31 Aug

NQT Advice! Using that old computer in your classroom…

Maybe not only relevant for NQT’s – we’ve all been in the classroom that has the shockingly old computer tucked away in a corner… ‘It’s an oldie but a goodie’ ringing in our ear from the coordinator who seems to be getting on just fine with the brand new laptop perched on their desk..

The good news is there are ways you can use that old computer – just remember you might need to turn it on as soon as you get in on a morning! These ideas will keep the computer on one web page – or minimum internet access – but will allow the pupils to get something from the tech! If there is a memory card slot, saving web pages, images and resources to read can be useful too and mean it doesn’t have to be online.

  1. Leave a Padlet on there I wrote about using Padlet here – a great tool for collecting ideas. Simply leave it on the computer with a different focus and let the children use it whenever. You could begin with ‘one thing you didn’t know about me!
  2. Have a ‘researcher role’ – linking to the web is a wealth of information and helping children to navigate this is key. Choosing one or two pupils to be ‘researchers’ – the ones who get to go online to answer questions is a great way of doing that.
  3. Leave a great picture, or blog on it! Plenty of images can be found, or put on memory sticks (websites could even be downloaded and saved to display off line) – you could leave some questions or even a prompt for circle time.
  4. Install the whiteboard software on it – and display your lessons and let the children play with the material. Using simple word processing software such as Works or Notebook can also be helpful for some writers.

Other ideas (depending on how well it works) – ebooks (plenty of sites offer them free of charge) try Oxford Owl here, Magic Keys of Pearson’s Bug Club. Do find out if the school has any subscription based resources that you can put on the computer.

Make use of installed software! Take some time to see if there is anything on there that could be useful.

Other ideas : Tom Tolken’s site has some brilliant ideas for the ‘one computer’


Hope that’s useful! If you’ e found a creative use for that old computer please let us know!


08 Aug

Ed Tech – What actually works in the classroom?

I asked a simple question on twitter and reddit – and was amazed at the number of responses!

I was interested in what people thought made the use of Ed Tech worthwhile, and any stories that came about from the use of technology in the classroom. I’ve put a list of any mentioned resources and devices at the bottom of the post!

I have organised this in five key areas – it’s worth mentioning though that this is quite loose! It is interesting though that whilst these areas were mentioned in a variety of ways, I didn’t hear much about ‘engagement’ or ‘motivation’ – areas which are traditionally signalled as reasons to get technology in the classroom. I’m actually pretty pleased about that!


Without a doubt the top outcome that was mentioned. Collaboration seems to be key. And with all interested parties. Collaboration with parents, with other schools, with ‘hard to reach’ parents (for whatever reason). Collaboration with an ‘end purpose’ and, of course, pupils collaborating to create. Blogging, using various platforms, was mentioned as was cloud services such as Google Drive. The technology varied, from online creation such as Book Creator to the use of ‘portable’ devices which would support collaboration. Teachers seemed to value the possibilities.


Access and Special Needs

I have talked about how great I found the iPad for Educational Needs so it came as no suprise to read all of the great stories about how we are using technology in the classroom to adapt it to the needs of our learners. The trusty Smart Interactive Whiteboard was mentioned here, both for the use as an interactive and accessible screen and also as a display mechanism for images and video. The use of images and games for areas such as Vocabulary, Social Stories and supporting specific needs. Capturing non written evidence and sharing achievements was also mentioned.


Feedback and Guidance

The feedback and ‘immediacy’ of using technology was also mentioned, cameras in the classroom for evidence, screencasting using apps such as Explain Everything. The classroom Visualiser was mentioned as an excellent way of sharing work and offering up feedback (including group work). Flip cameras were mentioned, as well as the use of photographs for evidence.


Accessing other resources

Technology as a gateway to a whole range of other resources was also mentioned by many – authentic foreign language resources for example, websites such as the science PHeT site which provides video and virtual experiments. Resources and ideas that just wouldn’t be available otherwise. It’s worth considering that the ‘internet’ as a gateway was mentioned – a decent bandwidth was mentioned by some – how often do you rely on the internet in your classroom?

What did people mention?


Google Drive – mentioned by many!

Book Creator (iPad)

Lucid Charts

Office 365


PHeT Site

Explain Everything (iPad)

KidBlog Dot Org (blogging platform)



Scribblenauts (iPad game – used for vocab)


Mentioned devices: visualisers, smartboards, flip cameras, iPads, portable devices, Chromebooks


A huge thanks to all who answered my questions, retweeted by tweets and generally got invovled! Definitely for me one of the biggest reasons to get involved in technology for educational purposes!!

It will be interesting to redo this small survey next year and check out the changes!

Thanks for reading – feel free to leave your comment – I’m sure things have been missed!