Exciting times ahead in the world of ICT! With the new curriculum changes starting soon I’m sure we are all looking at how be can develop our subject, and what changes to teaching need to take place. Over the past few weeks I have starting thinking about how I am going to structure ICT, and what activities or programs I could use to deliver the new standards. Below is a mind map I created showing a few program ideas and possible teaching activities in Key stage 1. I am structuring ICT in 4 key sections; Digital Media, Programming, Data Handling and ICT Beyond the Classroom. By doing this my pupils are able to take part in a wide variety of activities, not just the coding that Mr Gove seems to want! Have a look and see what you think.

 A few weeks ago I posted a few handy tips for using the Notebook software on the IWB’s after giving a training session my school. Well last week I held another session, with a few more hints for my staff to use. Some of these are a bit more advanced that before, but should really improve how you use your SmartBoard in lessons.

Handwriting Recognition – Make quick labels or headings that can be seen by all. Write with the pen on the screen, then on the drop down menu choose ‘Text Recognise’. Your written text will then turn into typed writing. This makes it easy to move around, resize or rotate.

Shape recognition pen – Choose the shape pen and watch as Notebook turns your roughly drawn shapes into clean and clean shapes. Fantastic for adding boxes or circles to highlight quickly. Really useful and much easier that trying to add shapes in a hurry.

Cell Shade – Really quick little tip but one I use ALL the time. Often with a table I don’t want the pupils to see all the elements to begin with, or I want to hide the answers. With a cell that you want to hide from the pupils just right-click inside it, and click cell shade. This should grey out the cell until you click on it when you’re ready to show the pupils.

Adding links and Sounds – This is actually surprisingly easy on Notebook software. Select the element, click the drop down and click on ‘Add Link’. You then a few choices, hyperlink or sounds. You can link it to a webpage by pasting the URL in the box provided. To add a sound just point it at a sound file on your machine, it then plays that sound when clicked. Easy.

Locking items in place – This one is useful when allowing the pupils to come up and use the board. You don’t want them to wreck your hand work by deleting or changing what you have done too much, so lock the vital elements in place. Click to the items drop down menu, then you have some locking options. You can completely lock it, just allow it to be rotated or even moved in certain areas (but not deleted).

Dual Screen – My last little tip is something I only found recently. You can change your view from a single page to 2 slides. You can also pin one of these pages in place. This allows you to keep some info on-screen at all times, while flicking through others. Handy!



I know for a lot of people using a SmartBoard is like second nature, but for others it can be quite a daunting task to integrate it into your lessons. Please share this with other teachers! 

Ok, so I know it’s a bit late in the day, but I thought I’d share a few of the teaching ideas I have used for Roald Dahl Day. One of my favourite days in the school calendar, where children get to enter some of the most fantastic worlds.

1. Character blogs – allow your pupils blog on your VLE as one of Roald Dahl’s famous characters. Get them to enter the minds of The BFG or Matilda and share their experiences and thoughts. Add some images to their text and share it online, you will be amazed with the feedback you get.

2. Gaming – Use some gaming software like 2DIY to make a Roald Dahl themed game. This year my class have been playing as Danny the Champion of the World trying to catch pheasants! Why not make a game where you get to collect Snozzcumbers or Fobscottle bottles? The possibilities are endless!

3. For older children why not try a quick hot seat using Skype. Get pupils to dress up in an adjacent room and Skype the rest of the class. Get the pupils to interview the character on their motives and emotions.

4. Character Creation – One thing Roald Dahl always got perfect was the creativity in his characters. They were always fantastically odd and never boring. Try to make some new ones with your class. You could you try and add them to one of his stories, maybe make a sequel! Use something like or 2Publish so that pupils can bring their creations to life.

5. I have saved the trickiest till last, for only the bravest of teachers! For those that don’t know Roald Dahl did all his writing in a little shed at the bottom of his garden. It was the perfect writing space for him, warm and cosy in the winter, peace and quiet, and a pencil and paper on his lap. Get your pupils to think about where they could write, what would be their ideal space? When they have come up with some different ideas get they to try and create it on Google Sketchup. Use the modelling software to make their perfect little hideaway!


‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’

-Roald Dahl

Welcome back to the 2013/14 year teachers! To start off my year I have been offering SMARTboard refresher courses for my teaching staff. They all love using the board in their lessons but when I walk round the school I never feel they are being used to their full potential. Often this is down to the fact that teachers don’t know how to! After completing the training session I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the things we looked at, after all, you or teachers in your school might find it useful, so please share!

1. Using the ‘Magic Pen’. 3 great tools all in one. Firstly, just write with it, after around 10 seconds the write will fade away and disappear. This is great for making quick little notes on an image. Second, draw a circle around anything on your page with it. Notebook with recognize this and create a ‘spotlight’, only showing the area you highlighted. And lastly, draw a square around an area you want to look at in more detail, Notebook will recognize the square and zoom in on the selected area. Very  useful.

2. Maximise the Gallery. The gallery made available to all through Notebook is fantastic. In fact it’s beyond fantastic, its amazing. It really is important to spend some time looking through the wide variety of media available. In not just images you can find, there is all manner of interactive tools to use across subject areas. At the start of a new topic I like to spend 10 mins search through the gallery for items that i could use. Always 10mins well spent.

3. Measuring Tools. I LOVE the measuring tools. The can all be moved and manipulated on the screen to get the most out of them. My particular favourite is the ruler. This can be zoomed in an out, as well as changing length to accommodate different objects.

4. Loading a PowerPoint or PDF. As a teacher who regulary raids the TES for resources my hard drive tends to be full on PowerPoint files. While useful, I often like to load them in Notebook. This gives me the full functionality of the smartboard rather than the note making tools in PPT. All you have to do is import rather than open, so load Notebook, go to file, then click on import. Notebook then opens your ppt, reads all the pages and inserts them as slide on your smartboard. It also keeps the pictures and text boxes so you can edit them live on Notebook. Excellent!

5. Transparent layer. One of the classic features of Notebook is making the program transparent. This allows you to make notes on top of another program or website with ease. Simple load up the work you want to look at, open Notebook in front of it, then click the transparency button on the top toolbar. What is really clever though is that when you press it again the notebook come back into view, but it leaves all your notes in place. This allows you to edit, delete or add to them.

Hope this helps some of the Notebook beginners. I know some of these tips are fairly easy, and have been around for a while, but often they get missed when showing people how to use the product. If you have any other questions about the functionality of a SMARTboard please get in touch.


iPad Screenshot 5This week I have been given the task of making the teaching of ICT more mobile and physical in Reception. Sounds fun at 1st but then the reality sets in and I have to find enough work to do on fairly short notice. One of the things I have planned to do is using the iPads a lot with them, looking at some different apps, and different uses in the classroom.

Daisy the Dino is a control based app that works much in the same way as Scratch. Pupils create lists of where and what they want Daisy to do on the screen, it gives the pupils the chance to learn the basics of programming with a fun cartoon! the app is free and easy to use with drag and drop features. Kids of all ages can animate Daisy, making her move, dance or grow as she moves across the screen. The children should grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving the challenges set by the app. using the app can be developed further by pupils downloading a program on their computers with more functionality, but personally I would use this as an intro to Scratch.

Give it a go and see what you think, overall I think this a great introduction to the world of programming for younger pupils.

iPad Screenshot 4iPad Screenshot 3



Hi everyone, been a while since my last post. I had the summer away from everything school and tech, my eyes needed to recuperate!


But I’m back and that’s the most important thing! My 1st little resource is one that I used a lot over the holidays. is a great little website that uses the Ordnance Survey maps at different scales. The advantage of using this site it that it doesn’t have any data allowances. Users of the OS website will know that often searches can not be made as their daily usage allowance has been met.  this can be even more frustrating if you’re using it in the classroom, nothing worse than the tech letting you down. Give it a go!

Skip to toolbar