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Information Communication Technology

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In pairs find a CD-Rom that can be used in the classroom to support children finding information (in any curriculum area) and evaluate it.

There are a wide variety of CD-ROM publications available for use in schools illustrating different approaches to the design and presentation of information for use within the curriculum. In my school placement I have found the use of CD-ROM’s to be popular; however in my base class which is in a foundation setting the availability of CD-ROM’s which are appropriate for the age range is very limited.

I found a CD-Rom called ‘Tizzy’s Toy box’ (Sherston Software), which the children seem to really enjoy so thought it would be appropriate to evaluate this. The CD-Rom opens up with a menu screen which contains a list of games for the children to choose, the games available are as follows;

* Pencils.

* Picture Book.

* Bucket and Spade.

* Caterpillar.

* Bears.

* Jigsaw.

* Rhyming Words.

* Buttons.

* Sheep.

* Counting.

The content of the CD-Rom is good and the information is appropriate for nursery and reception aged children. There is a good balance of mathematics and literacy so the children have an opportunity to practise both which prevents them from getting bored and ensures they are learning across the curriculum. The information contained in the CD-Rom seems to be very up to date and accurate even though the CD-Rom was published in 1997.

Visually the design is bright and colourful and so it is appealing to the children and makes the game seem fun and interesting. The images are large and clear so the children are able to see the pictures clearly and read the writing. However, there is no zoom option so the children are unable to see the pictures in more detail.

Navigating around the CD-Rom is very easy and children should have no problems accessing the games they want to play. Instructions are written in a large clear white font for children to read. For those who can not read or have difficulty reading; along side the words are pictures of the game or a voice that clearly reads the text. This means that all children should be able to navigate themselves around the CD-Rom with ease. If a child does have difficulty there is a help button which is in the middle of the main page. Again, advice is given through pictures, words and sound to cater for all children.

As already mentioned there seems to be a shortage in CD-Rom’s for the foundation stage, however I believe ‘Tizzy’s Toy Box’ is targeted at the right age group (four to six year olds) catering for a range in abilities with different difficulty levels.

The CD-Rom addresses different learning styles which is excellent as different children prefer to learn in different ways. The CD-Rom offers visual stimulation such as pictures and words on the computer screen for those who prefer to learn through looking interactively. For those who learn better through auditory stimulation there is a voice which reads the text that is along the bottom of the screen. The CD-Rom also caters for children who prefer to learn ‘hands on’ as they get the opportunity to move the mouse around the screen and touch the keyboard.

The CD-Rom supports a child’s learning in many different ways both with their mathematical development and their literacy. The CD-Rom especially supports a child’s counting, vocabulary, their knowledge of colours and picture recognition. It also supports their IT skills and their fine motor skills.

There is a lot of opportunity for interaction through the CD-Rom as the children get to choose the game or games they want to play with. The children also interact with the computer through questioning, the CD-Rom is constantly asking the children questions which are good as it keeps the children involved and remaining interested.

Unfortunately the CD-Rom does not support the children with printing, book marking, and use of notepads, which are all very important skills children need to learn. The CD-Rom does not provide a record of pupil performance and does not track their progress unless there is a teacher actually watching over a child to see what answers they give. This is a huge disadvantage as teachers can not keep up to date with how much children know and individual children’s strengths and weaknesses. As a consequence this could mean future lessons are not appropriate and are too easy for a child or too difficult. Another disadvantage to this is that there are a lot of observations in the foundation stage and recordings of these observations and their progress and achievements are recorded in their foundation stage profile. This could pose to be a difficult task for a teacher if there is no record.

Even though the computer is old and slow, the CD-Rom loaded and run easily and I did not have to change my screen display or download resources on to hard disk before it could be used. This is obviously important as children not only do not have the patience to do this but most children will not have the knowledge and skills needed to do this.

My overall impression of the CD-Rom is very good. I feel it is clear yet detailed and offers a range of activities that are appropriate for the children’s abilities. I have observed the children playing on the CD-Rom and all seemed to really enjoy it and find it fun. I think it could be improved by allowing pupils to record their progress to help the teachers or by allowing the children to print their work so they are learning how to do this and are able to keep their work and ‘show it off’ which would make them feel really proud!

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