Air pollution and children

Children are some of the most vulnerable to dirty air. The health effects include: asthma, reduced lung capacity and can even impact their brain development. Friends of the Earth have just relaunched their Clean Air Schools Pack, designed with teachers, it aims to transform KS2 pupils into budding scientists. It provides engaging lesson plans that take […]

Lego Animations

I have been doing Lego animations with children for many years now particularly with year 5 and 6. I usually use I Can Animate with Hue web cams but sometimes use much simpler software and more basic cameras. This week, in one of the after school clubs that I run, I was pleasantly surprised by […]

Poppy Art

An interesting dilemma today – year 1 children, using 2Paint a Picture teach them to use different size brushes, improve their mouse skills and, as it was Remembrance Day at the weekend, draw some poppies. And what is the dilemma? Should I just let them loose and see what they produce or should I show […]

Tim Rylands – an inspiration

It was with great sadness that we learnt that Tim Rylands passed away last Monday. Tim was an amazing inspiration to many educationalists and children, he was full of creative ideas and resources involving computing that made learning fun and effective. His presentations at events and his sessions in the classroom were not to be […]

Ghostly goings on with Pivot

I often use Pivot to introduce animation, it is a nice, simple to use program with no cameras or wires, clay or scenery. You can very quickly get across the idea of a timeline and the need for small movements to give smooth animations and children can produce stunning results in a very short time. […]

“Share to Classroom” extension for Chromebooks

If you are a user of Chromebooks then you may like the “Share to Classroom” extension that allows you to easily share a webpage from your device to the whole class with a couple of clicks. Sometimes it can be so difficult to get your class all on the same page! This extension helps to […]

Google Team Drives

Earlier this year Google released “Team Drives”. These are a very useful addition to Google Drive but at first it may not be clear why. What is the point of Team Drives when you can share any folder with anyone you like? One of the issues with sharing folders in a community such as a […]

Using blogs to engage boys in learning

We all know that it can be quite difficult sometimes (or all the time) to engage boys in learning. One strategy being used at Allerton CE Primary is to use a “Football Manager” blog to encourage boys who are interested in football (and girls) to write and do arithmetic. I well remember working for 6 […]

Pivot Football

When teaching animation the early lessons are focused on getting quick results with a story line and smooth animation. Making the Pivot stick characters move realistically and smoothly isn’t easy, the first results are often jerky and lack meaning. I like to challenge the children in their second session to use one or two characters […]

Using blogs to engage parents

Often schools struggle to communicate and engage with the parents of their pupils and the wider community. We have found that blogging has an amazing potential for improving communication and engagement without too much extra work. Most blogging tools will interact with other social media such as Facebook and Twitter so it is relatively easy […]

Call for schools to register for aggregated tablet procurement by 6th May

The Department for Education is facilitating a procurement of tablet devices through the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Aggregation team. The pilot procurement made a saving of 12% for participating schools. The procurement will offer 4 tablet options: Apple iPads, Microsoft Surface Pro, LearnPads and a generic tablet, along with associated items eg. covers, security marking, […]

Scratch your Roamer

I am a great fan of Scratch and use it a lot with pupils in KS1 and KS2. Scratch has many experimental extensions which allow you to connect Scratch to all sorts of devices. One I have recently come across is Roamer ScratchX which allows you to use Scratch to control the new Valiant Roamer. Valiant […]

Air Server

Some time ago I spoke of how wonderful Air Server is. This is a piece of software that you can run on your PC (Window 7 or newer) or Mac so that it allows you to show you iPad screen on your desktop. This is brilliant in a class situation because you can wander around […]

Web based OCR

OCR or “Optical Character Recognition” is a technology that has been around for some time and allows you to scan a printed document and turn the picture of the text into real text. There are free OCR packages available and there are paid for packages. Some of these are incredibly good and are able to […]

DB Primary and iPads

It is possible to put documents straight from your iPad into a gallery on DB Primary, for example, you could take pictures in class using your iPad and upload them straight into your class gallery. One way of doing this is to use WebDav Nav which is a free app (there is a paid for […]

Office 365 SharePoint Calendar issue 1

If you regularly use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11 with Microsoft’s Office 365 you may notice some occasional glitches. One problem we have come across is that the SharePoint calendar may appear to be stuck in month view and not show the times of appointments. To remedy this you need to add sharepoint.com to the “Compatibility […]

iPad Ambassadors

I have recently started to run an iPad Ambassadors after school club of about 10 pupils in a primary school. The idea of the club is to train them up as experts in the use and care of the class set of iPads and for them to act rather like Digital Leaders. They will become the […]

A class set of iPads

I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a project to set up a class set of 30 iPads in a local primary school. The iPad 2 tablets have 16GB memory, are stored in three iLuv cabinets and are connected to a Mac Mini running the latest server software with Apple Configurator. One of […]

Connecting iPads to projectors in the classroom

A teacher with an iPad, what a fantastic pair! In an ideal world the teacher can wander around the classroom with their iPad whilst showing images, videos or other apps on the screen at the front of the class. You see a great piece of work as you wander, photograph it with the iPad and […]

mb or Mb?

Just to clarify things for those of you who are as pedantic as me, mb stands for milli-bit and Mb stands for mega-bit. Your Internet bandwidth is usually measured in Mbps or Mega-bits per second, that is 1 million bits every second. A milli-bit per second connection (mbps) would require 1 million seconds to shift […]