During my second placement, children from year 1/Reception class were studying traditional tales as part of their literacy curriculum and had been reading a tale together every day, then using the texts they read as models for writing their own stories. The focus for the week's literacy lesson was the animation of a fairytale for their new topic work 'at the movies' OBJ using ICT to present their completed work effectively to the whole school during their 'Oscars' ceremony. Building up to the animation lesson children had worked in groups using a story stick to compose, assemble and sequence events of their fairytale OBJ on paper with TA support as a scribe. The story created then was transferred to a film storyboard OBJ recounting events in appropriate detail within eight scenes. Working in groups the focus of the learning objectives switched to speaking and listening, to take turns in speaking, relate their contributions to what has gone on before, take different views into account by suggesting improvements and giving reasons for opinions and actions suggested to add speech to the story board, including appropriate intonation, choose words with precision, organise what they say whilst focus on the main point(s) and relevant detail to take into account the needs of their listeners. In preparation for the animation actiivty, children were encouraged to picture the end product of a film and children were encouraged to play with the digi blue cameras without support, in a subtle setting during choosing time, and they used Steve Bowkett grids to compose stories whilst half the were being supported in compiling and making characters and props they needed for their scene.
Earlier that morning I had set up three tables against the wall so the children could pin up their backdrop, use the tables and blue tack for positioning their characters, and the camera blue tacked down so that the children could not accidently knock the camera and cause it to misalign. The digi blue camera then had the laptop connected to them and turned/logged on. Then in the focus lesson, the lesson objective was introduced to the children whilst on the carpet, and I began by modeling the animation process. Here I could see the children were engaged by using the IWB, which was not often used, they all turned to face the board. I demonstrated how you take 30 frames to start and stressed the vocabulary of frames and takes within the movie process. Children responded and used I could see were trying out the words. Here they helped me to count to 30 (most were able to follow the pattern). Then I modeled how you move the character within the setting, taking 4 frames each time, scribing on the whiteboard adjacent to the IWB the beginning 30 frames, takes 4 frames etc. for them to refer to when using the computers. Here the children were impatient, demonstrating a lack of understanding that the process was slow, and I could see that they were still visualizing it being akin to a video camera. Therefore, I continued to move the character slowly, inviting the children to come up and take turns to move the character in between 'takes'. Here I saw some of the children quickly cottoned on to the process and could effectively mimic what I had modeled. During this, I chose the autistic child, to ensure that he stayed engaged, as he does not usually sit for long periods on the carpet. He ably participated and then remained focused for the rest of the introduction. To finish the starter, I then asked the children what they think we would do next, here children guessed that it would jump around, and the class discussed what animation would look like. Children's answers were constructive that it would be like a cartoon. Once I had shown the class what the finished product looked like I asked the children to comment on what they had seen.
One child said it was jerky
One child said the character jumped
One child said the film was too short
One child commented that you could see shadows and light changing. From this, I scribed on the IWB a list of things they had evaluated, and highlighted to the children of those things to bear in mind whilst they were completing their project.
The class was then divided into their groups that had been composing the story, here using a TA for each of two groups, and myself for one group.
Facilitating the children with the handling of the computer and to referring to their storyboard the children used the storyboard to create the scenes they had sequenced and added action to the characters, animating them to their needs. Whilst working with the group, they took turns to operate the laptop and move the characters, during which was assessed by the adult in their understanding of the animation process. I asked the children, to suggest improvements, and used questioning of what happens next to facilitate their learning. During the lesson, the group started by showing little understanding and motivation, there was not enough action to keep concentration, and were struggling with the concept, moving the characters without thinking, and there were many hands within shots as they didn't associate the 'snapshot' would capture whatever was shown on the screen. However as they started to see the process and had seen their film start to take shape (a review feature in the software I used to show them their work so far). Then one reception child, fascinated by computers moved a character very specifically so I knew that he understood the process. The year one child however was distracted, focusing in and out when there were tasks to do. Upon completing the animation, I introduced the group individually to the voice narration feature and here the children held complete attention, discussing whether to shout the lines they had prepared and how to say them. For the child in my group with SALT intervention for speech impediment, this allowed him to speak confidently as not in a group situation and he responded well. Here the group showed consideration for timing, discussing when the character should 'kick' red riding hood into the fire.
Theoretical Ideas and Assumptions Underlying This Situation.
In this lesson I attempted to take the children's learning away from a traditional literacy project, and provide the children with a new creative outlet, especially for children with weak writing or creative skills. The theories underlying this activity I have generalised as those relating to: scaffolding, social cognitive interaction and motivating learners - through ICT and sensory real life experience.
How the Theory of Scaffolding was Used in Planning
Instructional scaffolding is used in education to provide sufficient support to promote learning when a concept or skill is first introduced, which, for young children, is a daily requirement as they learn many new concepts. In this project two different types of Scaffolding Theory (Bruner) were used, hard and soft. Soft scaffolding was used through instinctive structures that supported language acquisition - story time and independent reading of the fairy tales, providing access to literacy tools of traditional story structure, key phrases, and vocabulary (Daniels, 1994). Beyond the initial language acquisition hard scaffold tools were planned for the children to use to support the children through the tasks whilst learning new concepts, but designed to be temporary, removed by the child when they were able to complete the task themselves, differentiating by outcome. When composing their story using the story sticks children were then able to be creative and imaginative with their story, changing the sequence/development of the story if required. They were encouraged to write their own sentences, but also provided them with pre-printed traditional story language they could use if struggling. Observations by the TAs showed that one child, underconfident in literacy asked to write a sentence composed within the group and adults provided support required for the reception children, mostly scribing with the exception of one child who really wanted to write. This showed a large motivational difference in certain children, and an enthusiasm stemming for the quality of the story developed with the scaffold support.
When the children were learning the new concept of animation, the resources, the motivational task and adult assistance were planned in advance to support the children in experiencing concept of animation whilst still focussing on the speaking and listening, composition and ICT being assessed. Using animation with 5 year old children epitomised the theory of scaffold, the planned support could facilitate a potential outcome superior to the work their independent efforts could achieve. By very definition scaffold is to aid construction, which the task provided. The movies or stories could have been equally completed through acting or puppets, but the use of ICT and features such as narration and special effects supported children e.g. less confident and a boy with speech difficulties. Using the ICT put into place a temporary hard scaffold framework, not for the learning objective, but to assist students with a difficult task (Saye and Brush, 2002) and access the task in a novel and motivating way. This 'Technical scaffolding' is a newer approach in which computers replace the teachers as the experts or guides, and children can be guided (Yelland and Masters, 2007). The activity was designed so that adult support could be removed if a child secured an understanding or could operate on their own (depending on ability). Year one children and one reception child showed that they were able to use the scaffolding of ICT without any need for adult intervention, which then defined a level of understanding and learning within the environment created that exceeded expectations for children so young. This demonstrated success of using scaffold theory, as it was designed to support any child of any age/maturity may not be able to articulate or explore learning independently, perfect for a split year group class. The ICT and adult interaction in no way changed the nature or difficulty level of the task; instead, the scaffolds provided allow the student to successfully complete the task, differentiating by outcome. With increasing understanding and control, the children the teacher's level and type of support changed over time from directive, to suggestion, to encouragement, to observation, the adult contributing only to sustain the task (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Within these scaffolding events, teaching and learning, inseparable components, emphasize both the child's personal construction of literacy and the adult's contributions to the child's developing understandings of print. These supports are gradually removed as students develop autonomous learning strategies, thus promoting their own cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning skills and knowledge. Blooms taxonomy
Although ICT provided support scaffold, equally as is its nature, ICT can have limiting effects, children so young needed help in operating the equipment to start, quickly picking it up, but ICT adds an element of frustration and the hands in the pictures, combined with children picking up the concept of small movements slowed the effectiveness of the scaffold, diffused by the adult support.
In Vygotsky's words, "what the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow" (Vygotsky, 1987, p.Â 211).
Social and Cognitive Interaction. In addition, Piaget, Dewey, social interaction and peer models.
The task could not have been scaffolded completely however, as children had to share the scaffold in a group scenario, challenging speaking and listening skills, mainly due to resource and time constraints. Although group work does, in effect, provide reciprocal scaffolding (Holton and Thomas), for children at the age of 5, I observed that the skills required to function in the environment designed by the task required significant learning from the children to collaboratively work together. In this situation, the group can learn from each other's experiences and knowledge sharing the scaffolding between each member, changing constantly as the group worked on the task (Holton and Clarke, 2006). By using the group dynamic and resulting speech, a critical tool to scaffold thinking and responding, played a crucial role in the development of higher psychological processes (Luria, 1979) the children had to flexible in sharing their ideas and decisicons had to be comprismised, and they had to demonstrate independent thinking to bring ideas to the groups work (Bodrova & Leong, 1996). Using a Vygotsky perspective, the talk and resulting action of the group sociocultural fabric of the writing event was able to help shape the children's construction of awareness of negotiating and compromising towards the final product and successful outcome (Dorn, 1996). The children's discussions ranged from whose turn or suggestions to using explanations linked to their knowledge of features of traditional tales. The adults role in the activity was to shape the child's learning by using and adapting language and set vocabulary to conform to the groups understanding Clay (2005) Whilst assessing casual conversational exchanges for cognitive development, language learning, story composition for writing, and reading comprehension. As the children are not at a secure writing ability, conversations within the social interaction of the group completing the task was crucial in facilitating generative, constructive, experimental, and development of new ideas (Smagorinsky, 2007).
Linked to this, Bandura's Social Learning Theory that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modelling. By mixing the ages of the groups between year 1 ad reception children, they collectively observed each other's behaviour, attitudes, and outcomes in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioural, and environmental influences. The positive learning environment, engaging activity and attractive outcome meant that the year one modelled focus and enagement with the task, and their ideas were all valued, with reception children reacting to the same behaviour and confidence building within the task, theory related to Vygotsky's Social Development Theory and Lave's Situated Learning, which also emphasize the importance of social learning. Equally the task was deisgned so that an adult could use Vygotsky, students develop higher-level thinking skills when scaffolding occurs with an adult expert or with a peer of higher capabilities (Stone, 1998). Conversely, Piaget believes that students discard their ideas when paired with an adult or student of more expertise (Piaget, 1928). Instead, students should be paired with others who have different perspectives. Conflicts would then take place between students allowing them to think constructively at a higher level.
By directing the task focus on the children, the traditionally held a transmissionist or instructionist model in which a teacher or lecturer 'transmits' information to students, the activity used Vygotsky's theory to promotes learning contexts in which students play an active role in learning. Roles of the teacher and student are therefore shifted, as a teacher should collaborate with his or her students in order to help facilitate meaning construction in students. Moving from the teacher offers levels of verbal and non-verbal demonstrations and directions as the child observes, mimics, or shares the writing task. Learning therefore becomes a reciprocal experience for the students and teacher. Once the children were content to explore their work themselves, the roles for the teacher meant that I stepped back from providing a peer model, a role for children to look to for praise or quest for the right answer, instead, the task became engrossing for the group, with children providing their own support structure and motivation. The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The MKO refers to anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally thought of as being a teacher, coach, or older adult, but the MKO could also be peers, a younger person, or even computers.
The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD is the distance between a student's ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer collaboration and the student's ability solving the problem independently. According to Vygotsky, learning occurred in this zone. Whilst progressing their learning grasping the concept and using the ICT, the children then operated within social interaction and cognition. Through joint activities, the teacher scaffolds conversation to maximize the development of a child's intrapsychological functioning. In this process, the adult controls the elements of the task that are beyond the child's ability all the while increasing the expectations of what the child is able to do. Dewey not only re-imagined the way that the learning process should take place, but also the role that the teacher should play within that process. According to Dewey, the teacher should not be one to stand at the front of the room doling out bits of information to be absorbed by passive students. Instead, the teacher's role should be that of facilitator and guide.
As Dewey (1897) explains it:
The teacher is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child, but is there as a member of the community to select the influences which shall affect the child and to assist him in properly responding to these influences (p. 9).
Thus the teacher becomes a partner in the learning process, guiding students to independently discover meaning within the subject area. This philosophy has become an increasingly popular idea within present-day teacher preparatory programs.
Necessary conditions for effective modelling:
Attention - various factors increase or decrease the amount of attention paid. Includes distinctiveness, affective valence, prevalence, complexity, functional value. One's characteristics (e.g. sensory capacities, arousal level, and perceptual set, past reinforcement) affect attention.
Retention - remembering what you paid attention to. Includes symbolic coding, mental images, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal
Reproduction - reproducing the image. Including physical capabilities, and self-observation of reproduction.
Motivation - having a good reason to imitate. Includes motives such as past (i.e. traditional behaviourism), promised (imagined incentives) and vicarious (seeing and recalling the reinforced model)
Motivation Theory, Having a Good Reason to Imitate, Socially Interact and Use Scaffolding to Create a Successful End Product
Ofsted (2002) also found that using ICT enhances a lessons purpose, a statement evident in other reports (Becta, 2010, EPI, 2004, Futurelab, 2010). I observed that ICT offered pupils means to envisage success and possible end-points for their work. (Q28) For pupils, ICT reinforced their understanding of the purpose of their writing and that the end result is a display. Becta (2007) found positive aspects such as the potential to create authentic texts for 'real life' purposes and audiences provided a motivational and creative 'hook' for the pupils (Becta, 2007). (Q25's) Abstract concepts such as visual literacy are exciting for the children to explore, and as (Bamford, 2003) noted visual images are predominant form of communication in the current digital society which children can relate to. (Q25b) Modeling - First of all, "be what you want them to do!"
This acitivty also applied many theorists combined that believe real life application and motivation must be child centred. For example, How Children Learn by educator John Holt, focuses on Holt's interactions with young children, and his observations of children learning that children learn most effectively by their own motivation and on their own terms. More intircatly the planning did not aim to solely motivate the children, animation is shown to be a crucial tool for children as it features and uses many theories to gain the children's interest and initiate attention. John Kellers ARCS Model of Motivational Design proposed that attention can be gained in two ways: stimulates curiosity by posing challenging questions or problems to be solved.or to use surprise or uncertainly to gain interest through novel, surprising, incongruous, and uncertain events. Animation is a proven method for grabbing the learners' attention as it includes two very key ideas learning through experience, ie active participation, hands-on methods, to get learners involved with the subject and variability resources that account for individual differences in learning styles and allow a variety of methods in presenting material. Again within Kellers ARCS model using animation stimulates relevance for the activity, ensured as the children knew they were going to watch the videos on the big hall screen, to increase a learner's motivation. Using strategies to highlight the successful outcome, induced motivation to complete a good end project, one child asking if year 6 were going to see it. They could see the link between writing their own stories and making their tale authentic. Visually animation was easy for younger children to imagine the end result and how they were learning something useful, without them being aware of the true learning objective of vaocabulary and story structure. To a degree the animation project and the ineffable power of ICT to edit for children meatn they became aware of the dynamics of achievement, risk taking, power, and affiliation. This powerful strategy of Choice, using the scaffolding children were assured the ability to use different methods to pursue their work or allowing choice in how they organize it.
The ARCS model then moves onto confidence, and understanding their likelihood for success, by using scaffolding success was inevitable, all children knew they could achieve the outcome, increasing their confidence and even those requiring more support were discreetly directed using scaffolding to become an expert. As I had specifically introduced a meaning for the work the and the use of ICT scaffolding provided children the most difficult motivational tool - Satisfaction. Learning must be rewarding or satisfying in some way, whether it is from a sense of achievement, praise from a higher-up, or mere entertainment. Make the learner feel as though the skill is useful or beneficial by providing opportunities to use newly acquired knowledge in a real setting.
EVALUATION OF LESSON
Many researchers even credit him with the influence of Project Based Learning (PBL) which places students in the active role of researchers.
Children learn best when they are not pressured to learn in a way that is of no interest to them. For example, the first thing all educators should do is evaluate which type of multiple intelligence students' possess and teach and assess them individually on the basis of this.
Provide objectives and prerequisites - Help students estimate the probability of success by presenting performance requirements and evaluation criteria. Ensure the learners are aware of performance requirements and evaluative criteria.
Allow for success that is meaningful.
Grow the Learners - Allow for small steps of growth during the learning process.
Feedback - Provide feedback and support internal attributions for success.
Learner Control - Learners should feel some degree of control over their learning and assessment. They should believe that their success is a direct result of the amount of effort they have put forth.
Provide feedback and reinforcement. When learners appreciate the results, they will be motivated to learn. Satisfaction is based upon motivation, which can be intrinsic or extrinsic.
Do not patronize the learner by over-rewarding easy tasks.