for sharing information about the school and the classes within it with parents. So sharing pictures and links of what the children have learnt or produced in class.They also post comments about events happening within the school.
Westfield Junior School – St Ives use their Facebook mainly to pass information onto parents about events or information. Also provides information about the wider community and post pictures of the children occasionally.They post about celebrations of the school (e.g. children who won the hamper competition) but also general celebrations (e.g. Christmas and New year).
Federation of Riders Infant and Junior Schools uses their Facebook page to post general update posts to parents and visitors of the school, it also replies to questions/ comments of any parents or visitors to the page. It also posts pictures of school trips and of their pupils learning in different environments.
Porchester Junior School posts updates about the achievements of the children in their school. They also posts replies to queries or comments to parents. They have also posted pictures of school trips, e.g. their school residential trip. Porchester also post key events and dates on their Facebook wall, including reminder of term dates.
Below are the 10 different posts around the theme of Computing and ICT
By researching and posting these websites on Facebook I learned about how many different resources are out on the internet to help and support teachers within their learning around ICT and Computing, and how they can therefore help the children. This was a really useful task and I now have a bank full of ICT and Computing resources to use in future practice.
During this session we explored a free coding website called ‘Scratch’ (https://scratch.mit.edu/). Similar to the ‘Hour of Code’, in order to code using Scratch, instruction blocks must be moved from the left over to the right. In doing so, the sprite (which is set as a cat) changes e.g. by moving. The sprite and background can however be changed as there are multiple options available, and in addition drawings can be created on the right and will then appear on the box to the left. Scratch activity cards are a valuable resource which can be used with children to help them familiarise with the program.
‘Starter projects’ are another feature of the website which include animations and games that allow children to view the codes created in order that such projects work, by clicking on the ‘see inside’ option.
Following the session I discovered an article on a website called ‘WIRED’ (http://www.wired.com/2009/03/scratch-lowers/). The article explains Scratch (what it can be used for and how to use it), as well as highlighting its intentional design which keeps children as the target users in mind.
We also looked at a free coding app which works in the same way as Scratch. As opposed to the code influencing a sprite on-screen, in this case it programs ‘Dash and Dot’ to move and/or speak. It is an extremely interactive, fun and amazing way to learn about coding – for instance, it even responds to the sound of clapping.
We looked at the coding website of Scratch in the seminar, which I found difficult to use. We were unable to use the instruction cards due to a fault with the system therefore I was unsure how to make the coding link to the sprite (which carried out the coding). I think before I used this in school I would need some more practice using the programme, as I would feel unable to explain to the children what they had to do or able to support them in using the programme.
The programme had some clear benefits, such as helping the children to use algorithms and debugging skills. The programme had quite a lot of freedom and the children can input as many different instructions as they like in different orders, allowing creativity and individuality. The programme also allows the children to create their own background and choose different sprites, which makes the programme more exciting and creative.
This source is useful to show the different qualities of Scratch. It says that the programme can be used for storytelling and simple animations, as well as fun and interactive games. The programme is available in over 50 different languages and the colourful images will make coding more interesting and engaging for the children. The children will learn about “sprites, the stage, and how to create loops using blocks” which therefore introduces them to programming language.
This was the second programme we looked at, which allowed the children to take part in coding. This allows children of all ages to develop programming skills, as well as problem solving skills. Flowol supports many programming elements:
Sequences of instructions
Branching using decisions
Loops (infinite, or based on a condition or count)
Variables and simple variable manipulation
Sub-procedures (parameters optional)
Multiple parallel threads
The programme sets real life scenarios, for example turning the light on in a lighthouse, which will engage the children, as what they are programming therefore has more meaning.
Dots and Dashes
We also looked at Dots and Dashes, which are similar to the bee-bots, where children can programme the course by inputting the algorithm. I would need to look at how to programme these in more detail before I used them in a classroom, however I am sure that they would really engage the children and help them with inputting algorithms.