Primary ICT - Numeracy - Interpreting Data
- Duration: 15 mins
- No Subtitles
- Published: 22 December 2005
- Licence information for Primary ICT - Numeracy - Interpreting Data
The opportunities and problems involved in using ICT to teach data handling in KS2 maths courses are explored by professors Rosamund Sutherland and Jan Winter of the University of Bristol.
Rosamund and Jan scrutinise three lessons taught by Year 4 teacher Simon Mills. They look closely at the ICT suite and Simon's use of the hardware, including the interactive whiteboard.
The two experts discuss the merits of using "grown up" software in lessons and at the strategies Simon uses to facilitate peer learning.
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This is a really interesting pair of videos that has fired discussion amongst colleagues. Of the comments in the video, I am most exercised by the justification for the use of Excel, which seems to be along the lines of it being a "real" tool from the "real" world. Since when have schools not been part of the real world? Excel is a tool for accountants, not most children in primary schools. Several educational software companies have expended much time and effort in developing data handling software, which would have enhanced this activity by simplifying the process of data entry and graphing - giving quality time for the children to consider the implications of their activity. Perhaps, even considering the questions that they might be answering by counting Smarties ...
My first reaction when watching the original video was that I felt he was trying to achieve too much - he needed to focus on the Learning Objectives he really wanted to address. I believe he achieved that in the main for the maths but was less convinced by the opportunities for developing ICT capability.
I'm somewhat in agreement with the two comments above, the activity would have benefited from a little thought put into 'why' the children needed to investigate the distribution of colours in the tubes. With this age group it could have been achieved easily by asking them to investigate the prediction 'we expect there to be an equal number of Smarties of each colour'. Then there would have been interest generated in the data - particularly when the data from all the tubes were combined (introducing notions of sample size, etc.). Similarly, it wasn't clear if Simon followed up the child's suggestion that the number of times a name was written depended on its length - another reason for interpreting the data.
I agree with Rosamund and Jan that Excel offers opportunities for the tasks to be structured (eg a template Excel document could have been provided to focus on the interpretation of the data) - which might have then released more time to explore another investigation with a slightly higher level of ICT demand.
However, I agree that incorporating ICT into subject teaching is a high risk activity for teachers and Simon has shown what is possible - and that it doesn't have to be scary. It's clear he is willing to learn from this exercise and certainly our students will benefit from watching him in action - thanks.
I think there is more scope for those "cut down" versions of software especially when they enable integration with other activities that is smooth and meaningful. There isn't much said about how to make excel more child friendly and remove some of the more confusing icons. This before even considering a template. Also the way of representing the data tends to restrict rather than open out possibilities.
Excel is used quite happily by our Y3 classes and by the time I receive them in Y5 they can use the formulae in simulations without any ICT problems, the problems are in the maths behind the formulae for a few. I have even had pupils come back to me the day after learning how to use formulae with something they worked out at home just for fun! Isn't that what it's all about?
I do agree with the comment above, in that this programme showed an activity I have seen done with Y2s but on different software used by KS1.
Forgive me, but this seemed to be very tedious and low level. Of course, we could not really hear the language going on, but the idea of teaching frequency by counting sweets seemed really out of the money. How was this related to anything of interest to the kids? What struck me was the fact that the two 'experts' were more wowed by the efficient use of the network and Excel.