Tools, Sites, Apps and Stuff you have to read w/c 24th March 2013

Each week my Flipboard app, Twitter responses, my kids, my Kindle Fire and my Google reader deliver a collection of new web tools, apps, books, crazy experiences and must read articles.

Here is this weeks Stuff I have seen:

Touch Develop

In my continuing pursuit to teach programming under the constraints of having shiny iPads and ageing PC, I was pleased and excited to come across this from Microsoft. The Touch Develop programming environment runs in a browser and this means on your tablet, chromebook, laptop etc. The only restriction is a Windows Live/ Gmail or Facebook account


is needed in order to save scripts. Unlike other scripting or coding tools this is built with tablets in mind, so you can build functions that act in response to the accelerometer and inputs can be based on touch. This is a challenging

environment and you do need to put the time in to get your head round it all. I do think it is worth spending a few hours looking at this though as it could well be another addition to the suite of software and tools we present to pupils at Key Stage 2 and 3 to teach Computer Science. I am going to try this with my Year 6 class later this week, using the scheme of work and introductory videos from Ray Chambers.

The Perfect Lesson by Jackie Beere

51-IQ1Kc2oL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_This is such a helpful book and can be read cover to cover very easily and can then serve as a quick reference guide. Jackie helps you build a picture of what OFSTED will look for, while helping you reflect on what you do day-to-day in the classroom and how that can be improved. The book has helped me a lot to think about and reflect on my teaching. I think the author also really helps us get our heads around independent  learning and how this should look . Despite the title this is not a survival guide for OFSTED, or a series of hoops to jump through. No, rather this is a clearly thought out set of strategies, that could be picked up tomorrow before play time.. I have begun implementing some of the ideas such as the arrow on the whiteboard to help the class measure their own  progress and the strategies for effective group work.

Sound Cloud Sharing for Figure

You may remember in a previous post, we mentioned Figure a great app for creating digital music. My music coordinating colleague mentioned how it was a bit of a pain to get the class compositions off the iPad and into the more public arena. Well this can be done now as the app supports sharing via Soundcloud. This means the music files can be uploaded free of charge and  we can then use the embed code from each track and embed the tunes in blogs or on the school VLE.

Here is one I made (badly ) earlier, though not sure whether this is visible on IOS – here is the link if it doesn’t show up –

Rebirth – Another Amazing Digital Music App

This week I have been playing about with this post Figure music app and feeling very pleased with the results. I am not the new Trance hero of Ilford just yet but I am getting there. I am sure that after some collaboration with my music coordinator we could come up with some ways of adding this to our work with Figure and Garage Band. And so yet another funky addition to our We Are Musicians unit for Switched On ICT. The only downside of this app is the price – £10.99, but I feel it is worth it. The app is based on three stalwarts of dance music instruments. You get the wibbly wobbly acid house music generator the 303. This is accompanied by the 808 and 909 drum machines and a mixer to help you put all these bits together.

Bond Bubbles – Number Bonds Frenzy

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All week Leo has been reciting an ever-growing list of number bonds, or pairs of numbers to make totals stretching up to and beyond 100. Leo’s autistic mind is allowing him to photographically remember  many of these and he can spend a long time reciting  these learned facts back to me. This can mean a car journey can consist of all the ways that 80 can be made with just two whole numbers. I wondered where this obsession has come from, and then today I saw he had Maths Games 1 on his laptop. This is a suite of five Maths Games aimed at Key Stage 2. Bond Bubbles is one of the game He was overly keen to use it today and show off his ability. He  enjoyed his  session , but it troubled me that he was mostly learning with pairs of tens. It is easy to create 80, when given an initial 40, but what is the number you are given is 34, what then? But like all good 2Simple programs things can often be customised by pressing ctrl, shift and “o”. Doing this brought up a spread sheet which allowed me to alter the numbers he encountered. We have now made it harder and extended his outcomes beyond 150.

Digital Road Trip’s Overview of the iPad for Film Making

julian ipad movie blogpost

A brilliant blog post by the man they call “Digital Roadtrip“, Julian to his mates,a reference guide to filming with iPads. He features apps and tricks you probably haven’t heard of before.

Game Theory Video

No reason for sharing this video, other than it is just great and it reminds me of what we mean by digital creativity.

Game Theory from Ithaca Audio on Vimeo.

Switched On ICT – iPad Units

ipadunits switched on ict

More on these next week, including how I have been using them at school.

Mashcams App


Purple Mashcams

A few weeks ago I joined my old friends at 2Simple as a presenter at their stand at the BETT Show. It was great to talk to teachers and anyone who would listen about Purple Mash and 2Build a Profile. In addition I had the opportunity to see how the products are developing and changing to meet the demands of this evolving market. You will have read a review of one of their new projects, 2DIY as an iPad app earlier this year on this blog. Alongside this app I got to see a prototype of the Mashcams app. Mashcams allow pupils to become historical or story figure using a webcam and a selection of templates. After my former boss Max put together a selection of these, I worked with our illustrator to extend the collection to include a broader range including witches and a snowman.

So, it was thrilling to see these as an IOS app, albeit in prototype format. Machcams provide a great way into writing as once you have become the character, you then have a huge speech bubble to add some speech from him or her. But with the app, you can include a sound recording, this makes this a great app for both mainstream and SEN too. I do hope they get a versatile export format with this, so that the work does not just stay on the tablet. You can see some leaked screenshots below:




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