Latest teaching and learning ideas

The Latest in Tech, Tools and Toys for Teachers.  Lesson Plans, Classroom resources and ideas for busy teachers.  iPad Apps and Android Apps for teachers and students.

iOS Apps on the iPad to support Coding and Robotics

A must see resource for coding and robotics in the classroom.

A must see resource for coding and robotics in the classroom.

The iPad is a great tool for coding.  Particularly for developing the skills and concepts in the junior years around directional language, understanding sprites and developing the building blocks of coding before moving onto traditional desktop coding software.

Here is a list of great apps on the iPad to assist coding and robotics in the classroom.  If you would like to learn a great deal more about coding and robotics in the classroom I an strongly recommend getting a copy of this excellent eBook.

Hopscotch   A visual programming tool for year 3 - 7 Students

Tynker Edu  Video game and puzzle creation tool for year 5 - 9 students

ScratchJr A visual programming tool for juniors for P - 2 Students

My Robot Friend A Problem Solving and Logic Skills Game for P - 6 Students

Codeacademy Code Hour Learn how to build things through coding. Various ability and challenge forTeachers / Students

The Foos Learn to code for an hour game forP - 2 students

Treehouse:  Learn Programming and Design Various resources to learn coding and design for Year 7 - 12 Students

Move the Turtle A variation on the classic BASIC programming skills from the 80’s for year 3 - 5 Students

Kodable A game introducing coding and problem solving skills for year P - 2 Students

Cato’s Hike a programming and logic odyssey. A friendly game for juniors intended to introduce coding and logic for year P - 4 Students.

Codea Kind of like Garage band for Coding.  More complex than anything else here but more rewarding and great tutorials and support for year 5 - 12 Students

Gamepress  Great tool for video game creation on the iPad.  Share your creations with peers also for year 5 - 9 students

Hyperpad Built on Gamepress platform but you need to create everything yourself.  You can actually export apps to iTunes store from Hyperpad.  Quite open ended. for year 7 - 12 students

Teach your students about coding and algorithms without a computer

To make a computer act like a human such as a robot, first we need to teach humans to think like a computer.  

Strangely enough this process does not, and and in some cases should not involve a computer.

CSunplugged is an excellent resource for teachers and students which is completely free and teaches students about computational thinking through a series of hands on activities.  

CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities teaching Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

The activities introduce students to Computational Thinking through concepts such as binary numbersalgorithms and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details of having to use computers. Importantly, no programming is required to engage with these ideas!

CS Unplugged is suitable for people of all ages, from elementary school to seniors, and from many countries and backgrounds. Unplugged has been used around the world for over twenty years and should not be missed if you are considering teaching robotics or coding with your students.

Setting up a school Facebook page to communicate with parents

Schools utilise a range of traditional and technical platforms to communicate with parents and students including websites, newsletters, mobile apps and SMS messaging.

One option that is often overlooked by schools is creating a school Facebook page.  Facebook is by far the most popular social network platform and the majority of parents are familiar with it in some capacity.

School Facebook pages can be created for free by a member of staff in well under an hour, and used as a platform to broadcast information to parents which they can access on mobile devices and computers.  

Just remember that nearly all of your parents are sitting up at some point of the day with Facebook on their phone.  Whether it's the school car park, office or home.

You can tailor the level of interaction parents have with the page, from a completely one directional conversation being lead by the school, through to varying levels of interaction and feedback by parents.  As the creator of the page you also have the right to remove and moderate content.

Getting the setup process right is essential as you would not want to create a platform that could breed negativity about the school from parents and external sources.

I have put together this video which walks you through the set up process and highlight the areas of most concern to schools.  I hope you find it useful.




Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff - TeachersPayTeachers.com

How Apple are hoping to rejuvenate the iPad's place in education in 2015.

Once upon a time the iPad changed the way in which we used technology in Education.  This shiny new device with a single button, easy to use interface and unrivaled 'App' store could do no wrong in the eyes of teachers and students and made us seriously rethink about what a computer was.

Since the iPad launched in 2010 we have seen the iPad's phenomenal rise and now it's slow fall as tough competition from Chromebooks and budget PC's and tablets closed the technology gap.  Poor decisions from Apple in regards to educational pricing and any significant improvements over six iPad generations aside from the obligatory faster processor, better camera and screen have left many schools questioning it's place in education as it is increasingly being used as a learning toy as opposed to a productivity tool.

Of all the big three tech companies (Apple, Microsoft and Google) Apple's future in education would be the most unenviable.  

Google's marriage of highly effective and cheap Chromebook's with Google Apps for Education productivity suite has bought them hundreds of millions of converts, and they are now the single biggest player in education.  The zero cost model of Google Apps for Education has been a roaring success for Google which will pay long term dividends when today's students are running tomorrow's economies.

Microsoft took a double hit in schools from the iPad initially and then Chromebooks.  They have regained some credibility with the integration of surface tablets and Office 365 for Education.  Surface tablet sales have grown year on year since release unlike the iPad which have fallen over the last two years.

Currently Apple's options for students are either an overpriced tablet or an overpriced laptop.  iTunes U is a poor curriculum delivery platform in comparison to Office and Google Apps and iCloud offers very little in the way of innovation and collaboration for educators.  The iPad is a train wreck when running Google apps for education and Office although both Microsoft and Google have deployed apps on the iPad to allow access to their productivity / learning platforms.  

In an attempt to re-energize the iPad's future in education Apple are planning to allow schools to manage iTunes accounts for students improve the deployment process for the iPad. 

They are also revisiting the manner in which iPads are managed when used by shared users in a school.  Unfortunately it does not look as though Apple are prepared to allow multiple logins on a single iPad yet, but we can live in hope.

The full details of this proposal can be read at 9to5Mac and it is expected to be rolled out in September 2015.  

Education is a huge space for technology companies and I am sure Apple will be working towards a product or policy change that will place them back at the top of the class.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.