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Oranges are not the Only Fruit…
Image by flickr.com/photos/wgyuriImage by flickr.com/photos/wgyuri

Orange BatteryLike a number of Heads of School that I know, my personal experience of school as a student scarred (and maybe even scared) me. We all draw on our personal histories: demonic Physics teachers, psychotic Woodwork teachers and – of course – vindictive, sadistic PE teachers. Whilst these histories get added to and increasingly fictionalised over time (come on, it can’t have been THAT bad?), some scars remain. For me, one major scar was Science. Well, not Science per se but how we were lead by the nose through the world of Science.

It was akin to what I imagine it is like becoming a Freemason, or a Rosicrucian, or maybe working for Google. A series of initiations into hallowed mysteries that, one by one, will be revealed to you if you are deemed worthy. Mix together the potions, write out the magical incantation (underline the title, Winnard!) and write down the conclusions. No, not your conclusions, these conclusions. do it again until you get the experiment right! Then we will reveal more unto you and ye shall be bathed in our scientific magnificence… Ok, maybe that’s getting a little carried away.

Yesterday we had our school Science Fair. an anarchic, messy and very enjoyable gathering of young people sharing ideas they’ve explored. Lots of gunk and goo and whizz bang pop. They all shared what they had done (method) and what they found out (conclusions). Some tried to extract power from the acid in oranges, some explored refraction and some explored the effects of sleep deprivation. So far so good. Where things got ‘brain sticky’ was when we got to “So what?” and “Why is this important?”. I asked a few of the students what they thought they could now do with what they’d learnt. What could they apply their new knowledge to?

Clearly I was off script. ‘Er’ and ‘Um’ became the stock response, along with “Because we had to do it for the Science Fair”. And  so (very much unlike me) I shut up, congratulated them all and moved on.

I then found myself going back to something I’d read recently in a book (big papery thing with writing). Ian Gilbert’s new(ish) volumeIndependent Thinking punched me in the brain around page 102:

“If all you do is concentrate on the learning… at the end all you will have is the learning. Nothing has changed. What was once learned elsewhere has been learned again here. Like a rapidly multiplying virus, you have simply infected more people with ‘stuff’ which, under the microscope, is a carbon-copy replica of the same stuff in the heads of thousands of children up and down the country and which will be extracted during a ‘routine examination’ and sent away to the exam board for analysis like sputum in a phial”.

How different – and how much more meaningful – would that Science Fair have been if it had encouraged innovation and making? I’m a big fan of making. I think making is a good thing and we do too little of it in schools. We learn about making, we watch people make stuff (field trips) and we sometimes write about what we would make if we could. But actually building, moulding, constructing andmaking stuff? Not so much. there was so much energy in those young people and clearly a lot of excitement about exploring the natural world. What was missing was change. Nothing had changed.

So what’s stopping us (apart from excuses)? What’s stopping us from developing young people as innovators, problem solvers and makers of solutions. Am I missing something? Yes there are extraneous forces at work and yes that sucks, but if change doesnt come from innovative teachers in classrooms where will it come from?

What is it that Buddha is supposed to have said? “To know but not to do is not to know”. Let’s make sure we inspire a generation of active do-ers and not just passive knowers.

The Cultivation Game
March 4, 2014
Image by flickr.com/photos/eddgrantImage by flickr.com/photos/eddgrant

One of the key areas within National 4 Biology is ‘The Commercial use of Plants’. This requires learners to investigate the yields of crops. My colleague and I were unsure of how to approach this but spent a full afternoon creating ‘The Cultivation Game’. We were worried we had spent far too much time on this one specific lesson but after having delivered it we both reaped the same reward.

The point of the game is for learners to understand how farmers can increase their crop yields using different ways and describe the advantages and disadvantages of these. The learners had a budget of £15000 to spend on increasing the yield of their crop. This game was set over 5 years and each year learners could change what they bought. Each year there were different ‘unexpected events’ which could affect their yield depending on what they had bought that year. For example, a flood or frost.

The learners were at first a little unsure of the game and not as engaged as we had hoped. As soon as they started the game and understood the concept, they loved it. They worked well in pairs and became proud of the profit they had made. This game helped to develop their problem solving and numeracy skills as well as cover this key area in biology. By the end of the lesson they could give examples of ways the yield of crops can be increased; state the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of increasing crop yield and relate increasing crop yield to the limiting factors of photosynthesis.

Click here if you’d like to download the cultivation game.

Mind The Gap: Is your lesson worth behaving for?
January 24, 2014
Mind the Gap! by flickr.com/photos/buhsnarfMind the Gap! by flickr.com/photos/buhsnarf

In a collegiate professional discussion last week around the findings outlined in one of the TLRP publications, I was reminded once again of the idea of the pratice-values gap. This concept is perhaps best described by the following quote from the paper we were discussing:

The current performance-orientated climate in schools in England seems to make it difficult for teachers to practise what they value.
Learning how to learn – in classrooms, schools and networks

This is not a new concept to me…but it’s stuck with me all week in a way which told me something was up, but I wasn’t entirely sure what. And then I sat down to plan my S1 Science lesson for Friday and it hit me…things needed to change.

I have this S1 class for one period per week last thing on a Friday morning. They’re lovely really, but as the year as gone on a fair number of them have been struggling to behave in the way I’d like and things have been becoming a little fractious. As we often tend to do, I’ve been blaming them mainly…until this week.

Last week we’d finished a topic which I’d taught following the departmental plan, using the departmental resources. The resources aren’t perfect, and I’ve been trying to improve them as I go…and things seemed fine. However, I’ve not been looking forward to my lesson with them and judging by the behaviour of some, and the frustration on the faces of others, nor have they. When I looked at the resources for the next topic this week it dawned on me…my practice-values gap had become too great. Sometime ago now I began to experiment with involving students in planning their learning and assessment…whilst I found it to be a fantastic approach I haven’t been able to develop this practice as much as I would’ve liked to due to leaving the classroom for 18 months, changing schools, long-term absence and mainly teaching qualification courses in my new school. However, I realised this week that I could be doing what I think is right with my S1 class now and so I decided to go for it.

I planned a stimulus and planning lesson which involved discussing big questions eliciting previous knowledge and encouraging them to come up with their own burning questions which will then form part of our planning for the topic – which they’ll help plan out and name.

I did this with them this morning, and the results? Astounding. They were all so fired up and engaged…even the students who have struggled to stay in the room for the last couple of months! The questions they came up with are fascinating, and I’m looking forward to working out how to incorporate these into the curriculum over the coming weeks:

    What if all humans die?
    How many animals/species live on the planet?
    Does bigfoot/yeti/nessie exist?
    What will happen to the planet in the future?
    Will we be able to live on another planet?
    Where is the densest forest?
    How does natural selection work?
    How did we come from apes?
    Is there life on other planets?
    What is the worst pollution?
    What is continental drift?
    If the water level keeps rising what will happen to Venice?
    How does Chernobyl harm the world?
    What if the world’s biggest super volcano erupted?
    Could the water levels rise so much it would flood the whole world?
    What happens if we don’t look after the world?
    What is the worst thing that could happen to the planet?

As delighted as I was with the success of the lesson, another thought went through my head. It’s a challenging question which we’ve picked up from our friends at Cramlington Learning Village…it’s “Is your lesson worth behaving for?” The difference in the students between the previous weeks and today has really made me doubt whether they have been up to now…but I’m going to to do my best to make sure they are from now on. Both for their sake, and my own.

Cross-posted from Fearghal’s Blog


0530 on a Saturday morning is difficult, cold and after another long night of the ashes, very miserable. However, I was off to a Pedagoo event, packed with exciting speakers, thoughtful teachers, inspiring individuals and I was pretty confident that my chosen Saturday CPD event was going to be brilliant. It was…

The first thing that blew me away (after registering with the very welcoming pupils of the school) was the amazing building. It was bright, clean, tidy and very much the type of modern building I come to expect when I go ‘somewhere nice’. Just as our children know when they are being shortchanged as regards use of windows XP on old PC’s, they know it when they walk into a dingy building which is in desperate need of a paint job. Michael Gove said that the building and environment of a school makes no difference. I drive past these buildings at Fettes and Stewart’s Melville on the way to my school every day. Clearly, environment makes a difference.

The other thing about the building I loved was the use of images of Joseph Swan children working, often with ideas about how they work, or slogans/quotations about respect, reading etc behind them. That is something I will try and create in the next couple of weeks if energies allow as it looks so good and inspires.

Whilst having my complimentary tea and danish pastry (which would contravene the bring your own tea and biscuits policy of many councils) I set about reading my welcome pack. I loved the Happy Mondays leaflet which contained loads of great, ready to use, ideas for enhancing and reinforcing learning in the classroom. The Happy Mondays reference is because the teachers at Joseph Swan receive and e-mail every Monday, with a new idea or resource in it from their SMT. I love that idea!

MY first session of the day was in the Reading Room (and what an amazing space that is…) with David Hodgson. David talked about how we learn and how we can use techniques in the classroom to help children learn and remember how they learned things. As a primary teacher I get asked lots of questions from the children and my most frequent answer to them is good question. I don’t believe in throwing the knowledge confetti about for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’m not convinced the children will remember it whilst they walk back to their desks and secondly I (or A.N.Other teacher) will not always be there for them when they have a question or want to learn something. The things we did in his session were all practical examples of an NLP approach, and I was so impressed I bought his book for my Kindle this morning. He used this pupil feelings graphic in his session too which I find a useful tool to have by my desk in the class room. Something David said which rang a bell was that we should ensure our children ‘Have a get out clause for children when they don’t learn’. This is vital, so often our children get way more stressed than we ever do about a wrong answer. We need them to take risks, get it wrong, change it and get it wrong again, smiling all the time! That is a successful learner right there.

The next session was with Rachel Orr who is HT at Holy Trinity Rosehill Her workshop was about developing writing through Primary Learning and specifically using Pie Corbett’s talk for writing work. I had worked on a Pie Corbett workshop for writing day before (January 2007??) and it was amazing. I’ve bought a few of his books and love his approach to writing. There is a lot of material on the internet too to supplement his written work. I also liked the punctuation sounds and actions which children are to use when they are talking and can then reinforce the assessment process in class. Rachel has used Pie’s work in two differing schools now and shared with us examples of the successes her young writers had, and these examples cal be seen on her school blogs. Rachel gave us a disk with loads of fantastic resources on, many her own work (the learning keys are a great idea!).

During lunch I met some great folk including @spiceweasel77 who is doing some brilliantly exciting things with his class!

After lunch it was on to Hywel Roberts session. Hywel spoke passionately and humourously about creating contexts in the curriculum, allowing the children to view the learning they are given through their own filters and engaging children in their learning. I made loads of notes during Hywel’s session and later tweeted many of them. Here’s the quotations I tweeted:

‘It’s our job to get the World thinking.’

‘We need to dig learning holes for our children to fall into.’

‘we are the people who make sense of the curriculum we are given. ‘

‘Have a what’s great 2 mins at the start of staff meetings’

‘we need to induct our kids into learning’

‘all of these things are just doing the job we’ve been asked to do. That we’re paid for. ‘

I’ve got Hywel’s book and it’s a great read. I need to do more of this in my classes. It’s great stuff. I was incredibly impressed with Hywel and the way he works in schools.

Finally, my last session was about using enquiry based learning in maths. Stephanie Thirtle took this session, she is a maths teacher at Joseph Swan. (I’d love The Girl to have her as a maths teacher, lessons would be so interesting!)
We did some enquiry based openers which really got us thinking and she talked about the approach of letting the children work things out for themselves, rather than an I teach then you do model. I love the work things out idea and think the way she’s bringing it to maths in a high school works really well. Much of the rationale for enquiry based learning was on her presentation and clearly showed examples of enquiry based learning which we could use as one-off lessons or develop for a maths topic. Such things investigating square numbers, straight line graphs using algebra, and one which P7 will be seeing soon – 12 Days of Christmas maths.
Her room displays were wonderful and I snapped many of them on my phone and you can see them here. I particularly liked that ways she put maths into context making it real for the children.
That chimed so well with the session from Hywel previously.

I came away with my head full of wonderful ideas and a bag full of goodies!
So, what next…well before Christmas I will make some posters of children and their ideas about learning to go up in school and I will also make some musical posters for the music room.

After Christmas I will take loads more of these ideas and run with them. It’ll be different, fun and learning will happen.

NationalModeration.co.uk – a new(ish) approach to assessment moderation

As requested by @fkelly , I’ve decided to throw a quick post together about www.nationalmoderation.co.uk – a service I created to allow Scottish teachers to share their own unit assessments for the new National Qualifications.

Essentially the creation of this website was spurred by one glaringly obvious reality – the unit assessments provided by the SQA are simply not up to scratch, and as a consequence everybody is creating their own material and hoping that it meets the standards. Ón the face of it, this may be no bad thing – if we create our own unit assessments then we can tailor them to our own courses and our own pupils, and surely that is good idea?

To give an example, I have consciously themed my entire National 5 English course around the concept of ‘Coping with Conflict’, selecting texts which can be woven together across the whole year (‘Spiritual Damage’, ‘War Photographer’, ‘The Man I Killed’ and ‘Bold Girls’) – now that I am no longer forced to use a few set NABs I have also created reading assessments which follow this theme, thus enhancing the pupils’ overall understanding of what we are studying this year (at least this is the idea).

Several months ago, however, I realised that if EVERYONE does the same thing then there will be hundreds – perhaps thousands – of unit assessments being created across the country and many of us will be replicating the work that colleagues are doing (or have already done). Frankly, we all work too hard as it is to be reinventing the wheel hundreds of times over, so a system for sharing material is essential.

Of course, Education Scotland and the SQA are providing something along these lines, but there are two reasons why I believe it would be helpful for a service which is independent of these bodies. Firstly, the websites of these organisations (especially Education Scotland) are – to be kind – not particularly user friendly, and I (like many others) don’t have the time or the willpower to fight my way through Glow to find material on a regular basis; secondly, I firmly believe that the only way for us to ever really become confident in the development and delivery of our own materials is for us to move beyond a dependence on official bodies to confirm that every little thing is up to scratch.

If – or, depending on your philosophical view of the amount of fluid in a glass, when – Curriculum for Excellence fulfills its potential it will be because of the incredible work of teachers, not Education Scotland, the SQA or the Education Secretary, and I hope that NationalModeration might play a small part in that development.

Basically, it works like this: teachers upload their unit assessments, other teachers moderate them by leaving comments, alterations are made as required and, eventually, gradually, standards become clearer and are met across the country.

At present the site only has English assessments but it would be great if other subjects could begin contributing materials as well (I’ll create however many subject specific pages are required in this instance). In order to sign up you must be teacher in a Scottish school (and verify this, usually by means of an official email address) – this means that the material can be kept secure, allowing us to continue to use it in our classes as our official unit assessments.

If you think that the site would be of any help to you as you continue to develop your approach to the new qualifications please do sign up – the more people are involved the more effective our approach will be.

The Big Draw – drawing techniques

We are excited to be partnering with The Big Draw this year in delivering a workshop online that you can all take part in, for free! Anyone across the globe can take part using your GPS location tracking system on your mobile device along with a simple GPS Drawing app. This type of drawing technique is fun, experimental and really doesn’t require any previous experience.

In true Portfolio Oomph style, we have a free eBook that guides you through the process of setting up the app and using your body position on the earth as your pencil!

Read more

Making use of the free Science resources from BP Educational Service

It’s always a bit hit and miss when you use free educational resources provided by big companies. Sometimes you question if the person who has provided the resources has ever set foot in a classroom or in fact ever had contact with the strange creatures that we call children. Others are pleasantly surprising and provide a great wealth of useful resources that you can dip in and out of. This is certainly the case with the BP Educational Service [www.bp.com/bpes]. As a bit of an old sceptic I thought that it would be the usual offering of a few posters but no content that I could use with my class without altering dramatically. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Flexible Science resources for all ages and stages

I work in a large mixed sex comprehensive school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The demographic of the school consists of students ranging from Level 5 all the way down to P-scale on entry in Year7; students come from the surrounding locality which is an area of high deprivation.

As I work with a wide range of academic abilities I want to be able to access resources that may be easily differentiated up or down dependent on the group of students being taught. At this time of year, like many in my position we are thinking about transition groups for the intake day with year 6. I thought we should try something new and used the free InvestiGATE Science resources available on the BPES website. InvestiGATE is a fantastic set of flexible resources so you can focus on a standalone session on scientific enquiry, say planning or put together a unit of work using all the key areas of scientific enquiry. I chose for the department to try out an entire investigation using the InvestiGATE resources for the students to research, carry out and evaluate a project on streamlining. All these resources are created around key topics such as materials or forces etc.

Free film clips, worksheets and powerpoints

InvestiGATE offers a selection of interactive and downloadable resources. A firm favourite with our Y6 intake students and Year 7 students were the mini film clips. Students found the two presenters in the film content very engaging and were often found to be asking each other, ‘What would Olivia and Marcello do now?’ The film content acted as a gateway for the students to start each stage of the investigative enquiry with more confidence than if they have been given a demonstration or worksheet / PowerPoint to start them off.

Once the students were working through the investigative enquiry, I was able to check their progress with the interactive quiz and worksheets (I used a combination of both with the groups dependent on the group being taught at the time).

Multiple uses for the comic strips from Y7 to Y12

With some of our Year 9 students I tried out the InvestiGATE comic strips to introduce the problem to be solved through scientific enquiry. The great added features with the comic strip work was the idea sheet on fun forces investigations and the teachers pack, an absolute god-send for the non-specialist teacher or a reminder of those great ideas we have all tried but forgotten about. As with all of the BPES resources they have easy scope to make the enquiry more or less challenging depending on the ability and age of the students involved. One of our A-level physics teacher set the Year 12 AS Physics students a task based on the comic strip on the ‘sister alarm’. The comic strip was used as an entry point for a much more challenging task for A-level students.

Students’ reaction to the Science resources

Students were asked for feedback on the use of these resources and they all were very positive about them.

‘The worksheets are great and lead us through the task’ Year 7 middle ability student

‘The comic strip helped to guide my thoughts’ Year 12 A-Level student

‘The investigations are much better than we get to do normally’ Year 9 lower ability student.

Other free Science resources from BPES

Once I had a handle on the InvestiGATE resources, I moved on to looking at the other free secondary resources on the BPES website. Like every teacher, I love a freebie resource and there they were ranging from worksheets, posters to order through to interactive quizzes. The winner for our Science department however, and our new favourite resource, is the interactive Periodic Table Challenge. This seems to be popping up all over the place as starters, fun plenaries, form-time quiz and even on a quiz night. There’s also a free Periodic Table Poster to order for your classroom.

If you don’t try anything else you must have a go at the Periodic Table Challenge – it will bring out the competitive side in even the most mild-mannered teacher!

By Sophie Brace, AST, Science, Secondary School, Stevenage

ShowMe App

I stumbled upon the ShowMe App completely accidentally when looking for some revision aids for students, it is a free App for Apple products and the idea behind it is that it allows you create and share resources as a narrated video, using your own drawings as a basis.

When you sign up to the App you automatically ‘follow’ a small selection of other members who have similar areas of interest. For me, this was Science and an existing member ‘Ms. Booth’ has already made nearly a hundred ‘ShowMes’ which were great to take inspiration from to get started.

However I felt the real engagement with my students would be them being able to hear my voice talking them through topics, as part of a lesson, homework, revision, or maybe in the future- as a cover lesson?  So I quickly got started creating my own. Needless to say, my first attempts at drawing on the iPad left a little to be desired but if you take a little time and use a stylus you quickly improve (even a free stylus supplied with an iPad cover made a big difference).  You can also import pictures from your iPad or the internet to use in your ShowMe.

The trickiest thing to get the hang of is drawing in ‘real time’, as everything you draw while it is recording becomes part of your ShowMe, even the mistakes. If you stop and start the recording every so often I have found it works much better as you can clear the screen between each piece of information you want to show, so the final presentation has the appearance of a running slide show.

Having used it for a few weeks now I fully recommend using an iPad in conjunction with a PC or laptop as you can only create a ShowMe using the App but you can easily manage and download your completed ShowMes as an MP4 using any computer (not just a MAC) which means you can upload them for students to use on your school VTLE, website or Twitter.

There is also the facility to have student accounts linked to your account, so students can view your ShowMes and create their own which would be great for peer teaching!

Since using it I have also been recommended to try ‘Explain Everything’, a similar App, which is my next project and for other Science teachers out there @MyGCSEScience has been making similar presentations for some time.

I just can’t wait for the day I can make my own animation to show something really specific rather than trawling the internet for hours to come up empty handed!

Gocracker – Science, Engineering and Technology Careers for the New Generation

Gocracker is designed to encourage young people to study STEM subjects and to discover the exciting career opportunities available to them in the SET sector.

Young people can find information and news about STEM subjects, industry sectors, apprenticeships, colleges, universities and leading employers. They are provided with many opportunities to interact with gocracker.com: there are free iPhone apps to download, there is a video collection (goTV) and they can access hundreds of web resources dedicated to STEM.

You might also like to visit the ‘The Hub’ section where you can find links to great teaching resources, fun days out and forthcoming local STEM events. Within this section you can also order FREE pocket cards to give out to your students and A3 posters to brighten up your classroom!

Our parent company Crackergroup comprises four websites dedicated to careers in science, engineering and technology. We are funded by Crackergroup and our company sponsors and were not set up to be a ‘for-profit’ website.

Although we are part of a commercial organisation all the resources we offer to schools are completely free.

For more information please contact me on 01347 825620 or sophie@gocracker.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Supporting Absent Pupils – Update

In December of 2012, I posted about our aspirations and plans for supporting pupils through the use of our website and wireless devices:

I said that I’d update you when I had something to report, at which point it was very likely that no such update would be required. I’m pleased to say that it is. Before we go on I should say that the emphasis on absence is reduced here; we’re mostly about supporting pupil-centred independent and collaborative learning. Oh yes, and making learning fun.

For a start our bid for twenty three iPad Minis, cases and some other bits and pieces was a success! I’m not sure who is more excited; students or staff. I insisted that we did not break the news until the goods were in our hands. We have them now and we’re very pleased with them – lesson: if you don’t ask you don’t get.

Secondly, our local authority (Perth and Kinross) has publicly stated that it is moving towards an open wifi and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) situation and that we can anticipate having this by the end of the summer term! My wary approach still holds, but if this materialises then we will make much greater progress.

Thirdly, my staff and the students have engaged very enthusiastically with the kit and the approaches: Not news…it’s what we all knew would happen.

Thus far we have been feeling our way. However, we have learned a few things and confirmed some others:

We said that we would only get 50% of the values of these devices without network/internet access. The percentage is open to debate, but we feel even more strongly about this. Stand-alone-app. based access is NEVER going to be enough to support independent learning. There are some great apps to be had and we are making full use of the ones we find as we go along (see example Space, below). There are lots of great apps allowing students to consider stellar measurements, view planets and stars, consider the astronomical unit, etc. However, we still need to return to teacher/board/projector-centred approaches to show them film clips such as the “Scale of the Universe”, “Minute Physics” or “Sixty Symbols”. Some of the apps listed allow students to synthesise their own notes and presentation, but without wifi they have to be saved locally. This then creates the problem of students having to use a certain device each time!

I imagine that most people reading this will understand that our aim is not to get our hands on shiny kit. You’ll probably also agree that the “engagement” argument is good, but it’s not enough. The point of this work is to support our students in being better independent and collaborative learners.

So, one-way access to learning materials with no effective mechanism for students to save their work or contribute to a growing corpus of “learned stuff” is…how shall I put it…rubbish. We’ve got iPads woo hoo! We’re living in the late 90s, but with 21st Century kit. When we finally have open wifi, with unfettered internet access then, AND ONLY THEN, will our students become effective contributors instead of consumers.

My S1 class is studying chemistry and has been investigating the three states of matter. Well, people have done this for a long time and we can still draw diagrams of particles, but diagrams don’t vibrate or move. How do we address this (see example 2 below (S,L,G):
1. mix of traditional intro lesson and practicals on S,L,Gs (compressibility, volume, shape, etc.)
2. book-based and iPad-based research and note-making
3. use if ComicLife to explain a state
4. use of comic as story-board for iMotionHD animation of particles n a solid, liquid or gas.
5. show and explain to the class: old maxim – “If you want to learn something try teaching it.”

What are our next steps?
1. to continue to develop our learning content for the upcoming units, making them accessible for mobile devices and hosting them on our site: sites.google.com/site/physicsatkinross/
2. to keep emailing and calling HTs, DHTs, council officers, support services, Information Compliance Officers and anyone else we can think of to push our requirement for acceptable internet and wifi access as soon as possible.
3. to showcase the outcomes of the students’ work to them, parents, council officers and the public. We aim to use the OneLan system in our “street”.
4. to continue to us and promote a mix of learning approaches…not just ICT.
5. to keep asking students for ideas and views.

Here are a few points that we have confirmed:
1. the Griffin Survivor cases (23 pounds from XMA) are a good buy.
2. the iPad Mini is not too small for group work.
3. we need to find a sustainable method of recharging to pay for apps.
4. we’re using iTunes an slaving all of the iPads to one account, but that’s a slow process. The Apple Configurator might be a better route. Any ideas?
5. using Google Drive and caching content for offline use works well, but is also time consuming.
6. Notability is the most flexible note-taking app that we have found so far. It allows import and export of note to and from a variety of other apps and formats.
7. students can’t wait to start bringing in and using their own gear.
8. a mix of platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) is easy to support (although Blackberry can be a bit trickier).
9. “giving” a device to staff so that they can learn with and about it is a good idea (surprise!).

Here are a some people that need to do some work:
1. Pasco. The SparkVueHD app, which should allow us to use our interfacing equipment, is woeful. It is a perfect example of old code being dropped into a new environment. This app needs to be rewritten from the ground up. It slows the iPad to a halt, is the opposite of “user-friendl” and does not allow quick and easy use of kit. The idea is good, but get in touch Pasco and we can have a chat.

2. Smart. The Notebook app is a disappointment. This is a shame, as it really should be a leading tablet app. Contact us and we can talk.

Example 1: (Space)
To support S3s BGE/N4 students studying Space we are using:
Reference materials: Solar Walk (excellent), Planets (very good). Student note-making Notability or Evernote (excellent), ComicLife (excellent)
Storing learning materials: Google Drive (excellent), FileExplorer (early days), iTunes U (excellent).
Preparing learning materials: DocsToGo (excellent), iBooks, iBooks Author/Pages/Keynote (excellent).

Example 2: (S,L,G)
To support S1s studying Solids, Liquids and Gases we use:
Student note-making: Notability or Evernote (excellent).
Student media-making: ComicLife (excellent), iMotion HD (very good).
Storing learning materials: Google Drive (excellent).
Preparing learning materials: iBooks Author/Pages/Keynote (excellent).