I always start my history topics by getting the children to make a visual timeline of key events. First they discuss each picture then sort way they think is the correct timeline. I normally print big colour pictures for them to look at but decided to try using Dropbox and the IPads. I collected a series of key pictures and saved them into the class Dropbox. My iPads are distributed one between three so each group.

Each group opened the Dropbox app and accessed the pictures. They then were able to slide through them, pinch and pull them at their leisure and discuss what they could see before moving onto the sorting task.

I found that the pictures took time to come through on all the IPads and am not sure if this was down to the school network.

When the pictures were open the children really engaged with the pads focusing in on the areas that interested them and looking for clues. Each child wanted their moment with iPad so they were really willing to share their ideas more freely in a bid to get hands on.

In the end it stimulated great self-initiated discussion and high levels of thinking and observation. It also saved time and money as I didn’t have to print and laminate large pictures. The loading was a bit of a problem but I will try pre-loading them next time.

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Setting up the class iPads

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

First I took a photo of the website homepage and using pages I edited each one to show a identity number. I then downloaded Dropbox and set a class account. I set up my own class gmail account so that I now ad two places to send and distribute work.

Using a £15 iiTunes card I set up a school account so that the teachers can buy their own apps and this will avoid arguments. I installed pages ,keynote , iMovie, GarageBand, iPhoto and a few free apps I will talk about later in the blog as I use them.

The problem of sending work once completed is still a bit of a problem and I have been experimenting with this so any ideas will be gratefully received.

Te lack of a printer to send the work to is also a problem to consider as the iPads do not connect with the school server.

I have assigned specific iPads to specific groups in order to have an idea where to find certain work if I am still having problems.

This has been my basic set up to give the children tools for top quality lessons.

All I need to do now is give them to the class.

Protecting the IPads

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Did a good deal with PC World for my IPads and was really happy with their service. One thing that was worrying me was protecting the kit. 10 IPads for the whole school from Reception to Year 6 they were going to need some protection.

I went for the TabToob http://tabtoob.com/ protective cover as it seemed like the ideal product. It was affordable, robust and squabble proof. It takes away some of the aesthetics of the IPad but I am now a lot happier about them leaving my class. The protective foam cover can also be used as a sturdy stand to prop the IPad up.

I really like this product and would recommend you look at it if you are looking to protect your tech in school.

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Setting up the classroom for IPad

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

So I now have 10 IPads that the school has helped me to get. Budgets are tight so I’m going to have to improvise on the rest. I’ve fashioned my own charging station using stationary trays and multiplugs and this seems to do the trick.

Connecting my iPad to the smart board was interesting. I started by buying a HDMI /VGA cable for £2 off EBay. Sadly this quick fix did not work so it was over to plan B. I brought in my own Apple TV and brought a HDMI/VGA converter for £25. I installed this into my smart board and plugged in the audio cable. Bingo I have a picture.

Then it dawned on me !!!! With the school filters am I going to be able to create the wifi connection I need to make it all work? I nervously entered the code in and low and behold it worked. Phew ! Now I don’t have to ask the wife for a MacBook Pro.

I now have the mirroring capability I need to run my class by IPad. I’m all ready now to put my plans into action.

Top Gear challenge

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

This was a lot of fun. I set up my Xbox 360 and Kinect to the whiteboard and introduced the children to the ‘Star in a reasonably priced car challenge’ where stars race a Kia C’eed around a race track competing for the best time.

Using the wireless racing wheel and the easiest setting possible each child posted a one lap time around the track. Times were recorded and placed on the fastest time board.

I used the amazing Forza 4 game which has amazing potential as a learning tool due to the amount of detail the developers have put in and it’s integration with the Kinect device.

Using the times we recorded we managed to carry out a range of mathematical starters through the week and it was great to see year 2/3 children working in 100ths of seconds and rounding times up and down, you can also the results to discuss fractions decimals , place value .

If I did this again I would prob break the racing down so a different group raced everyday in my maths starter to maintain the interest as it was a long time getting 30 children through the race but the enthusiasm and fun we had was amazing.
Of course I recorded the fastest time but some of the children had me sweating and my TA thrashed me when we raced a Ferrari round the Nuremberg ring.

I see great potential in using Forza 4. The ability to tinker with downforce and tyre pressure could make a great science lesson and the you can paint and design the cars could be good for an art lesson. Any thoughts anyone?

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THE STORY SO FAR

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

It was a big year for me last year. My first year as a qualified teacher, my own classroom and a whole heap of responsibility as the school only has 3 teachers and the head! The threat OFSTED was hanging over the school.

I grabbed the ICT co-ordinater role as computers , gaming and tech has always been my passion and then set about trying to try as many different ideas as I could.

It was a busier first year then I imagined. First I delivered the school a new website. Using Primary Site and a lot of research and input from the children and parents we came up with http://www.fourlanesendprimary.co.uk. it is an amazing site that improved communication between the school and parents and gave us the chance to show off what we were doing. I am very proud of what we came up with.

I managed to attend a Teachology conference in London which helped me break out of the NQT bubble I was in and start thinking of all the ideas that were put on the back burner due to observations,essays, late nights and all the things that come with trying to qualify in this amazing profession.

My boss let me go to BETT where I got to meet two of the most amazing people I have met in my life in Tim Rylands and Sarah Nield. Tim inspired me in Uni and I based my dissy on a small part of his work ( the use of Myst ). He and Sarah invited me into their world and watching him deliver a workshop to TAs changed the way I taught forever. I really think that he taught me how to relax in front of the class and how creativity can inspire children to push themselves to achieve great things. I am so blessed to know these guys and call them friends of my family.

Anyway they introduced me to Purple Mash (which I took back to the school) and so many amazing educators and innovators that my head was spinning. I went to my first Teachmeet where I was in awe of all the amazing creative teachers and their passion and drive.

I came back and really began pushing the ICT. I have pushed through an upgrade to the schools server and wireless network (including outdoor wifi) which was really needed. Then through the help of the Head and the Governors we managed to get funding for 10 IPads for the children. I love all things Apple and we are the first school in the area to use these.

So I have done a lot in my first year and I’m ready to go for it this year. I can’t wait to try my ideas out and introduce the children to blogging and touchscreen technology. I have a million apps and ideas to try and I will let you know how I get on.