Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Purple Mash login update - 2Simple

Calling all Purple Mash users - now you can access Purple Mash in your classroom without logging in! 

2Simple have made Purple Mash even more accessible for you and your pupils with the new desktop shortcut link. Your pupils can access Purple Mash at the click of a button without logging in.
As teachers we all know how useful this feature is for all primary learners, saving essential time logging in at the beginning of a lesson means they can achieve more. However, to save all work children will be required to enter individual logins.

The desktop link is only active during school hours and for 2Simple's 2LASSO admin users. For out of school hours and home use 2Simple will give you a web-link that you can put on your learning platform or school website. 
You will need to request this by sending an email to 2Simple <> with your school name and they will send you an email with your school's desktop link and web link ready for you to get started.

To arrange a free 4 week trial of PurpleMash, or for more information contact me:  - 07976 411492

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free Teacher QR Code Worksheets

I love this idea from the 'Do try this at home' blog - something Ive been wanting to do for some time.....  The idea behind the activity is that children can use their own, or their parent's handheld device (Smartphone, iPod Touch or iPad), at home to access a worksheet created by the teacher - which could be a homework activity.
Each of the sample worksheets on that blog have been QR Code enabled, so all you need to do is download one of the many FREE QR reader apps onto your device - see below for just a few of the many available apps. Once you've done this just point and scan the QR code on the worksheet to find out more, view a 'How To' tutorial and see what you have to do to complete the task - simple and fun!
Of course this idea could be used to make learning exciting in school too.  The ideas for creating such resources are endless and this idea can support the entire curriculum in a fun and novel way - have fun scanning!
Download FREE QR code scanners
For more information contact me:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tiger Child Animation - Y3/4 - Mrs Hyde

The Tiger Child Animation by Mrs Hyde's Class, Year 3/4, Hedon Primary - a great achievement! Well done children, I can't wait to see your next project....

For more information contact me:

Tiger Child Animation - Y3/4 - Mrs Slater

The Tiger Child Animation by Mrs Slater's Class, Year 3/4, Hedon Primary - a great achievement in just two hours! Well done children, I can't wait to see your next project.

For more information contact me:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - online File Sharing

Box lets you store all of your content online, so you can access, manage and share it from anywhere. Integrate Box with Google Apps and access Box on mobile devices. 

See the filesharing widget - Instructions for adding this to your blog.

You can share very large documents, photos, videos, and music files with your blog readers by uploading files to and adding them to the widget in your sidebar. You can see one of their widgets in action on this page Ainscough familyhistory blog where I use to share relevant files such as family trees contributed by other blog readers.

For more information contact me:

iPad Tripods

If you've recently introduced iPads into your school then you may already be thinking about how you can use them to make films, animation or making music in a band!
For best results the iPad will need to be still and made stable, not just to ensure a high standard of film-making but also to protect the iPad itself from damage!
There are a number of tripod-like gadgets out there which you might like to investigate further, Ive just listed three to get you started.....
Movie Mount

For more information contact me:

Review of the National Curriculum

The Hamilton Trust write:
Dear users & Friends of Hamilton,
As you probably know, the government released the Report of the Expert Group looking at the review of the National Curriculum. The report makes many important recommendations which, if accepted, will have profound effects on primary education. 
We know you are busy busy busy and do not have time to download reports of 80+ pages but we do think that it is vital that opinions from those at the chalk face are heard by DfE and ministers. So we have copied some of the more important recommendations (such as the suggestion that Levels are scrapped hence getting rid of APP...) into a survey and ask that you take five minutes to look at this and comment. You can literally do this in 5 minutes if you choose. SO PLEASE GIVE US YOUR OPINIONS and we will faithfully collate them and feed these back to DfE with whom we have excellent contacts.
Find the survey here.

All the best
Ruth Merttens
For further information please email

Robust iPad cases!

iBallz Case
So you like the idea of using ipads in your Primary or Special School but now you're starting to panic about all of the things that could go wrong - like them being dropped or banged about?
Stop panicking!!
As with most things somebody has already thought this one through and there are several well designed iPad cases out there designed especially for active children in exciting environments.

Ive listed just three that Ive heard great reviews about - check them out for yourself and then make a decision.....

  • iBallz Black Case - available from Amazon - £17.99 + delivery 0.99p

For more information contact me:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Educreations - New Features!

via@educreations - Educreations say the most requested feature is the ability to replay shared Educreations lessons on the iPad. Today, they announced version 1.1 of Educreations for the iPad, which includes this and other new features.
What's new?:
  • Watch lessons hosted on on your iPad.
  • New option to clear only the ink on a page, leaving images in place.
  • Easily copy the lesson link and embed code.
  • View featured lessons from the Educreations community.
  • Optimized recording and uploading. Lessons will now load up to 4x faster.
  • Logging in and out is now much easier.
New features on Educreations website:
  • Seek forward and backward when replaying lessons on our site.
  • Get notified via email when a student asks a question about a lesson.
Follow Educreations:

Coach's Eye app -Sports evaluation

Coach’s Eye iPad app £2.99  "is like having a coach that never misses a thing. Whether you’re working on a golf swing, football drill, soccer kick, or yoga posture…Coach’s Eye delivers those “ah-ha” moments that elevate athletes from good to great.
Virtually any sport or activity can be recorded and reviewed with Coach’s Eye. Simply record a video of the athlete in motion, slow it down to offer a verbal and visual feedback about form, technique, or anything else you might see. Share reviewed videos with your athlete or entire team to help them improve their skills. You can even share out when athletes have great form, so they can bask in their glory over and over again."

For more information contact me:

iPad evaluation form

During this last year or so many schools have started to introduce iPads on a whole class or school level. At some point it is inevitable that the school will be asked to justify this expense by Governors and / parents and this is when you need to start thinking of ways to measure the impact of ipads on learning and teaching. Lucy Gray <> has put together this evaluation form and encourages us to share our experiences with iPads as they have been integrated into the school curriculum.
Feel free to join in the study or tweak the form as you see fit to meet your own ends.

For more information contact me:

Monday, February 13, 2012

USB WebCams

USB WebCams for Animation

There are many USB cameras available on the market at an affordable price, all of which are ideal for animation activities in the classroom. I have selected just three of them for comparison, all of which I have used successfully in various animation workshops with students of all ages and ability. What you decide to buy all depends on the overall video and image quality of the animation you shoot and how much you want to spend.

The Hue HD Camera
The Hue has a fun and funky look to it. Available in a variety of colours and relatively inexpensive, (available from Amazon around £35) your students will think it’s cool to use too!
With a flexible swan neck allowing you to position the webcam anyway you want, choose to keep it straight,curve it downwards or angle it upwards.
However, from my own personal class-based experience I have found the camera to be top heavy and a little unstable, having a tendency to fall over when you adjust the neck.
Of course this can be easily remedied by pulling out some of those old ‘Blue Peter’ tricks, like using duct-tape to stick it firmly to your work surface. Alternatively the webcam can be disconnected from its base altogether and connected directly to your computers’ USB port by- passing the need for a stand at all.

Just plug it into your USB port and start animating - it really is that simple. Suitable for Mac and Windows PC's.

The aGent V5 HD Camera
Highly recommended and directly available from the Kudlian Software website (authors of ‘I Can Animate Software’) the aGent webcam is one of the highest quality cameras available for animation activities in the classroom. Lightweight and highly portable this camera is capable of delivering Full HD video and audio, with up to 5MP video resolution and still images up to 8MP.
The aGent webcam can also be used anywhere. Clip it on your notebook or flat screen or use the desktop stand. There are three clips to choose from. I especially like the fact that this camera can be mounted on a regular tripod with a small adapter. Working in a primary environment this is often the easiest solution if you are pushed for time.

It not only looks great, finished in a professional looking polished silver casing, but it also boasts a lens aperture wider than other web- cams allowing it to collect more light than most other webcams on the market. Consequently it is capable of capturing high-quality pictures even in low lighting using advanced low light exposure technology. Just plug in to get started and let the animation software do the rest!
This camera could also be used for class-based video conferencing or Skyping activities - the aGent includes a built in USB digital noise can- cellation microphone so you can also talk to your friends all over the world, whilst using it as a webcam.
Suitable for Mac and Windows PC's - available to education from around £55.

USB WebCam - The Real Animation Company
Suitable for Mac and PC computers this USB camera is available from Amazon for just £25.00. With a Retro design, the webcam has a lens hood that prevents access light from entering the lens which can prevent unwanted flickering in your animations. The webcam also has an attached stand which can be adjusted to alter the cameras position. Be- cause of this it doesn’t fall over easily and its position can be altered by raising the stand underneath the camera. This makes it suitable for students of all ages and ability.
As with the other two cameras its USB connection allows you to just plug in and get started.
This is the cheapest of the three cameras I have used and many teachers are more than happy with the results it delivers.

For more information contact me:

New Bee-Bot App

via @TTS_group  Now available….the new Bee-Bot app! - Find it on itunes here 

The new Bee-Bot App is developed from the award-winning Bee-Bot floor robot. The app makes use of Bee-Bot's keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns.
The app has been developed with 12 levels encouraging progression. Each level is timed and the faster it is completed the more stars you get! The levels are set in an engaging garden scenario and will appeal from age 4 upwards.
The app is for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®. To download the app free of charge click here.

For more information contact me:

Easi-Speak Microphone

Easi-Speak Microphone

The Easi-Speak is a USB microphone that allows you to record your voice (singing or speaking) and is suitable for students of all ages -they are guaranteed to bring your lessons alive!

Easily affordable, Easi-Speak can be purchased either as a single item or as a pack of five. Highly practical, made from robust plastic they are available in either black or yellow, you really don’t need to worry about even the youngest children handling these.

The great thing about the microphone is that no batteries are ever required, you simply charge it directly from your computer via the USB port. And if its time you’re short of and always want to make sure the microphones are fully charged and ready to use you can also purchase the Easi-speak charging hub for around £14.00. Easi-Speak really is very easy to use and is great for inclusion - students of all abilities can use them with little or no support from an adult. Once you have made a recording you can choose to download it as an MP3 or WAV file and use the sound recordings in third party software such as Garageband Podcasting, iMovie, Audacity and Moviemaker to make your own radio shows, interviews, adverts and news broadcasts.

The microphone does have a rewind and fast forward button on it but it can be a bit tricky trying to find the correct recording to use in the space of a lesson. It is far easier to download all recordings direct to your computer, play-back and listen, select the correct one to save and use, and at the same time delete the ones you don’t want.
A more expensive model is also available - the Easi-Speak Pro. Designed in a metallic silver casing, with a professional look, it probably has a greater appeal to an older audience. This offers additional features such as:
  • Single touch record and simple playback (WAV or MP3)
  • Integrated USB and rechargeable lithium battery
  • LCD screen with integrated menu system, showing the
    track number playing, battery life, memory status and
    recording format
  • Dual headphone sockets
Ive recommended the use of Easi-Speak in many curriculum areas, for example you could use them in PSHE, Literacy or Citizenship for various ‘Think and discuss issues’ such as ‘Smoking’, ‘Should we ban bull- fighting?’ or ‘Is it cruel to have animals in a Circus?’.
After a whole class discussion ask your students to break out into smaller groups and discuss the issue further. You could use the microphones for a ‘for and against’ debate. After a degree of planning some students could record their key questions and concerns on the microphone and then play them back to have their questions answered by the class. If you have more time, why not follow this up with a series of individual student reports based on the group discus- sions and questions that have been raised. Students could go on to use the Easi-Speak to record their opinion on the matter. These could then be downloaded and used in a school radio broadcast or podcast.
  • In Geography you could be looking at the theme of Natural Disasters around the world - ask the students to write a script and create a news report as if they were actually there at the time the event took place.
  • In English why not bring some life into persuasive writing with the use of the Easi-Speak. Ask the students to create a radio advert linked to ‘Healthy Eating’, the benefits of exercise and promote a ‘Walking to School campaign’ or a ‘Campaign against dropping litter’ or ‘Dog fouling’.
  • In History you could set a challenge to describe an historical artefact in under 75 words from the Viking or Roman era and see if other students can guess what the artefact is based on its description.
  • Use Easi-Speak in Art to talk about the techniques used by a particular artist or in Spanish to practice conversational language. 
For more information contact me:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Publishing with iBooks Author

via@oreillymedia iBooks Author is the first tool of its kind. Never before have publishers, authors, and content creators had a tool for making dynamic, interactive ebooks in a WYSIWYG environment. This book is intended to get you up and writing in iBooks Author. You’ll learn what to expect from this new tool and what its strengths and limitations are. You’ll see how you can create beautifully designed pages and how you can bring those designs to life with interactive content in ways that, before now, were only possible in a web browser on the Internet. You’ll also find out how to navigate the occasionally tricky terrain of Apple’s ecosystem so that you can get your book published to the iBookstore.

For more information contact me:

ibook example (by kids)

If anyone is looking for an example ibook created by children then check out this one from Jane Ross  Jane writes:
"I have just had my first iBook published in the iBookstore. It is in Indonesian but as it is a children's picture book you can still follow the story. It includes interactive pictures, a gallery and video.
I am now writing my second iBook and this one will be bilingual. I am very keen to start a publishing group in my school.
Watch this space :)"

For more information contact me:

Olloclip - iPhone 4 camera lens

If youre looking for an iPhone 4 camera lens then check out the Olloclip 3 in one set.  A neat design, small, fit to iphone 4 is great, picture quality is good  - compatible with 4s too!  Under £60 from Amazon.

For more information contact me:

Apps for Foundation Stage

If its apps for Early Years youre looking for then check out this article 'Touch and Grow: Learning and Exploring Using Tablets' 
There is also a Scoop-it - iPads and early childhood education (with examples - classrooms/early elementary focus).

For more information contact me:

A useful list of Apps suitable for 3-5 year olds recommended by Craig Nansen - Director of Technology (US)

Children’s Technology Review was created by Warren Buckleitner in 1993
Warren also recommends Big Grips Frame for iPads

Recommended apps:
Bugs and Buttons ($2.99) -
The Monster at the End of This Book...starring Grover! ($4.99) -
Another Monster at the End of This Book...Starring Grover & Elmo! ($3.99) -
Sesame Street eBooks (Free) -
Sesame Street: 123 Sesame Street ($1.99) -
Sesame Street: The Playground ($1.99) -
Sesame Street - Elmo Loves ABCs Lite (Free) -
Sesame Street - Elmo Loves ABCs ($5.49) -
Sesame Street: The Firehouse ($1.99) -
Sesame Street - Elmo's Birthday ($1.99) -
Color Collector ($1.99) - the preschool treasure hunt game -
Nighty Night! HD ($1.99) -
MadPad HD - Remix Your Life ($2.99) -
Toca Hair Salon (Free) -
Baby's Musical Hands ($0.99) -
Sound Shaker (1.99) -
ABC Go ($2.99) -
Paint My Wings ($0.99) -
SpinArt Studio ($1.99) -
JibJab Jr. Books (Free but in-app purchases) -

Additional apps as recommended by ADEs
iWriteWords (Handwriting Game) ($2.99) -
Starfall ABCs ($2.99) -
Starfall Snowman ($0.99) -
Starfall Gingerbread ($0.99) -
Winter Land ($0.99) -
My PlayHome ($2.99) -
Numberland HD ($4.99) – Learn numbers with Montessori -
Addition UnderSea Adventures Games HD (Free) Lite - for iPad -
Addition UnderSea Adventures Games HD ($1.99) -
ABC phonics
Talking Tom & Ben News (Free) -
Baby shapes
Doodlecast for Kids ($1.99) -
StoryKit (Free - iPhone) -
Puppet Pals Director's Pass ($2.99) -
Puppet Pals HD (Free) -
Sock Puppets (Free) - 
Toontastic (Free) -
SonicPics ($2.99) -
Magic Sorter ($0.99) -
Blue Hat, Green Hat ($3.99) - Boynton -
Eric Carle's My Very First App ($1.99) -
Dress Chica (Free - iPhone) -
Alien Buddies ($1.99) -
Singing Fingers HD (Free) -
Xylophone ($0.99) -

Friday, February 10, 2012

Education model 13-inch MacBook Air for $999

From: James Brennan

Apple now offering education model 13-inch MacBook Air for $999
That is correct, Apple now has a new Education only configuration of the 13.3 inch MacBook Air in 5 packs.  Also, we have a 5 pack offering for the 11.6 inch MacBook for $929 (per MacBook Air).

MacBook Air 11.6-inch 5-Pack, 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 2GB memory, 64GB flash storage. EDU Price:  $4,645 / 5-pack ($929 each)

MacBook Air 13.3-inch 5-Pack, 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 2GB memory, 64GB flash storage  EDU Price:  $4,995 / 5-pack ($999 each)

In my opinion, the MacBook Air is ideal for education.  Here are my thoughts:
1)  It has an internal battery, which not only enables longer battery life, but should help lower support costs, battery replacement, etc.
2)  Flash storage is ideal for many reasons.  Firstly, applications launch faster.  The "Instant On", which we've come to love about the iPad, is a huge plus in the MacBook Air.  No long boot times, or waking from sleep. In fact, rebooting the MacBook Air is extremely fast.  It helps extend the hours battery life per charge.  Lastly, the hard disk has no moving parts.

3)  Although the MacBook Air does not have an optical drive, I think over time you will find that you hardly need one.  I have an 11 inch MacBook Air, and I haven't used my external DVD.   I use the Mac App Store most of the time,  and occasionally download software from the web.
4)  Aluminum Unibody shell not only elegant design, but very durable.
5)  It has all the finishing touches, backlit keyboard, built in camera. latest intel processors, and Thunderbolt.

The lack of an optical drive, a hard disk with no moving parts, internal battery, and aluminum unibody shell should help Education lower the incidental damage rate and support costs.  The MacBook Air has a great story in terms of Total Cost of Ownership.

Follow me: @boobelle