Category Archives: General

Apple Classroom, the best thing since… iTunes U

I have a new favourite app (after Clips… sort of) that I suggest every teacher that uses iPad in their classroom must use, Apple Classroom.

Ever since the major update this summer that has meant that you no longer require an MDM to set up, Apple Classroom has been going from strength to strength and the development team have obviously been listening to the requests from teachers.

Classroom turns your iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping a teacher guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can easily launch the same app on every student device at the same time, or launch a different app for each group of students. Classroom helps teachers focus on teaching so students can focus on learning.

When teachers are relatively new to iPad in the classroom, Classroom can make the transition an easier and smoother process. Less confident teachers worry about the lack of ‘control’ that iPad may bring to the lesson but Apple’s latest must have app for education is supporting teachers so they can focus on teaching and the students can focus on learning.

Easy to set up, easy to use and students do not need to download an app!

Key Features 

Remote Control – Launch apps, websites or iBooks on a students device, a group of students or on every iPad in the class.

Screen view – Glance at any screen on your classroom with just a tap.

Share work on the Big Screen – Project any student’s screen on an AirPlay enabled screen.

Mute – Mute all devices in the room when Clips soundtracks are being chosen!

Lock devices – Lock student’s devices during teacher talk.

Air Drop – Share resources from the teacher device to all students with just one tap.

Bluetooth Connectively – No MDM required to set and use. Students automatically join the Classroom when they enter the class.

For more information on how to use Apple Classroom click here.

Update 2.1

One of the best features about Apple Classroom has been the Class Summary which arrived in the latest update (September 2017) Class summary allows you to view information about the student’s use of their iPad during the class. The Class Summary pane appears automatically when you end a class .

You can tap each item and view:

  • App usage: What apps were used by the students and the length of time the students used them during class.
  • Items shared: Documents or websites shared by the students.
  • Student list: The list of students that participated in the class.

Apple Classroom is truly amazing and just what every teacher in an iPad classroom needs to help students and guide them through their learning without loosing ‘control’. Using iTunes U and Apple Classroom to their try potential can help students and staff get the most out of iPad in their classroom without spending a penny!


iBeacon Project at iClevedon

After seeing iBeacons being used in a retail setting I was immediately excited at their potential within education and in particular schools that have invested in a 1:1 iPad deployment. I first saw the Estimote beacons in November 2013 on twitter as a promoted tweet and quickly visited their site to purchase a developer kit.

A few weeks past while the developer kits were being shipped which gave me time to think about how they could be used at Clevedon School. After I received the package from the US opened them up to discover some pretty cool looking beacons but with very little technical ability to actually make the dream a reality. I knew what I wanted to happen but didn’t know how! estimote-beacons-groupLuckily I knew someone who could. At Clevedon School we are lucky to have such a talented group of Digital Leaders and one of these is a very talented iOS Developer and had his first app on the App Store at the age of 14. Now in Year 11, Lewis Smallwood was the technical genius behind the iBeacon Project at Clevedon School.

After several brainstorming meetings we decided to use the Beacons to share location specific notifications and resources. Using the existing Clevedon Handbook App we were Apple to integrate the iBeacon function to help students receive notification or lesson resources by simply walking through the door.

After the success of the trial, we have know purchased more Beacons to allow more subjects access to this groundbreaking technology. We are also currently planning a totally interactive Open Evening experience for prospective students and parents.

It was great to also present this project at The ADE Global Institute in San Diego in July as iBeacons where a huge part of the gathering of over 400 ADEs and over 100 Apple staff.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 16.09.28


Image courtesy of @jnxyz

How iBeacons are being used in education at the moment is just the start and I feel we have achieved something that will only get better. The best use for iBeacons in Schools has probably not been dreamt up yet, but I’m confident that at the moment we are definitely leading the way.

For information about iBeacons in Education visit Jonathon Nalder’s Blog  ‘The World First iBeacon Schools’

UPDATED – How to get great looking iOS and OS X app icons for presentations.

Some may call it OCD or just very picky but one of my pet hates is seeing app icons on presentations that are either not stretched and misshaped or highly pixelated.  Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 16.43.27

The solution to great looking apps is as follows.

There are a number of different ways to achieve awesome looking app icons.

A while ago I found a Mac Application on the Web that finds the High Resolution app icons from the App Store and saves them as a .png file on your desktop.

The application I use is iTunesIcon V2.1 . After you have found the right icon you need, you need to make some slight adjustments to make it look just like the icons on the App Store and your device. This can be achieved in Keynote, PowerPoint or Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

I use Keynote as these are quick and easy.


Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 16.25.51

Insert the shape which resembles the App icon (Squircle) . Format the shape and fill with the icon .png file that was found using iTunesIcon. You can drag and drop the .png file into the Style window or located using the Choose option.

Once you have filled the shape with the icon make sure you scale to fit. You may wish to add some other effects such as shadows and reflections at this stage. Download the Keynote here to simply drag and drop your App Icon image into the fill.


This is really simple, drag and drop the .png file onto a slide and format the image using the Bevel Rectangle setting.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 17.13.03


You may wish to use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop however I find this method a lot quicker and easier.

If iTunesIcon fails to find the right image, return to the App store and copy the whole title of app and paste into iTunesIcon. Failing that use Google to locate a large image of high resolution.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 17.20.31

You can also get High Res icons of Mac Apps that are installed on your Mac. Unfortunately I have not yet found a way to download any Mac App icon like the one described for the iOS Apps above.

To download High Res icon images on your Mac, follow the steps below.

MacApps Icons.002 MacApps Icons.003 MacApps Icons.004 MacApps Icons.005

Science 6 Marker Mat – Inspired by @JamieClark85 revamped by @steve_sdavis

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 17.45.57After the success of the SIXCESS resource produced by myself and @MrBAyres to help students prepare for 6 Mark Questions in science exams the evolution of the resources has snowballed.

Steve Davis, a colleague of mine at Clevedon School, spotted some awesome resources by @JamieClark85  and started to think how they could be adapted to be used within a science classroom.

Jamie had developed a series of overlays that could be used within an English classroom. Jamie’s examples can be seen by clicking the image below.

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Steve did a cracking job with the content and visited me to add some magical touches! The pins icons, SIXCESS logo and certified stamp! A relatively small job but Davis seemed impressed!

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The PDF can be downloaded by clicking the link below. Cut out the example in the centre and use as an overlay or laminate and use as it is.

6 Marker Mat

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 18.05.40

Experience Life App – Science Apps from Imaxina

Experience Life App – £5.99

iTunesArtwork@2x 2“Experience Life” is a complete educational application about the vital role of the relationship of man.

Through the nervous system’s response to external stimuli, we relate to other living beings and to our surroundings. Our senses receive stimuli; the nervous system processes the information and responds in the most appropriate manner; then, the musculoskeletal system implements the action.

Available in English and in Spanish, the development of this application was supervised by educational and medical professionals to explain the workings of THE SENSES, the NERVOUS SYSTEM, and the MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM in an enjoyable and entertaining way.

Taking advantage of iPad functionalities, it has interactive illustrations, games and animations which reveal an entirely new approach to learning.

Its innovative navigation moves forward in a natural environment, associating educational content with the capabilities of certain animals. This catches the user’s attention and motivates interaction designed to improve learning.

What I think…

This app is awesome! There is very good interactive element to this app with a range of learning styles catered for. A range of activities and simple to use interface makes this book very accessible to all learners and a range of ages and makes the learning and enjoyable experience.  Visually excellent and very accurate science pitched at the correct level to match the literacy abilities of the user. A great focus on scientific literacy throughout linked to visual stimuli and diagrams. A superb resource for students to use during lessons, at home or for independent study. A really enjoyable app to use and learn with that is well worth the money.



Energy For Life App – Science Apps from Imaxina

Energy For Life – FREE


We get the energy necessary to live, the materials necessary for tissue construction and regeneration, and the substances which regulate the body’s internal reactions through the role of nutrition. Functions carried out in the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.

Available in English and Spanish, the development of this application has been supervised by educational and medical professionals to explain the functions of the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM, and the CIRCULATORY SYSTEM in an enjoyable and entertaining way.

Taking advantage of the iPad’s functionalities, it has interactive explanations and animations which reveal a whole new way of learning.

Its innovative navigation runs in a natural environment, associating the educational content with the capabilities of some of the most famous dinosaurs. This catches the user’s attention, who then learns new concepts and is motivated to interact, enhancing the learning process.

What I think…

This app is awesome! There is very good interactive element to this app with a range of learning styles catered for. A range of activities and simple to use interface makes this book very accessible to all learners and a range of ages and makes the learning and enjoyable experience.  Visually excellent and very accurate science pitched at the correct level to match the literacy abilities of the user. A great focus on scientific literacy throughout linked to visual stimuli and diagrams. A superb resource for students to use during lessons, at home or for independent study.

energy1_en  energy2_enenergy3_en

One Best Thing – Sharing learning with real audiences.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 21.10.14

Last year I was successful in applying to be an Apple Distinguished Educator.  After being selected the Class Of 2013 attended ADE Institutes across the globe. ADEs from Europe, UAE and India gathered in Cork Ireland for a week long collaboration and learning.

Our project was to produce multi touch iBooks using iBooks Author to share an idea or best practice entitled My One Best Thing.

One Best Thing is a collection of books, created by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs), that demonstrate the use of Apple technologies to transform teaching and learning. Each One Best Thing book shares a unit, a lesson, or a best practice and is designed to help another educator implement a successful practice. It’s a professional learning idea championed by an educator—in word and action—that others can look to for ideas and tips on how to replicate.

100 ADEs from around the globe were successful in having their chapters published and I was lucky enough to be one of them. To view all the free iBooks click the banner at the top of the page. I would highly recommend that you also download the chapters from Mat Pullen, Mark Anderson, Greg Hughes, Andy Dickenson and John Jones.

You can download my book for free by clicking the image below.Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 21.02.45

Sharing learning with a real audience immediately provides real purpose for students. This One Best Thing demonstrates ways in which students could share their work with peers, educators and the rest of the world. A range of apps, activity ideas, and student examples are highlighted showing how students can use iPad to share what they have learned with authentic audiences


Revision Apps

brainpopBrainPop UK

Bring learning to your fingertips with the BrainPOP Featured Movie app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Watch a different animated movie every day, then test your new knowledge with an interactive quiz – free! School wide subscriptions can be purchased to have full access to all the videos.


Edexcel Past Papers edexcel-past-papers

Edexcel Past Papers allows you to download past papers directly to your mobile device, allowing you to revise anywhere at any time. Giving instant access to all past papers, along with their mark schemes and examiner reports, Edexcel Past Papers allows you to personalise your search so you can access and download the papers you need for revision. Covering all subjects including English, Science and Maths past papers, across the following qualifications – GCSE, A level, AS level, International GCSE, Edexcel Certificate, Diploma, Functional Skills, Advanced Extension Reward and Edexcel Awards.

EvernotePeekEvernote Peek

Evernote Peek is a learning app designed for the iPad 2 Smart Cover. No Smart Cover? No problem! The new Virtual Cover lets any iPad get in on the fun. Studying with an iPad has never been more natural.

Simply peek under the cover to prepare for a quiz, practice a language or strengthen your memory.


iMindMap HD iMindmapHD

iMindMap HD is the ONLY Mind Mapping app that is endorsed by inventor of Mind Maps, Tony Buzan, allowing for truly organic Mind Maps and freedom to draw as if by hand. It is your limitless workspace for brainstorming ideas, note-taking during meetings or lectures, organising tasks, planning events, creating and delivering presentations and so much more.
iMindMap HD is packed with intuitive, time-saving features to help lighten the load from your busy schedule and add a touch of creativity to everything you do.

So, ditch the endless lists and dull slideshows and take refuge from the status quo with the creative tool for all tasks, iMindMap HD.

PLEASE NOTE: iMindMap HD syncs your maps between all your supporting devices, so will ask you to sign up for a free account on the first start.

Khan AcademyKhan Academy

Khan Academy allows you to learn almost anything for free.

Our iOS app is the best way to view Khan Academy’s complete library of over 4,200 videos and articles.

We cover a massive number of topics, including K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even the humanities with playlists on art history, civics, and finance. 

Spend an afternoon brushing up on statistics. Discover how the Krebs cycle works. Learn about the fundamentals of computer science. Prepare for the upcoming SAT. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, learn how fire stick farming changed the landscape of Australia.

My Exams My Exams

Create your own personal exam timetable using SQA’s Exam Timetable Builder. Once you have created your timetable you’ll be able to view your personal exam schedule at a glance, add notes to exam entries, e-mail the timetable to yourself or a friend, and even integrate it into other calendars using iCal.

This free app also provides information and resources to help you prepare for your exams, and links to other useful websites.

My Study Plan My Study Plan

Do you need help organising your study time before important exams?

 SQA’s My Study Plan app will automatically create your own personalised study plan based on your exam times, their importance and when you want to study.

Once the study plan is generated you can view and edit it to customise it further to meet your needs.


The official Quizlet app is here! It’s a free, fun, and beautifully simple way to study on your iPhone and iPad.

Seamless syncing means all your Quizlet study sets are ready to use. Or search Quizlet’s database of over 21 million flash card sets to find content already created. 

Pick from 3 mobile-only study modes to suit your learning style and take advantage of audio in 18 languages to reinforce pronunciation and retention. Plus, with full offline support you can study anywhere — even without an internet connection.

revision appRevision App

Revision App is The Ultimate Learning Tool. SAVE MONEY & LEARN SMARTER with millions flash cards & Exam Notes covering GCSE, A-Level, College & University subjects to help get the grades you deserve & reach the goals you dream of. 

Reading A Book For An Hour = Revision App For 20 Mins 

Revision App is the Key to the Success you need, not only to achieve your A Grade but also to build the future you deserve! Covering subjects such as English, Maths, Science, Economics, Business Management etc to help you not only revise but continue to learn and progress all year round. 

Revision doesn’t have to be boring and a chore. You can be creative and learn SMARTER with Revision App.

Revise An Inspector CallsRevise AIC

This revision application is aimed at those who have been studying J.B Priestly’s play, An Inspector Calls. It includes detailed summaries of characters, themes, context and plot as well as several interactive quizzes to test your knowledge of the text. Plus with Twitter integration you can tweet your thoughts on the play. It is simple and intuitive to navigate around and is optimised for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad.

Studying on the go has never been easier!

Revise OM&MRevise Of Mice and Men

This revision application is aimed at those who have been studying Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men. It includes detailed summaries of characters, themes, context and plot as well as several interactive quizzes to test your knowledge of the text. Plus with Twitter integration you can tweet your thoughts on the novel. It is simple and intuitive to navigate around and is optimised for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad.

Studying on the go has never been easier!

A full list of School Revision Apps can be viewed here. These include other English Literature Apps as well as the Paid versions of the apps above.

Simple Mind HDSimple Mind

Mind mapping tool that turns your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device.

• Easy to use – drag, arrange and edit topics on the Mind Map page.
• Tap or drag Node Well to add new Topics.
• Undo/Redo in the editor – full Undo capabilities make editing and experimenting easy.
• Word wrap tool allows easy adjusting of topic width.
• Reconnect topics using drag drop, aided by topic auto-layout.
• Cut, Copy, Paste – move or duplicate topics between Mind Maps.
• Apply visual styles – change colors, borders and lines for maximum presentation impact.
• Large Mind Map support – unlimited page size.
• Exchange your Mind Maps with SimpleMind Desktop for OS X/Windows.
• Universal version: user interfaces natively designed for iPad and iPhone/iPod.


There are loads of users that upload educational videos onto YouTube than can help with revision. Some examples of excellent revision channels are below.

April Fools Day… Do not miss this opportunity!!

X-Ray Goggles allows you see the building blocks that make up websites on the internet. By activating the X Ray goggles you can inspect the code behind any webpage. You can then pretty much do anything to a copy of that webpage. Do not worry you will not change the real webpage. You can change most elements with a single click, swapping in your own text, images and more.

This could be used in the classroom to give your lessons a ‘real’ life context. Students will immediately engage in the topic. See the image below. Students may also wish to build their very own page on a famous website to share their learning.






News Article

Or make your own just in time for April Fools Day. The remixed website can be published to a web address where all other links still work and appears as a genuine webpage. The below screenshot can be viewed here.

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Using Layar to make displays interactive.

layar iconAugmented reality (AR) is cutting-edge technology that allows for a digitally enhanced view of the real world, connecting you with more meaningful content in your everyday life. With the camera and sensors in a smartphone or tablet, AR adds layers of digital information – videos, photos, sounds – directly on top of items in the world around us.

Layar is one of the many Augmented Reality apps that could have so many uses within schools. Layar is similar to Aurasma but with a lot more options and a more user friendly and stable interface.

Layar is a free app that can be used on iOS and Android devices. You can make your own Layars via with a free sign up. Your Layars can link to numerous things videos, audio, apps, social media and so much more. For more guidance click here. This is an awesome ‘How to guide’ produced by fellow ADE, Mat Pullen.

Below is a video of how I have starter to use Layar around my school. I had produced a display in Science to share the recommended apps that we use a lot within lesson so students could scan the individual codes to download the apps. Now it is a lot more interactive. The display now includes Download Buttons for the apps, twitter feeds and also a tweet button. The twitter button can be programmed to say whatever you wish. In my example the tweet promotes the display and also @ mentions the science account so we can monitor the tweets.

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