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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Combining Literacy with Coding with the Adventure Creator App!

The question is always asked - "How should we use the iPad to cover the coding and programming aspects of the new Computing curriculum?" I usually answer by listing a range of apps that will challenge children to write and debug different programs and algorithms. I recommend websites like from @DrChips_ or @SimonHaughton's fantastic websites - and
I then normally advise not to spend hundreds of pounds on different schemes of work to teach it but simply use twitter and find lessons usually better that what can be found in certain schemes.

I have never ran training focusing specifically on programming or coding as for me I don't feel it is a strength of mine. I was never really taught it at school myself and honestly am not blown away with enthusiasm about it. My use of technology focuses more on using it as a cross curricular tool and showing how embedding it can impact on learning in the core areas. However a new app that has recently been released by the fantastic @Joe_Moretti looks like it will be able to combine both Literacy and Coding! Introducing 'The Adventure Creator!"  download it now for just £2.49 from the App Store.

I first came across this app after downloading @Joe_Moretti's FREE eBook - The Comprehensive Guide to Computing in the Classroom iPad. The app features in the eBook and is clearly demonstrated with videos and descriptions so there isn't much point me copying and pasting it here.

But this app looks very promising and could easily be used to inspire story writing or even challenge children to recreate a version of a story they have read. The ability to create their own point and click game and coding it themselves will certainly motivate and engage pupils!

I am excited to give this a go with some upper KS2 children and watch this space for the results! You can find more about the app here -

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A festive treat - Merry Christmas!

It has been an incredible and amazing year for me! The support from all the teachers and schools around the world who have followed my blog, invited me to run training and attended my conferences has been unbelievable and I want to thank everyone for all the help and support.

As a thank you, I am sharing the latest Christmas video created for this year's talent show. For the past number of years we have made a christmas dance video to top off the annual talent show we have at school. All in the name of entertainment, the children loved every second of each video! (Click here to see previous efforts) Unfortunately, my dancing partner is no longer at the school and so felt it would be wrong to dance without him! Instead, I decided to do something different. I apologise now for the awful singing and acting, but the children seemed to really enjoy it and had a huge smiles on their faces, so was worth it just for that!

Here it is, the teacher parody of Frozen's 'Do you want to build a snowman' -

Have an amazing Christmas, and I am looking forward to a fantastic 2015!

Thanks again!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Alan Peat Presents Using Technology to enhance the New Primary Curriculum in association with Grow Education, 8th December, London

I had a wonderful day sharing some ideas and strategies to enhance the new curriculum using technology on Monday in London. Around 38 teachers attended and there was a great buzz in the room!

A massive thank you to everyone who came and for all your useful and valued feedback, very much appreciated.

37 Feedback forms
31 rated the content of the training as excellent
5 rated the content as good
1 rated the the content satisfactory

32 rated the delivery of the training as excellent
5 rated the delivery as good

Some comments -
"Funny, informative, inspiring, amazing! I've read your blog for some time and it's been so useful to hear the man in person! Couldn't recommend the training enough. Keep up your inspiring work - keeps my children happy when I come in with a iPad in hand." 
This has been the best training I have ever been on! The content was exactly what I was looking for. I feel truly inspired! 
"This was a very powerful and inspiring course. I have lots of ideas that I can't wait to use in the classroom and share with colleagues. I would recommend this course to every primary practitioner." 
"Fantastic, informative with loads of exciting and innovative ideas! Hopefully will be able to convince Headteacher to purchase iPads."
"Fantastic ideas in terms of apps, uses in lessons across the curriculum to feedback to staff. Thank you very much." 
Excellent, packed training. Very appropriate - have got loads of ideas to try out and share." 
"Excellent practical ideas that you can take straight back into the classroom. The use of Apps was amazing. Thank you very much! 
 "Loads of ideas and great to see and hear how these apps can be used in class in a realistic way!"
"Loads of ideas - lots to think about and try out." 
"Really useful, covered lots of really practical ideas. Good to see examples for cross curriculum ideas. Really good course!"
"A fantastic course which has left me buzzing with ideas! Lee is a great speak and gives so many usable ideas."
"Great ideas for bring maths and literacy to life." 
"Brilliant! Thank you very much - really useful and inspiring, will definitely be sharing back at school, so useful to have this from a 'real' teacher!" 
 "Excellent content - well pitched, delivered with enthusiasm and was inspirational. Thank you."
 "Great ideas, very practical, will be using this in the classroom!" 
"Great presentation! Learned a lot from the session and will be applying some of the techniques in my teacher practice."
"Excellent. Your enthusiasm alone is worth the visit."
"Excellent - lots of info and ideas, thank you." 
 "It was very inspiring!"
"Great app suggestions and a good model of how they can be used." 
"Excellent practical ideas that can be used. Thanks for a very useful course!" 
"Thanks for so many excellent ideas. I'm leaving feeling very inspired."
"An amazing day with lots to think about and to try out in school. Definitely need to start a school blog now! Thank you so much!"
"Really useful practical ideas, thank you!" 
"Really useful and inspiring thank you!"
"Many thanks, great day!" 
"Very good delivery!" 
 "Thank you!"
"Great ideas to use in the classroom."
"Lots of good ideas!"
"Very enthusiastic!"
"Some great ideas for writing and use of multimedia to enhance writing and give writing a purpose."
"Good to see your passion shine through!"

I have other upcoming conferences and the details can be found here. I can also come and run training in your school details here

Mr P is abducted by Aliens!

I woke this morning in a cold sweat after having the most peculiar dream. In my dream, I was abducted by aliens, taken on their spaceship and talked to in a language I didn't understand. When I went to get ready for work, I noticed something strange on my arm -

At first, I thought it was a wash on tattoo, so tried to wash it off in the shower. But no matter how hard I scrubbed, it wouldn't wash away. I panicked! Desperately, I searched the internet trying to find an explanation. I stumbled across an app, that told me to scan the unusual symbol and it would tell me if it was real! Well, something happened. Something strange, something amazing and something that told me it was VERY real!

I shared this story with a Year 3 group of children I worked with today. I showed them my arm, demonstrated what happened when it was scanned by the special app and they couldn't believe their eyes. They then wrote some fantastic newspaper articles about the story - 

We didn't stop there. After lunch, we transformed our writing into a real TV News Broadcast, using Doink Greenscreen, Morfo Booth, iPrompt Pro and iMovie. Here is the full story about Mr P's abduction!

It was hard for the children to keep the story quiet until the news report was completed. Even their class teachers couldn't get any information out of them. They were hooked by the story and enjoyed every minute of the day. They created some fantastic written news articles knowing it would be transformed into a real TV news report.

Such an enjoyable day! The stimulus? Another amazing example of Augmented Reality to inspire writing in the form of StARz AR. From following this blog, you will know how fond I am of using Augmented Reality to inspire, motivate, share, enhance and redefine learning in the classroom. Starz AR is another example and from the work Year 3 produced today, you can clearly see the engagement, enjoyment and quality of work they have produced.

If you like this and want to know how you can utilise mobile technology to enhance learning in the classroom, Mr P can help with a range of training opportunities - visit here for more details.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Pre Order - 50+ iPad for Exciting Sentences

I am very excited to see my first printed book co-written with @alanpeat is finally going into print! It is the first in a series of books that will support teachers in the use of mobile tech to teach and improve writing. You can read more about the book here.

You can now PRE ORDER the book and make sure you are the first to receive a copy. All you need to do is fill out the following form. We cannot confirm an exact date when the book will be ready to be sent out but we will update as soon as we know.

I cannot tell you how excited and proud I am that this book is nearly ready. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and the blog and making this happen.

Edublog Awards!

I was flattered when my blog was nominated in the UK Blog awards! This has been followed with my blog being recognised in the Edublog awards 2014 in the Best Individual Blog category and the Best ed tech/resource sharing category! Voting is now open so I would love as many people to vote for my blog! A massive thank you to everyone who have voted for me! You can vote here, all you need to do is press the thumbs up button, you will need to log in via facebook or twitter and then press the thumbs up button again -

See full list on Listly

See full list on Listly

You can also vote for Alan Peat's Pocket app of Exciting Sentences in the best Mobile app category -

See full list on Listly

Also vote for the Literacy Shed, which I regularly contribute to, in the best educational use of media -

See full list on Listly

Please take a second and vote for @GazNeedle who is voted in the New Blog category -

See full list on Listly

And of course, for the Lifetime Achievement, vote for Julia Skinner, who created The 100 Word Challenge -

See full list on Listly

Thank you if you take a minute and vote for myself and other colleagues, really do appreciate it.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Should Minecraft be used in School?

Any followers of this blog will know my answer to this question, however as a stimulus for children, I knew it would be something they would want to write about and I was not disappointed! Even though, the children didn't touch or play Minecraft in anyway, just discussing the game had them completely enthralled and focused throughout the day.

Over the past few days I have been asking teachers all around the world to give me their opinions on using Minecraft in the classroom and I want to thank everyone for contributing, (especially if you purposely gave the opposing reason just to help us!)

This is a link to the form - Should Minecraft be used in School?

The response in only a couple of days was overwhelming -

Feel free to use this form and all the reasons suggested. The children looked through all the data and picked three for and three arguments against. They then wrote a discussion text.

As always, we couldn't just leave it in the book. Using an app I first came across through the brilliant @digitalroadtrip and his great blog #8ipads. Bossjock is a great app to create podcasts and radio programmes and that it what the children did. Using apps like text to speech and garageband to compose their own jingles and background music. This was uploaded to our Audioboom channel, here are some examples - 

Very excited to say that my book - 50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences, co-written with Alan Peat, is now on its way to the printers! I will share a way to pre order the book soon. But hoping for it to be ready late December/Early January!

I have also finished my next book, which I am very excited about! It  will be a while before that one will be ready but if you like the above idea, you will love the book!

Remember if you want me to visit your school and run training for your staff to demonstrate how to use technology to raise standards in the classroom - visit here.

Explain Everything to mark children's writing

We started today's lesson looking at feedback from the previous writing session. I decided to do a little experiment and mark half the children's work using written feedback with my green pen and highlighters but then used Explain Everything with the other half to record myself annotating and giving verbal feedback. I then asked the group to use the feedback to correct their writing.

I often question the impact of written feedback with particular children and wanted to see whether watching and listening back to my feedback would have more of an impact? From this session, it certainly seemed to. Comparing the corrections children made, there was significantly more with those who had iPads. After a discussion with the children, they seem to prefer it too, it was clearer, easier to understand and made them realise where they could improve.


Obviously, I am not saying that from this one session, we should get rid of written feedback but it was certainly eye opening. This is definitely something I will be looking at more intently over the coming weeks and keep you updated. In the meantime, give it a go yourself! Take a picture of the children's writing, add it into a Explain Everything project and then record yourself reading through, highlighting and discussing their work. Allow the children to then watch it back, pausing at appropriate points to then edit and improve their work. Let me know your thoughts!