Monthly Archives: November 2011

The power of a faculty twitter account – @PCSAScience

I previously enjoyed the odd tweet here and there but over the past 6 months have really turned into the tweeter or twit that I am today. I have built an excellent network and try to provide tweets that will help my followers as much as the people that I follow help me. After realising the power of twitter as an outstanding tool in education, I decided to start a faculty twitter account for all of the staff to use. Therefore, @PCSAScience was formed.

Initially I was surprised to discover that not many of the students use twitter and only a small handful of students are avid tweeters. After plugging the faculty twitter account with my classes the followers have slowly grown. The number of followers is just shy of 100 consisting of Students, parents, other teachers and interested educational tweeters. I hope that more students and staff will join in with the twitter action and also parents of the students to show a genuine interest in their child’s learning to develop a learning conversation over the dinner table.

I have used twitter to share websites with classes that maybe useful to develop their understanding of certain topics. Some pupils have also enjoyed relevant news stories that I have shared with particular classes to contextualise their learning. When using twitter during lessons I have used twitter to check progress of individuals and form an electronic network within the lesson. This also provides real time feedback to myself as well as other students. Some web tools such and have the option to share the students work direct from the application to twitter and this provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration and peer assessment. Some iPad and iPhone application also have this function and with iOS5 this provides endless possibilities to share content from iPhone and iPad. Some apps on the iPad and iPhone also offer the option to share the creations on twitter such as PuppetPals, iCanAnimate and ComicLife.

#tags have been used so that followers can quickly identify relevant tweets and form an easy online revision resource that can be accessed in school, at break, at home and on the move. I hope that twitter will help students to learn and also provide an insight into lessons at Priory Community School for parents and also educational tweeters and is an excellent way of sharing best practise.



Just Dance 3 – Autodance app

Just a little bit of fun for the classroom. With the idea that all pupils need to have a laugh every now and then and also to show that the Teacher does have a personality and a fun side.

Using the app Just Dance 3 Autodance that is available for iPhone and Android. It is also available to download on the iPad as an iPhone app. You can film pupils undertaking work or practical activities or your faculty teaching. The app then does all the hard work putting it together to a choice of three songs. Easy free idea to put together a short video to document the students lesson or an excellent tutor time activity to build confidence and develop team work and creativity.

Just Dance 3 Autodance – app


Augmented reality in education

Augmented Reality (AR) adds a new wow factor to a number of different sectors and has true potential in eduction. AR super imposes a graphic, video or auto onto the real time environment. AR systems superimpose graphics for every perspective and adjust to every movement of the user.Augmented realty is widely used in the retail sector at present and is the future of advertising and has great potential in education.

I have used a lot of AR Web tools to date all of which are free and have an excellent impact on student enjoyment, engagement and most importantly, learning. The AR sites that I have found to be most useful and provide a big impact on student engagement and learning can be seen below.

Anti Smoking: AR Lungs

Biology: Organs

This can be seen in action in the short video below.

I would love to here how you are using AR in your classroom. Please leave a comment with any suggestions or websites that you are using. Thank you!

Using an iPad to entertain your pet!

Smart Phones – In the pocket or the palm?

There has been a lot of debate to whether Head Teachers should ban smart phones. According to the Guardian the view of the NAHT is that schools should continue to ban smart phones because they hold “potential for mischief and distraction”. My view on this quite bold statement will be discussed during this blog post and I am sure that this blog will be the first of many issue around this topic.

I strongly feel that the view of smart phones having the  “potential for mischief and distraction” is one made by someone who does not fully understand the potential that these devices that are currently lying ‘dormant’ in the students pockets and could have massive impact on teaching and learning. A manageable acceptable use policy would need to be in place and if these students did not use there mobile devices in the correct manner then they would lose the right to use them. A large element of trust must be placed in the hands of the students to use their devices appropriately.

We must remember that in the current economic climate schools may not have money to spend on new technology and with funds being cut to develop technology, using the pupils smart phones or mobile devices will bridge the technology gap without significant investment from the school. The devices that are now in the pockets of students is an excellent opportunity to engage students in learning in a way that can develop their own independent learning skills and also “capture the vast amount of informal learning going on outside the classroom”. The opportunities available to students to access the internet and also applications that are available on smart phones and mobile devices are endless.

I strongly feel that Smart Phones and Mobile devices should be encouraged in the classroom these will provide an engaging up to date way of learning. From first hand experience I have used smart phones and mobile devices such as PSPs, Nintendo DS and iPads to allow less able students to access key information from the internet to aid in their learning. This has really engaged these pupils in learning and increased their enjoyment within the lessons.

I am lucky enough to work within a school that provides the opportunity for students to bring their own device into school to access free WiFi that is available to all students all over the school campus. I wish to develop this opportunity with the students and would love to see the full potential that Smart Phones and mobile devices can offer in education both within the classroom and on the all over the school campus. It is no longer, ‘put your phones away!’ but ‘put your phone to good use!’

So reviewing the big question from the start… Smart phones definitely belong in the palm of the students to aid learning and provide an up to date learning environment which will engage all students.

Gavin Smart’s presentation @ #tmclevedon – 21st October 2011

TeachMeets have really kicked off at Clevedon school over the past couple of years and I am really pleased to have presented at the last two. I attended the first TeachMeet at Clevedon and was truly inspired to try something new and also left the meeting wanting to present.

I am in the process of organising an internal TeachMeet in the next couple of weeks and all going well, I wish to organise a larger event at Priory Community School in the New Year.

I strongly feel that good ideas should be shared so that all teachers can learn from each other. All ideas demonstrate tried and tested ways of engaging students, inspiring learners an developing teaching and learning.

I have included the videos that I used during the presentation.

Below is the link to my presentation from the last TeachMeet.

TeachMeet 20th October

I will be blogging in depth about the sites, apps and ideas that I presented at a later date.

iPads in Science Presentation

Last week I presented in front of LT at my school to gain funding for some iPads in my faculty. Below is my presentation. A vary large  and detailed mindmap which I presented from. Some may thing it is messy and confusing, but it did the job and we are now awaiting the delivery of the iPads.

Later on I will let you know a little more about the website I used to generate this and how I use it in the classroom.


I am a firm believer in that having an iPad or any Apple product is to do things differently and not carry out the same task just on a different device. For example I wouldn’t use an iPad to write up a piece of work in the classroom when a computer room was available. I totally agree with the advertising slogan ‘Think different’ dreamt up by Apple in 1997. If they thought differently in 1997 and made Apple what it is today then we can definitely think differently today, imagine the potential of your students now if you encouraging them to think differently.

As previously mentioned in my first blog I strongly feel that iPads and iPhones should be used creatively in classrooms to develop creativity and provide opportunities for all students to learn in a way that is relevant to them.

Applications available from the app store provide an excellent resources that is accessible and relatively cheap. It provides an easy way to personalise your device and your learning.

On the blog I wish to share some excellent apps and hopefully provide a new way of thinking towards some of the apps that aren’t directly linked to education. I find that using subject specific apps do not provide a creative way of learning although they do enrich the learning journey.

TIM RYLANDS Using ICT to Inspire at #SWGFL11 @timrylands

Tim Rylands seminar at the SWGFL conference was a truly invigorating, inspiring and engaging journey through a range of ideas to use ICT in the classroom to inspire the learners and to make the learning journey more engaging, enjoyable and most importantly inspiring. The seminar focused on a range of Web2 tools and software (most of it FREE), hand-held devices, games and more.

 The seminar started virtually the day before with a request from @timrylands for anybody attending to bring a smart phone lighter.  All will come apparent later on.

This set a little bit of awe and wonder about the treats that may be in store for the enthusiastic and optimistic delegates who had been waiting all day for the last of the seminar sessions. So much excitement boiled over at one stage when @ICTEvangelist rushed to the front of the seminar room to proudly occupy the front row. After a slight delay (due to technical difficulties) the seminar kicked off. I can honestly say that good (outstanding) things come to those who wait!

Tim started with an excellent but amazing under estimated use of ICT, a blog with all the links to every website that he used in his presentation! Gone are the days of pen and paper, especially at an ICT conference. The delegates were equipped with (virtual) lighters and iPads ready to be enthused.

Tim stressed that ‘Fascination is a tool that can be easily neglected. This digital world, when mixed with the analogue, brings such potential for communication.’

‘Technology is not the only answer… but, it does open up some remarkable opportunities, to extend teaching and learning styles.’

This feeling towards the potential that technology in the classroom has was shared by all delegates and all left inspired, enthusiastic and landed back at school the following day clutching a number of new exciting ways to inspire learners.

The talk finished with a sing along to one of Tim’s greatest hits. Virtual lighters at the ready, Tim played a live electronic tune that was made very easily online and could be an idea for the classroom. iPhones and iPads aloft we all swayed to the rhythm of the chart topping hit!

All of the websites, apps and other uses of ICT that Tim demonstrated can be viewed at – a few highlights include:

Isle of tune

A range of avatar makers

Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming – MindMeister


For creating your own worlds


For online video editing

Many more can be seen at Tim’s blog. Overall an inspiring seminar, which left the delegates, excited about returning to school!

You can find out more about Tim Ryland at @timryland and also his website where you can also follow links to his blog, where some pictures of the delegates with enjoyment written all over their faces can be seen.

This blog can also be found as a guest post on the following link.

In the beginning

I struggled to start this blog and now that I have (11 words in) I hope that I will make the most of the full potential that blogging can offer. I had been debating whether or not to start a blog for some time and hopefully I have made the right choice and this blog will not only provide a place for me to reflect on my Teaching, but also provide some new ideas for everybody to try.

I am relatively new to the teaching profession but I feel that have a desire to innovate and inspire learners (staff and students) to try something new in the classroom. I strongly feel that being brave is important and taking risks with new technologies, new ideas and new ways of teaching is both beneficial to my own development and the improved attainment shown by the students.

I am passionate about using new mobile technology within the classroom to enhance the learning journey whilst also improving the engagement of all pupils. I have been trailing different ways of using my iPad during lessons for various different reasons but most importantly to encourage students to be creative. I feel that the iPad provides a vast array of opportunities for students to demonstrate learning through the use of numerous apps. Most of which require little or no writing.

I hope to share the best of these apps on this blog in the future and hopefully with the introduction of more iPads within my faculty, more pupils will be able to experience the power of the iPad and I feel that the students will come up with more good ideas that I will be able to share.

I wish to pass on ideas that can innovate and inspire others.

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