Author Archive: Tim

rss feed

Codeacademy ~ iPad programming

| March 19, 2014 | 0 Comments 

Programming underpins apps, websites, games, and more. Codeacademy (as opposed to Codecademy) is a free app to build things online through programming. Pick apart the basic structure of code, and the concepts behind the apps you use, and websites you visit.

Hour of Code is a great way to go from zero to programming. Its is now longer than an hour too! “Make a webpage from the app with a photo, bio, and more, and share it with friends to show off what you’ve learned”!

Hideout ~ Early reading app for iPad

| March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments 

Hideout is a free iPad app that contains six interactive stories based on the sounds of, and words created with, the letter combinations “ap,” “en,” “it,” “op,” “ag,” and “et.”

The voice of the app shares ideas around the sounds and challenges children to make words from them. After making four words students, take part in an interactive story, identifying the objects that match the words they just made.

The sounds, and flashing images, can be a bit distracting, but these can be turned off in the preferences, so, all in all, Hideout is a well designed APp, and children ENjoy using IT AGain and AGain at every OPportunity they gET.


| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments 

Greenfoot teaches object orientation with Java. Create ‘actors’ which live in ‘worlds’ to build games, simulations, and other graphical programs.

Greenfoot is visual and interactive ~ these tools are built into the environment.

The actors are programmed in standard textual Java code, providing a combination of programming experience in a traditional text-based language with visual results.

Educational software designed to make learning programming easy and fun

ReWordify ~ Text alternatives “Improving adult literacy” (?)

| March 14, 2014 | 0 Comments 

Insert some text (or link to a web page) and ReWordify modifies some key words, or phrases. These are not necessarily simpler, just reworded.

Examples might include “Guessing (based on what was known)” gets translated to “Inferring”; “about the” becomes “concerning the”; “helpful changes to text” turns into “beneficial alterations”.

Whilst far from perfect, ReWordify is a potentially interesting tool for those taking the next steps in learning English, or as a way of extending a piece of shared text.

A.L.E.X. ~ iPad programming

| March 13, 2014 | 0 Comments 

A.L.E.X. has proven to be an intriguing step in the programming pathway. It takes the LEFT, STEP, RIGHT, STEP, TURN aspect of control, and adds some superb additional challenges, to negotiate your robot, A.L.E.X., across, sometimes moving, sets of platforms.

This free app, is designed with superb animated style. A.L.E.X. helps you think and plan logically as you program your little character with a sequence of commands to get through each level from start to finish. The lower levels are suitable for children as young as 6 but it’s enjoyable for adults too!

The FREE VERSION includes 25 levels, and a feature to create your own puzzle


| March 7, 2014 | 0 Comments 

We’ve been experimenting with tilt shift for a while now.

Tilt-shift photography is basically using  your camera to make the photo taken seem miniature.

You could spend hours with camera movements,  selective focus, shallow depth of field, a tilt-shift lens, rotation of the lens plane relative to the image plane, “tilt”, movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, shift

Or you can try the cheats way and use this website. Tiltshiftmaker, a free and powerful site.

It makes the whole process easier, however you still need the right type of photo to get a decent effect.

Start with stills, and you may be able to take the next step in to motion minis.

Sam O’Hare’s miniature New York is true delight, whilst A Day in the life of Disney is another lovely example of making a mini-world film.

You don’t have to use tiltshift on a large scale image. It can focus attention within close up shots.

Keith Loutit’s “Small Worlds” are classic examples of the tiltshift genre. A File Magazine article features much of Keith’s work, with links to some of the films too.

A good film about Vincent Laforet photographing sporting events and then using tiltshift to turn great athletes into tiny models!

Talking of Vincent, have a peak at Van Gogh’s art after the tiltshift treatment.

Smashing Magazine has one of the best collection of Tiltshift photographs, and the Behance Network‘s gallery Little Lands is well worth a peek. There are many examples on Flickr.

A pretty detailed description of how to do Tiltshift “for real” can be found at the Cambridge in Colour website. However, as well as Tiltshiftmaker, you could also try the slightly more detailed Art and Mobile Tiltshift Generator which is now also available for the iPhone.

Circuit GoGo Lite ~ Electronics on an iPad

| March 6, 2014 | 0 Comments 

Circuit GoGo Lite is a great way to investigate, and learn about, circuits and electronics. An interactive electronics handbook for kids ages 6 – 12.

Follow Loopie, the little alien, in an adventure to build simple circuits for Neanderthals living on planet Earth. Aspects of circuitry are revealed in one bite-sized chunk at a time.

Whilst you can only go to level 1-6 in the free lite version, it is a great starter, and is great fun too. Go go get exploring! ~ & an Hour of Code™

| March 4, 2014 | 0 Comments 

Take part in an Hour of Code™ (as a starter, & more) with your students at

The Hour of Code™ is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour. You can also teach the Hour of Code all year-round. Tutorials (which can be found HERE) work on browsers, tablets, smartphones, or “unplugged.”

An established, and well used, site is an ever increasing collection of persuasive reasons to try coding in different forms, and a set of useful methods to start your journey. Powerful pointers for preparing pupils for programming.

Superlame ~ speech bubble maker

| February 28, 2014 | 4 Comments 

With the Superlame speech bubble tool, you can add life and comments to a picture with great ease.

Add zaps, kerpows and thwacks too!

Whilst there are many comic creators, this tool is quick and easy, quite simplistic, but powerfully intuitive. Bubbles can creep outside the edge of your picture too. A useful tool when investigating speech marks, or story planning?

Mapping Our World (Oxfam)

| February 27, 2014 | 2 Comments 

Mapping our World from Oxfam, is a whiteboard teaching concept for 8 to 14 year olds, which explores the relationship between maps and globes, and how different projections influence our perception of the world. It challenges the idea that there is one ‘correct’ version of the world map.

It shows that the sizes of countries and continents are not always shown accurately on world maps & helps develop an awareness of the relative sizes of countries & continents.

The Gall-Peters Projection map could be thought to be (generally) more accurate about its depiction of true country or continent size, than Mercator’s map, but it also opens up a lot of discussion, about developing countries for example.

Here is a large scale, printable, Peters map. and here is an interactive Peters map.

Bee~Bot: free iPad programming basics

| February 26, 2014 | 4 Comments 

Bee-Bot, an established name in the world of programming in schools, have developed a FREE app that acts as a superb introduction to control. The familiar yellow and black striped robot character, we have seen whizzing across the floor of many classrooms, now forms the central character in an iPad/pod app.

Use the Bee-Bot keyboard functions to program directions, and turns, in to a sequence to guide the bot through engaging garden scenes. Twelve timed, and star awarded levels, will appeal to children from aged four up.

There is an advert for the Bee-Bot pyramid game (which is not free) but no other product placement. Well worth an investigation, to get younger children thinking.