Teacher’s Trial by Tech – Assumed knowledge!!

Assumed knowledge is a dangerous concept and I am very guilty of ‘assumption’ this week with my A level PE class.

The belief that ‘youngsters’ can use technology has been challenged to such an extent in my classroom that I am concerned my assumption is hampering progress. Part of me thinks they would like to have any information given to them simplistically so they can complete it and get on with their real interests. (This, in itself, is a worry so I am determined to use the technology to foster curiosity and guided discovery). However, the speed at which I am introducing the technology is where adaptations must occur as I fear isolating the less proficient with educational apps. A framework must be maintained to enhance learning rather than overstimulating the students for fear of standing still.


  1. Use Twitter as medium for communication outside the classroom
  2. Use applications in the classroom –  mirror to projector  – maintain teacher use with student participation for now.
  3. Implement Edmodo to enhance AFL and student-teacher communication.

Twitter allows information to be passed to students in relation to topic/interest and this has been well received. The classroom apps will increase interaction and enhance learning, but students require more time to get used to the change in strategy.Edmodo appears to be the answer in relation to assessment and student interaction without discouraging engagement.


Edmodo is a free, secure social network for classroom use and teacher professional development.  Collaborate with this tool to share content and ideas, and to access announcements and grades.  Edmodo can be accessed online or through a portable device.  Increase communication by using this tool with your students or with other fellow teachers.’

The Facebook style layout has been well received by the students. If you add in the feedback, ability to ask a teacher a question and the recording of all information, you have a very powerful tool.

The widespread use of Edmodo in the USA initiated my interest and I am now running a six week trial into its effectiveness. So far feedback is very favourable.

Balance will be my buzzword over the coming weeks as I can’t assume students will engage with technology the way I think they can. There will always be room for new strategies, I just need temper the speed of introduction!

Teacher’s Trial By Tech – In the classroom – App of the week

The number of tools available to a teacher with a tablet device is increasing and overwhelming. Each week we are trying to use technology in a different way to make some ‘educated’ decisions on what’s useful and what’s irrelevant. Help is out there and I am indebted to the many offers from Twitter educators.

Social media sites provide so much information that I now see a role for curation, development and implementation that will continue to change term upon term. I hope I won’t be replaced by technology (!) but how I use it will become a very important skill. Anecdotal feedback suggests students can cope with new apps quicker than I can, so my aim is to try one new app each week. This will run alongside established teaching methods/apps and hopefully enhance learning.

App of the week


‘Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can create dynamic interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials using Explain Everything’s flexible and integrated design. Use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad2 ‘

The added advantage of this, over other interactive whiteboards, centres around the ability to re-record your explanation if you make a mistake. It is very intuitive and allows for ongoing assessment. The integration with Dropbox and Evernote is a welcome development and I hope it will be embraced in the classroom.

To be used with Year 7 and 12 students this week.

Then this came along and made me think a little more!


The advent of iBooks author only adds to the possibilities/decisions and it has started to make me think about how I will teach in two years let alone using apps week by week.


There will be an app for something.

There is a demonstration that is suitable.

There will be an educator on Twitter who can suggest a new method.

There is a place for pen and paper.

There is/will be numerous mediums for delivering content.

There will be enhanced learning if I GET IT RIGHT.

The teacher is still the most important factor. Filtering delivery methods, guiding students and developing resources will remain key components. The new challenge is maintaining a balance and perspective for the benefit of the students.

Exciting times…

Teacher’s Trial by Tech – Apps @educreations and Socrative in the classroom

So many questions, so many answers!

Ipad2 is the way to go for teachers. The Appstore is developing at light-speed and BETT has only strengthened the desire for a truly 1:1 education structure.

Must concentrate on the classroom. Sixth form A-Level PE lesson – Learning Plateaus.

Use in the classroom has centred around any smartphone/ipodtouch ‘talking’ to my iPad2 with interaction enhancing the learning experience. Student feedback (that must be taken with a pinch of salt) has been favourable and thankfully refers to learning.


'Nothing to do with the teacher'

Asking for feedback was a little daunting, but it is clear that everything I try must be driven by the students. The socrative app asked a set of A level students to give anonymous feedback on a lesson involving educreations/socrative and it is pleasing they actually thought about their answers.

My observations centre around the opportunity to help individuals and the ease with which the lesson flowed because of technology, not in spite of it. The apps were used to gauge prior learning (socrative), develop a concept (educreations) and produce assessable work (educreations and download report from socrative). Learning plateaus usually takes two lessons to deliver and within an hour we were finished.

How do I know it was a success? The educreations work was detailed and correct whilst the student’s plenary quiz read like a mark scheme.

Admittedly the topic is relatively easy for sixth form students but their interaction and on task conversation was pleasing to say the least. This has been true of all lessons using the new technology and we aren’t even close to 1:1 implementation.

If I link these anecdotal observations to the BETT show it seems I need help to make sense of it all and filter potential use of technology into actual use. Twitter is proving to be an amazing source of help and information that I am becoming more confident with as the tweets mount up.


Teacher’s Trial by Tech – Apps in the classroom

With new found confidence that Apple TV/iPad2 in the classroom is the way to go,  I must tackle the question of appropriate apps for student and teacher.

We are a little way off 1:1 teaching with iPad’s so the trial will concentrate on how the mirrored iPad enhances learning.

These 2 educational apps stand out so far and they are FREE!


The ShowMe App allows you to record your voice alongside any annotations, so the iPad is an interactive, personal whiteboard. Students can become quickly proficient at this. You can then upload into an account on the ShowMe website either publicly or privately – a useful feature for staff and students. It also acts as a starter activity with any diagram/photo annotated and reflected upon. Just press play and the students are immediately engaged with a very specific ‘presentation’.  @MrWickenPE uses the app for his SEN students to allow interaction and reasoning to be recorded http://www.showme.com/sh/?h=nkVxtIm

This app has the added advantage of an easy sharing option via email/twitter or VLE. An experiment with older students via a twitter feed for revision has been conducted. Anecdotally, this has been successful.


 ‘Socrative is a smart student response system that allows teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.’ http://www.socrative.com/ 

This app has moved from beta to alpha development whilst I have been using it and consequently is still free. It acts as an ‘eclicker’ with the added advantage of utility across all platforms.

The real positives lie in the different options available for questioning and all responses are displayed immediately. They can be shown through the web based program or mirrored through Apple TV.

The pilot group of students now come to the lesson with the app pre-loaded and there is an immediate response to any starter question. This allows for ALL students understanding to be gauged. Short answer with sentences are particularly effective for reflective learning.

Socrative has become so useful that it can be utilised at any point during the lesson to assess for learning – Ofsted criteria addressed!!!

My feeling is these apps could be used at any point to enhance learning. Showme and Socrative can be pre-loaded with information to help with any concerns with content and the interaction is invaluable. Allowing student work to be immediately displayed has led to concurrent feedback and AfL becomes a natural consequence.

Please get in contact if you would like to discuss usage in the classroom.

Teacher’s Trial by Tech – Apple TV in the classroom

The future in the classroom?

iPad2 in the classroom is definitely the next step using Apple TV.

Apps have made it so easy to create/inspire/challenge that I am on an iPad2 crusade.

The technology required to allow my iPad2 to enter the classroom appears at first tricky to implement and even more difficult for the IT department school wide. However –


1. There is a way to mirror the iPad2 in the classroom


  • AV box (inputs to outputs)
  • Apple TV
  • Correct hdmi-vga cable
  • Security!

2. Apple TV could exist in every classroom – possible issues

  • Link to device in each class doesn’t require network solution – just tap on the correct device when prompted by iPad Apple TV button
  • BANDWIDTH a major problem?
  • Security for every classroom

Managed to secure a trial classroom for Apple TV having run my own experiment with HD television. The speed of wireless at home allows for iPad2 lesson presentation to be quick and utilise multimedia very effectively. Will it be the same across a school network? If slow, will this immediately give an excuse for not rolling out the wireless connectivity across the school?

Students are very receptive to any technology/apps I throw at them, so my focus will be staff and support. I am lucky enough to have an assistant head who will be considering the wireless issues in school and I am free to concentrate on teaching and learning.

Introducing apps to staff in a very informal way could well be the approach I have to take.