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News of the Future ~ “You are my density”.

| September 2, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

With Back to the Future, reaching a significant year in 2015, it is timely to mention the quirky site that is News of the Future.

Who needs a Delorean time machine when you can link to future news?  Oil at $180 a barrel, Talking search engines, First Marathon Under Two Hours, and Euro Banknotes Invalid by Friday It raises some fascinating questions, like Can Paralyzed People Walk in the Future?

Even some of the advert banners are mock ups of future possibilities: “Beam Yourself Around the World with Telebeamer!” There are some serious sides to the site. An example: a section on AIDS offers some sobering thoughts.

The way the site looks back at “past events” from these days, offers a good insight into how reporting can present/misrepresent “facts” too. In the words of Marty McFly: “Well, history is gonna change”

Who knows what might happen, but “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”.


| September 1, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

codecombat logocampaign CodeCombat encourages you to learn to program, all through playing a medieval game.

Peterlee Partnership, Durham

| September 1, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Peterlee Partnership

Peterlee PartnershipWhat a full~on, and fun, way to start a new academic year! Over 400 staff, with Heads & Deputies to teachers and LSAs, from 28 schools in the Peterlee Partnership, a strong partnership in East Durham, looking at the power of new, and emerging, technologies in schools.

The day was held at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club only 2 miles from Durham City Centre.

The other two sessions in the afternoon were Martin Bailey, of Animate to Educate – showcasing apps  for across the primary age range, and Sally Landon, with a focus on Early Years and KS1, and some elements of robotics.

A big “Thank You” to Jenny Pearce, Headteacher, Thornley Primary School, for organising our day.

The Future is ours

Peterlee Partnership Teaching School Alliance was launched officially today, at a CPD event being held Ramside Hall, Durham with Tim and Sarah as the main speakers. The Alliance has been formed out of the 29 primary schools in the existing Peterlee Partnership and this event will be attended by over 400 participants.

The Peterlee Partnership is based in the challenging, ex-mining community of East Durham and, while there are high levels of challenge, we pride ourselves in having even higher levels of ambition for the children in our schools. Having Tim as the lead speaker for the day, to inspire our thinking and teaching in his creative and motivational way, was an obvious choice once the theme of ‘Computing’ emerged as our priority.

The rationale for our September PD Days relates back to 2011, when a group of Headteachers at a conference for Headteachers were discussing how fantastic and motivational the speaker had been and how impossible it would be to capture the true essence of what they had heard in the way it was delivered to take back to school. Since then, all classroom-based staff from Partnership schools have attended the same training day. This ensures that everyone gets the same message, the inspiration and the motivation at the same time.

The hope is that the impact on our children, following Tim’s presentation, will be significant and every child in our Partnership schools working with any member of staff attending will have the same opportunities to be motivated and inspired.

Marie-Louise Binks, Dawn Dunn, Lynne Laws and Jennifer Pearce.

Peterlee Elsie

Joining us today were colleagues from : Acre Rigg Infant School, Acre Rigg Academy, Blackhall Colliery Primary School, Cassop Primary School, Cotsford Infant School, Cotsford Junior School, Deaf Hill Primary School, Dene House Primary School, Easington Church of England Primary School, Easington Colliery Primary School, Hesleden Primary School, Horden Nursery School, Howletch Lane Primary School, Hutton Henry CofE Primary School, Ludworth Primary SchoolOur Lady of Lourdes RCVA Primary School, Our Lady of the Rosary RCVA Primary School, Our Lady Star of the Sea RC Primary School, Shotton Hall Primary School, Shotton Primary School, St Godric’s RCVA Primary SchoolSt Joseph’s RC Primary SchoolSt Mary’s RCVA Primary SchoolSt William’s RCVA Primary School, Thornley Primary School, Wheatley Hill Community Primary School, Wingate Infant SchoolWingate Nursery School and Yohden Primary School.

Online free OCR

| August 29, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

lamp9ONLINE_OCR_LOGOHaving a genuine need to turn the text, from an analog document, in to a digital form,  we found Online OCR to be an invaluable tool


| August 28, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Wiggio is a free, online, toolkit that makes it easy to work in groups.

The team developed Wiggio out of their own frustrations with working in groups.
They were tired of sending eleven emails back and forth to set a meeting time.

Wiggio dotsThey were fed up with “that guy” who just never knows where and when to be for meetings. They were tired of multiple mailing lists, contact books, phone-chains and incompatibilities. They wanted everything to be in one place, and we wanted it simple.

The platform was designed to be easy and straightforward, even for the least tech-savvy members of your group. It provides everything you need to work productively in your groups, without bogging you down with complexities and unnecessary features.

Host Virtual Meetings and conference calls. Create to-do lists and assign tasks. Send email, text, and voice messages. Manage events with a shared calendar. Poll your group in real time. Upload and manage files in a shared folder

Water Hall Primary, Milton Keynes ~ Day 1

| August 28, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Waterhall Primary

Water Hall PrimaryWaterhall entranceThank you to Tony Draper, Head Teacher at Water Hall Primary, Fern Grove, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and Becky McGuire, Assistant Head Teacher, for organising our first day (back in the UK) of the new academic year, with staff from across this remarkable school and colleagues from their neighbouring school, Brooklands Farm Primary.

WaterHall is a remarkable building too. As Hollie, Lauren, Kaci & Saffron, from 6CP said:

Water HallWe would describe our building as a ‘unique work of art’. Our school has got all the necessary facilities that are needed to meet our learning requirements and more. From our outstanding classrooms (with special lights which stop us getting headaches), to our unusual and impressive 4D and Kaleidoscope spaces; Children can engage with their learning in a way which suits each individual. Those of us who can still remember the old building are grateful for what we now have.

It wasn’t always as beautiful as this…

Waterhall-school-2008-pix-Jason-Hurst-53Prior to 2008 we had a very different building to what we have today. Our memories of the old school aren’t so pleasant, our highlights or shall we say lowlights, were; the disgusting toilets which really smelt bad; the broken windows which would cause classrooms to be unbearably cold; the holes in the roof which meant that buckets had to be placed to catch the leaks and finally the stairs which felt very unsafe due to their condition. We are really grateful to Mr Draper and all the staff for giving us this wonderful building which has provided us with a fantastic start to our lives and made us proud to be students of Water Hall Primary School.

Thank you to Karen Roberts, Deputy at Water Hall, for sharing these thoughts:

Water Hall Primary school is an outstanding school rising to challenges. It got there by doing things differently, by not doing more of the same but always looking for alternative solutions to age old problems.

Being rated outstanding by OFSTED brings about it’s own challenges but has also lead to looking for even more exciting ventures to improve the life chances of the children from the poorest families.

The school has invested in its IT provision. It has a 4D room which provides learning experiences for children which they would not usually encounter. This year they have purchased tablets and chrome books for classes. All classes have wide screen T.V.s and will use ‘chromecast’ to project work onto the screen.

Staff at Water Hall are dedicated and enthusiastic, they always put children first and are comfortable taking risks.

When the Head sat next to Tim, at an education conference dinner, a plan was hatched. The project with Tim aims to pull it all together. The equipment is ready to go, the staff are enthusiastic. The project with Tim Rylands will bring together the enthusiasm of staff and the investment in resources to bring about improved outcomes for children

Thanks all. We look forward to returning in October, for a second visit, working alongside the pupils.

(Bletchley is best known for Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s World War II codebreaking organisation, now home to The National Museum of Computing.)


| August 27, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

StudyStackstudy stack typessslogo-noreflection gives you the chance to create, & use, different forms of quizes, flashcards, (and even games of hangman) on any subject.

The Classroom of The Future…

| August 27, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

The Classroom of The FutureIngram MicroThinkbdaThank you to Chris Gent, and Steve Hudson, of ThinkBDA   (and Tony Draper, headteacher of Water Hall Primary, Bletchley in Milton Keynes, for the location), for a session of filming, on behalf of Ingram Micro, about the classroom of the future…

Find Sounds

| August 26, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

palette_animation2.gif“Do you know any good places to find sounds?” How about trying a useful little site which is appropriately called just that, “Findsounds“:

| August 25, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

3054014574_8faae07ec4_oIn our sessions on mind mapping how some of the many ideas might be applied back in the classroom, we often have a quick discussion on the power of recording ideas visually, and a discussion of how it can confuse some students who DON’T think or work in a visual way.

It is useful and reminds us of the “old style topic webs” we started using to plan at the beginning of our careers. lets you create thought bubbles and connect them together.

You also can easily move the bubbles around or change the links connecting them to each other.

Being an online application there are some collaborative feature, and if you can fit your thoughts into little connected bubbles, try it.

There are several “mind mapping” software products available, a favourite being 2Simple’s brilliant, and adaptable, 2Connect. isn’t in that class. But it’s free and it’s fun, and it might help you see connections in your own thoughts.

• Brainstorm online
• Create colorful mind
• Share work with others
• Embed your map in
your blog or website
• Email and print map
• Save map as an image


| August 22, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

StudyblueStudyblue enables quick creation of study aids, and revision tools. Useful when reviewing information on a vast range of subjects. There are iOS, Android & Web Apps. (Requires free sign up)