The Australian Digital Technologies curriculum calls for teachers to teach the underlying concepts of computer science and not traditional ICT, or at it’s most basic level, not ‘computing skills’. Computing skills (ICT) comes under the general capabilities banner, where it is expected to be taught across curriculum in all learning areas. Below is an info-graphic explaining this which was created and downloaded from the Digital Technologies Hub.
The first activity I’d like to share integrates ICT general capabilities with HASS and Arts. With this week being National Reconciliation week, Reception teachers at my school have been reading Indigenous Dreamtime stories to students. For readers of this blog who aren’t Australian, The Dreamtime is the Aboriginal understanding of the world, of it’s creation, and it’s great stories. The Dreamtime is the beginning of knowledge, from which came the laws of existence. For survival these laws must be observed. The Dreaming world was the old time of the Ancestor Beings.
Students then went to the computer room (our R-Y2 students share iPads, but they still go the computer room for access to desktop/lap top computers) and were taught, then explored two applications, Microsoft Word and Fresh Paint. Fresh Paint is a free Windows app which is easy to use. It is a like having an electronic canvas where you have a range of painting tools, and when you paint, the colours mix like real paint would. Student’s task was to create a word document, type the title of the story and their name. They also had to change the size of the font, changing the style and colour of the font was optional , but they had to include a capital letter and full-stop. In addition, they had to use the enter key so that text appeared on more than one line. Then they were asked to use Fresh Paint to draw an illustration using the mouse. Sounds easy, but not for a 5 year old or for the teachers!
Prior to this learning task there was much practice involved. Over the past few years we have found that students mouse control has declined rapidly. I remember a Reception teacher telling me one day that during a computing lesson a student didn’t know why the mouse wasn’t working when she was actually trying to use it upside down. This isn’t surprising given the number of touch screen devices students use. Will the mouse become obsolete? My thoughts are yes, but in the mean time students still do need to know how to use them. Will applications such as Microsoft Word change, yes, inevitably but students still need to learn processing skills. Below are two student work samples.
The next two activities I’d like to share took place over two weeks, and these activity actually took place before the above one. Students were introduced to Fresh Paint. They initially began by exploring what they could do with the program by playing with it. Then they moved onto more specific tasks such as the ones below. The learning task in the first image below was for students to explore lines through brushes and colour. The one underneath, required students to use swirls and dots to create a piece of art work. Both activities are within the Art curriculum, and integrate ICT general capabilities. Well done Reception teachers at St Aloysius College 😉 .