The Whole NC for 69p


Adding to my list of apps for teachers comes Pocket Curriculum.  The app is simply an e version of the National Curriculum, but without the need to go online or trawl through the messy .gov website. I have found that I use this app on an almost daily basis.  It comes in handy during planning, observing or just discussing the content of the new curriculum.

Usability is to the fore in this app, it is very easy to navigate, free of distractions and the inclusion of a DFE news feed means you can also keep up to date with all the exciting education news. Today there has been an update to include the secondary curriculum too. Great value and great sense of humour from Angel App Publishing too, just read the rating it has been given and why.










I have always been keen that our iPads do more than just work as laptop replacements. I saw many examples in other schools of the iPad as a research tool or a reward. The phrase “we got the iPads out” didn’t always fill me with excitement as often this was about digital babysitting.

With this in mind I came to Padlet – a web-based collaborative word wall that reminds me of Etherpad or Primarywall. Padlet can be accessed from a tablet or a computer via a browser. It can be entirely open or password protected, it can be exported as CSV, PDF, embedded in a blog, shared through social networks or emailed to a colleague. Crucially it provide another way for using iPads and a range of possibilities and contexts for using them other than just a spelling task described below.

Today I explored how it might be used in a lesson as part of our whole school INSET on Guided Spelling. One of the most important elements of learning new “spelling” words is seeing them in context. With the help of the app children can find definitions and exemplar sentences before using them in their own phrases and sentences.  Of course, you could ask your class to write these in the back of their literacy book or on ephemeral dry wipe boards. But Padlet allows groups to create and compile a shared list of sentences which can be accessed beyond the lesson.

For this to really work, I’d recommend a small group working together on a Padlet, with the teacher having the same Padlet screen on the interactive whiteboard. This means that during the lesson activity children can feel th excitement of seeing their ideas appear on-screen. It puts a bit of pressure on the group to come up with a substantial list too as everyone can see their efforts. It also means the teacher has a visible record of the learning, which can the be exported or shared for further contributions.

To illustrate the idea of using Padlet for sentence writing in spelling, I asked colleagues and friends to contribute to a Pad with a focus on “ou” words. Take a look at their efforts on the link below – thanks to all who helped:

Info Active – Looks like an amazing Data Infographic Mashup Thing

Graph Like image here from


In 2014, I hope to see this, fresh from Kickstarter, tool being used in both my own and many other schools.

Infoactive appears to combine three very useful functions:

Make info-graphic creation simpler
Help to visualise the results of a google form
Bring data to life

It is still in the private beta stage for now, but I believe the vision is for this to be a usable app/tool for business and educators. You can visit the site though and sign up early, if like me you are keen to play around.

Worth noting, that Data Handling is now called Statistics in the new Primary Curriculum. Year 3 teachers could potentially employ this tool as a way to “present and interpret data”.

If you are using Rising Stars, Switched On ICT, then it would be interesting to see how the unit , We are Opinion Pollsters could be enhanced by using this tool.

23rd June 2013 – The Piano Alternatives, Geography App, Videos 2 iPads & Mr Mood idea

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, random rants  and must read articles or books.

An Alternative to the Piano

Don’t you just love the National Literacy Strategy Unit on the Piano. I never tire of the Aidan Gibbons film and all the great talk and writing you can inspire from it. But it is down as both a Year 5 and a Year 6 Unit. It can happen that both Year Groups want to cover this unit, so is there anything else that could be used.

I had given this some thought and was reminded on Twitter of a very powerful film that throws up a lot of questions and has no conventional beginning, middle or happy end. Last year, I showed my Year 6 class Replay and their writing was amazing. It may not be a flashback narrative, but it does lend itself to voice overs, explorations of emotions and a wealth of unanswered questions to discuss and back stories to fill in. Thank you to @Tomsale on Twitter for reminding me of this one.

And then – thanks to another very kind Twitter pal, @garethk007, I was alerted to these two fantastic animations. He claims that that this one made his TA cry and the kids loved it. Well see what you think:

Gareth must have been on a bit of a role as he gave me this one from Vimeo too. Though Vimeo is blocked in my school, so I will need to download it first. This film, Ruin by Wes Ball, is a post-apocalyptic vision of a world that has been overrun by nature. It feels like an action movie and there is not a hint of old men tinkling the ivories anywhere. But, there are lots of unanswered questions and an engaging if albeit brief chase narrative to stimulate some amazing writing,


RUIN from Wes Ball on Vimeo.

An App that Gamifies Geography Knowledge

I have been playing with Geo Brain 2. An app that quizzes you on Geography and by that I mean locations and facts about countries and cities, not oxbow lakes and cliff erosion. What I like about this app is that it not only corrects you, it also gives you direct links to Wikipedia pages about the place you are being asked about. It feels like the ICT lesson we have all done, where you ask a child to do some research about a place except with this app you have more direction and frankly more fun.

I made a short video / screen grab below to give you a flavour of just part of it.

BTW it is free.

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Tools, Sites, Apps and Stuff you have to read w/c 17th March 2012

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

Here is this weeks Stuff I have seen:

Bible Buddies App

appicon_1349154685_12466I love Puppet Pals and have enjoyed using it to bring play scripts alive this year. By chance the boys and I discovered Bible Buddies, which is made by the same people who brought us Puppet Pals. Bible Buddies is basically Puppet Pals but with Biblical Characters, though it should be said most of these are in-app purchases. Here is Leo and Charlie’s versions of Jonah and the Whale made with the app.

Jam with Chrome

If you have seen digital music in action on Garageband on iPad but you don’t have iPads, then Jam with Chrome maybe a viable alternative. You have a broad range of instruments, collaboration with others, autoplay and funky effects all via Chrome. Another reason to ensure your school machines has Chrome installed as well as Internet Explorer.

Whitecap – Visuals for your Disco


Last Saturday, I helped a friend out by resurrecting my old DJ skills and DJ equipment. Though things have moved on since my hey day behind the decks. You can see in the picture what my set up used to look like, last week the CD players were replaced by 2 iPads, Spotify playlists and a laptop running Youtube. I had a projector to show video clips, but when these were not running we used Whitecap. I had not seen this Windows download before and I was really pleased with how well it worked. Essentially Whitecap produces visuals in response to music it detects via your computer microphone. Think the fractals you get from Windows Media Player visualizations, but with more control by you.


Hackasaurus Video from Ian Addison

I love Hackasaurus and the more I use it with classes the more risks they and I take with it. If you have not seen it before then take a look at Ian’s video which gives you an idea of how to use it. Hackasaurus works as both an insight into html and an uber writing frame, which is how I have been using it, presenting children with a BBC News web page and asking them to change the news to fit in with a local or topic based story.

Anyway here is one of Ian’s under ten minutes videos which make tools like this more accessible.

Raspberry Pi and other unofficial Manuals

Raspberry-pi-guide have created another one of their fantastic free help guide/manual thingys. This time they have created a guide about the Raspberry Pi. Aside from this guide you can find a range of other helpful guide on their site including Google Analytics, Gmail and Evernote.