ICT Evangelist Newsletter - March 2018 edition Sharing teaching and learning ideas with and without technology


February is a short month and with half term for many of us in these short weeks, the time has flown by!

February has seen me working across the UK in Wales, London, Cambridgeshire, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire and I've worked at two conferences in Amsterdam, including the European iPads in the Classroom Conference at the International School of Amsterdam #CDLTiPad18.

At the #CDLTiPad18 event I got to meet lots of amazing educators such as Monica Burns @ClassTechTips who is one of many awesome people on the ICT Evangelist podcast. Check out that episode here.

Recording on the podcast with Monica Burns

As with every newsletter we have our regular features:

  • a featured resource
  • a recommend app with ideas for its use
  • a guest recommended teaching and learning resource
  • recommended reading
  • blog post of the month

As always, if you'd like to get in touch you can reach out through my website.

Sponsored by VideoScribe

This month's newsletter has been sponsored by VideoScribe. Their app is one of those brilliant tools you can easily use in the classroom to create brilliant explainer videos. I’m very pleased to be working with them again on my newsletter. I've managed to secure a 25% discount on their annual plan for full users. Simply use the code ICTE25 when ordering to receive your discount. Why not give it a go first though either in an app on your iPad or in browser via their site by signing up for their free trial.

Teachers and students are using VideoScribe to create exciting explainer videos!

VideoScribe can help you create exciting curriculum content to keep students of all ages and abilities engaged. The software is easy to use and there are plenty of tutorials to help you get started.

Nurture your students' creativity and set them the task of creating short explainer videos to summarise what they've learnt, create their own revision tools or presentations.

Take a look at the example below, for a lesson on Natural Selection:

Start creating engaging content for free at www.videoscribe.co

For an idea of the sort of thing you can create with VideoScribe, check out this video some of my students made using the app.

Recommended resource

I was recently approached to judge nominations for a bold initiative sparked by the EdTech UK organisation fronted by Ty Goddard called the #edtech50. This initiative aimed to be a celebration of all of the brilliant and inspiring people, projects and products shaping Education Technology in the UK.

Photo courtesy of @lauracstokes

It is a hugely comprehensive document with so much to celebrate about how fantastic the UK is with Education Technology. Co-founded with Jisc, at the launch at the House of Lords on 28 Feb their CEO Paul Feldman said,

People of edtech work in the sector because they believe in what they do and believe that they offer an honest benefit to the future.

My favourite element of the document are those educators featured for the great work they're doing in the classroom, paying it forward and sharing what is working with edtech in their classroom environments. It's a real celebration of the creativity, collaboration and care people who work in education and with technology take. Sharing best practice in a document such as this I am sure will inspire many more educators and entrepreneurs to see most do, that quite rightly #edtech has a firm place in education and there's lots of great examples of its use and great products, right on our doorstep. As Ty Goddard from EdTech UK who spearheaded this initiative said:

The Edtech50 helps us all celebrate a wonderful sector, whilst recognising the benefits of education technology, and acknowledging the economic advantages of the growing edtech sector to the whole UK economy.

Recommended app of the month

This month's recommended app is the simply brilliant Balloon Stickies Plus.

As you'll see in the video above, the app is really simple to use and has a variety of uses for quotes in the classroom but what about if you leave the speech bubble empty and use it for asking for:

  • favourite quotes from that person
  • what that person is thinking
  • a description of the scene
  • an alternative perspective
  • use representing a key theme
  • explaining a keyword about that character
  • giving a synopsis of their role in the scene
  • etc
Speech bubbles are an effective tool to elicit learning and critique from pupils and an alternative way to get pupils thinking about oracy.

The app is available on iOS and is free and has a 4+ age rating.

Guest recommended teaching and learning resource

Graham Andre

My web based recommendation for March is 'Prodigy Game'. This is a free online maths game and despite being based upon the American curriculum there are many similarities and it can definitely be used alongside our own curriculum.

Once you have registered (it is free to register, there are some paid options but these may never be used - I haven't yet) you are given a class login code. This allows any children who register to then become part of your class. Once registered the children set up their character and are taken through a short tutorial.

The basic premise of the game is to explore the land, complete quests and battle with other players (Human and computer) to earn experience points. Items such as wands and armour and pets to help you in your battles (Pokemon style nobody dies).


Questions can be random or you can set questions based on a strand, so for example if you were doing perimeter that week, questions would be based on perimeter. What I also like about the game is that children can use the mouse to scribble calculations on screen; this helps shows understanding of the concept and allows trickier problems to be solved as they would with traditional pencil and paper.

I have used it for some time and found it to be a real success, children are able to access the game at home and play (I had parents telling me children were doing this rather than playing more conventional games), children can meet and battle online (although it doesn't allow for chat which may be a good thing) and children love to compare levels, armour they have gained and creatures that they have caught.

Fun and maths, where can you go wrong! If you have any questions please ask.

Thanks to Graham for sharing this brilliant, creative app for use in the classroom. Don't forget to follow him @grahamandre for more ideas, sharing and ramblings
Recommended book

Making Every Lesson Count by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby

Guest book review from Kate Jones @87History

I was at the Telegraph Festival of Education attending a session led by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby, both teachers and leaders at Durrington Research School, delivering a session about six key principles that they use in their school.

After listening to their wonderful presentation I purchased their book 'Making every lesson count - Six principles to support great teaching and learning'.

It fits nicely in your hand too!

The six principles state that expert teaching requires: challenge, explanation, modelling and practice as well as developing questioning and feedback. Initially, this may not read as groundbreaking as these are key principles all teachers focus on, or should. However, this book is rooted in research, practical examples and comes from years of combined experience in the classroom.

The authors draw on the success of their own school at using this model across the curriculum and share hundreds of great ideas for how to implement these things successfully in your classroom and your school. I highly recommend it as it is such a good book to dip in and out of and it has had some great impacts in my own classroom since I read it.

Blog post of the month


This month I've been sharing a bit about how real-time collaboration has become a feature of Book Creator's Chrome based app. With the same functionality coming to iOS later this year, it's a great addition to what is already a fantastic tool.

I wrote about the features with a bunch of ideas in it in this blog post. It's a great new move by the Red Jumper team to add this to their already powerful publishing tool. It seems to me that with every calculated new feature, the desired result always equals a development not only to how the tool can impact on standards, but additionally the quality of teaching or learning activity and the quality of the outcome too. I'm full of praise for their efforts.

Front cover of the collaborative book

With that in mind I built myself a collaborative book in Book Creator for Chrome and invited teachers via Twitter to join in by adding their ideas to the book. So far we have contributions from Finland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, India, United Arab Emirates and more. It's really shaping up to be a helpful little book of ideas and I cannot wait to share it later this month. Watch this space!!

The pages of the book taking shape


Thanks for reading this far. I hope you have found the newsletter useful.

If you are interested in contributing to the newsletter, please contact Mark via ictevangelist.com.

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