Wednesday, 7 October 2009

HandHeld Learning Day 2

The morning of Day2 kicked of with keynotes Zenna Atkins, the chair person of Ofsted, Atkins was followed by Malcom McLaren, who admitted that he was speaking at a conference that was definitely not in his comfort zone, and proceeded by telling the audience his schooling/educational experiences. Next up was Yvonne Roberts from the Young Foundation,
The morning keynotes ended with a good talk by James Paul Gee, Read a full review of these key notes from by
Mark van 't Hooft where this introduction was taken from.

Social Media for Learning

Katy then attended a session with Ollie Bray National Advisor for learning and technology, on Social Media for Learning and Ollie focused on 5 points to demonstrate how SM enhances learning:

Power to engage and collaborate and to broadcast to a real audience.
He asked “..Does your school have an entry about itself on wikipedia?

Real time data …Ollie referred to google alerts (for alerts on your school) and other applications such twitter and googlemaps exporting to google earth.

Professional Development
… he encouraged more use of teachers tv and interactive resources such as

Digital entitlement with regard to allowing great content on sites such as you tube. Trust and respect pupils and promote responsible use.
School improvement

Gaming used with purpose and as a stimulus for a creative curriculum

Next up was Tim Ryland, teacher and innovator who showcased his inspiring work using gaming as a stimulus for creative planning across the curriculum and the example he shared was
Wild Earth African Safari used on the Nintendo Wi and a full description is available from (Tim is also famous for using Myst)

Gaming as a stimulus for cross curriculum projects was a theme which ran across many presentations throughout the 3 day event including:
· Andrew Rhodes in Enfield CLC who ran projects with schools using Guitarhero on the Nintendo Wii
Learning and teaching Scotland, innovators in games based learning also showcased some of their well known and highly regarded projects using Nintendo Wii, DSi and others.

Other games discussed at the event were Endless Ocean, Curious Village, Professor Layton, Big Brain academy

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

HandHeld Learning Day 1 - Quick wins and fun ideas shared

Some fantastic quick wins from schools in Leeds were shared by a headteacher and LA. Evolve is a partnership between Education Leeds, RM, City Learning Centres and schools.]

Katy also attended interesting seminar where Tony Vincent, a well known pioneer in educational handheld learning (from the US) shared some of his favourite free web applications. You do need to register for many of the applications with an email account so this could limit access for primary children outside of the school but you could start by using them in your classroom and some of the resources provide an embedd code which will allow the finished work to be shared in the MLE
Add voice to pictures and create your own talking picture, basically a moving mouth on a still image
Make your own comic at
Lots of stop watch and timers at
For music lovers a Web-based audio editor, similar to GarageBand with lots of musical loops
Online presentation tool
And just for fun ......For all those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves. ... "Let me just goole that for you"
Place genuinely-placed rimshot in your multimedia work

Lots more web applications can be found at and Tony's blog is at

Monday, 5 October 2009

Handheld Learning 2009 Day 1 - "The Learners Y Factor"

'The Learners Y Factor' competition saw real students from real classrooms presenting and telling us about the innovative use of ICT that they were involved with.

Students from 6 Primary and Junior schools presented what they had been doing. Various devices were deployed; Nintendo DS, iPod Touch, HTC Smartphones and PSPs. The students were all able to demonstrate how these technologies had motivated them and their peers and assisted with their work. Of the devices used, most of the children identified Nintendo DS as being their favourites. I wonder if this is mainly because this is also the device that they used the most at home in their own time, or if the reasons are deeper than this.

To me the main advantage of the devices as demonstrated over laptops were their ability to be picked up and used quickly and easily, any time, anywhere. However I do not see mobile devices as an alternative to having 'proper' computer and internet access - rather an added extra.

The use of mobile devices demonstrated in these sessions was all very interesting and the children did incredibly well presenting with great confidence to a packed room. However, nothing I saw set my world on fire. The most thought provoking moment of the day came courtesy of a student at the winning school - Normanby Primary. She said that a reason that mobile devices were useful is that "not everyone lives in the same house every night" and that smartphones were easy to take wherever they went. This comment raises important issues for consideration as we move forwards with home access programmes.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Richard Cloudsley School - Award Winners!

Richard Cloudsley School have won the London Grid for Learning award for 'Application of the London MLE in a Special Needs Context'. The award was announced at the LGfL annual user conference for Secondary and Special Schools on Monday. Headteacher Ann Corbett accepted the award on behalf of the school.
The school was commended by the judges for "showing a clear and extensive vision for use of the MLE to create a 24x7 'virtual school' as an accessible extension to the 7x5 'physical school'. This was supported by rigorous planning and successful practical implementation."
A special mention needs to go to Sean McDonald who has been leading on MLE implementation in the school and has worked incredibly hard to develop its use. We hope to be able to draw on the school's good work with the MLE and share what they have been doing across the borough. Watch this space!
Headteacher Ann Corbett accepting the award from
Antony Moore (Education Director, Fronter UK)
and Brian Durrant (Chief Exectuive, LGfL)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Early Years ICT Event

The Cambridge Education @ Islington Early Years Team is holding an ICT Fair on 20th May 2009 at Hargrave Park Extended School Nursery from 4-6pm.

“Six projects from selected primary schools (Reception Classes and Nurseries) as well as from private and voluntary sector nurseries will be presented in multimedia form. Come along and enjoy seeing how little children can’t keep away from playing and learning through ICT in early years settings. There will also be ICT catalogue stands with displays and toys for sale.”
Please see the attached flyer for further details. To book please email

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Windows movie maker tutorial

A lot of people have been asking for a printable tutorial for using Windows Movie Maker for video editing. Here's a document that I have adapted from somebody else's work and hopefully should be a useful overview. As ever, all feedback greatfully recieved.

Video Editing with Windows Movie Maker

Monday, 27 April 2009

I'm a PC...

Can your children do this? Or more to the point can your teachers? And are we using these skills and children's enthusiasm for technology to enhance their learning across the curriculum?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The importance of ICT in Primary and Secondary Schools

OFSTED published a report on The Importance of ICT last week and it can be download from here

Be warned the report is a lengthy 40 pages, with 116 points presented in two main parts:
A) The quality of ICT in Leanring
B) Issues (which need to be takled to increae engagement and raise attainment)

A couple of points which struck a chord with our priorities and focus for our ICT strategy in Islington included:
Section B which opens with a section on Assessment (Page 29) as a driver for improving ICT capability, reporting one in five of the schools inspected had no systems for assessing levels of ICT capability. They rarely had a formal system for tracking the progress of individual pupils and students, and they were unaware of how well they were doing.

The final part of section B 'Getting ICT to the learning' (page 35) highlighted althought nationally the use of ICT in other subjects is generally improving, the picture this survey establishes is one of patchy provision and inconsistent progress.
It points to a critial issues of resourcing which we have been discussing with schools on the place for an ICT suite. The report states .... schools have successfully created a demand from teachers to be able to use ICT to improve learning in other subjects but are rarely able to meet it. Most primary and secondary schools have chosen to centralise the bulk of their ICT resources in networked computer rooms……but the result is that resources are often extremely limited elsewhere for work in other subjects. It is still common to see students taking work from other subjects to the computer room where they are using ICT, in effect, only to present their ideas well. When ICT is unavailable to students in their classrooms when they are studying other subjects, it is unable to contribute to improving learning.

Read other comments in a blog from a CLC in Manchester who had a review mirroring some of our thoughts and included other interesting points.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Bid for £1000 ICT funding for your school from LGfL - 'Durrants Den'

Ever aspired to appear on Dragon's Den? Why not participate in a school's version? LGfL are offering schools a chance to bid for a share of a £10,000 fund for ICT projects. "Durrant's Den" (named after LGfL CEO Brian Durrant) will take place via a live Video Conference on 10th July.

Bids must be towards purchasing hardware and/or software which enhance the ICT provision for the school and increase ICT learning opportunities for pupils. You will have 5 minutes to 'pitch' your idea, followed by up to 10 minutes of questioning by the Dragons. At least 1 pupil must be involved in the pitch itself.

Maximum funding is £1,000 per school, but you could join up with other schools for a joint project and therefore access a larger fund.

Why not have a go - the event will be fun and you could end up with some money to fund an exciting ICT project. Further details, including curriculum links and an application form can be found here:

Deadline for appications is 22nd May.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

HSBC/British Council CHINA Conference

HSB and the British Council held an excellent conference on educational co-operation with China just before half term.

AM Session

The morning began with key note addresses from Martin Davidson, Chief Executive, British Council, Rt Hon Jim Knight MP and Minister Counsellor Tian Xiaogang, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. Sessions then focused on school and area partnerships with China.


Annette Carlon, School Improvement ICT Consultant for the London Borough of Redbridge presented. She said leading the 2008 Redbridge Beijing project has allowed her to further develop the use of ICT which has been crucial in forging, maintaining and nurturing the global links.

Redbridge project has been running for 3 years and the fact that some of the schools have made their third visit demonstrates the legacy and vibrancy of the partnership. Other schools in Redbridge, having seen the impact of a global dimension in teaching and learning, are keen to participate and there are now 8 schools involved with a view to further growth this year.

PM Session

The afternoon options covered areas including developing the link across the curriculum, and China in the Primary Curriculum. In particualr a partnership of 3 primary schools from North Lincolnshire and their headteachers spoke.

ST BERNADETTE'S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE.China Link School - Taoyuan Primary School Dalian (2000 pupils) Headteacher Mr Li Shaocheng.

Link established in 2004. Worked with partner school on Joint Curriculum Projects, Professional Development for teachers and teaching assistants. Pupil visits took place 2008. International School Award achieved.


The school has been involved in a link with a partner school in Dalian, China since 2003. The study of China is now incorporated into our school's curriculum and staff visits are made annually as part of CPD. The school was successful in gaining the International Award in 2006 and is currently working towards compiling our portfolio for re-submission in 2009.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Primary Software Choice Survey

I have created a survey to canvas opinion on software choice for Primary Schools. Has been spread far and wide by the 'Twitter' community, but would love to get the local perspective too. Please spare 5 minutes to complete it below. Thanks!

Monday, 23 February 2009

TIPD Visit to Sandviken, Sweden - Part 4

The final 2 days of our visit to Sandviken were spent in Upper Secondary Schools (sometimes known as 'Gymnasiums'). These take pupils for three years from 16-19 (grades 10, 11 and 12), so roughly equivilent to a UK 6th form with an extra year. This level of education is not compulsory, although roughly 90% of pupils will begin a course. There are 15 national upper seconday programmes that students can choose from, as well as some specially designed programs that may be available locally. Programmes include for example Construction, Buisness, Handicrafts, Medi, Healthcare. Whatever programme they are studying, all students will continue with the 8 core subjects of maths, Swedish, English, PE and health, the Arts, General Science, Social Studies and Religion. This ensures a broad education even whemn studying programmes that may seem quite specialised by their title. Students are free to attend the school of their choice, whether or not this is in their local municipality, is state run or private. The student's home municipality must fund the student wherever they wish to attend. This has led to increasing competition between schools and municipalities, and much money is now spent on marketing and incentives to attract the best students. The situation also means that municipalities and individual schools cannot be sure of the level of funding they will get each year as it is entirely dependent on student numbers.

The state-run Sandviken Gymnasium has recently been refurbished due not in small part to increased competition from privately run competitors and the need to attract students and importantly the money that comes with them. ICT is put in the hands of the learners with most students beign issued with a laptop for them to use through the duration of their time in the school. There is wifi throughout the building to allow flexibility in where students work, with much of the learning taking place in small break-out rooms where groups can collaborate together. Student are free to take the laptops home to use and treat them as their own. As in the schools we visited earlier in the week, there is no internet filtering in place at all. A useful, if not attractive, feature of most classrooms was retractable mains cables hanging down from the ceiling to allow laptops to be easily plugged in.

Most of the ICT use seen evidenced was the ever-present powerpoint (extensively used by both pupils and teachers). We also saw some use of adobe flash for pupils to present their work, but this was beign used at a quite basic level.

As with most of the schools visited, they were using the 'first class' system for communication between staff and to a lesser extent pupils. However, it was evident that use was not uniform across the school and that not all staff utilised the system for anything more than email. It was recognised by the school that the system does not have full MLE functionality and they are seeking to move to another system in the future.

On the final day of the trip we visited a specialist 'Gymnasium'; a joint venture between major local company, Sandvik, and the local authority. This felt very much more like a business environment than a school. Each student had an individual desk and workstation in a student office. Much work was done in collaborative groups as it would be in the workplace. There were only 2 specialist programmes offered and these very much concentrated on the engineering skills favoured by Sandvik for their future employees. Facilities in this school were very good and it was obvious that much money was spent on the school by the parent company - high tech machinery, robotics and tools were routinely used by the students.

Interestingly, this school was the only one that we came across that has any sort of web filtering in place. However, this was not due to concerns over safety. Rather the filters are there to ensure that bandwidth-heavy content, including video and audio is not accessed. The school shares an internet connection with the main industrial site and they limit heavily how much they are able to use. This places obvious limitations on the way that the internet can be used as a tool for learning and teaching.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Thursday, 19 February 2009

TIPD Visit to Sandviken, Sweden - Part 3

On the afternoon of day 2 we visited a grade 5/6 class at the Primary school. This is the equivalent of a year 7/8 class in the UK. The pupils were having an English lesson and were very much given ownership of their own learning. They selected their own activity and there was a range on display - translating books from English to Swedish or vice-versa, writing a report in English, reading English novels etc. The teacher told us that she lets the children know at the beginning of the term what activities they needed to cover and it was up to the pupils to do so. Periodically the teacher would check up that the required work had been done and if it had not been then the pupil needed to catch up in their own time. Pupils were even trusted to work at home in many cases and would regularly do so up to a few months ago when the government changed the rules that allowed this to happen. The teacher and pupils were enthusiastic about this particular way of working and were hopeful that it may be allowed again in the future.

In terms of ICT with this group, the teacher said that the pupils were free to use it when they wished to, but the most common uses were word processing, powerpoints and online dictionaries. Interestingly we were told that there were no dedicated ICT lessons to teach specific skills. ICT was in use for some home-school communication through their 'First Class' system. This was mainly via the teacher updating an online class calendar that parents could then pick up via the school website, as well as some email-type communication. Other ICT use seen in the school was mainly with individuals or groups; for example a memory building / brain training piece of software for specific targeted pupils and a program called Lexion being used to reinforce basic literacy skills - this program having been procured on behalf of all Sandviken schools and introduced with an extensive training programme.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

TIPD Visit to Sandviken, Sweden - Part 2

Day 2 saw a visit to a primary school, and again was full of contrasts between the English and Swedish education systems.

The morning began in a preschool class (children aged 6-7; compulsory schooling does not begin until age 7 in grade 1). The pupils were giving each other massages as part of their 'Social & Emotional Training', a scheme that this particular school follow that focuses on children's interpersonal skills.

Massage in Preschool class in Sandviken

Following this session whilst the children went to play the teacher introduced us to how she teaches mathematics. This is mainly done in a kinesthetic way, for example with their weekly visits for 'Forest Maths' where they children will be set tasks such as collecting a particular number of items, then twice as many, three times as many etc., or items twice as long, half as long and so on. This work is recorded with a digital camera and then at a later time in class drawn about by the children who also comment about it for the teacher to scribe on their work. There is a simple opportunity here for effective additional use of ICT which I think they are missing - having the children adding voice recordings about the digital pictures of the work they did for instance.

Forest Maths

In the grade 1/2 class (7-9 year olds) we witnessed the school's rather revolutionary scheme of 'writing to reading'. This involves the children working entirely on the computer for their early writing and not using a pen for this until they have become confident at reading and writing electronically. They use a piece of software that sounds out each letter as it is typed on the keyboard, and then each word as it is completed. It was evident that the children were making the letter sounds to themselves when searching for the keys on the keyboard, and also self-correcting their work if the voice-read word did not sound like they expected. The children were left to write relatively independently; the brief in this case was to include 2 teacher-selected words in their particular piece of writing. We were told that after the children had used this system for a year or so they were then introduced to writing with a pen, and were already able to form letters correctly without having had specific handwriting lessons. I suppose this is due to the fact that they are able to visualise the correct letter shapes that they are so used to seeing on the screen (a comic-sans type font is used). Additionally were told that when this was trialled over a year - one class using this method and the other a traditional method, at the end of that time the 'writing to reading' group had a higher level of reading and writing as well as neater handwriting. This was certainly an interesting thing to see and I hope to get a copy of the project research to look at in more detail and report back on.

Writing to reading scheme

Monday, 16 February 2009

TIPD Visit to Sandviken, Sweden - Part 1

I am spending this week on a TIPD visit to Sandviken, Sweden. There is a mixed group of colleagues, mainly from Surrey schools, with 4 of us from Islington as slightly last-minute additions due to some of the Surrey group dropping out. There is a mixture of ICT and non-ICT specialists, teachers (mainly secondary), ICT advisors and Marc from Islington's EMAS team. The aim of the visit is to examine how VLEs are being used in Swedish schools and to bring back ideas that can be used to inform our own work in Islington and Surrey. We also found out this morning that a separately organised group from Waltham Forest are here on a similar visit, with a 50:50 split of Primary and Secondary - so I hope to be able to join up with them too to share our learning, particularly as they are close neighbours to us in Islington.

This morning began (bright and early at 8am having not got to the hotel until half-past midnight) at Sandviken's Education Offices, with an introductory talk about the education system in Sweden and Sandviken's history of using ICT in schools. It seems that historically Sweden was a leader in the use of ICT in schools, Sandviken particularly, with a large number of projects taking place and a high level of investment since 1994. However, this is not now quite the case due to political and funding changes. However, the team and Sandviken are keen to ensure that ICT continues to be used to support teaching and learning.

The school visited today was 'Soderskolen', a Secondary and Middle school teaching grades 4-9 (roughly age equivalent to years 6-11 in the English system).

Secondary school in Sandviken

The first thing that struck me was the size of the school - less than 400 pupils in the Secondary and 250 in middle school, which is apparently the norm for Swedish Secondary schools. Along with this you noticed the general level of calm in the building. There was an extremely relaxed atmosphere and the relationship between pupils and teachers seems extremely good humoured, but with a clear respect for boundaries.

The first class we visited was a textiles / DT class where the teacher showed us the system for E-Portfolios. This is a system that allows pupils to submit their work online fot teacher to mark and comment upon, accessed from a regular webpage, and where the pupils build up an e-portfolio. A nice feature of the system is that children can choose if they wish to make their finished work public to be viewable on the 'inspirations' section of the site. This can then be seen by anyone who cares to visit the website and builds into a great resource to give children ideas for their own work as well as giving them an instant wide audience.

Another point of interest in the school visited today was the attitude to mobile phones. Most of the children had them on their desks in front of them and when asked said they did not get into to trouble if they went off during a lesson; in fact they could go out of the class to take a call if necessary! Also, the teacher in the Science class we visited had the phone numbers of the students – it was not uncommon for them to text him or he to text them outside of school hours.

In the middle school class we visited the teacher had recently returned from her visit to BETT. She had brought back with her some of the 2simple software titles to try out, particularly 2animate and 2DIY. As ever the children seemed to enjoy 2DIY and were keenly making their own platform games, although had not explored much of the rest of the program. Most of the teachers we are travelling with had not seen the product before and there were some interesting conversations about its potential for supporting cross-curricular learning. I have promised to show it to them on my laptop and let them have a play with it before the week is out.

2DIY in Sandviken

The final class of the day visited was a second language group. The majority of the children were Iraqi and a few from Burma. The children spend all of their time initially with this group, and are introduced to Swedish and English lessons immediately. After the first few weeks the children are integrated into mainstream classes for lessons that are not as ‘language heavy’ such as Art, PE etc. and gradually into more mainstream classes for all subjects. Even when they integrate into Swedish lessons and are assessed alongside native speakers allowances are made for their grammar, spelling etc. The teachers ‘reward experimentation’, preferring to see children challenge themselves in their writing and make mistakes rather than play it safe and produce simple writing that is grammatically and spelt correct.

Secondary school in Sandviken

Quote of the day came from the science teacher whose class we visited. He mentioned that the children sometimes produced videos as homework to reinforce learning that happens in the classroom;

“They are making videos about their sex education. I have only seen small parts so far.”

Friday, 13 February 2009

Teachmeet North-East London

On March the 31st Havering (and Redbridge) ICT teams will be hosting Teachmeet NEL 2.

For those of you have never been to one of these event then read the description below and visit the wiki site of last years event here.

What is Teachmeet then?
Teachmeet NEL is an exciting unconference event organised by colleagues @ Havering and Redbridge. The event is a chance for anyone interested in Educational Technology to share good practise. Delegates can come to either share what they are doing through means of a mini (7 minutes) or nano (2 minutes) presentation or to just listen to what others are doing. Last year there was a very wide range of subjects covered, these included a focus on the latest ed tech gadgets, an Nintendo Project and how a violin teacher used a VLE. There was a raffle on the evening where delegates could win a top of the range visualiser or plasma screen TV.

The other side of Teachmeet is the networking, friend sourcing and meeting up with all those contacts you have been twittering and blogging with over the last year.

Teachmeet, is about teachers sharing that which they find effective and exciting in their classrooms. It is not sales pitches or long abstract talks about blue sky projects that leave you cold. We want people to be inspired and excited, we want them to come along to hear people that will make them remember why they went into teaching in the first place.
As well as randomly selected 2 and 7 minute presentations, there is also a category called a mini note, a short 15 minute presentation by the following confirmed guests:

Tom Barrett - Inspiring ICT in his Primary Classroom
Drew Buddie - Good stuff from the man who coined the phrase 'Twitter is like googling people'
Max Wainwright - teacher and software developer on zen, simplicity and cup cakes
One more TBA

We still want lots of 7 minute and 2 minute presenters please - so please go to the wiki site and add your name as a speaker or 'lurker' - if you can't work out how to do this, then email me your name and I'll do it for you. We also recognise that we need our sponsors and though we wouldn't want them to sell from the front, we do, in this current climate need to give them a reason to attend. Therefore you will see our sponsors put to work around the central atrium in the CEME centre, they will each be serving themed refreshments, we therefore look forward to the cup cake stall, the bar and the more civilised Teas and coffees.

Teachmeet North East London will take place at the he state of the art Ceme Centre in Dagenham. Yes I know it is a long way but there is a free minibus from the station and I promise it will be worth your while!

So please sign up now - trust me if you go to one ICT Conference event thingy this year, make sure its this one - it will be brilliant.

If you are not convinced yet, try the video below, courtesy of Antony Evans at Redbridge (thanks to him for most of the content of this post, too.)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Online Research, Communication, Publishing and E-Safety - SOW strand now available!

The draft of our new ICT scheme of work strand "Online Research, Communication, Publishing and E-Safety" is now available online to download. The document was written in conjunction with colleagues from Barnet, Kensington & Chelsea, Northampton and Hackney LAs.

See - it is the 'recommended resource' at the bottom of the page. Comments, suggestions and ideas for additional links or lesson resources are welcomed.

ICT Coordinator's Meeting - 5th Feb

This term's ICT coordinators' meeting was a select gathering - thanks to those people that managed to come - it was great to see you. Unfortunately, a number of coordinators could not make it due to diary clashes and the knock-on effects of this week's poor weather. For the benefit of those people and anyone else who is interested, here's a brief rundown of the main things that were covered:

2 Simple Software - 2DIY

Nigel and Katie from 2Simple software presented their latest and very exciting product to us - 2Do It Yourself. This great software package enables teachers and pupils alike to quickly and easily create their own flash-based activities to reinforce a learning objective, assess knowledge or just for fun. Finished activities are automatically exported as flash files that can then be shared via an MLE, the internet, in IWB presentations and many other ways.
The product is as easy to use as the rest of the 2simple products, and has great potential as a really inspiring and transformational tool for learning and teaching.
See example activities, find out more and even order a free trial here.

Online / E-Safety Strand for new SOW now available

The online / E-Safety strand for the new scheme of work is now available to download in the scheme of work fronter room. We would welcome any comments on this draft version that has been written in conjunction with Barnet and Kensington & Chelsea LAs. It will be publicly available online soon on the LGfL website and a link will be posted here as soon as that happens. weblinks

Don't forget our weblinks available online at . These are added to at least a couple of times a week and can be fully searched by keyword tag. 139 links and counting.
You can also use the website yourself top save and share bookmarks. The big advantage of this is that the links are accessible from any computer - very handy if like me you work on 2 or 3 different computers regularly.

Safer Internet Day

10th February is Safer Internet Day - don't forget to plan an assembly or activities for your school during this week. Assembly resources can be downloaded from but you will need to register.

Hands on Support Sessions

Don't forget to book any remaining hands on support sessions as they need to be used by the end of this term and our diaries are filling fast!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

BETT day 4 - Steven's Perspective

I may not be at BETT physically today, but my head is definitely still there. I am trying to assimilate all of the information picked up and networking contacts made. It was a very full on three days. More feedback will be given when I have had time to process my thoughts and re-read the information packs picked up and notes made over the week. I will however mention yesterday's main event;

Last night Katy and I attended an event called 'Teachmeet'. This was a gathering of over 200 people with an interest in technology in education, which took place after the main BETT exhibition had closed for the day.
Teachmeets operate under the 'unconference' principle. Those people who have something to share sign up to give a 7-minute 'micro-presentation' or 2 minute 'nano-presentation'. The order of speakers is selected live on the night at random and not everybody will get picked. Timings are very strict and the rules state that presentations need to be directly related to what is going on in classrooms, with no sales pitches or PowerPoint presentations allowed. Those running over time or breaking the rules are unceremoniously removed from the stage - in last night's case by the throwing of a toy camel...
There was a real buzz in the room during the 2 hour event with huge amounts of networking taking place. Not to mention extensive use of 'twitter' (at one point during the evening the event tag was the 4th most 'tweeted' word worldwide). The presentations varied from inspiring to dry - but this is all part of the uniqueness of the event and luckily not many fell in to the latter category. A number of people attended the event virtually, via flashmeeting, with one of the presentations delivered via this system live from the Isle of Islay in the Hebrides (who have their own unconference in June if you fancy a trip).

Highlights included:

Random name picker - as used for selecting teachmeet speakers, a fun way of selecting participants in your class for answering questions, doing jobs, sharing their work etc. A great feature is that you can choose to remove names from the list once they have been picked so that you don't get repetition.

Learning Event Generator
- An innovative way of setting learning challenges.

Zoomit - a free tool from Microsoft that lets you quickly and easily zoom into any area of your screen - great for highlighting or focusing on a particular area - for example a web address that you want people to navigate too. You can annotate on top too.

If you are interested in attending a Teachmeet, there will be one held in North-East London in a couple of months time, hosted by the Havering ICT team. More details to follow when we have them.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Friday - Day 3 of BETT 2009

Hello from Miss Potts and apologies for only blogging on day 3 of BETT. (Defeats the object of blogging but I really haven’t stopped ….learning!)
I spent Wednesday supporting the World Learning Forum at the show ( and I guided the Ministers for Education from Bahrain around the show. Interestingly their key focus was on Web2 and we spent a lot of time looking at the London MLE (Fronter). Jim Knight opened the show and spoke extensively about the government’s commitment to addressing the Digital Divide and building parental confidence.

On Thursday Steve and I visited the RM’s Future Learning space, a separate exhibition in Olympia 2 next door to the main hall. Steve as already written about the touchless motion-sensing technology, there was also exciting multi-sensory technology from the same supplier SpaceKraft

Also of interest was furniture from ISIS including a pod to create a big brother diary room in school and there was alos extensive 3D world technology.
The evening brought the BETT awards and we were delighted that 2Simple won ICT Company of the year.

Today (Friday) I met with several headteachers and ICT co-ordiantors as well as spending time with Liz Entwhistle from the eary years team. We worked through all the EY technologies and applications to bring you the essentials, which we think are:

Q and D multi-media software If you’ve not got BEEP BEEP from this award winner from 2008, then we highly recommend you do.

Espresso won BETT Award 2009 for Early years solution

Mantra lingua A high quality multimedia resource, which combines a real book and a record able pen. .

Story phones

BETT 2009 Day 2 - Steven's Perspective

Another full day at BETT. Morning was sepend looking into netbooks (currently trialling a few and will pos findings here soon) and laptop trolleys (a dull job but I think I now have my recommendations for schools in this area sorted in my head - again, more to follow).

Interactive whiteboards? What about interactive tables, floors...

Microsoft Surface in action

The thing that seems to be getting people's juices flowing this year is interactive surfaces. Many exhibitors are showcasing surfaces that can be interacted with - be it in the form of touchable tables or projections that you walk in front of or underneath to trigger the effects.
The tables create fantastic opportunities for collaborative work and interactive activities. It's all a bit blue-sky aspirational at the moment; this was the first public outing for most of these products and you are looking at upwards of £5000 to get your hands on one. But I don't think it will be long before this sort of technology tumbles in price and you start to find them in use in many schools, shops, doctor's waiting rooms, hotels, bars...

A floor projection - move over it to control the game. I even played football on it!

Our new LGfL consultant, Helen, trying outher fingerpainting on Smart's new interactive table.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

BETT 2009 Day one - Steven's Perspective

Yesterday was the the first day of BETT ( - the world'g biggest education technology tradeshow. Katy and I am here to find out about all the latest developments in ICT and share that information with you. This post would have come yesterday but for an unfortunate incident involving an overexcited ICT consultant, a cup of tea and a laptop...

Trying to be methodical on the first day at BETT, I stuck mainly to the first floor. I was particularly looking at datalogging, as I have had a number of recent requests for advice in this area. As you will see from the first post below, I have come to a recommendation.

TTS Logbox

Lots of you have been asking for advice on which dataloggers to purchase for your school. Having looked at what is on offer here at BETT and others that schools have been working with, as well as discussing the issue with consultants from other LAs, I would recommend particularly the TTS Logbox ( The main reason for this is the pricing - at £79.99 they are about half the price of the most popular competitors' products on the market. Despite the price, they have all the functionality and of the others and very good build quality. With rubberised edges they should stand up to classroom use and even a few knocks. The logbox has built in sound, light and temperature sensors, and an external temperature probe. It also comes with easy to use and very Primary-friendly software. Additional sensors such as heart rate are available separately.

TEEM software evaluations

Teem is an independent organisation whose mission it is to evaluate educational software to help you be more informed in your purchases and make the right choices. Software is evaluated by teachers for teachers with useful comments about how easy it is to use, the quality of the content, ways that in can be used in the classroom and how well children engaged with it. As well as software packages an increasing number of web-based resouces (both paid and free) are evaluated. If you are considering a software purchase it's well worth having a look at this site (and of course consulting with your ICT HOS consultant!) before you splash the cash.

2Do It Yourself

"Create your own interactive Flash resources, activities, games, puzzles, quizzes. With this software teachers and primary school children can create cross-curricular, personalised resources and use them on whiteboards, websites and even on Learning Platforms. There are plenty of opportunities for meaningful learning as children plan, design, create, publish and play."

I can't enthuse enough about this latest piece of sotware from 2simple. In fact, I won't write about it in detail today or I will not stop and there's a lot more I need to look at here at BETT. I will post more about it soon when I have time to collect my thoughts and will publish some activities I have created with it.

If you are at BETT this week, go and see 2simple on stand F59, ask for a demonstration and tell them that I sent you...

I'll leave you with a quote from my counterpart in Hackney, Carole Newton, who I sat next to when we were first introduced to this program and is much more coherent than I...
"I believe this software will revolutionize teaching and learning. It puts the focus back on the learners generating andself differentiating their learning and allows teachers to rediscover their creative juices."

Anyway, that's some of the highlights from day one - do look out for them if you visit. Today I will be attempting to takle some of the ground floor of the exhibition! Don't forget to give us a call if you visit and we can meet up to share what we have seen. Just don't come near me with a cup of tea if I have my laptop out...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Welcome to our new blog.

Welcome to the new blog from the Islington Primary ICT hands-on support team.
We will be using the blog to let you know about all the exciting developments in ICT and things that we find useful and would like to share. This will be tested to the full next week when we blog live from the BETT Show - the world's biggest education technology tradeshow, 14th-17th Jan. If you haven't booked your place yet then do so free here: