Sunday, 3 March 2013

Blood of the Zombies

Back in the early eighties when I was a little lad I loved reading Fighting Fantasy books created by Ian Livingstone. Every other page you could choose the path through the adventure and decide what would happen to the hero. Well they are back! There is a new app on the iPad/iPhone, Blood of the Zombies is the first title but a remake of the '80s titles are on the way. I think they will be great for getting students to read. My English department are going to experiment I will post how they get on later in the year.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Puppet Pals - Literacy

Just supported a colleague in the English department using the iPads and Puppet Pals. It was a group of lower ability Y8 students. The task was to use books to research animals, then create a Puppet Pal presentation to communicate the information they found in the book. This made them read/process the information and write a script rather than Google-ing and copy/pasting as many students do. The room had no wi-fi which meant that they could not be distracted by things they didn't need to look at. The students were engaged from the start, the task allowed them to explore their creativity. They all read and processed the information without any issues because they wanted to get on and create the presentation. Technology was not a barrier as the software is so intuitive. I was there to hold my colleague's hand but she was amazed at how little input was required from either of us. She noted how the students solved the problems they had by working as a team and were learning independently. A great lesson where all the students made progress and produced some fantastic work.

I am sure this kind of task would work with all ages and ability levels. 

Friday, 15 February 2013


Found this one when I was visiting the BETT show in London, it was being used to record a science experiment and slow down what was happening. I have passed it onto our PE department and they are loving it.

The basic version is free.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Edmodo - getting work to students

This week my colleague was off ill. He sent me the work for his classes on email. Rather than leaving my lessons to set up the work I sent the students the work via Edmodo. They then uploaded the work they had created back to Edmodo so my colleague knew what they had done. Simple.

Friday, 8 February 2013


This year I am trying to encourage all curriculum areas to get into mobile computing. One success is with art. They are now using Brushes (a free app) with their students. This can be seen demonstrated in the video below by David Hockney.

The image below is an example of Year 8  work produced. The art teacher said that they all really got inspired and excited about using the iPads and software.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


One of the issues of portable devices is how to get the work you have on it onto another device. One of my students was excited when he realised he could access his work through iCloud . He didn't have to do anything just do his work on the iPad in Pages, Keynote or Numbers and everything is automatically uploaded to the cloud. He then accessed this through the browser on his PC. 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Edmodo - uploading work

Over the last week or so I have been experimenting with Edmodo. We have been posting messages, links to articles for students to read, set up an RSS feed (although we took this down as we were overloaded with items), carried out polls, quizzes and set assignments. It has been successful will the log showing students logging into the group at all times of the day. One thing that frustrated us was the inability to upload work from the iPad into an assignment. When we went to share there was no option from Pages or Keynote to upload to Edmodo. We discovered a solution:

 2 Choose open in another app
 3 Choose the app you are in
 4 Choose Edmodo
The work will then go into the backpack on Edmodo and from there you can attach it.

or if you are a teacher it will go into your Library and you can share it from there.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Using Forms in Numbers to Assess

Teaching ICT I sometimes I don't want students to be printing things off all the time. I have found setting up forms on numbers a good way of assessing students work while I sit with them. After the lesson I can read the feedback I have given and the progress they have made and personalise task sheets for the next lesson. Dating the feedback on the forms allows me to track whether improvements have been made.

I have created a star system to use with my project work, see the images below.

Assessments can then be exported to an Excel spreadsheet if you want.

Monday, 21 January 2013


My students in ICT were creating a presentation about different communication methods, one wanted to create a mind-map to put into his presentation. He pulled out his iPad and opened Popplet.  Within a couple of minutes he had emailed an image of his completed mind-map to himself and imported it into his work. This then spread around those with iPads and they were all doing it. 


Friday, 18 January 2013


So school is closed due to snow, but it seems my economics students are still doing some work. I have just been logged onto Edmodo and some students have been reading the BBC Economics RSS feeds I added yesterday. I didn't even ask them to read them. This seems to be working.

Life after the iPad project ..

So I was in a meeting and was asked what happens at the end of the of the 1:1 pilot? What is the next step do we start a leasing scheme? What if students can't afford to join the scheme? I have always been wary of committing to such a scheme, as a parent I would be put out by a school demanding I join a scheme or my child would lose out. I have already heard of schools where this approach has failed. Added to that this Christmas tablets were the must have present. The new iPad mini was sold out everywhere and many students received a Kindle Fire HD or the Google Nexus 7 instead. So I can imagine many parents would be reluctant to payout again for another device. The iPad undoubtedly has it all, the ease of use, the cameras (front and rear) and apps galore but are we dreaming of an unachievable goal to have every child with an iPad? Perhaps we should rethink. We can create a school where we provide the infrastructure and students can bring whatever device they choose to access and create content, and collaborate with others. In the video below Stephen Heppel explains the "bring your own browser" concept. 

So if we are going to put the device and app issue in the hands of the students and just provide the infrastructure, we need to focus on how we can deliver content that all can access through a browser. We can still offer a leasing model but not make it compulsory for all. We can support those students who can not afford the devices and make sure everyone has access to a browser.

We already have ways of achieving this:

  • Our VLE Uniservity - soon to be Life
  • Our email system and Skydrive
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Edmodo

Thursday, 17 January 2013


The great thing about the iPad is the number of free apps available for use in education. My colleague GXT spotted this one, Educreations. Great free app for creating content for lessons before and during the lesson. Or you could ask the students to explain something with it. It doesn't just turn the iPad into an expensive slate the sessions can be recorded and multiple screens created.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Flash on the iPad

One issue that the students identified was the inability to play flash quizzes from sites such as Tutor2u. With a bit of digging I have found a browser that will play the flash quizzes, called Puffin. This £1.99 on the app store.

WiFi passwords

One issue at CHS is that each time they start using the iPads students have to log onto the WiFi, to help speed this up my economics class has enabled the AutoFill option in Safari through the iPad settings.  See below. This will speed up the process.

The first lesson

All went well on Monday when the iPads were given out to the 6th formers. There was a real buzz of excitement in the room. Now for the important stuff what to use them for.

My first lesson post exams with Y12 Economics and a chance to test their capabilities out with a group. We had a quick tour round of the software - Pages, Keynote, Inkflow and Explain Everything. Students have quickly got to grips with the device and seem quite attached. We then set up a group in Edmodo.

When we looked at the feature we agreed that this would be a useful tool for the group to share materials and ideas. (They also had some fun creating their profile pictures using the iPad). The great thing is that even if they all give the iPads back we can still use Edmodo through any web browser.

We then went onto our topic for the day Circular Flow of Income. Students used their iPads to take notes, view videos I had linked to Edmodo and research on the web. A successful start.