Literacy across the curriculum

TagGalaxy BiddishamTaggalaxy for solar systems of images and words. Take your time exporing the solar systems created before clicking on the sun at the centre, bringing in the photos.

This site uses Flash so might not work on iPads.
Panoramas are a fantastic way of immersing children (or yourself) in a different location, and a superb tool for stimulating discussion in children of all ages, and abilities.

Over the years, we have frequently pointed folk in the direction of a great site, full of resources that you can use as a visual stimulus, a huge and glorious collection of landscapes, and experiences.

It is important to not forget to take the time to stand still.

In each QTVR (Quick time virtual reality) Panorama, take your time and write or discuss – before you even think about moving. It is that first movement that creates a bit of magic when using these with children.

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 and 360 Cities.

Have YOU tried PhotoSynth yet? Photosynth offers two styles for creating immersive 3D experiences: synths and panoramas… and now its mobile too.

You can tilt and turn your way around a sight, zooming in on closer detail, and it is remarkably simple to create these engaging experiences.

Choose a panorama when you can capture everything from a single location with a single zoom level. Great for giving a sense of what it feels like to be in a one particular place. Can be 360° in both directions, but doesn’t have to be. Panoramas are simple to navigate – you can go left/right, up/down and zoom in/out.

Synths are good for capturing different sides or details of an object. More complex to navigate than panoramas because you are moving from photo to photo., and somewhat more complex to create.

To make panoramas from your desktop, install Image Composite Editor and the Photosynth application.

To make synths, just install the Photosynth application. The Photosynth app is available now for iOS in the iTunes App Store. Other operating systems are supported too…. To make panoramas from your iPhone, get the Photosynth App from Apple’s App Store.
Something we have used for quite a while now, and involve as just one step in the process of bringing worlds alive, with the schools we work alongside, is the wonderful Google Street View Stereographic. This joyous gem makes your very own, free, explorable, mini planets!

Visit your location, in StreetView Stereographic, & then learn to fly, as it is possible to move around within your world.

Just one way remember, but a fantastic stimulus for talk, discussion, talk for writing, and a whole lot more. Fun!

Google Streetview and GoogleTreks for the real adventure.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” and ThingLink helps you tell your stories, because images can come alive with connections to music, video, photographs, text, and more! Create interactive scenes. Build, share, touch and discover.
Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® that allows you to speak and see the resulting text. It is thought that it’s up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard.

Great to get your reluctant writers, or those emerging in to the process, transcribing their writing ideas.
Also text into speech with Talk Typer (a Google Chrome Extension, so you need to download Google Chrome)

Dragon Dictation supports a multitude of global languages. It requires network connectivity (WiFi or 3G/EDGE) and works on iPad, iPhone, and on second and third generation iPod Touch (external microphone required).

It is not always accurate, but can some times be way ahead of us, as in the classic quote, as we headed to Cardiff:
“Driving, with Sarah and Ellie, two whales”!

(Thankfully, neither of them are easily offended)


Ivona create some superb, paid for, text to speech software, but on their Ivona Recordings page, you get the chance to hear your words spoken by some quite convincing voices, as a free preview. What is good is that you can do so in English, Welsh, English with a Welsh (or Australian) lilt, or other languages such as Italian, Castillian Spanish, Polish & Brazillian Portuguese.

From Text To Speech is a free online Text To Speech (TTS) service with natural sounding voices. The voices aren’t quite as convincing as those in Ivona, great for its accents and languages) but, after you have converted your text, you can then save your phrses into MP3 audio file to play it on your computer or iPod ~a useful tool.

InstaGrokA valuable gem*, and one well worth experimenting with, is InstaGrok – a search engine with a few differences.

“What do you want to learn about?” is the enticing question on the front page. Choose the level of results you’re looking for, along the scale from beginner to genius, and then start exploring.

ExtensionsA few times recently at conferences or on training days we’ve referred to ways of making an internet search more accurate and on target. The big one is to banish tension by using extensions.


Simple English Wikipedia, Wikipedia written in basic English; Againbutslower, original, and simple, articles side-by-side.


Eyeplorer-MysteyePlorer is “an interactive data visualization of various facts and the relationships between them. Keywords related to a user-chosen topic are placed in a circle, which once selected, reveals the nature of the relationship. An engaging, visual exploration of information.

Today’s Meet is designed as a place to create a “back channel” during an event, such as a meeting, or conference. It can make a good way to encourage, and record, communication in a learning environment too.

A potentially useful way to gather thoughts, and ideas, in a collaborative way. At the moment TodaysMeet is open, so anybody could contribute. This means you need to consider WHO might add in from “outside”, but it is unlikely to attract people who you haven’t given the URL to, and Today’s Meet does not publish a list of active rooms. Give it a go.

Useful Pickie 028Spicy Nodes is something I have linked to before, but feel that is well worth further exploration. Present, store, link and group …almost anything.

Text, links, photos, and other media — are placed into “nodes,” which are then linked together in an attractive, interactive interface that invites exploration.

Spicy Nodes allows you to add pieces of information and embed images and youtube videos. These elements can then be linked together as a mind map which, as you click on different ‘nodes’, changes to show all the linked bits and bobs.

Sadly, another site that uses Flash and might not work on iPads.

Snappy-Words-300x56Snappy Words is 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.
GraphWordsGraph Words is a free visualization tool to explore an English dictionary & thesaurus. Useful on an individual level, or when developing a whole class shared text. Not quite Visuwords, but useful in its own ways.

WordSiftWordSift 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.



Lexipedia where words have meaning.Lexipedia


TextivateTextivate is a web application which allows users to generate interactive browser-based, activities based on any text of up to 500 words.


GeogebraGeogebra provides free mathematics software for learning and teaching. Interactive graphics, algebra and spreadsheets. From early years to university level, Geogebra brings numbers alive.


RunKeeper, a great smart phone app.

This is a remarkable gem, and the educational possibilities are many.

RunKeeper, is a smart phone application that enables you to use the built-in GPS in your phone to track all of your outdoor fitness activities, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and path you stumbled along, on a map.

PADLET for collaborating, a private, more secure instance of postit note board for your school. Here is the one we collaborated on today. Another similar site is Linoit. iBrainstorm app captures and shares between multi-devices, from iPhone to iPad with just a flick of the finger, collaboration.


Quadblogging to link with three other schools to share your blogs.


QR Codes can be useful in many settings. We have discussed creating them before.

Delivr QR Code Generator is a great way to make codes, quickly, & assign a range of results.

Stick codes in to books and link to additional, digital content, you (or students) have created.
AurasmaAurasma is an augmented reality app that’s changing the way people see and interact with the world. It’s a mobile app that lets you create and share your own augmented reality experiences.

Beyond a game

The peaceful landscapes we explored are from the game series Myst. We use Myst III- Exile and Myst IV:Revelation from the series.



Epic Citadel, a peaceful medieval landscape, to wander through, on your iPad.


Thinking Dice, the thought provoking question starter cubes to extend higher order thinking skills;

Some creative iPad apps PotteryHD, Colorsplash, Puppetpals, (get the Director’s Edition for PuppetPals as it includes all the downloads).


Zooburst for the pop-up book creator and Voicethread to add audio comments and more to images.

Try Do Ink Green Screening on an iPad for greenscreening.

Fun with photos using Lunapic and Photofunia, (another one is Big Huge Labs).

Get comical with: Comic Life and Chogger.


3x3-web-links-300x314Do you ever have that problem where your children need to visit an internet address (URL) but they are unable to accurately type out the URL in the browser address bar? Do you spend twenty minutes trying to get your children to the website before you even start your teaching? Well, we may have the solution for you.

3×3 links is a webpage which can be embedded on to your school site. This means that it can stand alone as a webpage, or your school website can host it as its own page. This is useful for when you need children to access links from home that you are using in school; all they need to do is go to your school website. For example, check ours out HERE.