Follow Friday (#FF) – LearnMaker

Today’s FollowFriday (#FF) – 18th Sept 2015 – is LearnMaker (@LearnMakerUK)

I first met Jay and James (the guys behind LearnMaker) back in Autumn 2013 when they were consulting for a potential iPad rollout when they both worked for a large educational IT supplier. Jay really knows his edtech and James is an excellent trainer.

Since then they have teamed up to form LearnMaker, a consulting company dedicated to getting the best out of technology in the classroom.

LearnMaker

Recently i’ve met up with them at a local Apple Tech Day where James was presenting on getting the best out of iPads in the classroom. James is an excellent presenter who was unfazed even when the WiFi dropped mid session (it’s very hard to demonstrate learning with iPads with a flaky internet connection – but he managed it brilliantly).

LearnMaker is a commercial company but they have produced some great teaching resources and ideas in ebook form – you can check out their website at http://learnmaker.co.uk/ and see their free resources at http://learnmaker.co.uk/resources

Welcome Back To School

Welcome back to school 2015 - teacherrocks.co.uk

Happy 1st of September everyone!

We hope that you have had a fantastic break and are looking forward to your new classes! Some will be going straight back into class while others may be on Inset days but either way, we hope you have a great start to the new academic year.

The start of September also marks what would have been the official launch of the TeacherRocks blog. Originally we had decided that we would launch on the 1st of September, but we had so many ideas that we wanted to start work on it seemed silly to keep them to ourselves, so as we finished the posts we got them published.

Here’s some links to the articles that we’ve published over the last couple of weeks:

We have also been very busy on Twitter, clocking up 240 posts and 124 followers. We have started to connect with a fantastic community of educators that we find inspiring – so if you are not yet on Twitter, make that your “New Academic Years Resolution!“. If you’d like to connect with us, then you can find us via @teacherrocksuk.

We have a number of fantastic projects that we are working on at the moment, of particular note is a series on green screening and a teaching resources index/directory that we are very excited about.

Lets get cracking.. 🙂

5 Children’s Apps to Enhance Outdoor Learning

5 Children's Apps to Enhance Outdoor Learning

This is a guest post from Sam Flatman from Pentagon Sport.

Technology is commonplace inside the classroom, but some teachers are still holding back when it comes to taking tech outdoors. There are many debates about the role of technology in outdoor learning and we must ensure that using tablets and other devices enhances learning rather than detracts from it. For teachers who are keen to integrate outdoor learning and technology into their lessons, apps can be used to supplement learning across the curriculum.

5 Children’s Apps to Enhance Outdoor Learning

These five apps are particularly excellent for engaging learners.

Project Noah by Networked Organisms

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Project Noah ScreenshotProject Noah QR Code[/su_column]
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Project Noah is a great app for exploring and documenting wildlife. As you come across animals and insects while outdoors, the app can be used to ‘submit spottings’ and help you to identify the species.

Children can earn patches for their hard work by uploading animal sightings, participating in missions and more.

Project Noah is an excellent app to combine with the science curriculum and learn about local wildlife.
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[su_column size=”1/2″]Price: Free[/su_column]
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Curious Words by Curious Hat

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Curious Words AppCurious Words QR Code[/su_column]
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The aim of this app is to get children thinking about words.

A word will randomly appear on the screen and learners must shoot a one second video to represent this word. For example, if the word “smile” appears, they could video their friend smiling at the camera. The app strings together these words and videos to make a short film.

Curious words is an excellent app for literacy-based classes and can encourage interest in film studies early on.
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Curious Words is available as a paid app from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS7 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 5th Generation and newer.

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Compass by Harpan LLC

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Free Compass AppCompass QR Code[/su_column]
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Many young learners struggle with navigational and map-reading skills.

Compass is a simple app which teaches children how to use a compass and how to follow a trail map.

This is great practise for children and can be used to support the geography curriculum  by helping children to understand how map reading works.
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Free Compass is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS4.2 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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Storyboard That by Clever Prototypes, LLC

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Another app for which is great for literacy, Storyboard That allows children to build a storyboard by dragging and dropping images into a sequence.

Children can choose between preloaded images or they can head outside and snap their own photos to tell their tale.

This app is excellent for KS2 and even KS3 as it helps learners to concentrate on ensuring their creative writing has a good structure.
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Photogene by Omer Shoor

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Photogene AppPhotogene QR Code[/su_column]
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Photo apps are always excellent for art class.

Photogene is a really creative and fun app which encourages children to shoot and edit their own photos. A great activity for this app is to head outside and take close ups of flowers and plants outside.

Back in the classroom, the photos can be edited to strengthen colours, then learners can grab their paints and try to replicate the image that they just took outside.
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Photogene is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS6 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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There are an enormous number of apps out there that can be used to support the school curriculum. This isn’t always a straightforward process and it’s important that activities which use apps and well planned. I always recommend that children are split into small groups to share tablets.

This not only means that they have to use their sharing skills, but also ensures that learners aren’t always focused on the screen, but instead are looking around outdoors to spot wildlife, searching landmarks from their map, or finding things to photograph.

What other apps do your class use for outdoor learning?


About the Author: Sam Flatman is an Educational Consultant for Pentagon Sport. Pentagon have worked with over 6,000 settings to create innovative playgrounds and learning environments for young students.

Website: http://www.pentagonsport.co.uk
Pentagon’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PentagonSportUK
Pentagon’s Twitter: @PentagonSportUK

Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for Maths

Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for Maths - Sept 2015

During a recent conversation on Twitter with @MichaelT1979, we were asked to recommend our top free apps for English and Maths for students to download and use over the summer. 

We use these apps every week and they make fantastic free additions to your iPad app portfolio.

We would recommend that you also check out Part 1 of this mini series – Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for English

Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for Maths

Presented in no particular order:

Splash Math by StudyPad, Inc.

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Splash Math Appsplash math qr[/su_column]
[su_column size=”4/5″]Splash Math is a wonderful little Maths app that covers a whole range of topics including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, geometry, fractions, time and even money. The app covers a whole range of skill levels and is suitable for ages 4 to 14.

Children are encouraged, once they have completed all the maths challenges that their level, to go beyond and practice the next grade level. If a child is stuck on some of the questions, they can switch to lower grades to revise and reenforce their learning before having another go.

A web version of the app is also available.

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Splash Math is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS7 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 5th Generation and newer.

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My Times Tables by WhoMadeThis

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[su_column size=”1/5″]My Times Tables Appmy times tables qr[/su_column]
[su_column size=”4/5″]My Times Tables is a fun and easy way for your pupils to learn the first 20 times tables. The app has four steps, the first is to review the times tables one by one. The second step is to fill out missing numbers from the times tables.

Step three is where you can compete against the computer or even your friends through the Games Center. The last step of the game is to review the times tables as a whole.

Its a great little app that really injects some fun into learning your times tables!

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My Times Tables is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS6 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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Numbers Game! by Ben Sheehan

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Numbers Game Appnumbers game qr[/su_column]
[su_column size=”4/5″]Numbers Game! is a simple but addictive maths game. The aim of the game is to reach the target number using any of the 6 numbers that have been provided using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Players can work through a variety of levels with increasing difficulty or they can choose to play against the clock in a “time attack” mode.

The game also integrates well with Apple’s Game Centre so you can compete with players all over the world.

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Numbers Game! is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS6 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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Whats in your top apps list for Maths? Are there any interesting apps that we have missed? If so, you can contact us via Facebook, Twitter or a good old fashioned contact form.

 

Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for English

Our top 3 free ipad apps for English - Sept 2015

During a recent conversation on Twitter with @MichaelT1979, we were asked to recommend our top free apps for English and Maths for students to download and use over the summer. 

We use these apps every week and they make fantastic free additions to your iPad app portfolio.

We would recommend that you also check out Part 2 of this mini series – Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for Maths

Our Top 3 Free iPad Apps for English

Presented in no particular order:

SpellFix by Alan Peat Ltd

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[su_column size=”1/5″]SpellFix by Alan Peatspellfix_qr[/su_column]
[su_column size=”4/5″]Spellfix is a great app to encourage children to learn some of the harder words in the English language.

Each level has 8 tricky spellings to find to progress to the next level, progression is made through using the clues and available letters on screen.

Spellfix is a great app as it teaches the meaning of the word at the same time as the spelling, meaning its ideal for contextualised learning.[/su_column]
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Spellfix is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS6 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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Learn English with Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge by British Council

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Learn English Appjohnny_grammer_qr[/su_column]
[su_column size=”4/5″]Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge encourages players to beat the clock and answer as many spelling, vocabulary and grammar questions you can in the 60 second limit.

Players can earn a series of badges by completing levels with the ultimate goal of achieving Johnnys Gold Badge.

You can even compete with players around the world online![/su_column]
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Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS6 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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Jumbled Sentences 3 by Innovative Net Learning Limited

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[su_column size=”1/5″]Jumbled Sentences Appjumbled_sentences_qr[/su_column]
[su_column size=”4/5″]Jumbled Sentences is a great app that helps beginners improve their writing skills.

The app offers an engaging and interactive way for beginners to learn and master word order. The app also offers a self checking tool that allows players to check their own progress as they go.

Difficulty can be changed by adding in extra word to the sentences making solving the scrambled works that much harder.[/su_column]
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Jumbled Sentences 3 is available for free from the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad. The app is compatible with all current iOS devices, requiring a minimum of iOS6 to run. It will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPod touch 4th Generation and newer.

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Whats in your top apps list for English? Are there any interesting apps that we have missed? If so, you can contact us via Facebook, Twitter or a good old fashioned contact form.

Thanks!

TeacherRocks – An Introduction

The Teacher Rocks blog logo

Like many great ideas throughout history, TeacherRocks.co.uk was born out of a conversation in the pub.

After a couple of hours of chatting, the conversation moved onto the general state of teaching resources and teaching blogs online. There are many inspiring blogs on the internet, and many more that are very poor in both content and presentation.

Most of the resources online are of very poor quality, difficult to work with or out of date. They are often provided in a locked PDF format where staff spend more time rewriting or copying the resources – this is pointless as it can often be quicker to create the resource from scratch than attempt to modify something existing.

What is the point of making these available for free if they are unusable?

After working together for the past 3 years and collaborating on many in-school projects, we decided to start this very blog to address these problems.

Introducing TeacherRocks

TeacherRocks has been setup to provide quality teaching advice, resources and opinion for all of KS1 and KS2 across all aspects of the curriculum. The resources we create will be of high quality, easily modifiable and adaptable to your own planning.

We plan on releasing the resources we create in all formats – so you can pick the one thats best for you, be it PDF, PowerPoint, Word, Plain Text or hopefully in the future Smart Notebook formats.

We will also be covering teaching ideas and best practice as well as our own opinions of aspects of the teaching profession with the odd bit of humour thrown in for good measure.

We also plan on covering the use of technology in the classroom – and hope to release easy to follow how-to guides on using technology easily and effectively.

Introducing the Team

In order to create fantastic teaching resources, you really need to know what you are talking about – to quote a popular internet meme:

One does not simply create a teaching blog

The team behind TeacherRocks.co.uk consists of Joe Shepherd, currently a KS2 teacher and Maths lead and Gary Danton, an ICT Manager in a busy Primary School.

A bit about Joe

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You can follow Joe on Twitter via @pepeshepherdo
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Joe decided to become a teacher after an 8 year period as a Human Resource Manager. Having survived a tough few years of transition, he is making a great impact by leading Maths in school.

Always eager to improve the quality and quantity of time spent with children, Joe often leans towards ICT for innovation.  Using blogs, apps and self made resources to drive progress and attainment. His main focus generally though is the development of young individuals that are active, interested and ready to enquire.

With his natural lean towards number there will be some great resources continuously added that everyone can use. As well as some teaching styles and techniques you can try quickly and free.

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A bit about Gary

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You can follow Gary on Twitter via @garydanton
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Although Gary isn’t a classroom teacher, he has 8 years of experience of IT in education from Primary to FE level. Gary has assisted teaching staff with integrating the existing computing curriculum into everyday lessons (which is no mean task).

As a non-teacher Gary often plays Devils advocate –  just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that its the best way of doing it. Gary enjoys challenging the accepted norms.

Gary’s primary role on TeacherRocks is to run the site on a day to day basis, developing both the website and the resources that we create. Gary will also be blogging about ICT in a School environment from both a teaching and non-teaching point of view, as well as how to get the best value from your existing ICT kit.
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When are we launching?

As this is a teaching blog, we though it appropriate to “officially” launch on the 1st September 2015, that gives us some time to fine tune the website and get all our planning in order for the start of the academic year.

If you’d like to contact us in the mean time, you can leave us a message via our contact form below – we look forward to hearing from you!

Edit:

We actually ended up starting a little sooner than expected after we were asked on Twitter to recommend some English and Maths apps – You can check our top 3 lists below:

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