Archive for June, 2015

WordSift ~ Picking up words and juggling them

| June 30, 2015 | 1 Comment 


WordSift is a tool that was created primarily for teachers. Mainly, think of it playfully – as a toy in a linguistic playground that is available to instantly capture and display the vocabulary structure of texts, and to help create an opportunity to talk about, and play with, language.

WordSift helps anyone easily …sift (!) through texts —

Just cut and paste any text into WordSift and a whole array of ways of looking at text appear.

Stretch vocabulary and searches like a visual thesaurus of ideas. We love it!

picture-41The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. This function is widely available in various Tag Cloud programs on the web, and in Wordle, but WordSift integrates it with a few other functions, such as visualization of word relationships and Google searches of images and videos.

With just a click on any word in the Tag Cloud, the program displays instances of sentences in which that word is used in the text.

It is in no way as beautiful as the images created by Wordle,or Tagxedo, but it could be said that the potential for exploring words goes a whole lot further beyond that, allowing exploring and wandering through the world of words and heading off on tangents.

“WordSift also allows users to see relationships among words. Want to help students understand difficult-to-define academic words such as analyze? Show students synonyms of this word from within WordSift, using the Visual Thesaurus®. The Visual Thesaurus acts like a thesaurus-cum-dictionary with brilliant graphics. For word geeks and psycholinguists, this is a lot of intrinsic fun. But for teachers, it is a great way of talking about vocabulary — not as boring lists of definitions to be memorized, but as a web of relationships with other words — a veritable social network of words”.

picture-39Wordsift integrates with the The Visual Thesaurus’ hugely powerful VocabGrabber. Use it through Wordsift and it is free.


| June 29, 2015 | 2 Comments 

Make music online and create, remix a song, or instrumental, to a big range of backing styles, with uJam, a free, simple-to-use program.

Useful as a tool for many ability levels. You need not have a lot of experience of music, recording or musical structure, to come up with quite a convincing sound. For those with more experience of recording, uJam is a great way to experiment and come up with that new sound. We’d love to hear anything you create! Go make a hit or a movie score!


| June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Sometimes you know what we want to write, the sentence is nearly perfect, but you can’t figure out that elusive word. You need phraseup* which assists with writing, by suggesting possible combinations to fill-in the words you can’t remember, along with definitions, synonyms & translations to other languages.
What are you * for?

Mobile Learning Experience 2015, Tucson, Arizona ~ 2

| June 11, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Mobile 2015Mobile learning Experience 2015Mobile Learning Experience 2015 from June 10-12, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona it’s THE chance to “Experience tools, techniques, and inspiration for teaching the mobile generation.” We delivered Wednesday’s after dinner Keynote entitled “Beyond a Game – Tech to Inspire” in the Grand Ballroom of The Westin La Paloma Resort, Tucson.

Thank you to Tony Vincent for organising our involvement in this superb event. Thanks too to Valerie Lombardi, Business Manager Cheryl Bokowski, Director of Operations, Sara Crawford, Technology Director at the Arizona K12 Center. …and so many more. And here is a link to the wonderful creatures created today!

Whether you are new to mobile learning or looking to sharpen your skills, you are invited to join us in Tucson, Arizona for the premier mobile learning conference, Mobile Learning Experience 2015.

Educators from across the globe will gather June 10-12 to share, collaborate and explore the many facets of mobile learning. In addition to traditional breakout sessions, we have inspiring keynotes, fast-paced Ignite presentations, many networking opportunities and a concluding game show. This year’s topics include project-based learning, assistive technologies, Common Core State Standards, Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and the open content revolution. Those crucial topics are in addition to basic sessions on the most compelling apps, device deployment, and training tips and hints.

While mobile learning isn’t about one specific device, many sessions will have an iPad focus. Mobile Learning Experience 2015 will also address other devices like laptops, Chromebooks and Android tablets.

Please bring your fully charged device to the three-day conference and be prepared to plunge into the Mobile Learning Experience. Visit today to learn more, taking advantage of the early bird rate. Bookmark the site and come back often, as it is there where you will find updated conference details.

Participants will:

  • Connect with other mobile-minded educators
  • Be inspired to make tech classrooms more student-centered
  • Learn how to integrate the latest and greatest apps for teaching and learning
  • Consider solutions for working around tech barriers and challenges
  • Celebrate creativity and innovation by teachers and students

– See more at:

Mobile 2015 has international speakers and participants, with 55+ breakout sessions and 3 keynotes. Registration includes the opening dinner (right before our keynote) Participants have the option of spending one evening “speed apping” and stargazing.
Keynotes will also come from Adam Bellow, and Tony Vincent. Featured speakers include Wes Fryer, Erin Klein, Sara Martinez Crawford, Felix Jacomino, Katherine Burdick, Rodney Turner, and Jonathan Nalder.

Everyone gets a stylish Mobile Learning Experience bag. Follow them on Twitter @mobile2015 and #mobile2015

logoMobile Learning Experience is a professional development opportunity from the Arizona K12 Center. The Center is part of Northern Arizona University and its Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Wiebke, is on a mission to support teachers, and she knows that mission includes helping teachers leverage technology in and out of their classrooms.

Mobile Learning Experience 2015, Tucson, Arizona ~ 1

| June 10, 2015 | 3 Comments 

Mobile 2015

Mobile learning Experience 2015Delighted to be invited to present one of the Arizona’s K12 Center’s Mobile Learning Experience 2015 breakout sessions at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona, before our after dinner session this evening. The event hosts dozens of breakout sessions over the course of this three day learning experience, with topics focusing on classroom experiences, leadership, vision, and deployment.

MobileLearningExperience has been going for a while now. The first one was in April 2011. Back then there were great mobile-themed conferences in the U.K. (Handheld Learning) and in Australia (Slide2Learn), but the U.S. didn’t have a national event dedicated to mobile learning. Katherine Burdick approached Tony Vincent and thought they should host one in Arizona. They asked the Arizona K12 Center to be involved, and it went from there. This is the fourth Mobile Learning Experience in Arizona. They’ve hosted national and international speakers and attendees over the year. There is a great program, but probably the best thing is the networking. The people who gather at Mobile Learning Experience are passionate about reaching students, and are willing to use whatever technology is at hand.  Even if there were no keynotes or sessions, having this group of people gathered to share and learn from each other would be an amazing experience. For that reason, all sessions have round tables–to facilitate networking. That’s also why the event includes breakfast and lunch. It’s a great time to network, chat, and share.

Their website can be found at

Thank you to Tony Vincent, for organising our involvement in this superb event. Thanks too to Valerie Lombardi, Business Manager Cheryl Bokowski, Director of Operations, Sara Crawford, Technology Director at the Arizona K12 Center. …and so many more.

A big thank you to Katherine Burdick, co-organizer , for taking us out to explore the area and the many cacti too (yesterday).

Animated cinemagraphs

| June 9, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Peintres_000000crop-600Pigeon-1_600Some remarkable cinemagraphics or Animated gifs can be found on Julien Douvier’s website. Still images that are far from static.  Some intriguing glimpses in to people, animals, moments & places that could spark some inspired writing. Stand & explore. Look closely>

AutoChord generator

| June 8, 2015 | 0 Comments 

AUTOCHORDSWith Autochords you get suggestions on where to go next with your chord progressions.

Pick a style that matches what you want to play. Remember that your playing can also affect the feel and emotion of a chord progression.

Next, pick a key that you feel comfortable playing in. (If you’re playing guitar, the keys with the easiest chords are G major, E minor, C major and A minor).

Table Top Audio

| June 5, 2015 | 0 Comments 

TableTopAudioThanks to Tim Watts for the nudge towards TableTopAudio

Original, 10 minute ambiences and music. Great for an intriguing stmulus for descriptive narrative maybe…

Medieval libraryEach ambience is 10 minutes of non-repeating sound. They are set to loop by default, but you may change this by un-checking the loop button on the player. It is now possible to save gatherings of sound collections. If you have one of these playlists loaded, it will play each track sequentially and then loop the playlist when it finishes the last track. From an abandoned fair, an alchemists lab, a sleeping dragon, a medieval library, royal salon, the forest at night, to an ice cavern and more, these are superb coundscapes.

Animate 2 Educate Dream Team Conference, Newcastle

| June 5, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 09.14.39A2E

A massive well done to Martin Bailey of Animate 2 Educate for gathering together “The Dream Team – The Ultimate Primary Computing XI'” at the Newcastle Utd, Bamburgh Suite, St.James’ Park, Newcastle. “On the ‘ead mate!”

Martin Bailey is the director of Animate 2 Educate Ltd and works with schools in the North East of England and beyond delivering pupil workshops and staff training sessions on all aspects of Primary Computing.

Martin BaileyAt their 2014 conference, Animate 2 Educate were delighted to have Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild as their keynote speakers and feedback from delegates in attendance that day was excellent. Of 75 feedback forms completed, 74 of them scored Tim and Sarah 5 out of 5 . . . . the other gave them a 4! Acting on feedback from delegates, it was clear that people wanted Tim and Sarah to return for the 2015 conference and also for them to be joined in the North East by other top quality presenters.

This was a full on event, kicking off in style and continuing in a game of two halves, where everyone was the winner.

“Animate 2 Educate are delighted to bring to the North East eleven of the best speakers in the world of Primary Computing, for what is sure to be a magnificent event. Back by popular demand from the 2014 Conference is the truly inspirational Tim Rylands and he will be joined by names such as Miles Berry, Dughall McCormick, Lee Parkinson and many many more!”

CGKQNTEWwAA8RtWAnimate 2 Educate like to think big, and rather than just simply going with two or three keynote presenters, they decided to try and put a whole team of speakers together from the amazing people who they had seen present throughout the UK.

From this initial idea, ‘Dream Team’ was born and with the kind backing of official sponsor Rising Stars, the Ultimate Primary Computing XI was soon assembled.

Kicking things off in the Dream Team XI is North East headteacher Rachel Orr who described her journey towards a digital school and ended her presentation with a stunning operatic performance! Glorious musical style with her wondrous voice.

Rachel OrrRachel says:- “When I first took up my post as head teacher of Holy Trinity Rosehill VA CE Primary School in September 2013 there were pockets of technology but no whole school approach. Shiny tech alienated some staff and it became an add-on to learning and I discovered we had very expensive tech kit sitting the cupboard with very few people knowing how to use it.

For me, this is when we began our journey towards becoming a digital school.

Rachel OrrBeing a digital school is not necessarily about how many iPads you have. It’s about looking at ways in which we can simplify technology and embed it across the curriculum and into the everyday fabric of learning. It’s not an add-on.

We needed to peel back layers and look at what our common ground was and where the expertise lay in order to reORRganise how we were moving fORRward. We needed an all inclusive approach looking at children, staff, governors and parents. Changing staff responsibilities by using their expertise was at the fORRfront of the big shift in mindset. An all for one, one for all approach. We have streamlined systems for children, staff, governors and parents and continue to evaluate and refine our practices.

We still have further to go and continue to share in the good practice of others to improve our own learning. Exciting times ahead for everyone.

Dughall McCormickDughall McCormick – explored what it means to be ‘Educating the Digital Citizens of Tomorrow’ ~

Dughall presented a session entitled ‘Educating the Digital Citizens of Tomorrow’. Whilst deftly mixing the light-hearted and the serious, Dughall spoke about current trends in young people’s use of social media and the responsibility we have to ensure that they are best prepared for an ever-changing world. He reminded us that we are responsible for making sure they are both safe and ‘literate’ in a world where digital literacy is perhaps more important than ever.

Steve BunceIn his usual humourous style, Steve Bunce chortled us through a session entitled ‘Blankety Blank – Developing Computing in Your School Using Blank or Blankety Blank’

Steve entertained the audience with his session on ‘Bees’. Linking computational thinking to a bees theme, he used drawings, songs, flowcharts and bells to explain about key concepts. Steve has been working with schools to support computing and has co-written resources for schools with the ‘Scholastic 100 Computing’ series and a new book from Bloomsbury ‘100 ideas for primary teachers’, released this August. He caused quite a buzz!

Andrea Carr Andrea Carrof Rising Stars Edu who were sponsoring the event, gave a quick background to their involvement “I’ve always jumped at the chance of travelling up to the North East. Some of my favourite people live there and the schools and teachers I meet always give me a booster shot of energy, enthusiasm and real life. This event was all about learning from the best in primary computing with an impressive dream team taking to the stage. The introduction of computing into the curriculum is one of the most important changes in education we’ve seen in over 20 years.When Rising Stars were asked to sponsor the day I was delighted; it was four yeses from me!”

Bob HarrisonBob Harrison shared how ‘Using Technology to Enhance Learning is Not Rocket Science . . . it’s Much Harder Than That’ ~ ” In his usual provocative,yet humorous way, Bob challenged delegates to become paradigm pioneers and rethink the use of technology for teaching and learning in his presentation “Will Investment in ICT improve learning outcomes-is the WRONG question” Instead we should be asking “what is the opportunity cost of NOT investing in the digital skills of our teachers and learners in an increasingly competitive and digital world”

Miles BerryMiles Berry shared his throughts on How to Teach Primary Computing’ In addition to his day job, training the next generation of outstanding teachers at the University of Roehampton, Miles has been a driving force in designing and implementing the primary computing curriculum. He’s the author of the BETT and ERA award winning Switched on Computing scheme from Rising Stars, adopted now by around 5000 schools. He wrote the primary curriculum guidance notes and the DfE funded QuickStart computing handbook. He’s consulted on the Barefoot Computing Project and for Code Club Pro, Microsoft and the BBC. Miles is also taking the computing message abroad: in the last year he’s visited Ljubljana, Brussels, Madrid, Seoul and Singapore.

Lee ParkinsonLee Parkinson got creative exploring ‘Bringing the Curriculum Alive Using Augmented Reality’ This presentation demonstrated how Augmented Reality can enhance and inspire learning across the curriculum. Showing different apps that will inspire writing through producing real WOW moments in class, such as Quiver, AR Effects and StARz AR. Lee proudly shared the wonderful work children created using these apps as a stimulus.

Lee ParkinsonHe then looked at how other AR apps allow you to create your own Augmented Reality. Focusing mainly on Aurasma, Lee shared how his classes have turned displays interactive, brought home-reading books alive, flipped the classroom and even decorated his house with Augmented Reality!

David AndrewsDavid Andrews‘ session was entitled “Show Me Something That Matters, Not That Glitters!” How can technology be used to transform learning outcomes for children? This presentation explored the role of mobile technology in schools and how it can make a genuine impact on learning, if schools have a strong, clear understanding and purposeful end goal, of how technology can (or can’t in some cases) support their work as well as keeping to what matters: teaching, learning and progress. The role of technology in the home was explored and how this led to genuine transformation on teaching and learning in the classroom. Examples of cross curricular projects from the classroom were shared and how the use of technology enabled instant access to real audiences for meaningful feedback.

Also covered were examples of schools David hassupported through INSETs and classroom based CPD (EYFS to Year 6) on a whole school approach, underpinned by spoken language, which was developed for the National Literacy Trust on using mobile technology to impact on writing standards.

Peter RaffertyPeter Rafferty took us ‘From Wooden Plank to Golden Room’ to complete a stunning team!

Peter spoke about how teachers and pupils inspire each other to create a purpose for using technology. These people can be called Firestones because their enthusiasm to try things that are different and creative.
The keypad on the hotel door in Porto was the moment when Peter recognised that there are teachers who find the whole concept of technology and using it as part of their classrooms scary because they don’t know what to do.
Mixed in with this was done with particular reference to his own school and Liverpool Football Club and especially Djimi Traore!

CGKPVFJWUAA_NoBIn addition to this brilliant line-up of speakers, there was also a large market hall, allowing us to view products from many of the top educational companies in the UK.

On the eve of the Conference, last night, Animate 2 Educate also held their very own TeachMeet-style event ‘Talk on the Tyne – A Night of Geet Canny Teaching Ideas’. This was held at The Jury’s Inn Hotel (Gateshead Quayside) and was a FREE event. It featured a keynote presentation from Mr Ideas Factory himself (Julian S Wood), and the event also gave the opportunity for teachers and small businesses to share teaching ideas through a series of short presentations.

The 2014 Animate 2 Educate Summer Conference was a complete sell out and tickets for the 2015 sold fast. Here’s to the next one!

Over 250 people booked to attend the two events and whilst there are people from all parts of the UK attending, Animate 2 Educate is delighted that the events are so heavily supported by the schools in the North East whom they work with throughout the year. It is not always easy for North East teachers to be able to travel the long distances to London for BETT or Birmingham for the Education Show etc and so Animate 2 Educate is therefore delighted to bring to the North East a line-up that rivals anything in the UK in 2015!

A fantastic event on the doorstep for North East schools and a chance to give a warm Geordie welcome to those from outside the region!

Inspiring Science Education

| June 3, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Inspiring Science EducationInspSciEd Logo [] is an online portal which hosts innovative learning resources. Combining digital resources with an online delivery tool, it allows teachers to use enquiry-based learning scenarios in their lessons and keep track of the students’ assessment results. The aim is to make science education more imaginative and inspiring for students of all ages.

The UK National Coordinator is Dr Chris North [], from Cardiff University.

CInsp Eci Ed webhris can support UK teachers with getting started with the project and the tools. The learning scenarios developed showcase the use of the tools in the classroom or science, technology, engineering, and maths~STEM club, and cover all of science – from particle physics and cosmology to honey bees and school gardens.

SPACE TELESCOPEIf you’re interested in astronomy you can, for example, use a lesson plan that covers the lifecycle of stars, combined with the award-winning online tool “Star in a Box”. Alternatively, you could follow a lesson which investigates the cosmos across electromagnetic spectrum using Chromoscope, and then go on to design your own space telescope.

If those don’t quite meet a teacher’s needs for a specific lesson, then they can copy and edit the lesson plans using the authoring tool. For more information about the project, and how to take part, visit the website (, or contact Chris North at or on Twitter here.

Forest Way Teaching School Alliance, Coalville, Leicestershire ~ 2

| June 3, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Forest Way Teaching School Alliance

A full on day’s conference for Forest Way Teaching School Alliance at Ashby School. Wow indeed. This was a remarkable day, full of phenomenal ideas and how to apply them

Ashby School

A big well done and thanks to Phil Newman Deputy head of science, for coordinating today. Staff from Ashby School led workshops on some of their already superb use of technology:

Jenny Hatcher led a Powerpoint masterclass – How to get more from powerpoint: using screen shots, photo albums, colour schemes, actions, triggering audio files etc.

Vic Foster explored Memrise – using this web 2.0 technology to turn learning fact and definitions into a competitive, fun challenge that really engages students. A fun experience students can’t get enough of.

Ben Clarke showed a glimpse of some of the great things they have done with Youtube – How to set up and use you own youtube channel to engage with students and parents outside the classroom. having your own department’s or school’s YouTube channel can allow students or parents to access key information, support and guidance in video form, anywhere and anytime.  This could provide opportunities for parents to learn how to support their children’s learning and to support students on their path to becoming independent learners.

Fiona McCafferty demonstrated some imaginative use of Tablets –How using portable technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. Using QR codes to make a fun challenging way to learn, using socrative for summative and formative assessment.

Kirt Richardson  and Ali Jackson took us for a remarkable set of flights of fancy in Ashby school’s remarkable 3D Immersive hub – See how open space learning and technology can combine to provide inspirational learning experiences.

Following a brilliant day yesterday, where Tim and Sarah inspired pupils and teachers alike, the teachers who attended Day 2 at Ashby School were overwhelmed with resources and ideas to take away and use tomorrow! From panoramas to citadels and green screens, delegates were swept into realms of learning and teaching ideas. Tim’s engaging teaching style kept the audience rapt and on their toes with lots of interaction expected. Delegates were also treated to a carousel of 5 informative workshops led by Ashby School technology PLC staff.  A brilliant day – let’s do it again soon!
Helen Joy
Lead Practitioner Forest Way Teaching School Alliance

Thanks again to Helen, Phil, and Rachel Hall, Eddie Green, Head of Ashby School, for looking after us and for making this remarkable collection of tech run so smoothly.