New technologies, new environments!

As the international community works towards addressing the global Corona virus pandemic, we are seeing more and more creative ways that children, families and schools are adapting to learning in new environments. Responding to these changes, we have also looked at how we can make our Navigo game accessible for children at home.

In this update, we share recent activities undertaken by our team across Europe, both before and during the school closure period. We’re also really excited to share our plans for upcoming events that you may find useful to access from home!

Sending well wishes from all the iRead project team over this difficult period. We look forward to bringing you more updates over the course of next term…
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Join our series of “Navigo at home” events led by iRead game designers

To celebrate our recent ‘Hungry Little Minds’ quality mark award from the Department for Education in England, we have organised a series of weekly interactive online events for both parents and children. Drawing on the latest research on literacy and learning we will share our expertise in choosing quality primary education apps for reading and how they can be most effectively used at home. We also have a special session for children led by fish in a bottle, where game developers will be on hand to chat about how they designed the Navigo game and answer all those important questions, including whether anyone has found grandma!

The timetable of events is as follows (11-11:30am UK time):

  • 4th June: Choosing and using high-quality apps and games for reading at home with primary age children, led by Dr Laura Benton and Dr Mina Vasalou from UCL Knowledge Lab (for parents)
  • 11th June: Using reading games to support children with dyslexia, led by Dr Emma Sumner and Elisabeth Herbert from UCL Centre for Inclusive Education (for parents)
  • 18th June: Ask the game designers, led by Drew Wilkins from fish in a bottle (for children)

To receive the resources and materials that accompany the events as well as the link to the YouTube live stream sign up in advance for free here.

Expert children deliver iRead project in German schools

One of the challenges of introducing new technologies into the classroom is finding the time for teachers and researchers to work directly with individual students. At DHBW, Kay Berkling and her team of university students have been working with primary children to develop their skills as ‘expert students’ who can support other classmates. In addition to the researchers being present, two students are supported to learn how to navigate through logging in and accessing games and activities. As they become more familiar with the apps, students quickly learn what to do when technology issues arise, for instance, when the technology freezes or needs to be re-opened. These students are then invited to share their tips with two additional students who are then encouraged to offer support to other students who are independently using the game and reader apps in the classroom. Whilst things are currently on hold, the team in Germany hope to build on these activities when schools re-open.

‘In the wild’ observations on a Swedish island

As part of the ongoing evaluation of the apps and appropriation study the Swedish team went out to Västergård School to observe how teachers were working with the iRead project technologies ‘in the wild’.  iRead take boat ride to nearby school, SwedenThe school is located on a small island in the Gothenburg archipelago so the team travelled by ferry on a chilly January morning. They were met by Anna, an experienced class teacher who teaches English in several year group classes across the school. On arrival, Anna explained that they were trialling a mentoring scheme, with year 6 students supporting the year 3s. As the team observed various sessions, they were interested in the ways that year 6 students were taking on their role as mentor, asking the younger students questions like: “So what does this word mean?” and “Do you know it? Very good!” From the start of the project, teachers were keen to participate and were curious about what the iRead project could bring to the classroom. They therefore strived to incorporate the apps in the teaching of as many students as possible. Observing the way that students interacted with and around the Navigo game and Amigo reader was incredibly insightful. The team reported that it was exciting to experience how teachers had invented such pedagogically novel and creative and ways to use the apps!

iRead project receives wide interest at the BETT show!

iRead project partners Dolphin Computing Access, Pickatale, fish in a bottle, and UCL came together to host a stand and participate in discussions at the BETT show this year.

The global industry event for edtech ran from 22nd to 25th January, attracting more than 34,000 attendees from 146 countries. Over the course of the three days, the iRead team showcased the iRead project technologies, demonstrating how the Amigo e-reader app, Navigo game and teacher tool are currently being used in schools across Europe. The team also had the opportunity to engage in discussions with interested parents, teacher, researchers and other practitioners who are interested in using the technologies in their own settings.
Owing to the huge size of the show with many stands, talks, demos and learning zones to engage with, the team were unsure what the response might be. However we were really inspired by the many conversations that were had with visitors. These ranged from discussions about how texts were chosen for the e-reader, right through to what the possibilities might be for other companies to make use of the linguistic infrastructure that has been created as part of the project.

We look forward to strengthening some of these links that were made and have been inspired by the enthusiasm about the technologies expressed by so many attendees!

Introducing our bite-sized video tutorials

Are you looking for educational apps and games to access at home with your children? The Navigo game is freely available to download from the Google Play Store for use on Android tablets – find out more via our open pilot sign up here. To support you in downloading and playing the Navigo games, we will shortly be releasing a series of bite-sized video tutorials that explain everything from getting started through to specific game features.

We hope to continue adding to these video tutorials beyond the Summer term, to expand our practical support for teaching staff who are currently using the iRead project technologies in their classroom.

Watch this space for video updates! We will be posting these on our website, Facebook and twitter pages.

In other news…

  • iRead project partners from Greece, Sweden, UK, Germany, Romania and Spain came together at UCL in the UK for a series of evaluation phase project meetings across two days in February. This provided many opportunities for reviewing the progress of the evaluation studies that we are currently running.
  • In February the ULBS team organised an information sharing event at Samuel von Brukenthal National College, Sibiu, Romania.
  • The Doukas team have been involved in supporting the Kryfo school in Limassol, Cyprus to use the Navigo game as part of the open pilot.
  • The UCL team have been remotely in touch with teachers from the iRead project UK school to advise on accessing the games and teacher tool from home.
  • The Navigo game was featured in a UCL IOE press release detailing the DfE Hungry Little Minds campaign to find the best educational apps for parents to engage young children in learning at home.
  • Over the coming weeks, the University of Gothenburg team are planning an online webinar event about iRead at University West.

Thank You!

Last but not least we would like to acknowledge the important contribution that teachers and pupils from the following schools have made to the iRead project over the last term:

Bernardí Tolrà, Spain

Bon Salvador, Spain

Colegio Ramon y Cajal, Spain

Cor de Maria, Spain

Lestonnac, Spain

Escola Lola Anglada, Spain

Escola Sant Nicolau, Spain

Fanciscanes Poblenou, Spain

Yerbury, UK

Kings Cross Academy, UK

Stormont School, UK

St Elizabeth Catholic School, UK

Grafton Primary, UK

Eleanor Palmer, UK

Jubilee Primary, UK

Cayley Primary, UK

Björkrisskolan, Kungsbacka, Sweden

Fjordskolan, Onsala Globen Montessori, Alingsås, Sweden

Hedeskolan, Kungsbacka, Sweden

Kullaviksskolan, Sweden

Oscar Fredriksskolan, Sweden

Lextorpsskolan, Sweden

Onsala Montessori, Onsala, Sweden

No. 13 Secondary School, Sibiu , Romania

IOAN SLAVICI School, Sibiu, Romania

Roșia Gymnasium School, Sibiu, Romania

Samuel von Brukenthal National College, Sibiu, Romania

Liceul Tehnologic “Ioan Lupaș” Săliște, Romania

Scoala Gimnaziala Tilișca, Romania

I.M Panagiotopoulos School, Greece

Ernst Reuter Schule, Germany

Grundschule Waldulm, Germany

Grundschule Neunkirchen, Germany

Rennbuckel Primary School, Karlsruhe, Germany

Leopold Schule, Germany

Hebelschule, Germany

Viktor von Scheffel Schule, Germany

Grundschule Eggenstein, Germany


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