Layering apps

Several of our ICT sessions focus on digital literacy. We will look at ways of working with media and explore apps, webtools and software for combining images, sound, video and text. Mobile devices such as iPads are becoming more widely available and we’ll consider how they can help us to go beyond the classroom to capture learning which might then be reviewed and extended at a later date. This approach can blur the lines between the concepts of ‘school’ and ‘not school’, ‘classroom’ and ‘non-classroom’, ‘school-time’ and ‘free time’, and allow children to develop a real sense of ownership as they pursue their ideas around a topic.

One exciting development is the range of digital artefacts we can make on the iPads, many of which combine media in suprising ways. The potential to produce professional-looking products which are instantly shareable can be a real motivator and can also provide much-needed support for the many children who face handwriting challenges. For example, VideoScribe will automatically draw your words and images at a specified speed. Here’s an example made by Christina’s early years group:

In Tellagami you can direct an avatar to speak in front of the backgrounds you choose:

In the example above, Mr Andrews Online, working with children from Stepney Primary School combined work from several apps and edited them in iMovie:

These examples draw upon the ease with which you can combine screenshots from apps or the internet with photos you take with the camera on an iPad and make them into new artefacts such as an eBook, comic strip, collage or slideshow. Here screenshots from the role play app Toca Hair Salon have been compiled into a comic-style story using Comic Life:

I would also like to recommend the Tiny Tap app for making simple learning activities using sound and animation which can be based on children’s own experiences if you use photos from your photo library, or which can be based on images from the free creation packs that come with the app.

This video gives you a feel for how the app can be used across a wide age range:

You’ll find more video examples on how to use Tiny Tap here:

And you can read more about layering apps in David Andrews’ article App Combos with the Ipad for the online magazine Innovate My School. It is well worth looking at the other free editions of Innovate My School for more ideas on technology in education.

Assessment guidance:


Creative Computing

In this session we will be looking at the new computing curriculum and exploring ways of introducing computer science concepts to young children. Have a look at these well-known technology experts talking about how they first learned to code:

We’ll think about how children can begin with programmable toys such as Beebots and work towards controlling screen robots. There are some lovely apps appearing for beginning programming, including Daisy the Dinosaur, BeeBot, and Move the Turtle:


You can download the slides for our session here:

Toys, Turtles and Games: Creative Computing in EYFS

and explore the internet resources by opening this bundle of links.

If you would like to get a taste of what we are working towards at the end of Key Stage 1 you could have a look at the visual programming language, Scratch, which is available online. A good place to start is the Step by Step Introduction and Starter Projects. Exploring the starter projects will give you a feel for the types of things you can make with Scratch. Notice that you can control the computer with your voice or hand gestures if you have a webcam. I love the idea of  flipping pizza dough by waving your hands!


Resource Bank

I hope you’ll enjoy browsing our very own resource bank and that you’ll also have some ideas to add. We wanted to create a space for students to share ideas and plans that would be useful on placements. At the moment most of these ideas are around the use of computers but the aim is that you could post on any primary subject.

Here’s a guide on how to contribute to the resource bank:   How-to-add to the resource bank

You may like to take some time to explore the resources. Here is a Prezi, for example, introducing the topic of Weather. I really like how the whole presentation fits into the stamp on the postcard:

Click on the postcard or the link to view the original Prezi in the resource bank and notice that it actually works within the blog.  You can also embed Popplets, videos or Scratch games. Here’s how:     How-to-embed-items in your blog

Have a look at Amisha’s fabulous iMove trailer on the Gingerbread Man story:

And this wonderful version of Hairy Maclary made with PuppetPals by Hayley Elley, Sarah Battams and Hayley Hughes:

They also have some good suggestions for using it across the curriuclum.

Please think about adding your own teaching ideas. They don’t have to be whizzy: often the simple ideas are the best.