Latest News

Bracken Hill School, Nottingham ~ Day 2

| February 3, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Bracken Hill School

Following yesterday’s day with the staff from Bracken Hill School and visiting colleagues, today, we went wandering in the world of words, with three groups of intrepid explorers, up for the challenges we shared.

Bracken Hill School GreenscreeningWe waited at the top of the rollercoaster and recorded our feelings of anticipation. Deep breath and we were off, screaming our way to the bottom. … … … Got the feelings down in pithy combinations of, sometimes contrasting words.

Gathering thoughts, in groups & alone, we wrote snappy, punchy lines, to describe the sensations. After a couple of trials, the best phrases were selected.

The grand finale was when we took a final trip on the rickety roller coaster ride, accompanied by the children’s voiced phrases, screams & the rhythmic background.

Despite the (necessary) speed the effect was magical. We stepped off the ride, happy & exhilarated- having gained some confidence and thought about how extend & enrich our use of language to bring a world alive!

DoshieThank you again to Kath Harris for inviting us to spend time in her school, with her colleagues and pupils. And thank you to all the staff for their enthusiasm, patience, support and ‘up-for-it-ness’. Well done for having a go at many of the ideas already! For example, well done to Tracey Waterhouse for using Morpho to encourage a pupil in to school.

Tracey explains here: I took a photo of my dog and Morfo’d it to encourage a pupil to come to school.

It says, “Hello you need to come to school so Mrs Waterhouse can see you and Doshie can talk to you.” …… And it worked!


| February 2, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 


FunBrain is an interesting collection of games to play in different settings, and subjects.

Greg_HeffleyWith free educational games, online books, & comics. Funbrain, was created for preschool children, to 14 year olds, offering more than 100 fun, interactive games, developing maths, reading, and literacy skills.

One brilliant feature of FunBrain, is that you can also read a variety of popular books and comics on the site, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Galactic Hotdogs, SkullDuggery Island, and The Lost Side of Suburbia

Bracken Hill School, Nottingham ~ Day 1

| February 2, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Bracken Hill SchoolBracken Hill School is a special state school for pupils aged from 3 to 19 in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

The staff, and pupils, at Bracken Hill, are up for challenges, and making the most of the opportunities that technology provides. They have a new website and are blogging here: School Blogs.

Thanks you to Kath Harris for coordinating our visit. Kath attended the Computing to Inspire Conference back in July 2014 and, following this, she made contact, inviting us to spend time with her colleagues and students. Kath has introduced us to a few new things too. Thanks Kath.

BrackenhillWe explored creativity, and the impact it can have on confidence, speaking and listening, writing and beyond. With whatever age, and whatever ability, student, we do need to “reach our destination”, to meet our targets, to make changes, and progress, develop, and grow. But, there are many ways to travel. Today, we explored digital, and analog, tools, methods, and ways of working, that bring learning alive.

As part of a process, and just one tool amongst hundreds, we made a little, explorable planet based around familiar landmarks. If you fancy a go at creating a Streetview Stereographic, mini world based on your school, or house, take a look at THIS POST.

Thank you, and well done, all. We really look forward to tomorrow, and a day of more analog responses to some digital landscapes. More wonders, and wandering, in the world of words.

Thanks, too, to Mr Ron McCrossen, Head Teacher. We look forward to more, tomorrow, with the students.

Remind ~ “Safe Classroom Communication”

| January 30, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

RemindRemind (formerly Remind101) could be a very useful app. “A safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents”.

This is one to investigate. For our readers in The U.S., texting can be free. Those outside the U.S. can use email or the app to receive messages. Both are completely free! Get those you want to contact to download the app and opt-in to receive messages with push notifications!

Teachers can send or schedule reminders, assignments, homework, assessments, or motivational messages directly to students’ and parents’ phones

Interactions are “safe” because phone numbers are kept private, and messages are sent with no open replies. Useful?

Gosport Education Improvement Partnership INSET ~ Day 3

| January 30, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Brune Park Community School

Gosport Education Improvement PartnershipFollowing Wednesday’s, and yesterday’s, training for the Gosport Education Improvement Partnership at Elson Junior School, we are at Brune Park Community School, with 220 teachers, from secondary and primary schools in the and Gosport Education Improvement Partnership.

Today, we splattered the staff, with “almost too many” digital ways of keeping the curriculum alive, and maintaining the magic. We investigated how virtual worlds, with their stunning landscapes, peaceful characters and realistic challenges, can be used across subject areas, abilities and age ranges to deliver remarkable effects. We hope that delegates left with many practical ideas to apply back in their contexts.

We also presented some accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. We also investigated the powerful effect of using games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more, with a view to how these things can impact on learning, rather than purely enjoying “the latest gadget”.

Thanks, again, to Debbie Lewis for coordinating arrangements with us for these 3 days. ~ cross platform mobile app creation

| January 29, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 


“Everyone can create apps”. LiveCode offers unlimited possibilities for mobile app development. Start building apps quickly, easily and FREE!

Whether it’s an app for making life easier, solving a problem or just an experiment, LiveCode is a great method of developing your next great app.

Gosport Education Improvement Partnership INSET ~ Day 2

| January 29, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Brune Park Community School

Gosport Education Improvement PartnershipToday, we were joined by Y8 students from Brune Park Community School and Y6 pupils from Elson Junior School, their teachers, and others from the Gosport Education Improvement Partnership, at Brune Park Community School.

A huge thank you to Jo Duff, Assistant Headteacher Brune Park Community School, for coordinating today’s sessions so efficiently.

Reading is a stimulus and models building sophistication in children’s writing. Speaking and listening, comes alive when we expose children to new, valid, interesting and real, whether that is through ICT, trips, or other experiences. Oral rehearsal boosts quality and confidence … sometimes, making it up as we go, verbal, or written “jazz”, produces some of the most intriguing, and fascinating results. Well done all.

Great to see some open sharing of ideas. Peer revue and analysis is powerful in the “work in progress” stage, not just at the end. Intervention early, helps children move forwards far more effectively than if it is just picked apart when it is complete.

Thanks to Celia Rich, head of Elson Junior School, and our main link with the Gosport Education Improvement Partnership, for sharing these thoughts on the pathway forward for GEIP:

GEIP – It’s all about the Writing

Gosport Curriculum Innovation Group wanted to improve the writing of all learners in the Gosport area. A stubborn area of school improvement which is not improving quickly enough for us.

So; what can we do differently; what will motivate and engage out learners and staff? We invited Tim and Sarah to inspire us to fire up a passion for writing in our Gosport Learners. After an initial day conference, in which Gosport Leaders were shown so many engaging and exciting approaches…..which were readily available to us on the internet…….we set about ways to tempt our staff and children to Tim’s wondrous world of writing stimuli and ICT resource.

We have embarked on a massive collaborative project. The Gosport Education Improvement Partnership (GEIP) agreed to fund training places for each of the 30 schools involved. Staff will see Tim and Sarah model their techniques with groups of children from Years 2,4,6,7 and 8. What superb professional development, to have the luxury to observe and reflect on inspirational practice. This will be followed by a common day closure

This will be followed up at our half termly conferences when ‘Pledge Partners’ will be matched to develop a deep learning project based around on idea drawn from Tim’s bountiful box of tricks


| January 28, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

taskclonelogo-blueTaskClone is one for those who have taken up using Evernote: Stop forgetting tasks – Start saving time! Automatically send Evernote to-dos to your favorite task app or Google Calendar. Useful for planning ahead…

Gosport Education Improvement Partnership INSET ~ Day 1

| January 28, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Elson Junior School

TGosport Education Improvement Partnershiphe first of three days, working alongside the children, and staff, from The Gosport Education Improvement Partnership. Today, we were at Elson Junior School for lessons with Year 4 pupils in the morning and Y2 pupils from St John’s C of E Primary in the afternoon.

This training followed from the Gosport Curriculum Innovation Conference in October 2014. It is open for all Gosport schools.

Joining us today were colleagues from schools in the Gosport partnership:Elson Junior, Gomer Junior, Leesland JuniorNewtown C of E PrimaryPeel Common Junior, John’s C of E Primary, St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Alverstoke InfantBrockhurst Infant, Leesland Infant, Peel Common Infant and Rowner Infant.

We have to build emancipated, autonomous, users of language. Phonic development is really important but not as a standalone, every now and then subject. It needs to be taught consistently, and in exciting ways, a development continuum.

Reading is an essential precursor to writing and writing is an essential precursor to reading. Teachers need to plan experiences that require an ever widening range of forms for an ever increasing range of purposes and audiences… and make it real! What is fascinating, about the experiences we offer, in these sessions with children, is that they believe in the locations, and become surprisingly passionate about recording their thoughts, and feelings.

Thank you to Joy Squibb, Headteacher of St John’s C of E Primary for sharing her thoughts:

St. John’s is a place where going above and beyond is the norm for the love of our children and their futures.  We aim to excite children about life and about learning.  Our pupils lead the curriculum, helping to build exciting enquiries and discover knowledge of the world together.  We love having visitors in school, and taking children out of school to learn – we all strongly believe there are no limits to our learning.

Thank you to Debbie Lewis, for coordinating arrangements with us for these 3 days. A lot of detailed planning.

Well done, to the Elson Junior School and St John’s C of E Primary children, and staff. More tomorrow…


| January 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

etherpadscreenshotEtherpad is a highly customizable Open Source online editor providing collaborative editing in really real-time.

There are many pads now (& we look forward to hearing of the one you use/prefer) but this was “an original”.


| January 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 


Schoology lets you manage your classroom, engage your students, find resources, and connect to other teachers anytime, anywhere.

Experience the power of a global learning community. Build connections and collaborate with your peers.

The basic package is “free for instructors”!