Thursday, 6 March 2014

Giving Pupils Ownership of their Work Using Mobile Devices

Bellfield Primary School

Over the past year, Mr Andrews Online have worked extensively with Bellfield Primary School, sharing methods on how the planned use of mobile technology can have a sustained impact on standards across the curriculum. James, a Year 5 teacher at the school illustrates how through the effective use of technology in his classroom he was able to give his pupils ownership of their learning and the opportunity to learn independently, subsequently raising standards in his class.

Having had the same class for the last two years, I have been able to develop the children's ICT skills across a range of iPad apps. Along with working with myself, both David and Chris have also worked with my class on several occasions which has given them a good understanding of a range of apps. As a result I felt it was time to allow the children to begin to choose how they wanted to present their learning, instead of instructing them on a particular app I wanted them to use.
The children's topic this term is 'Wonders of the World' which has involved them studying different aspects of Ancient Greece. The learning challenge from this particular week was 'What religion did the Ancient Greeks follow?'. Consequently, I decided to deliver a History lesson based on the Ancient Greek gods. When planning the lesson I felt that this would be a good opportunity to use iPads to enhance the children's learning. I could have just given the children a source of information and let them write down their findings, however I felt this would 'turn off' several children in the class.
The task given to the children was simply to describe an Ancient Greek god. Having recently signed up for Quadblogging, the children were told that they had to describe a god of their choice to their real life audience. They discussed a range of apps that they could use to present their learning and then the children were then shown the following example to ensure they knew what was expected by the end of the lesson:
After using this as a hook to get the children engaged, they were given some initial time to research their chosen god. The children were provided with a hard copy of information about a range of gods which also included a QR code which was linked to a teacher selected (child appropriate) website.
How were iPads used as a tool to enhance learning during the research stage?
The children were told that the information given to them in the booklet had not come from a particularly reliable source. Having recently worked on different types of sources in previous History lessons, the children knew they would have to verify the information before using it in their presentation. They scanned the QR code and used the chosen website, along with some of their own websites, to ensure the information was accurate and also add additional facts about their chosen god.
How did the children respond to being given the freedom to choose their own apps?
After reminding the children on a range of different apps they could use, the children then began to transform their research into an appealing presentation that would describe their chosen god to their audience.

Editing in iMovie
Many of the children used the model shown to them as a starting point for their own presentation and as a result 'Tellagami' was the app first used by the majority of children. Having previous experience of this app, the children were quickly able to produce an introduction to their presentation. The benefit of this app was clear to see as the children who would usually finding writing difficult or disengaging were able to either use the voice recording aspect or type what they wanted to say without having to worry about their handwriting or spelling. The children saved their initial Tellagami video clip to the camera roll and then exported it to iMovie. Once in iMovie they were able to edit the video clip, insert images, and also add sound effects and background music. Many children repeated this process throughout the rest of their presentation, however some children also decided to use other apps.
A range of children chose to use the app 'VideoScribe' as a way to introduce and end their presentation. Using their previous knowledge of the app, the children were able to reduce the time taken for the images and font to be drawn and then export them into iMovie to accompany their Tellagami clips.
Another app used by some children was 'Phoster'. The children made posters containing images and text that were again exported to iMoive and placed into the required position within their final presentation.
One of the most pleasing aspects evident throughout the session was the amount of independent learning taking place. As the children were choosing the apps they wanted to use, I was able to facilitate learning and support children who were facing some minor technical issues. As earlier discussed, the biggest impact of using the iPads was seen in the children who would usually find reading and writing difficult. These children produced a presentation of similar quality to the 'more able' writers and were highly engaged throughout the entire lesson.
Examples of work produced:

After posting their presentations on their individual blog pages the children then received comments on their work from similar aged pupils from around the world. This interaction with a real audience gave the children's work a real purpose and they were able to respond to comments made during a blogging session.   

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Global Screen Casting Project

Since meeting Greg Kulowiec at last year’s EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Atlanta we have been able to experience the real opportunities for global collaboration for both students and education professionals. Greg is currently working on an exciting “Global Screencasting Project” which has huge potential for learners of all ages and we are encouraging everyone we work with to get involved. The project maximises the capacity of the iPad/Android screencasting app “Explain Everything” which was designed by Dr Reshan Richards, Director of Educational Technology, Montclair Kimberley Academy, New Jersey.
This re-blogged post was written by Greg and published on his blog The History 2.0 Classroom  outlines the project and explains how to get involved. Have a go! Collaborating on projects created in Explain Everything and shared via Dropbox/Google Drive is the tip of the iceberg for groundbreaking transformational outcomes. What can be achieved now that was previously inconceivable? Participation in this project will go some way towards beginning to answer that question.
Global Screencasting Project: Alphabet X Explain Everything

Welcome to the Global Alphabet Screencast!

The purpose of this experiment is to explore the capabilities of global collaboration facilitated through the use of iPads as a screen casting device. Anyone is welcome to contribute to the global alphabet screencast by simply selecting one letter of the alphabet and creating a short (30 second or less) screencast that captures the meaning, essence or unique perspective on that particular letter. This project would not be possible without the creation and thoughtful development of Explain Everything.

Created in Explain Everything: One of the contributions to the project

How does one contribute?
Create a short screencast (30 seconds or less) about one letter of the alphabet. Explain, describe, narrate, animate, sing, recite a short poem about or provide insight into any letter of your choice. Each screencast will then be merged and compiled into one world wide English alphabet screencast that will be published online (YouTube & Vimeo) for the entire world to view.

Please watch this short video tutorial if you are not sure how to upload and share an Explain Everything project through Google Drive or Dropbox.
NOTE: If your school Google Apps domain does not allow for sharing of work outside of the domain you may have to use a private / individual Google Drive account to share. You may also upload your Explain Everything project to Dropbox & share the link to the file.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Any educator, classroom, student or administrator is welcome to contribute!

Due Date: March 31st, 2014 (tentative)

Publishing Date: TBD - the goal is to combine and publish one week after the due date. The final project will be published on both YouTube and Vimeo.

Resources Required:
1. iPad
2. Explain Everything
3. Google Drive or Dropbox
4. Creativity

Sign up Process:
Complete the Google Form below. Please select one letter of the alphabet as indicated by the first drop-down menu. I will include four (4) screencasts per letter in the final project and will do my best to update the Google Form by removing any letters from the drop-down menu that have been successfully completed.
If you are a younger student submitting you may wish to use your teacher’s name in the name field below. Names are only being collected to assign proper attribution once the project is complete.

Click HERE to sign up via the Google Form

Submitting Your Screencast:
Option 1: Google Drive1. Upload your Explain Everything PROJECT file to Google Drive. Once uploaded the file should have a .XPL file extension.
2. Name the file: Alphabet Letter - Your Name - State - Country - School Name
3.. Share the Explain Everything PROJECT (.XPL file) to:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

App Smashing with Explain Everything

In recent months Mr Andrews Online have been working extensively with the Outwood Teaching School Alliance (@outwoodtsa) We have enjoyed working with Lee Wilson, Director of Primary School Improvement,  as well as a number of Wakefield headteachers including Jackie Savage from Outwood Primary Academy Lofthouse Gate and Paul Fenton from Stanley St Peters Primary School. This work has allowed us to work with teachers from several schools sharing our approach to using technology to support teaching and learning across the curriculum. This has included classroom projects from EYFS to year 6, INSET sessions and keynote presentations at national conferences. 

The focus of the work we do is frequently based on speaking and listening, explanations and oral presentations. During our time working with the schools we have met many teachers who are making effective use of technology in their classroom. This guest blog post by Libby Walker (@MissWClass11), teacher at Stanley St Peters Primary School, illustrates the impact of the app “Explain Everything” in science teaching.

With a recent introduction of iPads into our primary school (Stanley St Peters Church of England Primary School), we as a key stage decided to implement the iPads within our current topic- Rivers!

With a view to revamp the science project and inject some of the excitement and interest you often see in other subjects across the curriculum, we decided the iPads would best compliment the science project of ‘The Water Cycle’. The children’s task was to be able to understand, explain and present the process of ‘The Water Cycle’. In previous years this project would have necessitated a Power Point or perhaps a drama production. 

The Water Cycle previously involved an introduction session that demonstrated the processes; this was usually demonstrated with a video clip. From this session, the children would have been expected to draw a diagram or begin work on their presentation. Many flaws could be identified in this style of teaching such as: most children in year 5 and 6 are more than competent at creating a PowerPoint and are no longer excited by this method of technology. Very often children copied and pasted large chunks of information to fill their slides and finally when speaking to the children, they said rarely did anyone look at their PowerPoint’s, other than the children’s who were selected in the lesson.

So how could the introduction of the iPad shift the science project to child centred learning, with a sense of purpose?

First of all, we had to investigate ‘What is the Water Cycle?’ using QR codes, which linked to teacher selected (child appropriate) websites all focused on the Water Cycle. We allowed the children a session to view a variety of the websites; we discussed how to take useful notes, which would allow the children to reuse the information from the websites later in their projects. As teachers we placed a huge emphasis on the science being correct. 

The Task- The children were asked to produce an animation, which identified and explained each stage of the Water Cycle. 

Although as a key stage we had a variety of experience, we selected: Explain Everything and iMovie as the focus apps. Creating my own presentation beforehand proved invaluable as I (@MissWClass11) could highlight any difficulties or mistakes to the children before they began.

As a class we established a checklist of ‘what must be included…’ We allowed the children to take full lead; they decided all 6 processes of the Water Cycle and an introduction page.

‘Explain Everything’ was the first app the children used, most children decided to complete the project using two characters (almost a question and answer set up). The children selected their characters from google images. They saved the pictures to ‘camera roll’ which allowed them to import it to ‘Explain Everything’. Within this app, there is a cropping tool, which allows the children to select the specific element of the picture they wish to use.

Most children decided to have one constant character throughout each slide, who asked, ‘where am I now? What part of the cycle am I now in?’ then another character at each different point would respond.

The children saved and imported an image to reflect each stage of the Water Cycle, to keep the project manageable the children completed one process per page. On each page the children inserted a background (and locked it into place). They then inserted the characters on top of the background leaving them unlocked. 

Locking images to the screen

Using the internal record button the children used their script to record each process as a slide within Explain Everything, the children found it useful to use their script so that they knew how long to move each character for.

Finished Explain Everything ready to be exported to the Camera Roll

Once each slide had been recorded the children exported their video to the camera roll, allowing it to be imported into iMovie. Within this app the children were able to mute the previous recording as this had been conducted in a noisy classroom, where as the children were able to find recording zones in school to record on iMovie. iMovie enabled the children to insert ‘splits’ which sectioned the video into the different processes of the Water Cycle. 

iMovie also allowed the children to insert themed music in the background of their video, insert a title page and credits. All of these tools were discovered by the children whilst they were completing their projects, none of which were on the example.

This is the link to the children's work on the water cycle:

This is a documentary the children went on to create after the work with the water cycle:

Another example of a documentary:

Finally the children were able to export their finished videos back to the camera roll and through the amazing tool of ‘airdrop’ we were able to share the children’s work instantly!

I was astounded and amazed with the quality of the work produced, the level of engagement was amazing and we were asked several times… ‘What is our next project?’

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Digital Art at Hull Feren's Art Gallery with Hull's Children University


Recently we've had the privilege to be invited to work alongside Hull Children's University and St James Primary School sharing our methods on how the application of mobile technology can have a real impact on standards. Over the next year we will be working with all the schools which are supported by the charity to share a simple, effective accessible approach to raising standards across the curriculum.

Working alongside Hull Children's University we helped to design a Digital Arts project based on the module 'I'm Proud of My City' - Hull's successful bid to become the City of Culture for 2017 and using the free Feren's Art Gallery for inspiration for the children's ideas.

Hull Children's University was started by Dr John Buttrick to give 'young people the opportunity for invaluable learning experiences aimed at raising their future aspirations and ambitions.' We first became inspired by John and his ethos at an event at Hull University 'We Will Be Champions' in May 2012, which was set up inspire the primary children in Hull to perform to their maximum potential and to be the best that they can be. The event attracted around 500 children and some fabulous speakers, which included Kevin Keegan, Graham Taylor, John Godber, Mike Tomlinson, Alan Johnson and Sam Whittaker.

 Subsequently, John Buttrick kindly agreed to be a guest marker, an ongoing project, which was set up to give the children a real audience for their work. You can read more on the project by following the link HERE. He chose to do his marking in person and left the children feeling full of pride and self-belief (see picture below).

Dr John Buttrick showing the children that their work matters
The Digital Arts Project is designed to allow children a “relevant real-world” experience and to produce digital content they can be proud to share. Recently, year 5 pupils from St James Primary School took part in the full day project. After arriving at the Hull Children's University Learning Zone, the pupils watched "This City Belongs to Everyone" -Supporting Hull's City of Culture Bid 2017 (see below) and were given a brief for the day. From that point, with a city centre location as a base, the day was fully mobile with children visiting and revisiting the Art Gallery as required.

The project involved the use of iPad minis which include the exciting "airdrop" feature. Using airdrop, which makes use of the iPad’s Bluetooth capacity, pupils have been able to collaborate in any setting (with or without wireless connectivity) on projects such as video documentaries using iMovie and multimedia digital books using Creative Book Builder. This makes the powerful use of technology truly mobile and the ease in which pupils can combine, feedback and amend one another’s work in a setting such as an art gallery (without the use of wi-fi) is impressive.

The main goals of the project were primarily for pupils to gain knowledge and understanding of the role and content of the art gallery, develop skills in spoken and written communication and to use technology as a tool (when it’s the best tool for the job).

Below are some examples of the digital art the pupils produced.

Feedback from teaching staff in terms of progress and standards has been very positive, particularly relating to speaking, presenting ideas and writing. Watching a 9 year old boy, who had never visited an art gallery before, approaching a painting thoughtfully whilst recording a clear and articulate description of his thoughts using the app Tellagami was a vivid demonstration of the creative potential of mobile technology. Mrs Capes has kindly let us use her video from the day, which you can see below:

Below you can see a couple of examples of the brilliant work done by the Year 5 pupils from St James Primary School.

Activities to try:

Use the simple filter, vignette and frame tools in the app Strip Designer to enhance images and prepare for presentation.

Use Tellagami “on-location” to describe objects/places/events for an audience and listen back to aid rehearsal, feedback and improvement.

Develop collaborative projects using the Airdrop feature (iPad mini or iPad 4/Air) where different pupils undertake separate components of a task and combine content for a finished product, such as a documentary film or multimedia digital book.

With thanks to:

St James’ Primary School, Hull

Kingston Communications, Hull

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Natasha Banke, Hull Children’s University

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The National Literacy Trust: Closing the Gap with Technology

Recently we have been working with The National Literacy Trust presenting our work at their conferences titled “How to be outstanding in the New National Curriculum.” The National Literacy Trust is a national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. The charity is committed to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK's most disadvantaged communities, where up to 40 per cent of people have literacy problems.

In terms of “closing the gap” the approach we developed for the National Literacy Trust makes a rapid and sustained impact for all pupils. It is based on the use of technology to support the complete writing process from initial talk through to publishing and sharing with an audience, including key steps such as visual sequencing, drafting, collaboration and feedback. The elements of the New National Curriculum related in particular to speaking and listening underpinning progress in reading and writing, and participation in presentations and debates fit perfectly with the approach we developed in the classroom. Our Spring Term Courses will give headteachers, subject co-ordinators and teachers the opportunity to experience the impact of our whole school approach to using technology to raise standards through outstanding teaching across the curriculum.

Chris Williams presenting our work in London for the Nat Lit Trust

It was encouraging to work with Patrica Metham, lead HMI for English/Literacy who works closely with The National Literacy Trust. She shares our view that outstanding teaching involves enterprising use of digital technology, lots of opportunities for drama and role-play, relevant real-world tasks and presentation to a relevant and meaningful audience.

The National Literacy Trust is dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK and will be holding a series of inspirational conferences at the beginning of 2014 in London, Manchester and York, that will support literacy professionals to achieve outstanding progress in their schools.
The conferences will focus on the new National Curriculum and will cover issues such as: effective use of the Pupil Premium; closing the literacy gap for boys; how to be outstanding in the new National Curriculum; and improving writing through effective grammar teaching. John Dunford, Pupil premium Champion for the Department for Education, and Patricia Metham, HMI, National Lead for English, Ofsted are just two of the range of expert speakers.  

See further details and book online at:
They are currently offering a discount on the January events, use code DECBE when booking to claim 10% off the price of these conferences, for a limited time only.

We continue to share our work with schools across the UK and overseas through our training sessions, classroom projects and planning support.  This video created as part of  a Year 6 geography project was created using Explain Everything and iMovie and illustrates clearly how creative use of technology can lead to powerful outcomes.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Using Apps Creatively to Develop Speaking & Listening Skills in Early Years

Stepney Primary School

In Stepney Primary School, Hull I have been working alongside pupils and staff from the Nursery right through to pupils in Year 6. I have shared how mobile technology can be used to develop children's progress in speaking & listening, writing, creativity and independence and shared ideas on how these devices can be used across the curriculum when it's the best tool for the job. Paul Browning, head teacher at Stepney Primary was kind enough to write a testimonial for us, about my work in his school, which you can read HERE.

The school is an outstanding inner city school with a high percentage of pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL). In the Nursery 18 out of 26 pupils are EAL (69%) and the Foundation Stage 17 out of 30 are EAL (57%)


At Stepney Primary School the children in Nursery and Foundation Stage had been learning about familiar stories and had recently done some work and activities based on the story of 'The Three Little Pigs'. After a meeting with the staff, it was decided that I would work with the children in Nursery Foundation Stage for one day each to help develop their communication, expression and listening skills through story telling using iPads apps (My Story with children in the nursery and Explain Everything in the Foundation Stage), to retell the story of The Three Little Pigs using the app The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow.

I first came across The Three Little Pigs Nosy Crow app in 2011, when my eldest daughter was three and recalled how much she had enjoyed interacting with the story. The graphics and sound are excellent and the characters are fully interactive as you listen to the story or alternatively chose to retell the story yourself, which is also great fun. Subsequently, we have also bought many of the other apps created by Nosy Crow (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Pip and Posy: Fun and Games, etc).

Early Years

Both Nursery and Foundation Stage pupils were put into small, mixed ability groups. The app The Three Little Pigs was introduced to them to help the pupils understand the story and as a stimulus for the activity using My Story with the Nursery pupils and Explain Everything with the Foundation Stage pupils. The children took it in turns to interact with the characters on the screen by making them jump, spin and speak as they listened to the story.


Key images of the story were collected by taking screenshots using the app The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow. These images were Airdropped to
Stepney Primary's iPads, put into an Album then shared to the other iPads at the school using the Photo Stream. 

The app My Story was used to create digital books. The pupils helped to select the images from the camera roll to sequence the story and then took it in turns to talk about what was happening in the photo. The pupils were reluctant to talk at first, but once they realised it was their voice that they could hear they all wanted to contributed to retelling the story - whether it was simply a sound effects (the angry wolf growling or when he got his bottom burnt!), a word or two or a sentence. Some pupils echoed back words or phrases, whist some knew instantly what to say. Using the My Story app not only helped the pupils to start to understand the story through sequences the pictures but offered them an an opportunity to develop vital speaking and listening skills.

Example of Pupils Work
Digital Story shared on My Story

At the end of the morning and afternoon sessions the pupils’ iBooks were shown on the Interactive Whiteboard. The pupils were invited out to the front to help to turn the pages of their books and press the play button to hear their voice recordings. They had a great time listening back to their voices and interacting with the digital books they had helped to make.

Foundation Stage

Prior to the session images were collected in the same way as in the Nursery example (see above). Using the app Explain Everything images of backgrounds were set to lock on the screen and added to different slides. Images of the main characters in the story (3 little pigs and the big bag wolf) were selected and the cut out tool was used to draw round the each of the characters that would be needed for each scene. 

The pupils volunteered to be different character from the story to play (3 little pigs & Big Bad Wolf). The Big Bad Wolf was a popular role, so we even had to have an audition in one of the groups! Once the record button was pressed the characters could then be animated to move freely around the screen as the children recorded their voices in role. The app Explain Everything allowed valuable communication and expression opportunities of role play and story telling.

An example of a pupils work


All pupils thoroughly enjoyed both the activity and playing the characters from the story. By simply listening back to their peers, some of the more reluctant speakers were encouraged to give it a go. It allowed those pupils who were less confident, especially those pupils with English as an additional language to speak and apply their knowledge of the story. Some pupils were able to echo single words and phrases, whilst others were able to demonstrate their understanding in sentences and add expression to the story with little or no input, acting as characters or as a narrator telling the story. The day concluded with a showcase of the pupils finished animations on the Interactive Whiteboard. It was an amazing conclusion to the day to see the children so animated and engaged, listening back to their own voices and recognising other voices in the class.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sharing Pages Documents Using Airdrop in iOS7


This week pupils at South Cave CE Primary School were collaborating on descriptive writing activities with teacher, Mr Tatton. The classroom has no wi-fi connectivity. Each pupil had an iPad mini and used the new Airdrop feature in iOS 7 to share work with each other and to send finished content to the teacher's iPad for display.


The teacher shared a Pages document with each pupil's iPad using Airdrop. The pupils were able to open the document and followed the prompt, which was to select an image and begin to imagine and describe what it might like to be there. The pupils then shared their work with an agreed partner who provided feedback and improvements before the work was presented to the class in the form of a Tellagami animation (example below).

1) Open Documents

2) Highlight Document

3) Open in another app

4) Choose App

5) Airdrop to other devices

An example from a pupil at South Cave Primary School
The completed documents and animations were sent to the teacher via airdrop. This allowed instant whole class display via the classroom projector. It also gave the teacher a copy of everyone's work for marking, feedback, storing and sharing. This removes any need for Apple TV or a reflection app. The iPad was plugged into the VGA cable of the projector. The restriction that it wasn't available as a mobile classroom visualiser was overcome by the fact that any pupil could instantly share their work via Airdrop.

It really is this easy (all pupils completed the full task during a one hour lesson and none of them had never worked with an iPad in the classroom before)

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