Archive for November, 2014


| November 28, 2014 | 0 Comments 

UbersuggestExpand your searches beyond what you’d thought of initially. Inspiration for broadening investigations.


| November 27, 2014 | 1 Comment 

81 DASHCommunication is vital. 81DASH professes to be “a safe solution that would allow students access to communicate anytime, anywhere, but also keep them safe and give the teacher the opportunity to monitor and have full control of that chat environment”.

81DASH is currently, free, and in BETA. Created by teachers for teachers. This could be well worth a try. It runs on Mac, PC, iOS, and Android

Although the chat feature is heart and soul of 81Dash, they believe that students need more than just a safe chat environment. A dashboard that allows them to communicate, share files, take notes, & keep track of tasks.

Ribbon Hero 2

| November 25, 2014 | 0 Comments 

titleballoonClippyThank you to Katie Swallow, of Bartley C of E Junior School, for the nudge towards Ribbon Hero 2, which teaches you how to use Microsoft programs.

The Microsoft paper clip goes on an adventure through time and, on the way, has to learn skills on Word, Excel & PowerPoint, earning you points. (Ribbon Hero 2 is only available for Windows).

It looks like you’re writing a blog post. “It’s defiantly helped me and I am hooked!” says Katie.


| November 24, 2014 | 0 Comments 

BuzzSumo headerFor social savvy teachers, Buzzsumo enables searching~ for individuals who want to search for most shared content~ influencers and track mentions of a topic.

The free version allows a single user, 2 Alerts / 500 mentions

Extreme Planet Makeover

| November 21, 2014 | 0 Comments 


Extreme Planet Makeover, whilst sounding like an idea for a Gok Wan programme, is, in fact, a fascinating investigation of what makes a planet work. Control the look, and habitability, of your own planet.

Planet1Each potentially habitable planet has a window of time during which it is possible for life to evolve. The planet must be old enough for the turbulence years of its formation to of passed, but not so old that all the water on the surface has sunken into the cooled off core. Because smaller planets cool off more quickly than larger ones, the window of opportunity for life to exist is quite a bit shorter than with larger planets. Investigate.

Planet 3Earth~like planets are the right size, and the right distance from its sun. This is the holy grail of planet hunting. Worlds like this have the right conditions to support life as we know it. A major goal of astronomers is to figure out how many planets like this might exist in the galaxy. Can you make one yourself?

Adjust the distance from a star, star type, size, & age of the planet, & find out how your globule compares to others.

Tenterden Rural Alliance Schools at Homewood School, Ashford, Kent ~ Day 2

| November 21, 2014 | 6 Comments 

Tenterten Rural Alliance

Homewood SchoolAfter our sessions, working alongside children, yesterday, we were joined by a vast number of teaching staff, from across the Tenterden Rural Alliance, for an INSET –  looking at Using ICT to Inspire: Raising levels of creativity in children of all abilities, at Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre.

Tenterden Rural AllianceThank you, again, to Rachael Harrington, Headteacher Woodchurch CE Primary and to Debra Faulkner, Head of Administration & PA to Principal at Homewood School, for coordinating 145 (plus a few) from primary Schools, 270 from Secondary and 100 who stayed all day. A big event to organise, and what fun we had!

Well done to all the folk, from Wittersham CEP School, Charing Church of England (Aided) Primary,  High Halden C of E Primary, St Michaels C of E Primary, Woodchurch CE Primary, Tenterden C of E Junior School, Rolvenden Primary, Biddenden School, Egerton C of E Primary, Homewood School, Bethersden Primary and Repton Manor Primary.

Thanks to Chris, from Homewood School, for letting us know about their story:

Homewood school is a learning community with 2,200 students 270 staff.  We are proud to have one of the longest running and most effective e learning schemes in the UK.  Over the past decade we have given one to one access to students enabling them to have a mobile device to support their learning.

We currently have over 1,200 students with access to apple I pads, I tunes u and ever growing collection of I book learning resources.


| November 20, 2014 | 0 Comments 


Create lessons in 5 minutes: Blend your classroom. Make the most of class time

Blendspace “allows educators to blend their classroom with digital content. It empowers you to collect web resources in one place and share with just one link. Measure student understanding with built-in quizzes and monitor their progress ~ adapt to student needs in real-time”. Try it & let us know.

(Formerly known as EdCanvas, so don’t be confused if you see EdCanvas branding in the videos!)

Tenterden Rural Alliance Schools at Woodchurch CE Primary, Ashford, Kent ~ Day 1

| November 20, 2014 | 2 Comments 

Woodchurch CE Primary

The first, of two days, working alongside the Tenterden Rural Alliance Schools. Today, at Woodchurch CE Primary, near Ashford, Kent. Our focus was on “Inspiring Writing. We set forth, on some daring adventures, in the world of words, our eyes firmly fixed on picking up those words, and juggling with them. Children, and staff, from across the Alliance, showed some great style in facing a big range of challenges. Well done all.

Again, well done all, for tackling the challenges we offered. Some imaginative, thoughtful and inspired thinking, talking, caring, sharing, inventing, creating, collaborating, building, developing, writing, laughing, experimenting… and SO much more.

The VillageThe morning with the KS2 pupils and their teaching staff and visiting colleagues from neighbouring schools, exploring the ‘hooks’, ‘nooks’ and ‘crannies’ that engage pupils in sharing their ideas with confidence and style. We explored a ‘Village’ setting in Myst 4: Revelation. Talk. speculation, sharing, thinking and taking ownership of this place, brought it from the virtual, into reality. Similes, and silences, enabled their ideas to flourish and take shape, forming images in our imaginations – gorgeous! We met characters, children up for tackling new ideas and risk-taking, found themselves becoming confident in their roles, expanding on fictional happenings with great detail and flare.

Edanna Spiral PlantOur afternoon, we adventured with KS1 pupils, and teachers, adventuring through their creations, notions and persuasions, as we wandered through caves, climbed trees and became intrepid explorers. The children in this group wondered, and enthused, about strange objects as we investigated Edanna, the helix plants and the birds inhabiting this beautiful world, talking and writing with passion and interest – WELL DONE. The children made suggestions and proposals regarding the origins and purpose of items found; they considered different ways to ascend the plants and what might be at the top… and then, we went and found out. Would YOU like to know?…

A ha! That would really be telling. Why not have a look yourself one day?

Thank you, to Headteacher, at Woodchurch, Rachael Harrington for sharing her thoughts:

Woodchurch CE PrimaryAt Woodchurch Church of England Primary School ‘we shine together in God’s light, learning, exploring and challenging to inspire our futures.’ Woodchurch CE Primary School’s vision is at the forefront as we continually strive to raise the levels of skills, attainment and enjoyment of writing for all our children.  We are a good school and so are all the other schools in the Tenterden Rural Alliance but we are always looking to further the Learning and Teaching in our collaboration.

Through the inspirational agenda for Tim Rylands’ day with our children, at our school and the staff training at Homewood School, I hope our teachers will learn, explore and be challenged. The staff within the collaboration are looking for new ways to motivate our children to achieve greatness in their writing without losing the enjoyment. Our children are e-natives in a 24/7 digital world and we have a wonderful opportunity to tap into the best global resources to enable them to learn in a way that is exciting and relevant to them.

I contacted Tim because I recently used Myst III in a lesson with my Year 4s and I was reminded of some amazing training we had with Tim previously.  I loved the way he used technology to inspire the children to write and be so creative.  I invited Tim to our collaboration to bring back the enjoyment of teaching and show the children that they can write and use their imagination, whilst giving the staff the tools to facilitate this.  I am hoping that the use of technology with Tim will really encourage them and staff and children alike will learn without realising it!


| November 19, 2014 | 0 Comments 


examtime: A free online learning web-app where students and teachers can create, share and discover a large library of Mind Maps, Flashcards, Quizzes Notes & more.

EMBC Autumn Conference at Derby County FC iPRO Stadium, Derby

| November 19, 2014 | 12 Comments 


emPSNembc logoToday at Derby County FC iPRO Stadium, Pride Park, Derby for the ’embc Autumn Conference: enthusing and inspiring learners using ICT’ We explored, through our keynotes and workshops, how tech can enthuse and inspire and have an impact in the classroom.

From British Pathe we have Alistair White who will talk about the amazing film footage available online to all embc schools in particular their coverage of WWI and their tools for teachers.

With a packed workshop programme hosted by our suppliers and presenters there is something for everyone whatever your role in your school.

Workshops include suppliers Ark, Capital Bytes, Capita, eSafety Advisor – Alan MacKenzie, Kcom, KBR, Wave9,  presenters Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild, and Derbyshire Educational Technologist Katharine Childs.

– See more at:

From British Pathe we have Alistair White who will talk about the amazing film footage available online to all embc schools in particular their coverage of WWI and their tools for teachers.

With a packed workshop programme hosted by our suppliers and presenters there is something for everyone whatever your role in your school.

Workshops include suppliers Ark, Capital Bytes, Capita, eSafety Advisor – Alan MacKenzie, Kcom, KBR, Wave9,  presenters Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild, and Derbyshire Educational Technologist Katharine Childs.

– See more at:

British_Pathe_Ed_logoJoining us today, from British Pathe, was Alistair White who talked about the amazing film footage available online and a collection of useful workshops, including: eSafety Advisor – Alan MacKenzie, Kcom, KBR, Wave9, and Derbyshire Educational Technologist, Katharine Childs.

Thank you to Jane Barker, Marketing and Communications Manager emPSN, for inviting us and for her thoughts:

The embc Autumn Conference: enthusing and inspiring learners using ICT at home of Derby County FC, brings together technology and learning into one space to enthuse and inspire technicians and teachers alike. The fusion has been deliberate. Technology won’t improve children’s learning without the passion and enthusiasm of those who use it so we have deliberately kicked off the day with renowned motivator Tim Rylands whose determination to spread the word about the use of ICT to improve standards knows no bounds. Tim makes a perfect partner for embc; whilst embc provide the underpinning connectivity and services to make it all work, Tim is able to show how the technology can be used to deliver teaching that reaches out to all children and gives them hooks to learn from. How the tools technology delivers can fire their imagination, can entice the reticent learners and can engage the whole class so that learning becomes fun and exciting.

embc have been around for the last 15 years when the first ideas to put broadband into schools were mooted in 1999. Since then we have connected schools across the East Midlands on ever increasing bandwidth, with a wider and more flexible range of services and more choice of providers and contracts. We currently connect 1,100 schools sites and 1,100 corporate sites. We remain owned by the public sector including the schools to whom we provide services, and many corporate sites we connect along with the schools sites making a huge carefully managed and monitored network. Many corporate sites are PSN enabled which is why in 2012 the company was renamed emPSN whilst retaining embc as the brand for schools.

We partner with many organisations; British Pathe is an old favourite we continue to work with so that schools across embc can access their amazing historic footage.

We are founder members of the NEN (National Education Network) who work with national organisations, the government, Janet and other RBC’s (Regional Broadband Consortia) to achieve the best outcomes for schools. With a connection into Janet our embc network reaches schools, universities, government offices and the many national institutions such as the BBC – connecting them all together safely without going over the internet.

We keep safety and security in mind. With a centrally managed firewall our network is secure from attack whilst our suppliers provide a range of security and esafety products and consultancy to meet every school’s requirement from filtering to policy guidance.

embc gives schools the secure foundations on which to build their ICT strategy, gives teachers the confidence to explore ICT in their lessons, and give pupils the ability to enjoy into their learning plans for years to come.

embc is owned by you the community of schools which makes up embc. We are always looking for ways to improve and to learn, from and with you as your requirements change, the suppliers change, the challenges grow, as the way children learn and use technology continues to develop.

I’m Astronaut

| November 18, 2014 | 0 Comments 

i_am_astronautim astronautThanks, again, to Kath Harris, Bracken Hill Special School, Nottinghamshire, for sharing the fun they have had with the free I’m Astronaut App

Here is Sarah, heading out in to space! Take photographs, and send them off to explore the stars, and a black hole, or bounce around on the moon! Fun!

(I’m Astronaut (FREE) is very different to I Am An Astronaut (69p) )