Published on 04/06/14
Walk into the Stephen Perse Foundation Preprep and you will be met with large colourful displays of the children's work, photographs of learning experiences and working displays the children use daily to inform their learning. This is typical of an effective, text rich environment. However, come armed with an iPad rather than just the naked eye and you will unlock a multitude of hidden layers of learning. In short, the digital layers.
The Stephen Perse Foundation Pre-prep teachers have been collaborating on ways to enhance classroom displays by incorporating the digital learning which has been taking place, and finding interesting and easy ways of sharing it in the classroom environment. For instance, QR codes are displayed next to a research question so that children can quickly and simply access helpful websites by scanning them with a QR reader on their iPad. This teacher led approach has been extremely helpful with very young learners who find it difficult to access online information and get stuck when trying to type in web addresses and search terms.
The Aurasma App has been highly instrumental in adding a digital element to displays.
It has allowed teachers to add a video overlay to working displays so that young children can listen and watch the teacher giving an explanation or instructions (without the teacher needing to be actually be present) by simply holding the iPad up to the display. This is also helpful for keeping an old display to hand when it needs to be replaced, teachers simply take a photo of the display before taking it down and then print off a copy which the children can still access via Aurasma if needed.
However, it's not only the teachers who are creating these digital elements to their classroom displays but also the children. After deciding they would like to share their favourite toys with an audience for our 'Let's Play' unit of work, the children took photographs of each other holding their favourite toy. The photos were next printed and laminated and a piece written by each child about their toy. Where normally the written piece would then be included to inform the display, the children instead chose a digital alternative. They filmed each other speaking about their toy and added an Aurasma, the end result being, anyone who came into the classroom could hold an iPad up to each photograph and it would start speaking to them! The children were absolutely delighted with the result. Not only was an effective classroom display created, but the children's digital skills were also clearly evident.
A further example of digital enhancement is with this artwork display which ordinarily would include the children's pieces and a short written text explaining what they are and what they did to create them. However, in order to emphasise the importance of the process of creating the artworks, rather than just the end result, the children recorded each step of the making process in short videos and photographs taken on the iPads. Using iMovie, the children then edited a video and used Aurasma to add it to the final display. The dual purpose of this activity is evident at the end with the children not only having a finished piece of artwork to be proud of, but also a finished piece of digital work to be equally as proud of.
In the Stephen Perse Foundation Pre-prep we are confident that any child who can physically hold up an iPad (or an iPad mini) to take a photograph or a video, is able to participate in creating digital displays.
We believe that in the digital age we now live in, classrooms should have a strong digital element and should display just as much digital learning as anything we would have usually displayed in the past. Finding ways of showing off digital learning including work stored on Googledrive or Tumblr (two areas commonly used in the Stephen Perse Foundation Pre-prep) can be challenging, as digital work is supposed to exist in the digital world. However, for young learners, in particular, it is very important that our classrooms reflect the digital elements visually in displays as the children are effected largely by their surrounding and what they can see every time they look up.