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‘Read On. Get On.’ ~ the launch, on International Literacy Day

| September 8, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Read on Get on logoToday is International Literacy Day. One and a half million children will reach the age of 11 unable to ‘read well’ by 2025 unless urgent action is taken to tackle the reading crisis facing Britain’s pupils, according to new research.

The worrying situation has prompted leading charities, teachers, parents and businesses to form a coalition called ‘Read On. Get On.’ Today, they are launching a national mission to support parents and teachers to get all 11 year olds reading well by 2025, meaning they can read, understand and discuss stories, such as Harry Potter. The move has also been backed by publishers and their bestselling authors.

ROGO_coaltion_volunteerA report by the coalition shows that England is one of the most unequal countries when it comes to children’s reading levels, second only to Romania in the EU. The gap between the strongest and weakest readers is equivalent to seven years of schooling. The report calls for a concerted effort from all corners of society.

The most comprehensive study of pre-school and primary school-aged children in a generation found disadvantaged children are the worst affected, with four in ten not reading well by the age of 11 – almost double the rate of their better off peers.

(Picture: Jo Metson Scott/Save the Children)

The report, which uses current data and that from the past decade, also found they are not reading enough outside school, or with their fathers.

Research commissioned for this report, including by Newcastle University, CentreForum, National Foundation for Educational Research and the National Literacy Trust, also finds:
·      GDP in 2025 could be £32 billion higher if action had been taken to ensure all children were reading well by the age of 11
·      A wide ‘book gap’ in the UK has emerged, with almost a quarter of 11 year olds in the poorest families having fewer than ten books in their home
·      While books remain popular, the most commonly read material by children is now text messages with websites and e-books also growing in popularity

read-on-get-on-main-imageDame Julia Cleverdon CBE, Chair of the ‘Read On. Get On.’ coalition, said: “It is tragic and unfair that children from the poorest families and the most deprived communities are least likely to read well at the age of 11 in the UK – one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Four out of ten children on free school meals who struggle to read will also struggle to gain the educational opportunities and life chances that they need to flourish.

(Picture: Tom Price/Save the Children)

This vital long term campaign with broad based energetic support aims to make a life-changing difference both for children in poverty and for our society.”

‘Read On. Get On.’ aims to create a nation of strong readers by:
·      Supporting parents to read with young children for ten minutes a day
·      Urging the public to volunteer to help disadvantaged children improve their reading
·      Building a powerful coalition of the county’s most influential public, private and charitable organisations to pledge to support the mission
·      Urging all political parties to support the 2025 target and two interim 2020 goals

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children which is part of the coalition, said: “Read On. Get On. is not just about teachers, charities and politicians – it’s about galvanising the nation so that parents, grandparents and volunteers play their part in teaching children to read. We want every child to be given a fair and equal chance to learn to read well, regardless of their background.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) which is part of the coalition, said: “This new campaign has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of Britain’s youngest readers. Recent results for Key Stage 2 are impressive and show that 79% of 5-11 year olds are now reading well. This gives us a strong foundation but there’s also evidence that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are still struggling.

“School leaders are at the forefront of improving literacy standards and they’re passionate about helping children become better readers. ‘Read On. Get On.’  will provide vital support. We can only tackle a challenge like this if everybody works together. This must be beyond politics, a commitment from professionals, parents and the public to achieve the best for our children.”

Adobe Voice

| September 5, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Adobe Voice

Voice helps you create animated videos in minutes. No filming — just talk to tell your story. Pick from over 25,000 images, or use your own, to show your ideas and Voice automatically adds cinematic motion and a soundtrack. Persuade, inform and inspire anyone online. Make an impact.

Choose a custom look with one tap ~ change fonts, colours, and motion, easily

This is a great, simple, app, to get your students focussed on, and investigating, ways to convey a message.

Intriguingly, this has a 12+ rating, and does contain an option for an in app purchase of storage though this is not needed to make the app work

Format Factory ~ File convertion +

| September 4, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Format factory

As Mac users, there are many free ways to convert files to different file types.

For PC users, Format Factory seems to do the job pretty well.

Format Factory is a multifunctional media converter. It can convert
Rip DVD to video file , Rip Music CD to audio file.
MP4 files support iPod/iPhone/PSP/BlackBerry format.
Supports RMVB,Watermark, AV Mux.

It also promises to repair damaged video/audio files, reduce multimedia file sizes, & convert to iphone,ipod formats.

(D)Ice bucket challenge

| September 3, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Following my nomination, from Sarah Neild, I am now completing my #icebucketchallenge to raise donations to find a cure for motor neurone disease through

I thank my dad, for playing his part so well, and nominate our dear friend Claus Berg, in Denmark; Tom Cox, inventor of Thinking Dice; and Ness Matthews, teacher in Abu Dhabi

Name Coach

| September 3, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Name coachWith the start of a new academic year (for many) comes the age old problem of remembering names. Before remembering comes pronouncing accurately

Our names are central to our unique identities, and saying them correctly is the first step in respecting, appreciating, and connecting with each other.

NameCoachName coach mic aims to solve a common problem: name mispronunciation, especially in important life settings.

NameCoach provides a simple and effective solution: users voice-record their names online so others can easily learn and remember how to say them. Perfectly.

Name coach get it rightUsing its free Student Name Directory, teachers share a unique link with their students that sends them to a dedicated page.  Students record their names and teachers can, more easily, learn and remember.

NameCoach works on both desktops (with a microphone), and mobile devices, for learning pronunciations on the go.

News of the Future ~ “You are my density”.

| September 2, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

With Back to the Future, reaching a significant year in 2015, it is timely to mention the quirky site that is News of the Future.

Who needs a Delorean time machine when you can link to future news?  Oil at $180 a barrel, Talking search engines, First Marathon Under Two Hours, and Euro Banknotes Invalid by Friday It raises some fascinating questions, like Can Paralyzed People Walk in the Future?

Even some of the advert banners are mock ups of future possibilities: “Beam Yourself Around the World with Telebeamer!” There are some serious sides to the site. An example: a section on AIDS offers some sobering thoughts.

The way the site looks back at “past events” from these days, offers a good insight into how reporting can present/misrepresent “facts” too. In the words of Marty McFly: “Well, history is gonna change”

Who knows what might happen, but “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”.


| September 1, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

codecombat logocampaign CodeCombat encourages you to learn to program, all through playing a medieval game.

Peterlee Partnership, Durham

| September 1, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Peterlee Partnership

Peterlee PartnershipWhat a full~on, and fun, way to start a new academic year! Over 400 staff, with Heads & Deputies to teachers and LSAs, from 28 schools in the Peterlee Partnership, a strong partnership in East Durham, looking at the power of new, and emerging, technologies in schools.

The day was held at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club only 2 miles from Durham City Centre.

The other two sessions in the afternoon were Martin Bailey, of Animate to Educate – showcasing apps  for across the primary age range, and Sally Landon, with a focus on Early Years and KS1, and some elements of robotics. Continue Reading

Online free OCR

| August 29, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

lamp9ONLINE_OCR_LOGOHaving a genuine need to turn the text, from an analog document, in to a digital form,  we found Online OCR to be an invaluable tool


| August 28, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Wiggio is a free, online, toolkit that makes it easy to work in groups.

The team developed Wiggio out of their own frustrations with working in groups.
They were tired of sending eleven emails back and forth to set a meeting time.

Wiggio dotsThey were fed up with “that guy” who just never knows where and when to be for meetings. They were tired of multiple mailing lists, contact books, phone-chains and incompatibilities. They wanted everything to be in one place, and we wanted it simple.

The platform was designed to be easy and straightforward, even for the least tech-savvy members of your group. It provides everything you need to work productively in your groups, without bogging you down with complexities and unnecessary features.

Host Virtual Meetings and conference calls. Create to-do lists and assign tasks. Send email, text, and voice messages. Manage events with a shared calendar. Poll your group in real time. Upload and manage files in a shared folder

Water Hall Primary, Milton Keynes ~ Day 1

| August 28, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Waterhall Primary

Water Hall PrimaryWaterhall entranceThank you to Tony Draper, Head Teacher at Water Hall Primary, Fern Grove, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and Becky McGuire, Assistant Head Teacher, for organising our first day (back in the UK) of the new academic year, with staff from across this remarkable school and colleagues from their neighbouring school, Brooklands Farm Primary. Continue Reading