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I’m in no hurry now….

| April 20, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

30 years after training college, Tim and Simon (Ellis) meet up for an impromptu jam in “the shed” in Somerset

| April 19, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

wordmarkit inspireWith it’s is easy to see what a word looks like in all the available fonts on your computer. A quick and useful tool when doing some desk top publishing.

William Barcroft Junior School, Cleethorpes ~ Day 2

| April 14, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

William Barcroft Junior School

William Barcroft Junior SchoolDream itA beautiful second day at William Barcroft Junior School, Cleethorpes, and a day of wandering in the world of words. Today, we are using (or standing still within) some remarkable virtual worlds, and cherishing the expressive vocabulary and sentence structures that are inspired by them. Picking up words and juggling them.

These journeys are extremely hard to define or describe. They are inevitably different from what is expected. Importantly, slower in terms of distance travelled geographically, yet we journey many miles in the world of language and imagination.


RevelationSometimes, people hear of “this games based learning thing” and they have got hold of a game (often, because of some surreal misunderstanding, it is also often the wrong game!) and they are playing the game, rather than choosing a wondrous setting and standing, …marvelling, within this world that dances before us, and witnessing the incredible thoughts that flow from it.

In each of our sessions, there was one aim, to leave pupils wanting more, eager to explore further. Their imaginations suitably fired, they go on to their lessons and the rest of their day envisioning what lay beyond what they couldn’t see, but lay in the landscapes beyond the region they stood within.

William Barcroft JS Day 2 AM 11The images (although they go far beyond being “images” and become believably real) are a window, or a doorway, not into a computer game or a world created by another’s imagination, but into the creative palaces of the pupils’ minds. This is not a puzzle to solve with one right answer, or merely an entertaining experience akin to a film where one journeys through the mind of a director, …it is a tool for opening the mind, and expanding horizons. The village might be an abondoned gem of a place, or a throbbing metropolis temporarily quiet for some mysterious, yet utterly peaceful, reason. The ship may be inhabited by cannibals, it may be pirates, it may be demons; the sea may be acid, or milk, or ink; it’s whatever the class, and the individuals within that class, want it to be.

Essentially, your idea could be in complete contrast to the person alongside you, but you’re both right:

There is no “right idea”. Even better, there’s no wrong idea.

Seeing the products of such work and the boundless enthusiasm (where some pupils actually have to be asked to wait before writing down their thoughts!) is an impressive and influential experience. Well done all at William Barcroft, for being up for the challenges, and keen to explore more… …

Inanimate Alice

| April 13, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

logo_largeA great site we stumbled upon, nearly 10 years ago and referred to before, encourages great discussion and interaction in a range of settings:

‘Inanimate Alice’ tells the story of a young girl growing up in the first half of the 21st century, and her imaginary digital friend, Brad.

Alice umbrellaUsing high quality visuals, and sound (make SURE your sound is on) this is your chance to join the protagonist on an adventurous path. Over different episodes, each a self contained story, we see Alice grow from an eight year old, living with her parents in a remote region of Northern China, on her way towards beconing a talented older games designer.

Alice and mobileThis series of multimedia, interactive episodes uses a combination of text, audio, images, and games as Alice takes us on a journey through her life. Alice becomes an animator, & creator of characters for the “most successful games company in the world”.

She meets many along the way and one character stands out: Brad, Alice’s “only true friend in life”. The episodes of ‘Inanimate Alice’ become increasingly interactive and game-like, reflecting Alice’s own developing fascination with games. ‘Inanimate Alice’ is a study of human/computer relations in a world where having “friends” means never having to actually meet them.

Read the Education section for some background & thoughts on what might happen in this established yet still developing story… (see original logo below)

William Barcroft Junior School, Cleethorpes ~ Day 1

| April 13, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

William Barcroft Junior School

William Barcroft JuniorThank you to Claire Constanopoulos, Headteacher William Barcroft Junior School for her enthusiasm and for inviting us to spend two days at her school, with her colleagues and pupils; today an INSET then tomorrow with the teaching staff and their children.

Thanks to Claire for sharing her thoughts on the William Barcroft learning adventure, with and without technology:

Claire ConstanopoulosOur current journey began in 2009 when I joined as headteacher, with falling numbers and a 3 year decline in standards and a building that left a lot to desire. The strong SLT and open minded support team, we rebuilt the schools pastoral  base and self confidence and although the road was bumpy and filled with obstacles we made it together and  we are now in a great place now to continue our journey.

The team have worked tirelessly to improve standards and have been recognized as a good school by Ofsted and recently received a congratulatory letter from the DfE for our work with pupil premium children. With an over increasing  PAN and a strong upward trajectory of achievement we continue to build on our strong ethos of putting the children first, building a strong pastoral foundation and the understanding that everyone continues learning all the time.

Quality CPD is at the top of our priorities and the Governors are supportive of our belief that change and development brings with it progress and improvement. Having heard through many of our twitter colleagues that having Tim Rylands to train was a great learning experience, we booked two days to further support our team to enrich good teaching with fresh ideas and technology to inspire!

We are, as always, confident that our forward thinking innovative team will take all that Tim and Sarah have to offer and ensure the children’s education is enriched!

Claire Constantopoulos,  Headteacher, William Barcroft Junior School

Also, thanks go to Emma Emson, Assistant Head/ Literacy lead  and Scott Berry, ICT lead for sorting out the logistics for our visit.

Some down time…

| March 29, 2015

daffodilsOFFTaking time to take time…

Taking a break—even for 15 to 20 minutes—is a proven way to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.

We are taking a bit of down time, switching off for a little bit. See you back after a bit of exploring of Mexico. Hoping YOU can take a break too.

HookPad by HookTheory

| March 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

HookpadHookPad is software that simplifies songwriting by helping you choose chords that sound good together and guiding you to write a good melody. It’s a musical sketchpad with music theory “built-in”.

Hope University, Liverpool 2015 ~ The Return 3.2

| March 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Liverpool Hope University

The second day of our return visit, again, to Liverpool Hope University, for lessons (and training) with, more fourthe year students and children from St Cecilia’s Catholic Infant School and Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School.

Over these two days, we have been intrepid explorers, investigating mysterious worlds, experimenting with different ways to pick up ideas and words, and play with them.

Liverpool Hope University


These virtual environments are an excellent blank canvas, and we can build to where we are happy to jostle words around and juggle with them, then splatter them over the page, painting pictures which, in turn, lift off the page and dance in our heads. (Hey! Mr Rylands. Those are similes and metaphors!)

Spending time wandering through, and STANDING STILL in magical, digital vistas, and the teaching techniques we can use within them, allow students of any age and ability, to take risks, in a safe environment, where they can’t make mistakes.

“There is no right idea. Even better, there is no wrong idea”.

What a superb bunch. They quickly rose to the challenges, and opportunities, we offered them, taking off and flying with descriptive imaginations of what might lie beyond where we stood.

Even though there were so many packed into each room, each of us was almost “deliciously alone”, as we took the time to write, and draw, about where we “stood”, and what we thought might exist, just out of sight, and then voyaged to discover what it actually was. The children showed remarkable, and inventive thought, as did the student teachers, and turned these in to delightful, imaginative, pieces of writing. Well done all.

A soft murmer

| March 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

A soft murmer 1A soft murmer 2A Soft Murmer is another great way to create and play with ambient sounds. Descriptive narrative and beyond.

Hope University, Liverpool 2015 ~ The Return 3.1

| March 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Liverpool Hope Universtiy

A joyous trip back to Liverpool Hope University, for a day of lessons (and training) with third year student teachers and children from St Margaret’s Anfield Church of England Primary. We have had the pleasure of working alongside the Liverpool Hope crew over the last few years. So it was great to be back! Another big Thank You to Michelle Pearson, Head of Primary ITE, the Faculty of Education, at Liverpool Hope University, for organising our return trip.

A delightful morning with an up-for-it class of Year 2 pupils and 40+ third-year student teachers.

And a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with a lovely bunch of Year 5 pupils and a further 50+ student teachers.

Liverpool Hope Universtiy

As we have said before, it is so valuable to work alongside students heading off in to the world of education. One of the most rewarding ways to spend your working days. Teaching is a hard path, in many respects, on many occasions. Hours of extra preparation, planning and reflection. But, as Confucius said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

Thanks to Veronica Poulter for sharing these thoughts:

The Primary English team and the Year 3 BA QTS students at Liverpool Hope University have been very much looking forward to welcoming our old friends Tim and Sarah to be part of our English Focus Week. In this week, we explore a range of strategies to support children in their story telling and creative writing. ICT is a highly powerful resource, which offers a wide range of applications, catering for all learning styles. Tim and Sarah’s innovative approach using gaming technology, fully engages and enthrals both student teachers and children. #can’twaitforThursday!



Vocaroo ~ record & embed audio… easily

| March 19, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

VocarooVocaroo is a quick and easy way to get audio in to a blog post without loads of hassle, & technical equipment. (This uses Flash, so won’t work on an i device, sadly.) Click the arrow for an example.
Record and upload voice >>