I came to Lambeth CLC for a week placement as part of my PGCE course. Having thought that I was reasonably up-to-date with my knowledge of ICT and it’s application in schools, I realised how much new and exciting technology there is available that I didn’t previously know about, and how this can really enhance learning for both children and adults.
Being on an Early Years PGCE course, I was particularly interested in how ICT could be used with young learners. On my first day, I was lucky enough to participate in a Robot workshop with some year 1 children from a nearby primary school. We used the BeeBot and Pippin robots, and experimented with simple programming to navigate mazes and move the robots in prescribed shapes. Although, at face value, this was an exercise in programming, it brought so many areas of the curriculum together. The children had to take turns, communicate their ideas to one another, use positional language and talk about shapes and measurements. They also began to develop an awareness of different angle measurements, and how to use this knowledge to make the robots move to where they wanted them to. This first hand experience brought the children’s learning to life, and gave them real experiences to draw on during the wide range of follow up work that could be done around these areas of learning.
Another workshop that I found particularly interesting was an e-safety workshop for year 6 children. Having not had the internet at home until my later teens, this workshop made me realise how different the dangers faced by much younger children are from what I myself experienced. The technologies available are much more advanced, and with the social media boom, children are exposed to different dangers now than they ever have been before. The flip-side of this, of course, is the resources and learning tools that are available to children now are better and more varied as a result of the internet being so widely available. The e-safety workshop gave both the children and adults present some extremely useful advice and precautions to make their internet use both safe and enjoyable. The children got to put their learning into practise, and the discussions that this workshop generated were extremely interesting.
Along with the ICT workshops that I participated in, I also got to see how Lambeth CLC takes projects out into the wider community. In a family learning day, I got to experience how schools use various projects to bring parents in and give them some tools and training in order to feel confident in helping their children with their learning at home. The parents were all incredibly keen to help their children, but sometimes were unsure of some of the methods that schools were using to teach the children. The course gave the parents some key strategies , and also offered them accreditation for having completed the course. By using interactive technologies, such as iPads, digital cameras and interactive white boards, the parents could really engage with their learning and the experience was incredibly interactive.
Being at Lambeth CLC has given me lots of new ideas that I can’t wait to try out in the classroom. I have seen how ICT can be used to enhance learning, and to make new experiences available to both adults and children. The team here have really supported me in developing my own knowledge, and I’ve had a fantastic time!!