Archive for September, 2012

Teach Your Monster to Read ~ The First Steps

| September 30, 2012 | 2 Comments 

Glad to have had a small input in The Usborne Foundation‘s Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps ~ a free online game to help children practice and consolidate the essential first stages of reading.

Aimed at beginner readers, Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps is built on the principles of synthetic phonics and follows the teaching sequence in the “Letters and Sounds” programme

This inspiring game develops children’s speed, and accuracy of letter recognition, by taking them on a fantastic adventure through a magical world where they meet island kings and collect letters to win prizes.  It also explores blending and segmenting, and introduces “tricky” words in a fun, interactive setting. It is aimed at beginning readers, both those who are on track & those who need support. And, it’s great fun too.

If YOU follow a different phonics scheme, there are still some useful games to explore, to fit with other programmes.


| September 29, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Spent is an interactive game which asks players to consider what life would be like as a potentially homeless person.

The game puts you in the shoes of someone who has lost their life savings, and has you choose one of three low-paying jobs to see for yourself how quickly money runs out, raising a child and making it through the month getting paid a minimum wage.

Take the role of restaurant server, warehouse worker, or office temp and discover how difficult it is to manage your initial $1000. “Homelessness is something that could never happen to me”. How one life changing event can send life spiraling out of control.

Useful when looking at personal economy, empathy, understanding and life choices. How would you cope?

Arounder ~ 360º Panoramas

| September 28, 2012 | 0 Comments 

As big fans of virtual panoramas, such as those to be found at, we can also recommend the excellent Arounder, for a collection of panoramas from locations around the world. Great for inspiring talk for writing.

It is important to not forget to take the time to stand still in each Panorama and write or discuss – before you even think about moving. It is the first movement that creates a bit of magic when using these with children.

Don’t forget that you can also make your own panoramas with CleVR, Dermander, Photosynth and others.

Skolebibliotek og Folkbibliotek I Digital Tango ~ Denmark

| September 27, 2012 | 2 Comments 

Great to be back in Denmark, at the Skolebibliotek og Folkbibliotek I Digital Tango, at the Hotel Nyborg Strand.

This is the latest, in a long series of many events, over the last year or so, working alongside a huge range of Danish educators, games based people, government departments, support staff, teachers, librarians, suppliers and more. Continue Reading

Motivating Educators, Inspiring Learners #MEIL12

| September 27, 2012 | 1 Comment 

A huge amount of things to look forward to this year. One of the most exciting is on October 3rd when we will be in London for a superb and innovative event: Motivating Educators, Inspiring Learners, at The Lancaster Hotel.

Mondale Events have brought together “four of the UK’s top education speakers, on the same agenda, on the same day”.

As well as a session from us, there will be seminars with Richard Gerver, Russell Prue and Simon Cooper-Hind.

Mix this with this a hand-picked exhibition and a delightful Lancaster Hotel lunch, and you have a great combination.

The cost for the whole day, with lunch, is just £120 and includes entry into a prize draw.

With plenty of time to chat to colleagues, share ideas and meet new suppliers as well, this is the must attend event in London for October. For details of the agenda, subjects covered and speaker biographies you could visit the booking site at Mondale Events HERE The Twitter Tag for the day is #MEIL12

Places are going fast mind you. Hope we can see YOU there.

my ebook

| September 27, 2012 | 2 Comments 

Create, publish and share ebook content online with A powerful, browser-based, builder software, and a slick reader environment, there’s never been an easier way for anyone and everyone to ‘get it out there’.

With, upload, or create from scratch, beautifully simple or adventurously complex page designs and covers online, in no time. What’s more, you can publish your book with a single button before the (virtual) ink’s dry!

Whilst this wasn’t designed specifically to be used in education, your pupils could produce some polished publications in a short space of time.

In this open beta, you can create as many publications as you want, and also embed or link to videos, audio, documents, images to make your books fully interactive.

And, it’s all free!

Hypercities ~ Compare maps of cities over time

| September 26, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Powered by Google Earth, and Google Maps, Hypercities is a huge collection of historic, and more modern maps, that can be viewed overlayed upon up to date plans.

HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive way.

Cities mapped include Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Rome, Lima, Ollantaytambo, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tehran, Saigon, Toyko, Shanghai, Seoul, with more to come.


| September 25, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Memidex is a massive collection of well sorted links for investigating the meaning and sounds of words.

A free (mobile friendly) online dictionary & thesaurus with a simple interface, adult-filtering, & millions of external reference links for definitions, audio, and etymology.

Pentrepoeth Primary School, Newport – Next steps

| September 24, 2012 | 0 Comments 

A joyous return visit to Pentrepoeth Primary School,

We have already enjoyed a day with the Pentrepoeth teachers and a day working alongside their pupils. So it has been great to be back, and doing even more, in a place that feels like home.

On our last visit, it was the teachings styles that left the biggest impact, it seems. The staff did an audit to identify some of the aspects they had adopted in their own teaching.

These included creating an open environment to speak. Involvement of all. Taking children on a journey. Inspiring boys to want to write and talk. No right or wrong. Enjoyment. The dripping in of ideas. Being open to all ideas, at all times. Continue Reading

Snappy Words

| September 23, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Snappy Words is a bit like InstaGrok, GraphWords, WordSift and Visuwords and has the advantage that you can sometimes double click on a node to dig deeper.

It’s an online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and draw connections to associated words. You can easily see the meaning of each piece of vocabulary by simply placing the mouse cursor over it.

Learn how words associate in a visually interactive display. Get ideas to help write content for your blog, article, thesis or simply play with words!

For younger children, Snappy Words shows that words are malleable, playful delights, to be picked up & juggled with. For older students, it beats “right clicking words in Word”!

Type words in the search box and click Go or simply hit Enter. Once the words branch off the main query, you can double click a node to find other related words. To explore the features:

Place the mouse cursor over a word to view the meaning.
Double click a node from the branch to view other related words.
Scroll the mouse wheel over words to zoom in or out. This helps you see more
associations or view words and meanings more clearly.
Click and drag a word or branch to move it around and explore other branches.

Try out GraphWords, WordSift and Visuwords to see which one you find the most useful. Remember that InstaGrock uses the interlinked word and concepts graph, and then allows you to dig in a different way too. But the others focus on the word play and vocabulary aspects more fully.

Snappy Words requires no registration or software installation. All you need is an internet connection and a browser (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and others). It’s free and fun!


| September 22, 2012 | 1 Comment offers primarily a directory of “all” the online bilingual and multilingual dictionaries and glossaries freely available on the Internet.

A perfect resource for translators, educators, linguists, language students & all those interested in foreign languages.

The directory currently has links to over 7500 dictionaries and glossaries, many of which have been created by translators working in specialist fields.

In the Education section, for example, there are collections to do with  Culture, Cartoons, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, Translation, Religion, History, Archaeology, and more.