20 Feb

Tablets in the classroom… What I’ve noticed.

This is not an argument between iPad and Android or an examination of chromebooks against laptops..

If you read this blog regularly you will know that I started very much involved with iPads. Working with schools around implementation and use of iPads in the classroom. However working in different infrastructures has given me cause to consider the use of tablets in general – how do teachers and learners actually use tablets in the classroom?

It’s worth noting that many of the teachers are new to tablets, and whilst this is not a checklist, many teachers go through stages of use with the technology in the classroom.

Uses of tablets:

  • On the go research – children and teachers with tablets will literally leave no question unanswered. Of course any classroom computer can be used for this and the digital literacy skills gained from research are very valuable!
  • Photographs! I quickly find that a classroom with tablets gets used to having lots of photographs taken. Digital leaders can photograph school events, the tablets can be taken on trips and teachers can quickly use them in lessons. The key lesson here is to ensure that the photographs can be taken from the tablet easily, a networked printer or an automatic blog for example.
  • Support and stretch! A common use of tablets in the classroom seemed to be to support and to challenge. A teaching assistant, for example, would have an app to support. A higher ability group may be asked to produce a video detailing a different view point or publishing results. All tablets can be used for this, and apps such as Explain Everything or Book Creator are useful for this purpose.
  • E-safety conversations. By necessity the conversations around esafety need to take place more frequently once the technology is in place.
  • Collaboration : because most of the classrooms I’ve seen didn’t have 1:1 tablets. Collaboration happened naturally. For example reading a text in pairs, highlighting key points. Working together on a specific app. When creating content this becomes even more apparent.
  • Blogs. Updating blogs, responding to blog posts, looking at other pupil blogs becomes so much easier when the technolgy to do so is at your fingertips.

There will be more behaviours seen, and others that will be an indirct result of the technology. I’m convinced, for example, that the pupils become used to asking a wider variety of questions and become more independent. That’s another subject though!


Would love to hear what you’ve noticed with tablets in the classroom.



30 Dec

Catch up on Coding

An inset plan for Primary Schools….

Coding has now been in Primary Schools for a term. This post looks at how you could spend an hour or so reviewing teacher resources and ideas which for teachers to check their knowledge.

Key Resources:

The Computing At School Progression Chart can be found here.

Somerset Authority site here has great links and ideas.

Specific language use for Scratch from Somerset

Planning and progression support from Simon Haughton’s website

A really easy to read mini-book by Simon Haughton.

Digital Storytelling – royalty free resources and other ideas here.

Ideas, map packs and resources for beebots here.

Barefoot Computing – excellent resources and ideas here



select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information

Begin with a look at progression – specific focus on language and vocabulary.

Starting with EYFS: – Key ideas here revolve around providing opportunities to talk about technology- using age appropriate vocabulary and language.
Some ideas are here

There is also a consideration about language and vocabulary for teacher knowledge- this site here is a great source of information.

2. Teacher knowledge – where to start! What is coding?
This is a good time to consider what coding actually is – and how much we, as teachers, are confident with the teaching of it. Good online starter activities can be found here – at code.org. A discussion around why we are teaching coding would be useful – will it support other areas of the school curriculum? Are we teaching discreet units- or should it feed into other areas of the curriculum? Much of this will be school specific, but there are some obvious links…

It is also important here to stress that we need to model the good use of technology as well. Consider how often we use technology as part of our professional and personal life. Do the pupils in your class see this? Have you used apps such as Skype to connect your classrooms? Started emailing with other schools? Collected ideas and thoughts with a service such as Padlet? These type of activities are super easy – but model how technology can be used to support learning.

3. Linking our curriculum with Scratch, and Espresso Coding – iPad apps and on paper!
Digital Storytelling
Beebots – a huge fan of bee bots  – they can be used for maths, literacy and exploratory activities. (Video from TTS)


Other areas to look at – how the internet works:


Download (PDF, 619KB)

4. Taking it further….

Unit plans: Consider how specific areas of your curriculum can be used to teach the computing curriculum. There are many great ideas in the resources (above) – and an example from a previous year (below)

Download (DOCX, 47KB)



Subject Coordinators, or particularly interested teachers may wish to take on further study for coding – Code Avengers offers free introductory courses. Future Learns excellent MOOCS also offer a free teach computing course. 

How is the computing curriculum settling in at your school? We would love to hear!





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!