INTEGRATED PROJECT 026
The Role of ICT as a Support To Learning
Prior to one day course
given by Brian Dillon in Ballinahinch N.S. on February 23rd had
practically no knowledge of the contents of or how to use Wordshark CD
Rom. I felt quite guilty
about this since so much money had been spent on them and I know they come
highly recommended. Having
learnt so much about the CD. I
was all fired up and enthusiastic about using them as part of my remedial
classes. However, I was quite
disappointed to find that even though I serve four schools.
I was only able to successfully use the CD in one of them.
Thankfully this was the school involved in the SIP project
I found it to be an
extremely valuable learning aid for most of my pupils.
Once I had set up the pupils on it under the Teacher Facility they
were able to access their own word lists and play their own games.
This obviously was easier for some pupils than for others
Depending on age and
ability. I also loaded it on
the computers of the classrooms for the pupils to work on independently as
and in their own time. The
teachers involved told me that they found this to be a great asset to them
as sometimes it can be difficult to allocate work to these children while
the rest of the class is doing something else.
I have two boys in Sixth
Class and they for some reason especially liked the dictionary games and
in particular I found the alphabetic sort games very beneficial in helping
them to put words into alphabetic order, an exercise which appears
regularly in textbooks.
I myself find the shark
game one of the best as they actually have to type in the correct spelling
of the word, I believe they also have to do this in the higher levels of
the sentence game, which we have not reached yet.
On that point the pupils who have a good knowledge of the layout of
the keyboard have an advantage here and I think I may need to do some
lessons on the keyboard with all the pupils continuing with Wordshark or
in tandem with using it, as some of them take ages to find the keys and
with time so short speed is of the essence.
I also feel that the fruit machine games and the lotto games are a
bit unnecessary as kids being kids they always want to play these and
therefore lose valuable learning time.
I feel there should be some way to bypass these via the Teacher
Facilities so as they don’t appear on the screen.
Another minor disadvantage
which both the Resource as and I noticed (as we both have one child with
special needs in common) is that this particular child quickly realised
that if she can’t spell the word (in the Shark game) all she has to do
is “peep” and the word appears. Now
she doesn’t even bother to attempt to spell the word, which should be
well able for, without peeping therefore I believe that this is another
facility, which should be optional on the teacher’s discretion.
Obviously having used it
for such a short period of time there are lots of aspects of it, which I
have not fully explored yet and I look forward to doing so.
I have read about adding your own private word lists and believe
this is a good option to have as each child has their own problem words
and this would be great way of consolidating them in their minds in a fun
way. Also I have not ventured
past Level 1 on most of the games nor have I played any of the games, i.e.
card games, competitively, which of course would add interest.
Overall I found the CD to be a very comprehensive programme for phonics and spellings. I have started giving spellings and spelling tests based on it. It is very useful in that some pupils as soon as they come in to me can go to the computer, access their lists and work or play away while I do something else, e.g. hear the reading with the rest of the group and then they can switch over. The pupils seem to enjoy it immensely, except one pupil I have whose reaction was “Oh no not that CD again” when I produced it for the first time. Apparently, she had used it with the previous remedial teacher. Luckily for her the sound does not work on the computer in her school so I was unable to use it with her! The children are learning while they think they are playing while using the Wordshark, which is a vital component in software for kids with special needs, and I believe it has enormous potential in the Remedial classroom.
LEARNING SUPPORT TEACHER
by Sheila Carey