Since taking on my new responsibility as Head of Geography from September, I haven’t had much chance to post, but finally half term has arrived! Although my school responsibilities have changed, my philosophy hasn’t and I’m committed to continuing to explore ways in which new technologies can help support teaching and learning. One of the areas I hope that one day I can myself explore is the use of one to one devices. I am not in that position at the moment but it is interesting learning from others who are currently in this position and exploring new apps and programmes that can support with this.

CanarOne which I have recently discovered through my ‘TPD’ (Twitter Professional Development) is CanaryFlow from Canary Learning. I can’t try this one out myself because not all my students have devices but it certainly looks like it has great potential for those of you who are in that lucky situation. Hand out assignments which are are automatically downloaded to student devices and students can work on it even when they are not on-line. Students then submit and everything is automatically downloaded to your device. Comment you add are remembered so for ‘common’ mistakes or comments they can reused across student work if necessary.

More about the CanaryFlow plans is available here and CanaryFlow Teacher is free.  Student and Teacher apps are available on itunes.

Canaryflow example

Student’s see all the content teaches want them to see and there is a useful calendar view as well (photo below – taken from Canary Learning website).

As CanaryFlow works completely offline you don’t have to be online to work.

The following video gives an introduction to Canaryflow 2.0

Edynco – Interactive Learning Maps

edyncoI’ve recently come across Edynco which I’m hoping to try out over the next couple of weeks. I think this could have really good potential for helping students with revision and linking concepts and key ideas to support recall. Edynco enables simple mind-maps to be turned into interactive learning maps with the addition of other resources and links such as attached documents, audio, video etc.

There is a short introductory video here:

Formative – free student response / online formative assessment tool

FormativeFormative is an online student response system / online formative assessment tool which is made by teachers from across the US and is free for teachers and students. The tool enables a range of responses including multiple choice, numeric, text, drawing and taking pictures. Assessments are shared with students via a quick link or access code and student responses are sent to the teacher in realtime so that early intervention and tracking of student responses can be undertaken.

This video provides a useful overview of the tool.

There is also a useful tutorial video which shows you how to upload and convert a .pdf into a digital formative assessment. This video helps to show you the potential of the tool for setting online assessments as homework or classwork. As student work is completed it can be monitored in realtime.

I really like the potential of this and hope to give it a go with one of my exam classes over the next term. Have any of you had any experience of this already or have any ideas to share?

iPad Bulletin – issue 9 (Apps Focus – Geography)

iPad Bulletin 9

You may have noticed that at the moment this has become a fortnightly bulletin rather than weekly – mainly due to time pressures! Hopefully it will give people more time to digest and try things out! Click here to download this week’s bulletin.

SMART Exchange (Beta) – Finding & Sharing Resources


The new SMART Exchange has been set up to enable teachers to quickly search and find SMART related resources many of which have been produced and shared by other teachers. The new SMART Exchange streamlines the way in which you can search for resources, enabling you to browse via subject and also via subject-correlated standards – i.e. KS2, KS3, KS4. The search engine directly links resources to areas of the National Curriculum (see Science example below) enabling a focused search and providing a valuable and time-saving source of resources.

SMART_Exchange_Final_SearchIt is also possible to search across different areas, the link above will take you straight to the ‘England’ area site but this can be easily changed to search other areas and associated curriculum resources e.g. USA, Germany etc.

The whole idea of SMART Exchange is that it is a community for teachers using SMART resources and as well as contributing to the community by sharing your own resources (an easy uploading system is available on the homepage) you can also join the discussion forum in the ‘Connect with Teachers’ section to connect with other teachers from around the country.

The following video from the SMART exchange team provides a guided tour of the new SMART Exchange facility.

Using Games in the Classroom

The primary aim of Tuesday’s teaching and learning meeting is to explore how new technologies can be used to facilitate the use of games in the classroom and to provide some training in how to create simple yet effective games and quizzes that can be used both in the classroom on the IWB and published online for revision and follow up by students.

Reasons for using games in the classroom include:

* Motivation – games can engage and motivate students and in doing so they are more likely to interact in topics covered
* Games can provide feedback to both the learner and the teacher – outcomes help students to identify their current levels of acheivement and staff can intervene, scaffold and adjust learning opportunities as neccesary in relation to the outcomes.
* For many students the nature of a game or quiz is less threatening than some other learning opportunities
* Can be used to review learning in the classroom through starters and plenaries
* Can be used as useful revision aids and through online sources can be used to support independent revision by students.

See this article by Vondracek and Pittman for more details on some of the points made above.




Andrew Field (Head of ICT at  Neale-Wade) has produced an excellent set of easy to use interactive game generators which students love. The content generator software can be purchased as a personal or school licence and once purchased allows you to produce unlimited games for your website, classroom etc. We already have a school licence for the Suite 1 applications, and the generators can be found in the Staff area of Projects. The generators are very easy to use and you don’t have to have any knowledge of computer programming – all you have to do is simply enter the questions and answers and the games are automatically generated for you!

contgennew1There are a number of games as well as some great revision tools – here are some examples:

Games in Suite 1 which you can make your own games for include:

At the moment we don’t have a school license for Suite 2 – however it there is enough demand this is a possibility – so please let me know how you get on with the games!. I have a personal license for most of the Suite 2 applications which include HoopShoot, Fling the Teacher, En Guard, Practice Paper (see below) and Grade or No Grade

Free Resource:

Half a min is a great little generator for creating simple starters and plenaries, it is brilliant for developing vocabulary and literacy! It is a free download for anyone and is part of what is called the mini-suite – you simply need to register on the excellent support forum which can be found here.

Revision Tools:

Suite 2 also contains the Practice Paper generator which I believe has massive potential as an interactive revision tool to support students in independent revision and exam practice. Students can take their pick from a selection of exam questions, type in their answer and then ‘submit’ it which results in a mark scheme or model answer being displayed – students can then print both to compare the answers. It is possible to use colours and other formatting to bring out key terms, examples etc.. used in the model answers to help students develop their exam technique. See the example below by clicking on the screenshot.


Another great tool for revision, which both students and staff at St Ivo do have access to is the Interactive diagram tool which enables the creation of mind-map as revision tools  – for a description see here

As we have a school licence it is also possible for students  to create their own games which in itself is a useful revision exercise and of course these games can then be shared via department websites/extranet pages or on staff blogs.

There is already a growing collection of these games available on the internet for many different subjects – see some of the following links for further ideas and to see the potential for using these in your own areas – have a go at making them – they are VERY easy!


Hot Potatoes

hotpot5This is a popular set of educational software tools which have been developed by the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre.

The software tools are free to use by non-profit education institutes on the condition that the games that are created are made freely available to anyone on the internet.

hotpotcrossThere are a series of 6 generators which enable staff to create online tests, quizzes, interactive starter/plenary activities which can be made use of on the IWB in the classroom and used by students independently by uploading to staff blogs or department pages on the school extranet.

No expert knowledge is required to produce the activities and each quiz has a simple generator – you simply have to enter the questions, answers and responses and press a button to generate the pages – it is as simple as that! You can also add audio, text and other media to your quizzes – making it ideal for a range of subject areas.

There are 6 generator options:

1. JCloze – simple clozed exercises involving gap-filling can be created, students can also be given clues to the missing words.

2. JQuiz – includes multiple choice and short-answer quizzes, feedback can be given

3. JMix – creates jumbled sentence activities

4. JMatch – creates matching/ ordering activities

5. JCross – creates interactive crosswords (a hint button can be used to give ‘free’ letters)

6. Masher – can be used to create complete units of different activities in one go.

The generators themselves are very user-friendly, however there is a free Hot Potatoes guide that can be downloaded from the Hotpotatoes Website.

Saving your Hot Potatoes quizzes:

1. Create a dedicated folder in your area where you are going to store your quizzes

2. The saving process requires 2 stages – firstly you need to save the information file with your quiz data in – this will enable you to open your quiz file up again at a later date and make changes to your quiz. To do this – simply go to File_SaveDataFileAs.. and give your quiz an appropriate name.

3. When you are happy with your quiz you will need to export it to create a web page which can be viewed in a web browser for us on your IWB and for uploading to the internet for revision etc. To do this, select File_Export – and then choose the appropriate option for what you want to do.

The Hot Potatoes generators can be downloaded here for use at home and in school, the generator tools can be found in the projects area of the network (please see me if you have any problems locating this).

Examples of Hot Potatoes Quizzes:

Some examples of Hot Potato Generated quizzes can be found here:

Ideas for Using Hot Potatoes in the Classroom:

  1. Starter and Plenary activities can be created for use on the IWB
  2. Quizzes and activities can be created for use by students independently for use both in the classroom and for homework
  3. Online Revision materials on staff blogs or subject extranet pages can be created for students, enabling immediate self check / feedback to be given
  4. Students can be encouraged to create their own quizzes to share with each other.
  5. Within a department staff could divide up a topic area and create and share resources


This excellent site enables you to create your own free quizzes, activities, games and diagrams which can be hosted on your blog on website. The site is run by Russell Tarr, Head of History at the International School of Toulouse. Includes resources such as: flash card generator, diamond 9 generator; Venn diagram; timeline; living graph; priority diagram and many other excellent educational tools for use in the classroom on the IWB and on staff blogs and department websites.

timerIt also includes an excellent class timer – for more examples of classroom timers – see this earlier post on “Using Timers in the Classroom”.





Sandfields Comprehensive School – Free Flash Resources

An excellent site from Sandfields Comprehensive School in Port Talbot providing free flash resources which can easily be personalised – including such games as Lingo Bingo; Flip Flap; Dictionary Duel, and Random Choice amongst others. A fantastic classroom timer (to which you can add your own audio tracks!) can also be found here.


Other Ideas:

If you have a staff blog – myStudiyo – enables you to create multimedia rich quizzes for directly embedding into your blog – you can include videos from sites such as You Tube and images.

Qedoc – is a new find for me and one I hope to explore and write more about on here in the near future – a site which provides interactive learning resources and a free authoring tool (free for those who share / contribute). If anyone already has experience of this I would love to hear more about it.

Other good online tools for creating quiz style activities:

Sliding Puzzle Tool

Puzzlemaker (Discovery)

Online Crossword Puzzle Maker

Online Wordsearch Maker

Puzzles and Games Downloads – include Who Wants to be a Millionaire Template

SuperTeacherTools (includes seating generator, random name generator, group generator and templates for games such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Jeopardy)