More Web Hacks for Key Stage 2 – After Hackasaurus

Many teachers have used Hackasaurus a Mozilla Foundation tool that exposes users to the lines of code that make up websites.

I wrote a post about how I’d used this web hacking tool myself, to customise the BBC News web page. The “hack” is an excellent introduction to web building and can also work as a writing frame to support young reluctant writers too. It beats just typing out on Word.

Since Hackasaurus appeared online, the community of Mozilla web makers have offered more tutorials and “hacks”. These can be found in the gallery of Here you can explore the Thimble projects which offer interactive web pages that encourage you to remix by changing lines of code.

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Today I have been playing with Tobias Leingruber‘s tutorial and Javascript snippet. When activated this code will change the colour of a web page and (with some refinement) fill the background with user defined images.

desktop change

So, of course I changed Google to include a background of Doctor Who themed animated gif files.

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You can try it yourself by following the tutorial here:


The hacking and playing should not end there and teachers and pupils should follow the advice at the footnote of the tutorial.

Now apply your new skills further! Play around. Hack. Tinker. Become a maker of the web.

Obvious links here with the Switched On ICT unit for Year 6 – We are Web Developers or aspects of the new Switched On Computing.



Angry Birds Coding Activity for Key Stage 2

I was looking for a relevant and reasonably low entry point, coding lesson for a group I  am working with next week.

I was directed to this interactive Angry Birds maze game creation activity on the website.

Thanks to my former colleague and TARDIS companion, Mr Nicholas Hughes.

Looks suitable for Year 4 upwards, but I shall let you know after I have tried it.

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Getting Youtube Videos onto your iPad for Mashups or for Switched On ICT unit 4:6

I have been really blown away by a viral fan made trailer for the up and coming Doctor Who 50th Anniversary. Many, like me, initially thought this was the real deal. Sadly it is not, but it did prompt me to create my mash up of clips, and it proved to me that there are lots of possibilities for using existing clips/youtube videos in classroom projects. Up until now I had always used iMovie with class footage, I had not considered editing together excerpts of other videos into montages.

The bogus trailer can be seen below, though I am not sure you quite have the apps available to make such an impressive video using iPad apps alone. For geek value take a look at the making of the video directly below.

Aside from getting excited by Doctor videos, my other revelation and excitement has come from reading posts by Barbara Ainscough. She explains how she has used Mactubes, as desktop app for downloading Youtube videos. From experience I know works just as well on a PC, but is web-based. Couple these tools with the Photo Transfer and you can move videos to and from your iPad via your browser and WIFI without even the hint of a lead. So, I captured a number of videos, sent them ot my iPad and used iMovie to edit them. Ok, so we do have a bit of a copyright discussion here, but I see that as a teaching point.

My next task is to make this all a bit more meaningful and to fit it in with our curriculum, rather than just me messing about for hours. I am exited by looking at how we could use these tools and apps in the Year 4 Switched On ICT unit – We are travel presenters. Here the task is to make a travel slide show. This could be a bit hard if you lack footage, why not grab some clips of the destination and use iMovie to piece them all together with a voice over and music created in Garage Band. Just an idea..

Video run down

That viral one about Doctor Who


The Making of it


My own Mash Up

Who mash Up from anthony evans on Vimeo.

My quite dodgy Piano trailer




Original Post from Barbara Ainscough on her brilliant Creative ICT Blog

Bringing videos into iPads

Now this is a tricky one – that is until you get the hang of the workflow and then it all makes sense!

So is there a fool-proof way to get videos into the Camera Roll on the iPad? or getting iPad Apps to recognize clips/pictures from a source other than the Camera Roll?
Photo Transfer

At some point most teachers will want their students to do a basic editing exercise on the iPad, but may end up running into a workflow problem.
For example a class may already be involved in movie editing projects involving re-editing a trailer in iMovie. This is a great activity, easily achieved on laptops, and many schools have successfully been delivering such an activity for a long time.
However, trying to do the same thing on the iPad is not as straightforward. The issue is getting the same footage to all the students in a classroom environment. Of course you can do it through iTunes and iPhoto by connecting an iPad to a laptop,  but its not viable to have every student plug into a computer to transfer the files.
Another way is to upload a video to YouTube and then download using iCab mobile, but this is not an option if the video has copyright restrictions on it – this would prevent you from uploading to YouTube altogether.

So how do you easily get the video footage into the Camera Roll?

Short trailer clips (.mov and .m4v) can be emailed to the iPad. Both file types work perfectly but the quality is really poor. To improve quality the clips could be emailed in small chunks, say four parts, but again this is not an efficient use of teacher time – I can hear you ask, “there must be an easier way?”
Enter the Photo Transfer App (£1.99), it works for me! I can wirelessly send video to a single iPad and it will show up in the Camera Roll, which means that students can edit it in iMovie. I’ve not yet tried this with multiple iPads although the app description does say it will work.
Photo Transfer is excellent for sending videos or photos back and forth from iPhone/iPad to the computer.
I also like PhotoSync ($1.99) for wireless transfer of photos and videos between Computer and iOS devices.


More iPad Helpsheets


helpsheetAs I am doing some training for Teaching Assistants, I needed to make some help sheets PDFS.

I used a mixture of Skitch and Pages for iPad to create these and I do hope they are of use to you.

Do keep in mind that they are created for basic users and they are version 1- feedback and amendments are always welcome

I am adding these to a growing collection on the downloads section of the site.

Creating Trailers with iMovie for iPad

iPad Guided Access

Using safari to Search

Creating Greetings Cards with iPad Pages

Last week my class created Christmas cards using their iPads. I know there are lots of apps that will do this easily for you however this being a year six class I needed something that was a bit more taxing than simple drag,drop and clip art stamp.

We used pages, which did not come with a preset template. So, I did have to give some thought as to how to set these out. I enclose a How To sheet that shows the steps we went through to make our cards. Though the document talks about Christmas it could be applied to any occasion.

(Click on the image to download it)


If you have any suggestions or amendments please let me know and I will build
a version 2.0.

Happy Christmas