Snapshotting understanding

A couple of weeks ago I was challenged to provide inset for one of my regular schools to help them get more use out of their iPads.  To be honest I didn’t get around to really thinking about it until the day before, and then it was a bit late to get apps sorted so I reflected back on how I thought I should be using iPads more.

Recently as a company we’ve been recommending Prowise interactive screens, as much for the software as the hardware.   There’s one excellent feature of the software that seems a real game-changer to me and as it’s web-based, device agnostic and also FREE.  It got me thinking on how I could use it more.

Prowise Presenter is fairly simple to use and quite feature-rich compared to many interactive whiteboard programs I have tried in the past BUT the clincher for me is ProConnect.  This feature links your whiteboard to a large number of internet connected devices (iPad, smart phone, android tablet, chrome book, laptop, PC) via a simple code.  Once the devices have joined you as teacher there is so much you can do.  There is a free Proconnect app for iOS, Andoid and I believe Windows too.

You can ask a quick question, vote, use and create quizzes.  You can also share your screen out to their devices and they can annotate or create content on the screen you have shared and then hand it back again for you to share on your board.  For instant class engagement it is really efficient and easy to do.

That then got me thinking about other cheap or FREE options for class engagement using iPads:

Plickers is possibly the least high-tech (and so least technically demanding for schools).  Each pupil is provided with a unique laminated QR code which they can hold up one of four ways.  This enables pupils to show one of four choices (A, B, C or D).  The teacher uses an iPad (or other smart tablet/phone) with the Plickers app to very quickly sweep the room and it records each person’s response.  Quick and easy.  Ask a multi-choice question and capture instant responses.  Plickers is currently free to use.

Socrative is an app I looked at years ago and then forgot about or ignored.  I think it has developed a lot since then, and I will be using it a lot more.  Pupils need internet connected devices BUT again these can be anything (phone, iPad, chrome book, pc…).  The teacher logs into their Socrative ‘room’ and the pupils use a unique code to join.  The teacher can ask questions, set quizzes, take votes etc all with ease and instant capture to spreadsheet or PDF file.  Socrative is free, though they now have a pro level you can purchase for a small annual fee.

Kahoot! is a fairly new app to me.  It’s a teacher-lead game show where pupils race each other against the clock to answer questions.  The quicker you answer the higher your score.  There is a large bank of ready-made Kahoots to use, or you can make your own online.  Again, at present, this is free to use.

There are lots of alternatives to the ones mentioned here, but these are the ones I ended up sharing with the staff at this particular school, and I will be using these more in the future!


Welcoming Personally Owned Devices into the Classroom?

This has long been heralded as the only option ahead for schools.  Certainly Secondary School Pupils carry around smart phone devices with computing power and applications to rival those available in their own schools, yet still most schools ban these devices from the classroom and will happily take them away and lock them up rather than allowing them into the classroom as a welcome tool.

Can schools afford to keep doing this?

Certainly educators such as Stephen and Juliette Heppell think not.  They have been running a study into the use of both Facebook and mobile phones in the classroom and it makes for interesting reading

Other educators are also starting to prompt schools into again considering this as an option including Terry Freedman who blogged about it only recently at

As long ago as 2009 the Guardian ran an article about leaders of teaching unions urging schools to “reap the benefits of modern technology” by overturning mobile phone bans in schools (read more about that at )

Schools cannot afford to ignore the ipod touch, the DSi even, let alone the smartphone and the netbook that children already own.  Schools need to plan for the future.  They need to invest in a robust wireless infrastructure and be ready to have policies and teaching practices in place to welcome personally owned devices into the classroom with open arms!

Nevermind the Netbooks – Keep taking the tablets!

Is your school considering Netbooks?  If you are you may have missed the wave!  Many industry pundits are saying that Netbooks have already peaked in use and now the advancing army of tablet devices are the way ahead.  Should your school be thinking tablets?

There are a growing range of tablets…

The iPad from Apple runs on the iOS operating system and runs a massive range of apps and the internet BUT most schools are put off by the price tag!

Alternatives if you are looking to save money are Android tablets BUT, being based on an open-source operating system, tend to require more ‘tweaking’ to get them to behave, though they are often cheaper.  Toshiba (amongst many other companies) have a range of devices know as the Folio raneg.

RM have launched a tablet using Windows 7 and are just launching a second tablet with integral slide-out keyboard.

You can see a range of these if you attend the FREE Oxfordshire ICT Conference on 8th March 2011 (

For more information on the tablet future take a look at this link from the Guardian

Reflections on Learning Without Frontiers 2011 part 2

Some educational bloggers have been extreamly busy getting their thoughts and ideas down, this post brings you a few of these links.

Ewan McIntosh has been very busy, not only has he been posting his thoughts on Karen Cator (as posted HERE) but he has also been reflecting on a great sound bite “Stop sorting children by their date of manufacture” which is a post relecting on the experience of the newly formed Essa Academy who have provided hand-held devices to ALL students and staff.  He has also been reflecting on the session presented by Dr. William Rankin where he outlined Quite possibly the best virtual learning environment in the world.  Ewan has also been busy sharing ideas for handheld translation tools as details in his blog post Mobile As A Lens On The World: Word Lens instant translation as well as taking a look at iPad for Learning for All the Wrong Reasons.

More posts following LWF to come soon!


Even I Can Animate too!

A gem of inspiration from BETT is I Can Animate from Kudlian.  They have JUST launched a superb app for iPod Touch (latest model) and the iPhone.  This means that owners of these devices can create simple stop-animation films using just their iPod Touch or iPhone.  The app is VERY simple to use and a joy.  If you don’t know what Kudlian do then please check out the link above.

If you have the latest iPod Touch or iPhone it really is worth investing in the Kudlian App – I Can Animate – because you can!

It’s not just me who thinks so, Ollie Bray also thinks so and has written his own blog post about I Can Animate which you can find at

Check back here soon to see some home-made esafety films being filmed using I Can Animate NOW!

BrainPop in my pocket…

Just ahead of Learning Without Frontiers and BETT 2011 BrainPop have been very proud to announce the launch of their new FREE ipod/iphone/ipad app which offers one FREE video from the massive BrainPop collection every day.  There is a US and UK version so make sure you snap up the right one!  This is an app we will DEFINITELY be adding to our trial ipods.  Thanks to @BrainPOP_uk and @eylanezekiel (amongst MANY others for bringing their super app to our attention.  Find out more about their app in the BrainPop blog HERE

Oxfordshire iPod Touch trial update

Several members of our team are due to present on our experiences to date with the iPod Touch Project in Oxfordshire.  We are presenting at both TeachMeet Apple, at the Apple Mobile Learning Briefing in London today, and also at TeachMeet Milton Keynes.  To ensure people can get access to up-to-date information about our trial we have updated the online record of this project and moved it across to   When we have found a secure way to share the many video clips we have we hope to also include these here too.

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