Blog 17: Ideas for introducing game making

Through recent discussions with ICT guys in my LEA, there was a lot of confusion as to how to introduce game making into the curriculum, and what it looks like at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

I've been trialling a few things and also picked up a few things from colleagues on Twitter. These include:

@KS1 and KS2   Tiny Tap- Free iPad app

You use this app to turn photos or 'moments' into games. For example, if you had a picture of a plant, the children can record themselves verbally asking 'Where are the petals?' They then select the region of the picture that, when tapped, gives the correct answer. Games can be shared through the app itself, via email or via iTunes. Really easy to use and effective from Y1 upwards. The beauty of the app is, even as an upper Key Stage 2 user, it can be applied in a range of subject areas.
For example, photograph a sentences and ask the pupils to identify various features. 'Touch the dropped clause. Touch the adverb' etc.

@KS1 and KS2   2DIY- PC based software

This 2Simple software program allows users to create a variety of quizzes and games. This link will give you an overview. (Courtesy of Education Scotland)

@KS2    Scratch- PC Based Software

Scratch allows you to create and share your own interactive games, music, stories and art.  It is free to use.  There are numerous demos online, however I have found the resources available through the Code Club most useful as they start from scratch (no pun intended).  The Code Club resources are split into three units. We aim to teach unit 1 in Y4, unit 2 in Y5 and unit 3 in Y6.

@KS2   Zondle

Zondle contains many quizzes to support learning, and allows users to create their own quizzes.  As pupil users, children have the chance to create their own games using the 'Create a Game' tool.

@KS2   Sploder

Sploder is an online game creator. Pupils can create fun games that they can publish to the net and email to friends.

What do you use for game creation? Please share ideas as I am sure there is much much more available!


Blog 16: A Video Tour of My Teacher iPad

I recently asked if anyone would be interested in seeing a video tour of my teacher iPad. The response was an ovewhelming 'yes', so here goes. 

If you are new to iPad use as a teacher, or maybe contemplating introducing them as a teaching tool, then this series of video blogs should come in handy. 

If I have missed out any great apps, or you have other comments/ recommendations then please leave feedback. 

I must state that I am in no way trying to tell you that these are the best uses for the iPad as a teaching tool, but these applications work well for me. I hope it is of use.


Blog 15: Assessment Using Socrative

Below is the first of my video blogs about how I use technology to aid my teaching.

Socrative is a free app, available in various formats. You can access it on their website or through a teacher and student app.

You can use Socrative to assess effectively in real time within your lessons. I hope this video provides some insight to how I have made it work for me.  Comments, feedback and suggestions are more than welcome. Do you use it?  Are you interesting in setting it up? How do you use it?


Blog 14: What makes a learner?

Following a discussion at our recent INSET I thought I would share some of our responses.  Do you agree? Add your own ideas.


Blog 13: Collaborative learning using Linoit

This is another blog about something I picked up at a Teach Meet. I cannot remember who was using it, but many thanks as it has had a big impact on part of my practice. Read on to find out how.

From my early days teaching I have been a keen user of post it notes in my classroom, from using them to annotate evidence of progression to collecting ideas and questions from pupils.  I mainly used them in my Science investigations, which was great yet frustrating.  Great because it was a quick way to collect ideas, questions and hypothesis. Frustrating because every morning I would enter my classroom to see a blank display with fallen post-its littering the carpet beneath.  Not great stickiness in my sticky notes!

I'm happy to say, thanks to Linoit, I don't have this problem anymore.

What is Linoit?
Lino (http://en.linoit.com/) is 'a free sticky and canvas service' that allows you to share ideas, photos, videos, websites and more.  Essentially, a virtual post-it noticeboard that can be used to share ideas/ questions etc.  It requires a web browser, alternatively it is available as an app for iPad.

How does Lino work?
To start, go to the above URL and sign up.  I created one account for our school, so all teachers use the same login.

 You will then have created a collaborative noticeboard that multiple users can add notes to. A working one, complete with custom background, will look like this.

Each note was added by a different pupil using a different computer/ laptop.
There are numerous ways of sharing a noticeboard. You can simply share the URL by creating a shortcut on the desktop or emailing it to pupils. Alternatively you can embed it onto a class blog or webpage (see my class page for an example). 

My preferred way of using Lino, however, is via the app. We are lucky to have enough iPads for 1:1 distribution, but it'd work well in group work. Each iPad has the Lino app, which has been activated using the same account. This means that new sticky notes will appear on all devices, simultaneously in real time.  Another advantage of using the iPads is using the camera to capture pictures which can be added to sticky notes.  This is great for evidence collection in investigations.

Lino also has features which integrate with calendars, task lists and email accounts, but I am unfamiliar with them.

So, to summarise:
  • Lino removes the messy process of sticking post it notes on the wall
  • Lino allows all pupils to see other pupils' notes in real time
  • Lino can be accessed and added to at home and in school
  • Lino can be embedded into class logs and web pages
  • Lino is free and easy to use
Ideas for use:
  • Planning investigations
  • Creating word lists for writing
  • Collecting visual evidence
  • Collecting feedback within lessons (leave one open for pupils to freely add comments to throughout the lesson)
  • Creating photo logs
  • Collecting pupil evidence


Blog 12: Top Trumps 2- Return of the Trump

This is my first blog of 2013 and hopefully the first of many. I am writing it with a 6 month old on my lap, so please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. I shall fix them once this little one is off to sleep!

I have previously blogged about how I used Top Trumps as an inspiration for a mini project during the build up to the Olympics in 2012.

Since then, trumping has crept back into my classroom as an enterprise project linked to our topic on The Tudors.  In this project we designed Tudor Top Trump cards from scratch, which we then produced and sold to classes in our school. The money raised went towards food for our Tudor banquet.

I did a nano presentation at Teach Meet Bolton in November 2012, a video of which can be seen below (link to come).

A brief structure of the project can be seen in the Prezi presentaion below:

We started by playing with existing sets of cards, then we analysed what made a good card.  The children were then led to suggest creating our own for our topic, solving the problem of funding our forthcoming banquet.

Groups were created (using team picker app) and the challenge was set.  By the end of the two weeks each child had contributed to:
  • Researching famous people from the Tudor era
  • Creating and scanning portraits (some chose to create them using electronic art software such as 2Paint a Picture or the Art Rage app)
  • Combining text and graphics, including word art and borders (2Publish+)
  • Creating a net for the box using publisher
  • Adding a design to, printing and creating the net
  • Costing the product- creating a spreadsheet to show sales predictions
  • Creating a persuasive script for an advert
  • Persuasive writing: why you should buy my product
  • Filming and editing the adverts using the iPads (apps included: Green Screen HD, Funny Movie Maker, iMovie)
  • Writing a blog/ recount about the project
The most pleasing part of the project was the level of engagement for all pupils as they worked collaboratively towards a shared goal.  The standard of writing was very pleasing also, especially for the boys in my class.

The project was done over two weeks and encompassed so many areas of the curriculum, from writing (persuasion, biographies) to Art and DT (producing packaging and artwork for the cards).

This can be applied to most topics in school, so why not give it a try?

Scan video to 26:22 for my presentation