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ICT in the Early Years

Kirsten Telford explains how she took her ICT teaching a step further with her Primary one class.

Primary Teacher

Teaching ICT across the curriculum is a big priority in a Curriculum for Excellence and lots of schools appreciate teachers with skills in this area. All probationers attend basic ICT training, but I myself was slightly concerned about how applicable it all was in my primary one class. I had used smartboard games and programmable toys but I really wanted to take my ICT teaching a step further. I found blogging was a great way to do this.

Using Glow

Glow is the national intranet across Scotland so it is a brilliant way of sharing practice and recording children's learning in a secure forum. Once you have your Glow password you're ready to get started and it really isn't as daunting as it might sound. The Glow and LTS websites offer lots of guidance to help you to set up a Glow group and technical advice is often on hand in school. Have a look at https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk to get started. It's also really useful to look around at other people's blogs to get a feel of what style you like. The Glow 'cookbooks' offer great advice and examples of how blogging has been used in various contexts. Here is an example of how West Lothian used a Glow group to share learning across their authority: http://cookbooks.glowscotland.org.uk/blog/2010/10/15/sharing-the-learning-using-a-glow-blog/

Create discussion

In the middle or upper stages of primary school I think it would be a good idea to teach the children how to make their own blogs and they could record their own learning in an individual way. This could be especially effective for personal learning profiles to be created for transition. In the early years, I would advise using the blog to create discussion as a whole class. Once you've created your blog with a header image that you like you are ready to leave your first post. This should be a welcome message that explains what your blog is about and what it's purpose is – I called our blog the 'P1 Learning Story' and explained that it was designed to encourage the children to reflect on their learning.

Updating the blog

The children and I take photos of their activities throughout the week. We tend to choose a different focus each week – it might be our active maths lessons, our new senses topic or what we did during Road Safety week. I upload the photos to the blog and type an explanation of what we were learning. This is simple to do – you just click 'add image' when you're creating your post. You can also add links to other web pages you have been using, which means you can have online videos or games that you have used in class accessible through your blog.

Reflection time

At the end of every week we have reflection time, when the children are encouraged to reflect on what they have learned and talk about what they enjoyed, what they found tricky and what they would like to learn next. As they are talking I type their comments into the 'Reply' box to a post I have made. This really involves the children in their learning and they love to see the photos of what they have been doing and their work. By the end of the year I hope to have the children all logged into Glow themselves and I plan to teach them how to leave comments independently.