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Preview: Nicholas Hughes

Nicholas Hughes

Ideas and Links to all things teaching and ICT related. I hope you find something useful.

Updated: 2018-01-27T10:30:48.190+00:00


Bett Day 2...


So yesterday was another long day, i'm finally I'm home after an excellent Teachmeet and Teachmeet Social. So these are some of the things that caught my eye yesterday.Once again micro:bit featured heavily in what I noticed around the show. I went back to some of the stands to look again at the adaptor boards. I noticed a real shift, that products that where, last year, using Arduino and Raspberry Pi has now added a micro:bit adaptor. I noticed more micro:bit models by a couple of companies today. These were great little wooden models that had been laser cut. You build them add the motors and micro:bit and away you go. I liked a kit that made a teabag dipper. There where also a couple of nice games. Lots of companies seem to be getting in the idea of the micro:bit as a driver behind a number a little projects. I think if nothing else these tiny products that are fairly inexpensive to buy. Schools could be buying a couple of these and then using them as inspiration for kids and making their own out of cardboard. It is the fact that there's lots more ideas suddenly out there, more accessible to the normal class teacher. Check out micromaker.coContinuing again on the maker theme, I was impressed by a lot of the STEM and creative sections on a number of the largest stands. In particular Microsoft had a really really nice section on hacking STEM, which currently is all based on Arduino but the projects themselves are fully adaptable and you could probably easily get them working with microbo:bit. There are loads of resources and lessons plans to make projects. They did suggest that micro:bit guides where going to be coming soon, anyway.Linking that back to some of the stuff yesterday with birdbrain technologies and all the great stuff in the micro:bit stand it just provides more materials that teachers and children could use to try and link computing and design. I loved the dragon... :o) I talked a bit about the VR yesterday and today managed to pop on to the Lenovo stand and have a go their headset which is an amazing piece of kit. Sadly probably too expensive for schools to access at £500 but if you get a chance, do have a look at it because it's that next level of VR beyond the ClassVR headsets.I popped back to the Google stand to have a look at Science Journal, an app on chromebooks, android and apple devices. I saw this yesterday very briefly but didn't have time to have it run through for me. This is an app that basically turns your iPad or iPhone or Android device into a data logger. It simply allows you to use all the sensors that are in the device. So if you strap iPad onto a car and roll it down a ramp you will get acceleration data from the accelerometer. Which you then get as a graph that you can export to sheets to further analyse. Unfortunately it currently doesn't support Google Classroom but he said that he's coming soon.p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} I had a very quick look at Coding with Chrome which is a Blockly application. It has some ner functions that allow you to plug into the Google Photos API so it can do image recognition. So in an image the webcam takes it can recognise what the picture is about. If you have never tried it go you your own google photos and type in dog or park or screen and it will have analyses all your photos bring you photos it thinks contain them. It like it automatically add tags to your photos. Now the code probably is far too complicated for Primary children but it is a really nice example you could show too children and perhaps get them to think about how it works. It is a great example of AI. I'll definitely use it with my children once it launches in a few weeks. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} Yesterday I mentioned a small robot, which I didn't name, it is called True True. I went back today and had a closer look at it and it's a really, really int[...]

Bett 2018 Day 1 (at least for me)


So today as normal there was a lot to look at and after a day I feel like I barely scratched the surface. There is defo more to go back and see tomorrow. There where some highlights for me but not oddly not for computing...If you get a chance you need to check out BirdBrain Technologies Stand, they are behind Micro:bit. They have a board that interfaces with the Micro:Bit and make it very easy to add sensors, servos and motors. The applications for DT amd making are endless. They have a great robot zoo, full of programmed creations... I hope to talk more about this in the future. I spent last Sat working with then all day being inspired.Continuing on that theme of models that you can build and program I came across this stall called Smart Paper RC. It produces a kit that has come predesigned models, perhaps something for the less confident to start with. It works with a tablet but can also work with a Micro:Bit. The models themselves looked amazing. Continuing on the theme on Micro:Bit... There seemed to be an explosion of add on boards this year, that further extend what you can do with the Micro:Bit. The MeArm is something that I have had for ages and wanted to use with a Raspberry Pi, but this new board that uses the Micro:Bit opens up the accessibility for this fun kit. Go and check out the Micro:Bit stand to see what else is out. Kitronik is another stop tomorrow. The Micro:Bit provides a low cost entry into physical computing and these new low cost add on board help to ensure that there will always be a new project to try out. Binary Bots had a new kits that you build and then control using a Micro:Bit.Last night at A Teachmeet at The Machine Rooms I saw in person the Micro:Bit Racing Unicorns from Helen Leigh (@helenleigh)Invent! I saw again which is a kit based in the Crumble Controller. It has modules that you can quickly add to a board... This also will soon have a Micro:Bit adaptor. Pobble was a bit of a surprise, It is a system where you can quickly share and promote children's writing. On one level it is just a blogging tool with commenting ability. But I think the power is in  that you can search for children's writing on topics and styles. This is a growing archive, this could be very useful to give children and teachers real examples of writing, it would be very useful for modeling and perhaps with time moderation. It also allows for work to be stored, so you can make a digital portfolio of work. I will take back to school to show to my English lead. It is worth a look. It is over in the Bett Futures Area,Following on the English theme Mrs Wordsmith was an interesting project that used machine learning to search and select the words that were then checked. It is basically a vocabulary building program, but the thing I really like waas this 'dictionary' where all the words are stored in themed sections, such as characters, weather, actions, etc... It is work a look. Skype Education is something that anyone who is interested in Video Conferencing should look at, I didn't realise how much it now offers. I really liked the Mystery Skype idea where you have to guess where your caller is from just by asking yes/no questions. This small A4 Vac Forming Machine, from Mayku, maybe the best thing I saw at the show. Small and portabile. It can be used to form shapes. So lovely examples with KS1 and creating chocolate moulds. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak on the Microsoft Stand about the work I have been doing in school with Minecraft. It was great fun. I really like the new Chemistry Update which allows you to craft in different ways, you can make elements. The helium balloons that you can now create, make even make cows fly. :)VR has a clear presence this year. It was mentioned in a few talks and Lenovo where leading a lot of the conversations. The asked at an earlier talks, is it just a fad? I think that is an important question to ask but based on their, Microsofts' and ClassVR's presence, it looks like many th[...]

BETT 2017 Day 1


So its that time of year where we descend on east london and worship at the altar of BETT.I always enjoy the show and consider it an important event to head to if you are interested in Ed tech. Yes there is lots of selling to avoid, but there are always loads of good opportunities to sample something new, get some free CPD and most importantly talk to people. It is always a great time catching up with people who you perhaps only ever interact with on twitter.So after a long day has anything perked my interest?Well yes it has. As always I'm always looking for the next robot. I headed straight to BETT Futures and within the first 5 minutes I'd only seen a few robots that looked quite interesting. One is from a company called invent! Which is a crumble based robot and uses the same software as a crumble board. The basic kit seems to be about £50 but have a very  low barrier to entry as it is modular and simple to clip together, together no croc clips. So you can make a robot with sensors or a room guard. For some teachers this could be an ideal kit to start playing around with physical computing, while they get more confident. There was an Arduino version as well that used the same components. Simple Robot with switches.Motion sensor.I also saw a small robot called a ChickBot which is a low cost robot kit, there were also two versions of this one was a micro:bit based and the other used an Arduino. They are low cost around £17 and are a kit soe has some nice links with DT. The micro:bit one interests me a lot, i'll be getting one.The InO-Bot from TTS has finally come out, I saw an early version last year. It is a programmable robot that uses a version of Scratch, so is block based so easy to program. It has a large range of sensors and includes slot for a pen that will raise and lower, which for some reason I was very impressed with. The price point is around £100 per unit but if you buy 6 you can get them for about £500 with a charging station. It's an impressive little robot with a large array of sensors. It's a good alternative to an mBot. These already have at school and use successfully with my children. The InO-Bot is more expensive but does have a larger array of sensors. It is definitely worth a look if you are interested in buying a robot for your class,  but I would still look at the mBot first and decide whether the extra sensors are worth the cost.The mBot is not exactly a new robot but there are a number of new innovations that I spotted for use with Makeblocks mBot. I saw on Google stand, Chosing with Chrome, a web-based interface that will let you program a bluetooth mBot, ( without installing any other software. This is great for schools that have Chromebooks because suddenly is possible for a school to use mBots. Coding with Chrome also works with Sphero and Lego EV3. Something else new is that there is a Microsoft Azure plugin for mBlock, which is the software used with an mBot. This gives you access to facial recognition and speech recognition which could be really interesting to use in class. This I need to play with more,Microsoft Azure and mBlock.Wall-ESo did I see anything else that caught my interest?I saw a nice science resource that encourages you to create animations. It has very high quality cardboard cutouts of a variety of scientific processes such as the water cycle, an engine pistons and the earth and moon. The cost of the kits where quite high, and you could make something yourself but they are high quality and it does give a nice context for using animation within science.Throughout the show one of the big new things was VR. It was all over the show most where using mobile phones with some sort of variation on Google cardboard whether it being a plastic holder or a cardboard one. One stand Avantis had their own solution which was an all-in-one VR headset more similar to a HTC Vive or an Oculus than anything else. It's an android based [...]

Courses and Conferences (Updated!)


Hi everyone.

It has been a while as normal with my blogging, real life and teaching takes over. But I thought I would drop a quite note about some events I am attending and running over the next few months.

I been lucky enough to chosen to speak/present at:

South London Raspberry Jam - 14th May in London - I will be running some workshops on Crumble Boards

National Computing at School Conference - 18th June in Birmingham - I will be talking about Crumble Boards and Robotics.

exabytes - technology in education conference - 23rd June in Bradford

1st Wimbledon Raspberry Jam - 26th June


I'm still running my termly CAS Hub session.

CAS Hammersmith Hub - 15th June in Hammersmith

(image)  In association with 3BM, I will also be running a series of courses. They will be run in the afternoon from 1 till 4 and then again after school from 4.30 till 6.30. 

Physical Computing at KS2 - Afternoon Session - After School Session

Unplugged Computing - Afternoon Session - After School Session

Using a CodeBug - Afternoon Session - After School Session

Some links to other conferences that also look very interesting: 

Mozfest - 28th - 30th October - (I'll be helping out somehow at this one as well.)

Pycon UK - 15th - 19th September - Teacher day is the 16th.

Please check them all out. :)

BETT Day 2 and 3.


So it is all over for another year.So what and who did I come across that perked my interest that is worth sharing?I started the 2nd day by taking part in two lego workshops. One using the new Lego Wedo 2.0 kit, (Which I have already blogged about here.) and then the EV3 kit.The first workshop had us redesign Milo the Rovers head, so that it could move. It was a nice task that could easily be extended into design and science. The whole kit has a heavy scientific slant with which many themes that can be linked.The EV3 workshop had a simple task for creating a vehicle that can carry a lego person and start using a sonic sensor. It was great how using just a few simple lego parts a simple rover could be made. While I like the EV3 kits the price does make it a difficult choice for primary.Both workshops where great and very hands on, both can be used with a iPad via bluetooth.From there I visited a talk about Top Technology Toys to Transform Your Classroom, given by Bryan L.Miller and Dr. Katrina Keene. They talked very passionately about many commercially available toys that can be used in class. Focusing on the 3 Cs, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity and the importance of play.  They gave some brief examples of what they have used.Many I have seen before but a few that stood out where the new ViewMaster, which is basically a plastic version of google cardboard, but along with supported VR experiences. Also Marbotic Smart Letters, which are wooden blocks that are recognised by a tablet. Finally something called Puzzlets which is a problem solving game where the player places physical tiles to solve the problem. Some of these need a bit more research.They also mentioned:Ozobot, Sphero, Osmo, Makey Makey, Kano, LittleBits, Dash and Dot, Parrot Minidrone - some of these all use a excellent app called Tickle. All of the above are worth a further look and I will be going back to review some of my kits over the next few weeks.I caught part of a talk about the ExoMars Rover. This was talking about the practical problems that engineers have to overcome about when designing and making a autonomous rover. I liked the idea of using a rover for the stimulus for a longer design and computing project can could easily link to a space topic. There are many computing challenges that could be considered such as efficient search patterns and how to make sure that the rover doesn't topple.The presenter Dave Gibbs made some good points about cost vs complexity with robot kits for schools.Chatting to some other keen robotics fans, (@Isreal_Genius ) we liked the idea of simulating a martian landscape and designing a robot that can transverse it. Also the idea of placing a rover in a school field and seeing if it can return home, also can solar charging be implemented as well?More was discussed along with the use of a block version of Arduino and even something called Robot C. I love my robots, I will come back to this in a longer blog post. After wandering around in my wearable jacket for a 2nd day I managed to meet up with the creator of the crumble from redfern electronics. He liked my jacket and showed me a new super simple robot chasis he is selling called the Crumble Build-Bot.                              I also met the guys who make the Codebug and got to wear a giant one. :o)  They had some nice ideas on their stand for projects. I like the lightsaber idea. ;o)Now while the Micro:Bit is not going to be given away to Primary children we will be able to buy them. Now I love the Codebug and the Crumble board. But if the price is right the Micro:Bit will be worth looking at as well, it contains far more sensors on the board itself.  There where loads of great maker projects and ideas for how it could be used in class. Something random I saw on the INTEL stand was something called ToneTree, it seemed to use [...]

BETT Day 1


Hi :o)So my first day at BETT is over.Thanks to everyone who said Hi, it was great to catchup.My wearables jacket got a lot of love and it survived.So did anything stand out? Well today I took a much more floating approach as I had a talk to give on a Stand and was helping on a tour with 3BM in the afternoon. Minecraft Education Edition was very interesting. I was waiting to see what Minecraft was going to do with Minecraft since they bought it. It is in simple terms a 'new' version of Minecraft that will replace Minecraft EDU that many schools use. It will be now linked to children's office 365 accounts. While I have some issue with the price, the new system seems to suggest that it will be very easy to install and set up servers. More information is coming on this.There where many great ideas for how to use Minecraft in the curriculum. (I will do another post soon on some of theses) But below show a model of the human eye that you can walk around.This one is all about digging up dinosaur bones.I loved some of the new products form TTS. A NeoPixel Screen (£60)and a Controller (£20) both are to be used with scratch, They are simple to use and provide another level of input and output to Scratch. It makes it very simple to use in class. The also had a preview of a new robot called the InO-bot, it is a fairly impressive robots that has a lot of sensors. Its nice but there are lots of robots to choose from on the Market at the moment and I would still look to the mBot.Before I did my talk on the mBot on the Exa Stand I saw Su Adams (@SuAdamsEdIT ) about the Sphero. Now I really like this robot but her maze idea is great. This I saw on another stand at the Show.Me giving my talk.Nic @duck_star sharing approaches to robotics in the primary classroom #bett2016 @exaeducation— Alan O'Donohoe (@teknoteacher) January 21, 2016 Another new robot I saw called the Kubo Junior. It was a really nice KS1 robot that 'read' card on the table and then performed the instructions. They also talked about that it could be programmed in scratch and then even Arduino, by changing the head. It is going to be launched on Kickstarter later in the year.Ohbot is a great programable head. I have 2 versions of it and think it is a great option for programming a physical device. (More to come later)Some cool tech - a PiTopCEED which is a £99 screen for use with a Raspberry Pi. I have supported this on Indiegogo. More to come on this. TTS also was launching a new bluetooth tile board for the Bluebot. Interesting but I think the same thing could be achieved with physical cards and work just as well. Could be good for SEN children. Need to look at again. Explain Everything an App that we use in school for lessons, is introducing a new app that allows collaboration, It isn;t free, but seems to combine features of Showbie and Nearpod. Worth a further look especially if you really like Explain Everything.  Best Freebe of the show today a Mini mode of Milo the new Robot in Wedo 2.0. Thanks LEGO.Thats all for today. Back tomorrow for more and Teachmeet![...]

Lego WeDo 2.0


I love robots.At CES last week Lego announced an updated version of the Lego Wedo kit.I really like the original kit. Its a great way to get physical computing into the classroom.The new kit is not massively dissimilar in terms of the input and output options. It contains the same motor, a tilt sensor and light sensor, though the official site states that the seniors have been improved. These all connects now via a bluetooth control box.The programming input is almost exactly the same as the original. So why is this new version so exciting? The kit is now wireless and will work any computer or tablet. There are some great new models - the new Rover Milo is very cute and is a great introduction to the software and sensors. The original kit has 9 models in the basic kits which gave instructions to build  all of them. This kit has ideas for 24 models and instructions for 12 different starter models, which can be used in different ways. The software has been reworked to much better provide a stimulus for children to explore ways to solve problems. There was away to record what was being done in the last version, but the documents tool has been made more simple to use, if being used on a tablet is is very easy to take images, video and make notes during the project.I've been happily playing around and made the Milo Rover react to a joystick on it's back.I've made it count and change colour. This is a think a new feature as it can display text and number and do simple sums. It can store one variable and do some limited actions on it.I've tried to make a grabbing claw.I'll be playing more with my new WeDo and hope to check it out more at the BETT show next week.[...]

Up to Orbit (Nearly)


So this weekend I successful launched a high altitude balloon and recovered the payload. This makes 2 successful launches. This is all thanks to the Raspberry Pi foundation and in no small way James Robinson and David Akerman. Rewinding a bit this is all because at the end of August I attended a course run by the Raspberry Pi Foundation called Skycademy, which taught me and 23 others how to plan, build, launch and recover a payload sent up to heights of 23k or more. That's 4 times the height of a plane. We where in split in 4 teams and we each had to launch a payload. Team Nimbus (me and 5 others) successfully launched and recovered our payload. But we wanted more!So on the 2nd day of Pycon UK, more on that event in other post, Team Nimbus' launched our second balloon under the watchful eye of James. Our aim was practice the skills we learned at the end of August, send up a few trinkets and capture some more amazing images.Our day started at Pycon, doing last minute check and collecting all the important equipment. Then just at the start of the Kids day after collecting a Frog and 2 Lego mini figs from children at the event, we where off to the National Space Centre in Leicester. We couldn't launch at Pycon as we didn't have CAA approval we where too close to an airport and the wind was blowing the wrong way.So 45 minutes later we where at the Space Centre in the car part setting up for the launch. We had a window between 10-12 for the launch.After careful setup, testing of the payloads and many phone calls to the local air traffic control, the payload was sealed put and we started to inflate the balloon. There was a small crowd that gathered to cheer on the launch. At just after 12 we where ready to release. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go!Ready for launchNow we had to pack up and chase! Magmount aerial on the car, radio and LoRa connected and we headed to where the flight prediction had predicted the landing.On the chase we kept up to date from the website, which was tracking the payload thought he data being received by other recipe rods round the country.TrackingAt about 22km our balloon burst and it started to drop, we where still on route at this point. It was moving faster than our cars.LandingEventually about 200m above the ground the stationary trackers lost contact and it was up to the chase cars to get close to the last location and use our tracking gear to get the final GPS coordinates. After a wild goose chase from me and some incorrectly read coordinates we compared notes with the 2nd chase team and confirmed the coordinates. Punched that into google maps and started to walk across fields. After avoiding some sheep and a horse, we came across the payload on tenement of a field having narrowly missed some trees. We had done it! It had landed in.... Miles away from Leicester.Found it!Then we had to drive all the way back to Pycon.Here are some images from the payload and all the passengers safe and sound, who will be returned to their owners via the post this time.We are back! Yay!I have to say thanks to James Robinson as without his help we wouldn't of been able to launch at all. He did all the phone calls and the important CAA paperwork. We has two members of other teams helping on the day as well, Richard you where great assisting back at base and helping on Twitter with updated. Alison you where great on the launch and the chase, without you Im sure we would be still on my wild goose chase, you where ace with a radio. Finally the thanks to rest of team Nimbus, Nick and Kirk who built, tested, chased and recovered. Also thanks to everyone one on Twitter who followed along.So next we need to look at doing more launches involving the children in our schools, clubs and events. I'm looking forward to it. Now the challenge is going to be height!The full flight.Up to Orbit (Nearly)[...]

Links to help videos for Scratch and Kodu - IBM Summer School - IBMCLC



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How to make a fish tank animation, fish tank game, race car game and a traffic light simulation

Kodu Guides

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Some Cool New Robots - IBM Summer School - IBMCLC - Some links.


HiBelow are a list of links and images from the Robots that I brought along.Robotsmbot              This is a robot that is from a company called Makeblock, it was originally a Kickstarter project.You have to build the robot when you receive it and it fairly easy to do and has good instructions. Out of the box it is controlled by a small remote control.  It has a number of built in inputs and outputs, light sensor, sonic sensor, 2 motors, a button, 2 LEDs, IR receiver, buzzer and i'm sure some more.It can be connected wirelessly to the computer, you should choose the Wireless version as it is more reliable in a school setting.It is programmed using a piece of software called mblock. It is a version of Scratch so every easy to use if you are familiar with it. It needs to be installed along with a driver installed.ThoughtsFor the price I think this is a super interesting robot. £60ishIt has a remote for easy control. Then once connected to the computer it can be programmed wirelessly. You can make it respond to the keyboard.It can also be used to pass input back into the computer. So you can use the remote that you used to control the mbot to control something on screen  - Where it can be purchased in the UK.  - The main site. - A link to the main site about mbot.This link shows a review of the robot and some comparisons to other robots.CrumbleThis is a small board that can be connected to motors, LEDS and other sensors. It only costs £10, the kit in the image above is £16.50Today I had it connected up to a simple chassis with 2 motors and wheels attached. This is based on something that I had seen before where someone had using it in KS1.It uses a simple scratch like interface for it to be programmed. You download the code to the crumble then it continue to run on the board. For example you can program the crumble to move motors in the shape of a square. You can also program lights to turn on and flash different colours. - Link to main site with information and a getting started guide, you can also purchase them from the site. - Links to more ideas.ThoughtsCheapIntroduction to simple electronics.Simple to programCan be used for more than one project.Introduction to wearable tech.SpheroA round robot that can be remote controlled. It is has gyroscopic sensors in it. It is a toy but the creators have developed a number of apps that allow you to program it, they are Microlab and orbBasic, though interesting I feel they are quite complicated for primary.But the Sphero paired with another app called Tickle, then it really unlocks possibilities. I have explored it somewhat. Tickle is another app in the style of Scratch or Hopscotch, you can make activities, games and more on the app, but what is really interesting is that it can connect to a range of devices.Sphero is just one of them, along with Hue lightbulbs,  it seems that Dash and Dot also are now supported which is great.  - Check out the website and a link to the apps.ThoughtsRobustEasy to use[...]

Links for CAS Hub Meeting 4th March


Introduction and Welcome - Updates - What has been happening recently?Updates - Courses. - Resources.QuickStart Computing Guides - New Progressions Doc now in 3 strands. LINKDiscussion: "Shall we unplug?"What does unplugged mean? Look at the CS Unplugged resources.Some Magic!CS unplugged - What is it.Showcase website and book. Show Binary Activity. Magic trick - Red and Black. LinkHands on with new resources - Somethings to try out...dkfindout - thinglink - https://www.thinglink.comRapid router -                     Mini-Teachmeet - A sharing of ideas.What have you seen, or used recently that you want to share? What did you see at BETT?[...]

Hammersmith CAS Hub Meeting 30th April


(image)         (image)

What is CAS?

Resources on CAS

Events on CAS

(image) Computing in the National Curriculum - A Guide for Primary Teachers

What is all this Programming Stuff?

Computing ITT and CPD

Using Kodu in the Classroom - Download and Resoources

My own Kodu Planning on CAS

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Sharing of Ideas

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Click here for the Evaluation.

Databases Yay!


I know that databases always seem like a dry topic but today lesson was great all due to a really fun resource. It may be old news but I came across a resource called Whodunnit on the Wales HWB Page.

Its is a fairly simple database program that asks you to find suspects in crimes. You have to watch clips of interviews and then using the information narrow the search. It was a great introduction to the idea of interrogating a database.

I extended it very simply by getting the children to come up with their own crime and describe it so one of the suspects on the database would be chosen. This could be taken further and children create there own videos which could tie into there own suspect database.

The children loved it. They where excited about the idea of databases.

Give it a Try.

What is Computing at School all about?


Who is CAS?

Its is a organisation who's job is to develop support and training for teaching Computing and in particular the computer science aspects of the new curriculum. They where one of the organisations who worked on the proposed curriculum and have been recently funded by the DfE.

What is a Master Teacher? - Me, I'm one :o)

A teacher who has skills and expertise in the area of Computing and who wants to share this with others though running CPD session. Normally they will be involved in hub meeting but also they will run more specific training for teachers.

What is a CAS hub?

Its is a community of teachers who come together to develop and share ideas for the teaching of computing. Its about helping and supporting one another. Different hubs can work in different ways but the important thing is that after a session you should leave excited and with a new idea to use back in school.

Details for the Hammersmith CAS hub which I am running is below. 

One Great Teaching Idea - Camden CAS Hub


I have many ideas all the time. But if I has to share one at the moment is to look at and use the site. It is great, it has loads to great step by step guides and tutorials and links of where to go next to further explain your knowledge. Great for teachers and Pupils.



The FUZE - Think a BBC Micro powered by a Pi. Once again these where spotted on a few stands at BETT. (A post BETT review is coming!) But Drew Buddie has written a great review of the new Fuze.  It is a great solution for making the Pi work easily in the classroom.

Read more here on there official site.

BETT/SSAT Speed Learning 2014 - Notes and Links


I will be hosting a table session at BETT/SSAT Speed Learning 2014.I'll be in the Platinum Suite at 10.30.I'll be there talking on behalf on CAS about some Practical Classroom Idea in regards to Programming.Idea: What coding software works best in the classroom?Key Message So we all need to be able to program and think logically. Some hints and tips and what work well in the classroom. Key Messages/Tips/Ideas that you sharedWhat shall I do in my school?What can I choose from?Some examples of what I have developed and a suggestion of what I think works well in the classroom.What to use in KS1 and KS2?An informal discussion to answer some of the questions below:What do the changes mean for class teachers?What is programing? What does logical thinking mean?Where can we go to find resources?What are you worried about?What should I avoid?Resources  – A guide to the new curriculum. Join here to access loads of resources. Resources for Kodu Resources for - Loads of Tutorials and links to more information. The video below is a must watch. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' FRAMEBORDER='0' />  - A great site written by another CAS member Phil Bagge - A site with loads of think related to the new curriculum. - a great site for you to learn more if the programming bug bytes you.Shared By:Nicholas HughesCAS Master TeacherHead of Computing and IT at Latymer Prep SchoolPreviously AST for ICT within the London Borough of[...]

Anithings Work


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Lego and Robotics - Presentation for Redbridge Tech Forum.


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A few tips.

Taking Creative Risks in the Classroom.


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Some examples of the risks I have taken.



Oddly the simplest risk is just getting out and joining the conversion, inside and outside school. Read and engage with what is going on in the wider educational space. It doesn't have to be everything just the subject area or topic that you find the most interesting in.

BETT 2013 - Products


So BETT is here again.I have spent a long, but as always enjoyable day. Excell new venue which is excellent. (I'm a bit bias as it close to home and have been there a lot for other sci fi conventions)The whole place felt more open and this seems to allow for more talks that where far easier to find and then get into. The BETT arena was very cool.So what caught my attention this year? Well I went with a clear aim to check out the newest ideas and products to support programming. While some great products the talks I sat in on where probably the best thing this year.ProductsRM Unify - To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect from this. But I had the talk and was impressed. It basically is a way to centralise all your webtools and content under a single umbrella and signon. While this isn't a new idea, and later learnt that google apps for education also does this, it looked clean and simple to use and importantly device agnostic. Th basic version is also free, so worth checking out though if you want something that sync automatically you will have to pay.TSS - had a lot of the normal fare of great little gadgets to place in children's hands - but the thing that grabbed my attention this time was a £400 table/notebook charging case. Not amazing but practical and cheap.Lego Education had the new EV3 Mindstroms Kit on show and it was excellent. I want one now! Not the commercial kit the education one. It has extra sensors. Check out the video below of Gyro Boy. They have also updated their software and streamlined it in fact it looks more like the WeDo software. It had a great new feature where children can now add notes or observations to there programmes and teachers can set tasks/questions which they can respond to. It allows you to create your own activities. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' FRAMEBORDER='0' />I got very excited when I saw this robot walking around. Its called the Aldebaran. It had amazing abilities and a great piece of software top control it, it even had a puppet mode to allow easier programming. Unfortunately the price is prohibitive  They are are cool £10,000 each!!!! No that's not a typo. Do check out the site though and watch a video about what they can do. - a cool new tool from educationcity that allows you to create simple programs. It is in beta at the moment but also free for anyone to try. It has some great applications for maths and problem solving.Click on the link and try it out. a similar programming theme, I went to the Cambridge University Press Stall to look at the Python Basics book they released recently. They had draft copies of the next two books to look at. They look great. I have already ordered mine from Amazon. More details here - Now some laptops and tablets. There where a lot around of these. Nothing jumped out at me, but some where pointed out to me later on. There was a nice Dell that had a flip over screen so it was both tablet and laptop.The Lenovo stand had a very nice tablet that ran Windows 8 Pro, the Tab 2 I believe. Very light far nicer than the Windows Surface devices that I has a quick go wit[...]

Apps in Class - Pic Collage



After some advice from Antony Evans I was eager to try our the app Pic Collage with my class today.

The lesson itself already had the outcome of creating a poster to think about how we handle anger. So after playing with this great app that allows you to place images, text and stickers on a page just like a poster I was hooked.

The children where give the task of taking a photo of themselves angry and happy and explain how we know we are angry and how we can stay happy. The example below shows what I created to show the idea, the images where inserted from inside the app using a Google image search tool.


They had 15 minutes to complete this task in groups of 3. I spent 1 minute explaining the app and then set them to work. A few children asked a few questions about how to add text but the children took to the app quickly and all expect one group produced a poster. Considering this was the first time this class had used the iPads as a whole class is worked extremal well. A simple app with a clear task helped to make this successful. We shared the work by emailing them to a blog where they auto posted - we will come back and review them next week. Here are two examples.



I'd recommend this app as a quick way to create record events using photos in class. Could science experiences be recorded this way?

Check it out...
Link to App store

Video Conferencing with America


Over the last 2 terms I have been regularly video conferencing with a school called Dover Elementary in Westlake Ohio. Now until recently it has focused on each class telling the other about different things such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. These have been nice sessions but they have been stand alone.Since Easter we have had a bigger focus. We have been investigating and telling each other about our local area. This has linked to Dover’s topics than ours but I ran with it and adapted my lessons to it. For our first session we had the children researching interesting places within a mile of their school. I tried to do this as a field tip but due to weather it was done virtually using ipads and Google street view - more on this in another post. The children produced short PowerPoint’s of the interesting areas which we could show. The classes then met and presented what they had found. We each focused on 10 facts and asked questions. It was a great session where we learnt a lot. We tried to display the images over the VC camera but this was a slow process for some reason. Dover had already sent me their presentation as they didn’t have the ability to send the PowerPoint image though their camera. We decided not to try sending images via the camera again.Then both Ashley and I did some teaching of each other’s classes. It was an idea when planning this local area project that I had which we both I wanted to try. I'd done lots of VC with children presenting, but none with me teaching a class. So Ashley went first and without her class present taught my class about the history of Westlake. I had a PowerPoint of images that I had to show beforehand to get my class thinking. She then explained and discussed the images and we asked questions. I showed the Presentation my end while she was talking. The children could see both Ashley and the images - as you can see in this picture. Then a few days later it was my turn to teach. I have to admit it was an exciting experience that I had been looking forward to. I had to explain the history of Redbridge, something that took me ages to research and then distil into a 30minute session. Like Ashley I sent over a PowerPoint with some images for her class to look at before the session and to refer to during the session. I asked her class about the pictures and then told them about them. It was a great session and the VC camera allowed me to easily interact with the class.  It was nice to focus solely on the VC image and not my class as well. Though Ashley had to pick children who had their hands up.This is what I saw. This is what they saw their end.Finally as part of this local area work we met on Friday to give a list of similarities and differences about our two areas. This was based on all the work that we had done over the last few sessions. Each class roughly asked 3 of each and a few follow up questions. Our final session was for the year was just before half term - they have not gone on summer break. We though our discussions discovered that we both where learning recorder. So each class played a few tunes to each other. We also discussed some of the things we would be doing over our summer breaks. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='[...]

Team Hero Vs League of Evil


This was the end of a great 4 week literacy topic all about super heroes and super villains. I ran this last year after seeing a talk about it at a LIME conference last year by Andy Dickenson. @Andyisatwork Credit to him coming up with the idea and finding the art work. Videos are my versions of his idea.I will roughly summarise the work done here and link to any resources. If you want more of this please contact me i'm happy to share all the planning and resources.Week 1 allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420">We started with the whole of the year group in the hall - stickers either a Team Hero or League of Evil and showed this video to get them thinking. We discussed what superheroes and super villains where and designed and created our own characters with their posers and abilities. The children where encouraged to think about heroes with gadgets as well.Click here to look at a sample of the characters designs and application forms. We did some role play and by the end of the week where applying to join either the League of Evil or Team Hero. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' FRAMEBORDER='0' />Week 2 allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' FRAMEBORDER='0' />The children where accepted into Team Hero or League of Evil. This week we wrote diary entries and Newspaper reports on all the adventures and hijinks that happened. Diamonds where rescued , gold was stolen and  roads flooded. We supported this with drama work.Week 3We wrote a story about an adventure that we had had. The children had to pair up with a counterpart and decided that could when a plan was stolen. Wy did the Villain try and take it? How did you stop it. We did some drama work based on this and then wrote diaries or newspaper reports on the event.We where also lucky enough to have an Illustrator, Amanda Pollard come into school to talk about how to illustrate. This lead into out final weeks work. Check out her blog.Week 4We had thought about our characters Origins for homework, so this week the children turned these ideas into a comic book story. They where planned the drawn, inked and then coloured. I'll update this later with our finished  work next week,[...]

iPads are awesome.


I have been lucky enough over the last few weeks to have access to 10 iPads to use with my class.They are amazing devices I will summarize some of the various activities I have done.Numeracy- We where investigating properties of 3d shapes. The children had to make models using straws and blue-tack. The iPads where used to make a quick record of their work. In 3s each group once they made the shape had to take a photo and then add it to pages and note down the faces, edges and vertices of the shapes. I showed the class quickly how to take a photo and then insert it into pages. A number of children had not used an iPad before but with minutes the class was on task discussing and working on the task at hand. The groups then emailed me the work at the end of the lesson.Literacy- As part of our super hero topic I used the Comixology App on the iPad to download some free comics that we could read and respond to during guided reading. This was a nice activity that ran independently. You can see some of the children's responses here. I didn't have to show the children how to use the app as we had used it the previous week for whole class comprehension when we looked at another comic. Credit fro this idea should be give to Anthony Evans read his post here.History- We have been studying the Tudors. One of our lesson was to research the wifes of Henry VIII. In previous years I had used the class laptops and provided a links to sites via the sever or fronter, This time I used the iPads and some QR Codes. It was great children opened the scan app scanned the code which was on the board and printed round the room. Scanning from the board didn't always work annoyingly. Children though quickly got to work and it was great seeing the devices being used like a textbook would.I want more 30 in a class could be amazing.As part of the Redbridge Games Network I have been luck enough to explore[...]