News Booth – read all about it.

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Report on key events in history, deliver news stories on new scientific breakthroughs (in and out of the classroom), report school sports match results or even deliver the school news letter through the new FREE iPad app called News Booth.

With a range of themes available –  the modern, big news corporation look or even a more retro looking design to name just two – pupils can create professional looking news reels in seconds. You can also purchase more themes in the in-app store. Pupils can then adapt the headline text and subject text to suit the story on which you are reporting. When your news reed is created, save it to your camera roll so that you can share it with others via email/vle/Google/youtube or play it for others using Apple TV. Try the following activities with it:

1. Report on historical events that you’ve learnt about in class as a more creative way of pupils showing they understand what happened for example in the key events leading to World War One.

2. Create a news/weather report in a foreign language and play for others. Pupils could come up with their own questions to their own reports so that it could be treated as a more interesting listening activity, created by the pupils, in true lazy teacher style.

3. Deliver news reports on scientific developments in and out of the classroom i.e. the results of an experiment could be delivered in a more engaging way by students OR even new scientific developments such as events at CERN.

4. Pupils keen on extra curricular activities could use the App to deliver school wide news on the school’s YouTube channel (which if you don’t have, you should get…now!). This could include book reviews for book club, sports match results for the school and even have the school newsletter delivered through this medium.

5. Pupils could use the App in English to summsarise poems, plays and literature; perhaps work in groups of four and all report on parts of a larger text to lighten the load.

6. All reports could be mirrored on the Interactive White Board using Apple TV for the whole class to watch or be uploaded onto the school website, YouTube channel, class blog/website for others to view; why not have a welcome message on your school website delivered by pupils?


Aurasma: augmented reality in the classroom is now a…reality

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If you’re looking to create the wow factor in your classroom, then Aurasma is the app to do just that. Aurasma is a free augmented reality app on which you can link videos (played on a loop, known as ‘Auras’) to pre-set pictures of your choice. Simply, record a video, link the video to a picture to create and Aura. Pupils can then point the camera on the iPad at the image to which you’d like the video linked and the video will then come to life as ‘augmented reality’. Try the following six activities with it:

  1. Link videos from your iPad’s camera roll that explain the lesson’s key learning points.
  2. Add pictures to student’s work that links to a video of you explaining your marking.
  3. Create a ‘choices treasure hunt’. Pupils are posed a question, have to research it and then choose a picture that represents a correct answer to access the next activity explained by the Aura linked to the correct answer picture.
  4. Have some pictures already printed out and have students record their reactions to them and link them. This could work particularly well for Art, English and MFL.
  5. Make history and art come to life by linking explanations to pictures and paintings, much like an audio guide in a museum.
  6. Have recorded messages from members of staff for a more engaging open evening for parents.

Find the App here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/aurasma/id432526396?mt=8 on the App store.

Popplet – versatile, fun and aesthetically pleasing.

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Although I’ve started the new term in my new role as New Technology Leader without my iPad (it’s currently being repaired) I’ve still managed to look into some exciting new apps and Popplet is one of them.

Popplet is a fun way to mind map ideas and share them with others with an easy to use interface. As you can see in the picture below, each new project in Popplet allows the user to create several different spider diagrams/mind maps, colour code them and add pictures and or text. The starting point for each new ‘Popplet’ (the box from which you start a new map/diagram, within a given project) has buttons around the outside that signify the options available for each popplet. You can colour code them, add in pictures and write in each one. You can then touch a button that creates a sub-popplet linking from the original popplet, which in turn you can then edit.


Obviously, this lends itself to subjects that require mind-mapping in order to plan a piece of writing/essay or for revision of certain topics. However, I have found it particularly useful for my MFL classes (this example could apply to English Language too). When learning animals, I asked my pupils to create a ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ popplet and attached the relevant animals to either popplet. This could work for any kind of word classification exercise and thus is a effective way of showing understanding visually. Additionally, in order to increase your pupil’s word bank, the you could email the pupils of copy of some pictures so that they could research as many different pieces of vocabulary for a given picture (perhaps a sunny beach, to represent holidays). Likewise, pupils could use Popplet in order to increase their knowledge of synonyms; you could supply them with some key, yet overused, words (divetido, pero and me gusta spring to mind) and set your pupils an exercise whereby they look for as many different synonyms as possible in order to boost that all important ‘Range of Language’ strand in their controlled assessment. Importantly, it’s colourful and it looks ‘nice’; something which I feel helps children engage and thus altogether ‘better’ than simply a piece of paper and a pencil.


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One free iPad app that effectively supports student centered learning is ShowMe.

ShowMe is essentially a digital mini white board, on which the user can draw using a range of colours; add in pictures to be annotated and even record their voice. However, this has many possibilities to enhance Teaching and Learning and here are those which I’ve used.

Firstly, ShowMe can be used as a replacement for mini white boards for plenary activities. This replaces the need to hand out mini white boards, pens and erasers, which can be time consuming, especially as pens have to be check regularly and exchanging them can really slow down the pace of the lesson. Pupils can then peer assess each other’s answers by choosing a different colour (green is available, in keeping with the FHS pupil marking policy). Students could then link their answers to the Interactive White Board using the iPad’s mirroring application via AirServer.

 ShowMe Colour   

Secondly, pictures can be imported (including PDFs of exam questions) from the iPad by selecting the ‘choose photo’ icon. Work can then be shared via email/Google drive/mirroring and assessed by others. Pupils will need to sign up and make an account, which is free, but once they have it, they can use it for all subjects.

ShowMe pics

Finally, pupils and teachers alike can record any processes that they have created on ShowMe (much like Jing – a screenshot and screencast software). Pupils could use the app to create a ShowMe video to show what they have learnt in a given lesson. Furthermore, teachers could use ShowMe to input information, that could potentially be personalised to each pupil’s learning or even serve as an extension activity that explains further information on a learning point from the lesson (this could be linked up via QR code posted on the wall that pupils simply have to scan with the iPad to access the content).

ShowMe VoiceShowMe erase

ShowMe is available for free on the Apple App Store, click here to see and iTunes preview.

Further Reading:

AirServer –  http://www.airserver.com/

Jing – http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html