Subscribe to this blog!

- Every post will be emailed directly to you, so you will never miss a thing!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

15 iPad lesson ideas for 'The Tudors'

I am very proud to announce that my new eBook - 15 iPad lesson ideas for 'The Tudors' is now available on the iBook store!

This brand new eBook will share 15 inspiring and engaging lessons using the iPad to bring the Tudor topic alive in the classroom. 

With cross curricular link and references to the New Primary Curriculum, the book will help teachers looking for ways to enhance learning through the use of mobile technology. 

‘The Tudors’ is one of the most popular topics covered in the Primary Curriculum. Despite not being directly linked in the New Primary Curriculum there are still opportunities to cover this fascinating topic in class.

Even if you don't teach 'The Tudors,' most of the ideas shared in this eBook can easily be adapted for any topic in the new History curriculum.

Featuring a range of apps including - Lino, Thinglink, Puppetpals to name a few! The eBook also links to Android versions of apps wherever possible.

All of the lessons have been tried and tested in a primary classroom and examples of work children have produced are shared on many of the pages. 

You can download the book from the iBook store for just £1.49. If you do download please leave a review.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Musomic - The Future of Comic Creation!

I rarely look forward to an app as much as I did when I first heard of Musomic. After working alongside Mat (@inspiredmind5) and reading his fantastic book (pictured) I quickly realised the potential of using comics in the classroom. There are plenty of comic apps available on the iPad, my favourites being Comic Life, Strip Designer and Comics Head. Musomic, however is completely different and provides a whole range of fantastic literacy opportunities!

Here is a video showing the basics of the Musomic app:

There are a range of different themed packs that you can purchase and download. For the next couple of days, all of the content is FREE so be quick and get them downloaded! But it is the fact that you have professionally designed images to work with in creating your own comics is such a fantastic tool. It can inspire writing in so many ways, from planning stories, investigating characters, retelling stories, creating comics and classroom posters to name just a few ideas that jump in my head. I just know that children will relish using this app as a storytelling tool and it will inspire so many creative stories! 

The other aspect to this app that sets it apart from other comic apps out there is the use of music! I am a massive fan of how important music can be in telling a story. I have previously blogged about how you can use music to inspire story writing and you can read it here. The fact that children can add drums, melody or SFX to each page of their comic add a whole new level of creativity to the storytelling process.

This is an app I am excited to use in the class, so stay tuned to see some of the wonderful comics the children make over the next few weeks!

If you haven't yet got your copy of the app - DOWNLOAD IT HERE NOW!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Using an iPad as a Visualiser


A few years back, I managed to acquire a visualiser through collecting Tesco vouchers. I was to trial using it in class with the intention of then purchasing them for other classes if worthwhile. It quickly transformed my teaching! Being able to demonstrate examples through shared writing, share children's work with the whole class, uplevel and edit children's work were just a few ways I used it to enhance my teaching. It led to the school buying a visualiser for each class teacher - each costing approximately around £200-£250 each at that time, this may now have changed.

About a year later, we made the decision to invest in iPads (costing around £250 each at the time, the same price or even cheaper of a visualiser,) and this made the visualisers almost redundant along with the interactive whiteboard. One of the many great features of the iPad is that it can easily become an interactive visualiser, but what sets it apart, is the fact it is mobile and therefore gives teachers the ability to have a visualiser in their hands wherever they are.

There are a few ways in which to connect your iPad to your projector for display - either through software on a computer or hardware connected directly to the projector. This fantastic poster from the inspirational @iPadWells demonstrates some -

Here are some ways to turn your iPad into a visualiser -

1 - Airserver (Approx £7) - For me, this is the best software to mirror your iPad screen. Available for both PC and Mac this works brilliantly well (most of the time!) The recent update now allows you to record your iPad screen too which provides teachers with a great way of creating tutorial videos. For the price it is fantastic and as long as your wifi is strong and allows access for it to work, I don't think there is anything better. Your PC will need Windows 7 or above for it to work but here is a short video demonstrating how it works -

2 - Apple TV (Approx £80) This is a piece of hardware that will connect directly into a projector/screen or TV. This again relies on Wifi to allow the Airplay option from your device. For me, the cost is what makes me lean toward Airserver. You could potentially put Air Server on every teacher's PC for the same price as an Apple TV. Both rely on your Wifi to handle the bandwidth and make sure it isn't unblocked.

3 - Reflector (Approx £8) This is another piece of software that is very similar to Air Server. I have tried both and prefer Air Server. It just seemed to be more reliable however reflector does work on Windows XP. Below is a YouTube video comparing Reflector and AirServer - 

4 - VGA Adapter (Approx £10 for iPad 2 or £35 for newer iPads) The VGA cables are very reliable and I always have one to hand as we can never always rely on Wifi! The problem, is that is becomes static, you can only display your iPad from the front of the class where you have attached the iPad to the whiteboard.

This infographic from the great Tony Vincent compares most ways to mirror your iPad to a display board (Click here for original post)

There are also apps that work the other way, allow you to control your PC computer from your iPad. Splashtop app or Hippo Remote are a couple I have used. Both require the software to be downloaded on the PC and also the app on your iPad. 

The next app to be released by Alan Peat Ltd will be the 'iVisualiser,' app. If you are able to mirror your iPad to your projector or screen this app will be extremely useful. Using the iPad camera within the app, it provides a range of useful tools to help teachers annotate and highlight directly onto the screen. The fact this can be done live or a freezeframe can be taken and children or teachers can annotate the screen and save it as a photo truly makes the iPad a great mobile visualiser. 

When you consider that a standard visualiser now costs near the same as an iPad mini I think there is no question what would be a more worthwhile purchase. If you are unsure as to what else an iPad can do, please read through this blog. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences!

I am extremely pleased to announce that my first printed book will be released in early October. The book, 50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences, promises to be, an idea rich addition to the Exciting Sentences series. The book is co-written with Alan Peat, who created and wrote the first Exciting Sentences book. If you don't have a copy of the original books, follow these links - Exciting Sentences, Second book of Exciting Sentences. These are a MUST for the primary classroom and I have seen first hand how it has transformed and improved children's writing. I am also proud to have Simon Matthews on design for this project, his amazing work on previous books including Mat Sullivan's, 'Developing Writing Through Comics,' is phenomenal. Simon's latest project is the wonderful, which you can read about here. It is a fantastic resource and well worth a look.

The forthcoming book will aim to support teachers who use the Exciting Sentence approach and have access to mobile technology. Although it is primarily iPad based, there are links to alternative Android apps so it will be useful to any teacher with a mobile device in the classroom. The book consists of 15 key apps, from which a range of different lesson ideas to help children deepen and further their understanding of using Exciting Sentences in their writing. The book contains links to the new Primary Curriculum and contains plenty of REAL classroom examples.

The book will be available in both printed and digital form. The digital eBook will be updated regularly if any of the apps are updated and redesigned. There will be an opportunity to buy the digital copy at a discount if you buy a printed version. 

This will be the first in a series of books both myself and Alan will be working on. The next will be 50+ iPad lessons for Non Fiction writing. It will be another book that will show the potential of using the iPad to enhance and transform writing into a range of multimedia digital media. This will accompany another non-fiction publication from Creative Educational Press written by Mat and Alan. 

Many of the ideas and lessons from the book are discussed on INSET and training I provide, if you are interested, please visit this link, if you are interested in upcoming conferences click here. After the success of my first eBook '15 iPad lessons for the World Cup,' I also have my next eBook currently in edit, which I am hoping will be ready in the next couple of weeks. 

If you are interested in purchasing the book and would like to be added to the Alan Peat Ltd Newsletter group so you receive emails for all the latest news including - apps, books, courses and conferences, please add your details below:

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Create instant writing prompts using PhotoFunia

PhotoFunia is a great free app and website that allows to take a photo and really jazz it up!

With over 350 different effects you can transform a simple picture into a work of art or display a picture on an advertising billboard!

Some of the effects include pictures, others just text and some are a combination of the two.

The professional finish to these effects can provide a stimulus that children will believe is real, leading to some really effective and purposeful writing. There are some limitations - for example - you cannot add any punctuation marks into the text, so choose your words wisely!

Here are a few ways in which you can use this app in the classroom -

Create a headline to inspire writing.
Tell the class you took this picture this morning while you were having your breakfast. Share some of the facts from the article. Allow the children to then write the newspaper report, or write a first person recount as the person who made the discovery.
Work in pairs and use hot seating to interview the witness.
Write a description of the artefact, what if it was haunted? Write a spooky tale about it haunting the school.
Lots of opportunities to then use other iPad apps to develop ideas.

If your school won the lottery, what would the children want the money spent on?
Could they come up with a proposal list and budget?
Write a letter to the Headteacher proposing what the money should be spent on.
Can they map out a new playground? design a new classroom?

This image was made by @Redgierob after reading a previous post here.

Children could write descriptions about the day aliens landed.
This can be linked with this previous iPad lesson.
Children can write in role as the aliens, visiting Earth and the school for the first time - what would they think? Could they come up with different names for objects?

There are loads of other effects you can use! Here are a few other ways in which you can use PhotoFunia in class -

When children draw, paint or create pieces of art work, use the app to create the illusion that the piece of art is being displayed in an Art gallery.

Children will love to see pictures as if their work is being displayed in different Art Galleries.

If you have an assembly, performance or show coming up, create an effect like this to share via twitter or Facebook with parents.

If the children have created an animation or film on their iPad, create a similar image as the opening titles for their film.
Do you have a star of the week? Publicise their achievement by creating the effect of the news being featured in a magazine! This could be the "Super Pupils," "Best children weekly," or something along those lines to make the child feel that the reward is being shared and valued.

This next example was made through the website - as the app doesn't allow the video effects to work on the iPad.

But this is an animated effect which allows you to choose some of your favourite examples of writing and turn them into a book. This could be a great way to showcase the writers of the week!

These are just a few examples of the 350+ effects available on the app or website. Not all the effects would be usable in class but if you have any other ideas please let me know in the comments below.

Here was an idea shared by @larnawhatwhat on twitter. This will be used with her Roald Dahl unit of work -

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Inspring and Motivational Quotes for the Classroom!

The internet is full of amazing quotes and speeches that can inspire and motivate. I want to try and collate as many that can be used in the classroom to help children focus and reach their potential. All you have to do is fill in the form below, if possible please try to name who originally voiced or penned the quote. However I know this is an issue on the internet, in that quotes can be referenced to someone who didn't actually say or write it.

It maybe a quote, speech, poem or even a link to a video. Thank you in advance for all your suggestions. It will also be a great way to build your PLN as you will be able to follow the contributors by searching their twitter handle.

Once I get a few suggestions, I will blog different apps you can use to create different posters to then display in your classroom.


Here are the responses for you to read and use:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Creating effective then and now pictures

Last weekend I received these tweets:

This was my response:

Just in case you see other tweets sharing this idea, I just wanted to show when I mentioned it first. I hope that most followers of this blog and anyone who attends my training agree that I always credit any teacher if an idea starts with them, I just think it is fair to acknowledge where the initial inspiration for an idea comes from. I am more than happy to let people share ideas from my blog, that is the main reason for it! I am always extremely happy and proud to see people who tweet me to say that they have used an idea. I appreciate every time someone does share something from my blog and when they acknowledge where it came from. I can never prove whether a teacher genuinely thinks of an idea themselves and like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but to me it doesn't take much to mention and credit other peoples ideas.

Instashake was an app I downloaded through Apps Gone Free a while back. It is a great way of combining two different mix in different patterns. It is really straightforward and provides a great way to compare pictures of the past to the present.

It provides a great visual stimulus for children to then use to compare and contrast or even describe.

An example would be to take some pictures of the D Day landings contrasted with what they look like now (you can find some examples here) you can then use Instashake to combine two of these pictures to create a really effective then and now contrasting image:

Other ways could be to compare your local area, take this example of a picture of Market Street, Manchester in 1877 alongside Market Street 2002:

Or the evolution of Dubai - 1991 - 2003:

And it can also work the other way, look at current war zones and see how they use to look before the outbreak of war. Take this example of a street in Syria in 2011 and 2013:

This would show the devastating effects of war. 

You could even use it to look at the changes in children, or compare a self portrait with the original. If the children have replicated a famous painting in an art lesson it can then be blended with the original. Here is an example of me now contrasted to me as a baby (it fails to show the little difference mentally!):

Another idea, suggested by @RedgieRob would be to have a superhero with their alter ego. This could be done by the children creating their own superhero and creating an image that shows both sides of the character, here is a quick examples I put together -

Instashake is currently £1.49 but keep an eye out if it goes on Apps gone free again. If you have another other ideas for how to use this app, please tweet or add the ideas within the comments.

Already lots of ideas coming through thanks to twitter! Rob created this which could be a great stimulus for writing - 


Other ideas include - contrasts in weather/seasons, make your own animal by combining different parts of others (@SimonHaughton) or the opening setting with the setting at the end of a narrative (@BrynGoodman) Environmental changes (@WatsEd)

Thanks for all the suggestions!