Author Archive: Sarah

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Ynysowen Primary, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales ~ The return 2

| March 11, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Ynysowen Primary

Following an INSET Day at Ynysowen Community Primary in February, and a previous visit back in 2012, we are, today, carrying out some experiments exploring the next steps in using tech to bring learning even more alive.

A big thank you to Simone Roden head teacher of Ynysowen, for inviting us back and exploring with us.

Greenscreening in the landscapeToday, we changed gear, notched up a few paces and plummeted towards certain… … …brilliance, with two groups of children.

With the first group, whilst wandering wandering through one of the landscapes in Myst 3 Exile, we stumbled upon a mysterious contraption. Behind a creaking wooden door, we found a lever that helped us rise high above the shining golden seas around us.

Eventually, after a bit of investigation, we discovered that if we pressed an intriguing blue button, we could enter the icy globe created, and take a remarkable tumble down this metal and wooden rollercoaster to …who knew where?!

Greenscreening on roller coasterReally good fun with some children coming up with short poetic phrases to express the feelings of excitement, fear and elation before, during and after a “virtual” rollercoaster ride and recorded their experience using using Do Ink Greenscreening.

We had a go at listing some descriptive words collected from their memories of rollercoaster rides.

Next, we took them on a ride from Myst III:Exile. Personification, poetry, punchy, personal and powerful! The difference was quite remarkable. Now, their ideas really caught the sensations of such an adrenaline rush.

Greenscreening on pathWe then recorded, at pace, into GarageBand alongside the film.

The ride is a place we often use, with children and adults, to stimulate musical sound effects or soundtracks. It had a superb effect on creative, descriptive thought too.

We recorded our thoughts, and emotions, in short, pithy, phrases ~ plummeting in poetry …and beyond.

With the second group of younger children, we went on a virtual spiral plant ride, explored the path towards it and investigated a beautiful bird and its chick, again using Do Ink Greenscreening to ‘actually’ be there.

Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School, Neath

| March 10, 2015 | 4 Comments 

Alderman Davies Church in Wales PrimaryADS School Logo

gnoll_primaryWhat fun. A whiz along to Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School, St. Davids Street, Neath, West Glamorgan, South Wales, for a combination of sessions with the children, and working alongside the staff.

We started the day with the KS2 pupils, then the afternoon with the KS1 and finished with a twilight. We were joined by colleagues from Gnoll Primary School, Wellfield Avenue, Neath.

Thank you to Head Teacher ColletteMatchett, and to Leader of Literacy, at Alderman Davies, Rhiann Duford, for organising our visit, and sharing these thoughts:

Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School is situated in the centre of Neath town, South Wales. We currently have 455 pupils ranging from 3-11 years.

We are currently working with the Gnoll Primary School on a project titled ‘Lift as you climb’. This project aims to develop ways in which oracy can be used a vehicle to raise standards in writing. Our schools are working closely together in order to develop strategies and tools to support teachers to achieve this.

We feel very blessed as a school to have an up to date range of ICT. Every class has a large interactive screen, whether it is a smart board or a c-touch television. We have over 120 iPads spread across Nursery to Year 5 and all of our Year 6 pupils have one iPad each which they use daily to enhance their learning.

We have two lap top trolleys which hold ten lap tops each. These are used for the teaching of ICT are also used to support our ALN pupils.

All pupils at Alderman Davies have access to the hwb and hwb+ learning platforms and our school is proud to be one of the top twenty users across Wales. Weekly homework is shared and regular discussions are set so that the children further explore concepts they have learnt at school. The Thinking Child is used as a basis for homework. Older children are also developing the use of the survey and blogging tools.

We have also appointed a group of Year 6 pupils who are our ‘Digital Leaders’. They support pupils and teachers in the use of IT across school.

We are very excited to work with Tim and Sarah!

And further thanks for this information from the colleauges from Gnoll Primary School:

Gnoll Primary & Alderman Davies Church in Wales School, Neath

We are two local schools that are collaborating to promote the use of oracy to enhance extended writing. Through discussion and analysis of data, a project entitled ‘Lift as you Climb’ was created. The project’s aim is for the two schools to support each other in areas of development. We believe that sharing skills, ideas and good practise between the schools will have an extremely beneficial impact on the learners.

Gnoll Primary is a primary school in Neath compromising of 330 pupils. Currently, Key Stage 2 use film as a stimulus for writing at least once a term, and it has had an extremely positive impact on the improvement of literacy levels. Both staff and pupils thoroughly enjoy the excitement and challenges that learning through a film stimulus provide.

However we are looking to widen the way that we approach literacy, with a particular focus on the engagement of boys. Therefore staff and pupils of the school are excited to work with Tim and his team and to explore the possibilities of using technology in literacy.

Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary TwilightZooKazam Elephant

Langafel CE Primary School, Longfield, Kent

| March 4, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Langafel CE Primary School

New_3PLearning_2013_HRGreat, to work alongside the folk from 3P Learning and Mathletics, at Langafel C of E Primary School.

A day of laughter, and learning, with the children of Langafel, and invited guests. Some inventive, and creative, opportunities, exploring the world of mysterious, and magical, numbers and words.

A big thank you to Muhammad Daniel of 3P Learning, for organising our visit, and to Ruth Sivarajah, Deputy Headteacher at Langafel CE Primary School, for enabling the whole day.

The morning with Y6 pupils and colleagues from Langafel C of E Primary School, Borough Green Primary, Shears Green Junior School, Elliot Park School, Joydens Wood Junior School and Ayasofia Primary.

Then an afternoon with Year 2 pupils and their teachers.

Muhammad shared the following thoughts:

Mathletics-logo-trans-150‘We’re excited to be working with Tim, Sarah and Langafel school on the 4th March. Tim’s work inspires the love of learning that is our motto: our aim is to create software that children love to use. We’ve worked with Ruth Sivarajah and Langafel on innovative maths-focused events and find the same approach at the heart of what they do on a daily basis. This day is about bringing people together to learn: students and teachers from six schools across Kent and London will explore how technology can inspire creativity, imagination and most of all – be fun! From digital to analogue, and beyond…’

In this goal driven age, we could think that education is imparting a body of knowledge, rather than a shared journey of discovery. There are so many pressures put upon educators these days that enjoyment, inspiration, creativity, and fun can be forced out of the classroom.

We need to inspire young people and fire their imaginations; enhance their creativity and confidence so they can pick ideas up and start to juggle with them; encourage resourcefulness through challenge, but also the ability to reflect, change and benefit from the experience of others; to motivate a love of learning for life.

Fascination is a tool that can be easily neglected. This digital world, when mixed with the analogue, brings such potential for communication.
Technology is not the only answer… but, it does open up some remarkable opportunities, to extend teaching and learning styles.

We are already looking forward to coming back, and doing more, soon. Watch this (s)pace.

CESI Conference 2015: Beyond the Horizon – Technology in Education, Galway, Ireland

| February 28, 2015 | 1 Comment 


conf2015bannerWe are delighted to have made the trip across the water to Galway, in Ireland, for Beyond the Horizon – Technology in Education, The CESI Conference 2015, at the beautiful Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) campus. Well done, and thank you, one and all, for being up for the craic.

It was great to also go to the Teachmeet, last night, on the eve of the Conference today. It has become CESI’s custom, since 2009, to host a Teachmeet on the eve of the annual conference. This year, they were delighted to announce that they were hosting a special event:

“We have invited our friends and colleagues from the East to come West and join us! Teachmeet East has been running successfully for the past few years in Leinster, so we were thrilled they agreed to host a special Teachmeet “East meets West” with us. This was one NOT to miss!”

Thanks to Mags Amond, for inviting us to CESIcon, and for sharing these thoughts:

CESIThe Computers in Education Society of Ireland, known as CESI to its members and friends, is an open community of educators and innovators who are committed to using and developing technology to support teaching and learning. Our tribe includes educators from all levels and sectors, formal and informal, both “inside and outside the box”, so to speak!

Our membership is mainly drawn from Ireland, but we now have many many valued global friends.

The main event of the CESI year is the annual weekend Conference, informally dubbed #cesicon, when the family gathers to renew enthusiasm, share new ideas, and catch up with friends old and new.

We are Ireland’s longest established Ed Tech group, having recently celebrated – with great pride – our 40th Birthday! Our celebrations have taken us back to Galway, the home of our birth, for our most recent conferences.

We are in constant contact with each other online, sharing practice and solving problems, via the CESI mailing list, which is the online ‘staffroom’ of our Teacher Professional Network. We can be found debating (tweebating?) at the #edchatie timeline on Monday evenings at 20.30 GMT.

Dickie RockSeveral times a year now, we gather somewhere in the country for a TeachMeet, an idea we ‘borrowed’ from across the water in 2009. The cross pollination of ideas and information that occurs in this pleasant mixture of professional and social atmosphere has proven very popular with the membership.

At this CESI TM, and #cesicon, in Galway, we are delighted to have Keynotes from Tim & Sarah of this parish, and also our own John Davitt.

Education Innovation Conference & Exhibition 2015, Manchester

| February 26, 2015 | 0 Comments 

eice Mancester 2015

edu_innov_logo_web1A keynote for The Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition (EICE) at Manchester Central.

Now in its third year, EICE provides visitors with the chance to get hands-on with the latest learning technologies & receive specialist advice on boosting achievement in their schools, colleges & universities.

The Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition is an annual event designed to help education professionals integrate innovation and technology into learning. EICE combines an exhibition with a conference that includes free seminars and workshops, featuring contributions from a fantastic range of education experts.

Today, we went wild and wooly, creating our own composite creatures, using some simple, and all pervasive tools: Padlet, Switch Zoo – site and app, Endless Ocean, Wild Earth, ZooKazam & Zoo Atlanta, Simple English Wikipedia, Spicynodes, Tagxedo, Snappy Words, ThingLink, ZooBurst, Nature Sound Map, GoMixIt, Ambient Mixer, Audacity, Garageband, RunKeeper, Google Hangouts and Skype.

EICE is designed to educate and inspire teaching professionals on how technology and innovation can enhance the learning experience. We provide you with the chance to get hands-on with the latest learning technologies and receive expert advice on how to boost achievement in schools, colleges and universities.

New features, at EICE, for 2015, included:

· the Tablet Village – powered by The Tablet Academy – with advice and inspiration on getting the most out of teaching with tablets

· the SEN Hub, which featured some of the latest products and solutions for those with special educational needs

· An e-safety clinic, offering advice on how schools, colleges and universities deal with the safety of their students

For updates and maybe to register, for free, for tomorrow’s second day, visit and you could also follow @EICEmanchester on Twitter

Thank you to Laura Scott, Conference Manager at the education innovation conference & exhibition, for organising our involvement in this great event.

Whatever It Takes 3rd Annual Conference, Leicester

| February 25, 2015 | 11 Comments 

menuBackgroundWhatever it takes Whatever It Takes, the Leicester city-wide reading initiative, hosted its 3rd annual conference, at the Leicester City Football Ground, as part of their year focussing on the of using ICT to inspire learning & creativity, with an emphasis & reading & writing. Their header is a plane, going for it. Today, we got them to take off & fly too!

Open BookThank you to Ellen Lee – Project Manager, Whatever it Takes, for coordinating the last three days. Whatever it Takes (WiT) is the Leicester city-wide reading initiative dedicated to ensuring every child in Leicester is reading. It was established since 2009 and was formed in partnership between Leicester City Schools, Leicester City Council and is Managed by the School Development Support Agency.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.01.20Thanks to Ellie for sharing these thoughts: The conference was lead by Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild and supported by a number of providers, exhibiting a range of products available to schools to support pupils learning by the use of ICT. The day included a presentation around ‘Raising the levels of creativity of children of all abilities’, a hands on session exploring the virtual worlds of Myst III and practical tasks delegates can undertake back at schools.
The follow up day,  with Feedback and Reflective Session, 4th June, has been designed to advance schools learning by  feedback and reflective sessions along with peer review. Tim and Sarah will keep in touch with delegates online, between events.

Given the ever changing and developing world of technology in education, Whatever it Takes (WiT) provides schools the opportunity to learn more about some of the effective and creative ways in which ICT can support a child’s learning and development, with a specific focus on literacy.

Whatever It Takes Training, Leicester ~ Day 2, Caldecote Community Primary School

| February 24, 2015 | 3 Comments 

Caldecote Community Primary

A second day at Caldecote Community Primary School, leading another two sessions, with children, and visiting staff, as part of the Whatever It Takes, training we are doing this week, in Leicester. Joining us today were colleagues from Folville Junior School, Christ the King Catholic Primary, Granby Primary, Glebelands Primary, Whitehall Primary, Rolleston Primary, Shaftebury Junior School, Forest Lodge Primary, Overdale Infant School, King Richard III Infant School, Humberstone Infant School, Uplands Infant School, Willowbrook Primary, Mayflower Primary, Catherine Infant School, Leicester City Primary PRU, Belgrave St Peter’s Primary and Inglehurst Infant School.


Dialogic talk and roleplay feeds directly into focussed and supportive writing tasks whereby pupils can, motivated by their excitement, experiment with formal writing techniques of description, even challenging themselves to go further and make use of simile and metaphor to enrich their writing. We are sure not to constrain this imaginative energy by having pupils overly worry about spelling and other ‘rules’. This is not to say that the importance of such conventions is ignored but rather that pupils are reassured that the objective of the exercise is to record their ideas and experiment with the description so that their expressive skill is not retarded by over-formality.

The products of all such activities are celebrated by the class; shared and appreciated. The ideas and creativity of individuals is fed back into the community of the classroom, further stimulating others to improve their own work.

Whatever It Takes Training, Leicester ~ Day 1, Caldecote Community Primary School

| February 23, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Caldecote Community Primary School

Caldecote web header v3Our first, of three days this week, returning to Leicester, for sessions with those joining the Whatever It Takes crew on a tech trek. Today we were at Caldecote Community Primary School, leading two sessions, exploring the world of words, and beyond. Well done all.

Started the day with 40+ Y5 and Y6 pupils, their teachers and visiting colleagues from Mellor Primary, Thurnby Lodge PrimaryCatherine Junior School, Medway Community Primary, Highfields Primary and Northfield House Primary, then an afternoon with a further 40+ Y5 and Y6 pupils and more visitors from Merrydale Junior School, St Barnabas C of E Primary, Christ the King Catholic Primary and St John the Baptist C of E Primary.

Thank you to Paul Stapleford. Assistant Head Catherine Junior School (and previously The Phoenix Centre, Leicester City PRU.)

Tim Rylands ICT to inspire morning at Caldecote Community Primary School.

From seeing Tim last year at the ICT to inspire I have been able to go back to my setting with very challenging children and include some of the ideas linked to Myst to engage the children’s learning and allow them to thoughtfully respond to questions with confidence.

As a teacher, the experience that Tim Rylands offered last year on the course inspired me to think differently about how I delivered literacy to the children and what different approaches I could take using ICT to empower the children.

Today, using Myst 4 to inspire the children to give responses to what they can see and their ideas on what is happening in the setting, I saw the analog element behind the digital we shared last time. The children were reminded of what was expected from them both with speaking, listening and turn taking. (Standing here, above me the …)

They were all engaged at trying to create the best sentences they possibly could and continually kept looking back at the screen to gain ideas and inspiration. Tim uses the children’s writing to challenge themselves and level up their writing finish a paragraph in style…end with a question maybe?

The children tried to copy Tim and use a range of expression to make their writing sound more exciting…. The other children gave good feedback to the reader and were able to respond to how they could make it even better. When reading out their ideas to the others, Tim gave the children ownership of when they read out their ‘sparkling sentences’ and they moved from one child’s writing to the next with amazing fluency and the room was deathly silent as the children listened to their peers ideas.

Using the interactive whiteboard, (but only interacting with it from a distance) the moving images allowed the children to get lost in their writing.

The VillageThese increasingly confident writers were able to use different ways to say words such as simile or metaphor to help them identify what each of Tim’s responses were. He used different sounds to engage the children in the Myst setting. ‘The glass was screaming for a clean’ was a response by Jonathan to suggest a simile. The responses the children gave were superb.

The children discovered a wide range of sentence openers from the stimulus on the screen and confidently read out their ideas.

As Tim moved through the setting on the screen, the children watched and were able to respond and describe what was going on around them using wonderful language.

The children were encouraged to think of some open questions to ask the gardener and then he used some of the children to hot seat whilst referring to the setting on the screen. The children were really in their role as a particular character and could answer questions from their peers using wonderful answers. Tim used his ‘translatorsaurus’ to make the children’s responses and questions of a higher quality and then passed that opportunity to another children.

The children used the thinking dice within small groups and carried out several different roles, focusing on their speaking and listening skills.

Thanks to Ellen Lee, of Whatever It Takes, Katy Barnes, Business Manager at Caldecote Community Primary School, for organising our day. Back, tomorrow, for some more adventures.

Ynysowen Primary, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales ~ The return Day 1

| February 13, 2015 | 13 Comments 

Ynysowen Primary

A great pleasure to be back at Ynysowen Community Primary, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

We were last here in 2012, as part of the ICT to Inspire project. The school has flown with lots of superb use of technology. Thanks to Tom Hills, Deputy Head Teacher and Additional Needs Coordinator, at Ynysowen Community Primary School, for sharing his thoughts:

Ynysowen PrimaryYnysowen is a school that continually seeks to engage learners in new and inspiring ways. Although this is not limited to emerging technologies, we have found that this area has a particular draw for the children. This was shown to be the case when last year we won a National Digital Learning Award for the work we undertook with Year 6 involving Google Sketchup. Watch a video about that here.

We also love to find ways to enthuse writing and have found Myst & Epic Citadel particularly useful for this along with other games and apps.

Currently the school is working on a project combining 3D printing with Minecraft, Literacy and Numeracy and we’re also excited about the soon-to-be-opened media centre including a full green-screen suite.

If it exists and our children love it, the chances are we’ve tried to use it for educational and motivational gains!”

Thanks, and well done, Tom, Simone Roden (Head Teacher), and the Ynysowen crew. We are looking forward to coming back, again, on March the 11th, for more technological magic, this time, involving the children…

Woking Schools Learning Partnership Annual Headteachers Conference, Poole

| February 12, 2015 | 3 Comments 

Woking Headteachers Conference

Animal~MagicWoking Schools Learning Partnership Annual Headteachers Conference, at The Haven Hotel, Poole, Dorset.

Using a collection of online tools, and in swiftly cobbled groups, we set off in to the unknown, on the trail of mysterious, newly invented, wildlings. Quickly crafted composite creatures.

… A beautiful bunch of bountiful beasts.

Today, we went wild and woolly with the senior staff from Barnsbury Primary School, Beaufort Primary School, Broadmere Academy Trust, Brookwood Primary School, Byfleet Primary School, Goldsworth Primary School, The Hermitage School, The Horsell Village School, Horsell C of E Junior School, Knaphill Junior School, Lakeside Primary School, Maybury Primary School, The Oaktree School, St John’s Primary School, St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Sythwood Primary School, West Byfleet Infant School, West Byfleet Junior School, Westfield Primary School, Ottershaw C of E Junior SchoolSt Lawrence C of E Primary School, Connaught Junior School and Pine Ridge and Lorraine School Federation.

Thank you to Adie Gould, Woking Schools Learning Partnership Administrator & Sue Tresilian Head of Sythwood Primary, for organising our visit, and ensuring that all the adventures ran smoothly.

Larry Reynolds was the speaker on Wednesday afternoon and many of the colleagues their will know him if they have already attended his ‘Courageous Conversations’ or ‘Authentic Leader’s’ courses. Larry spent the afternoon talking to Heads about ‘Influencing skills for Authentic Leaders’.

On the Friday morning of the conference there will be an ‘innovation speed dating’ session giving delegates the opportunity to discover the latest education technologies. Here is a short video explaining the concept:

Well done all, for being up for the challenges, joining us on our adventures to discover, & create, some animal magic!

Training Day @ Inspire 2 Learn, Middlesbrough

| February 5, 2015 | 9 Comments 

Inspire 2 Learn

Another, full on, day at the Inspire 2 Learn Centre, in Eston Civic & Learning Centre, in Middlesbrough. Speanding time with use today were colleagues from Acklam Whin Primary, Ayresome Primary, Brambles Primary, Chaloner Primary, Dormanstown Primary, Grangetown Primary, Green Gates Primary, Handale Primary, Hillsview Academy, Kirkleatham Hall School, KTS Academy, Lingdale Primary, New Marske Primary, Ormesbry Primary, Overfields Primary, Pallister Park Academy, Redcar Academy, Riverdale Primary, Saltburn Learning Campus, St Paulinus RC Primary, St Augustine’s RC Primary and St Peter’s CE Primary,

Thank you to Andrew Stogdale, Manager/Learning and teaching consultant at the Inspire 2 Learn Centre for sharing these thoughts:

When Inspire2Learn staff work with schools it is usually little and often, on a needs basis. Teachers developing their practice through reassurance and support as and when they feel they need it. Unfortunately Tim and Sarah are busy people, so on Thursday they took some of their favourite ideas and enveloped delegates in the possibilities that they offer, all in one day!

Although Tim and Sarah are often regarded as ‘ICT people” (they are not Androids; or an iOS for that matter!) at I2L we appreciate their teacher craft. Yes, each delegate will leave with a zillion ideas that they could be using, from the web. However, the reason we continually ask them to come and engage with our teachers is that they exude the craft of teaching. Tim and Sarah are role models for how to engage students, not just through a clever bit of tech, but through developing ideas and getting the students themselves to take the lead. I2L receives excellent feedback from all of the schools that we work with both at the centre and in the classroom, engaging with Tim and Sarah, and giving our teachers access to them fits that ethos perfectly.​