Apple Education Announcements

Sure, Apple needs a cheaper product for schools. However a cheaper iPad is only part of the equation. Three things that I’m sure won’t be announced but could totally transform the state of play are,

1. Unlimited cloud storage for education Apple ID’s generated in Apple School Manager. This would put the platform on a even keel with Google. It would also benefit all those few lucky teachers syncing data between a MacBook and an iPad. It would make it more attractive to budget conscious schools, it would also cement work patterns and retain users.

2. Revert to factory settings! Or revert firmware! (Dream on!) Having had to recycle over 100 iPad minis recently, I think educators would appreciate the ability to keep the device as fresh as it was from day one. Those 100 iPad minis* were in good condition, they recorded sound, video and photos, but constant updates meant they slowed to the point of being a challenge to use. Sure we need updates/security patches on phones and other personal tech, but within reason a primary school set of devices within a secure network should be safe. Chromebooks bought three years ago still run effectively/efficiently.

3. Subsidised class eBooks. – if Education really is in the Apple DNA, then make it happen. Every parent and teacher wants their kids to love reading. This one bold move could be the real game changer. Classkit might be great for developers, but words, paragraphs, in the form of books will always outlast apps and widgets.

Of course none of the above is ever likely to happen!

* the recycle/trade in price on the iPad minis was £75 each with a reseller. If you check out the price of a three year old Chromebook, you’ll find it’s probably close to £0. Yet the irony being the Chromebooks will run as fast as the day they were bought.

We live in crazy, crazy times.

The Rise of the Robots


Dash is a fully programmable robot that moves with centimetre precision. It moves in all directions with great accuracy. This is combined with coloured “ear” lights and an eye composed of mini LED lights that can be programmed to animate. The unique features here are the proximity sensors. Dash can be programmed to respond to either a hand or a wall that it detects. Year five children spent a lesson recently exploring driverless cars and programmed Dash’s sensors to detect moving and stationary objects.

The robots can also be loaded with voice recordings. These are recorded on the iPad and sent via bluetooth to the robot. The years 4,5,6 classes picked this process up very quickly. We couldn’t quite turn dash into a Siri or Alexa personal assistant, but it gave the class the key concepts and understanding of how these “personal assistant” technologies work.


It is worth pointing out that the Dot robot doesn’t move, but is still great for programming challenges. The fact that it remains stationary on the school desk means you can work in much smaller spaces than you need for both Dash and Sphero.

Two great re-workings of The Charge of the Light Brigade @StSilas Primary

I can’t take any of the credit for these great performances! That was down to the great leadership of Mr Morris Y5.

Audio projects are so underrated in this post youtube age. Children write more eloquently and are more likely to perform better when they are heard and not seen! 🙂

First as a rap with Garageband…..

and as a sound scape using the Ferrite app…

Check out that stereo image!




Just remembered about this nice piece of video produced after the Big Write in Y6 with @mrboothy6 at St Silas. The children were encouraged to retell the story from a different point of view. They used screen shots from a youtube version of the story. The sounds came from Garageband. The final pieces were recorded and edited in iMovie on the iPad.

Control, Random and Collide!


So what happened to fidget spinners? This project enables the children to explore programming the iPad’s tilt function  (the accelerometer) and build it into their own games. These notes are for the @yorkshireRTC that was launched today – Good luck!

Although my skills tend to be in creative media, video, animation, digital photography etc, I’m constantly asked for support with coding. Hopscotch is still my tool, (Swift Playgrounds is good too if Apple are reading!). The joy of Hopscotch, is how with just a few basic concepts, children can design completely unique and original projects and games.

So the above uses 3 simple concepts .

1. Control we program the “hero” parallelogram to move in response to user tilting the iPad.

2. Random the “villain” fidget spinner icon is programmed to move randomly in terms of speed, distance and direction.

3. Collide so here we program  the objects so that when they collide, or in Hopscotch terms “bump” we hear a sound and illicit a “game over” message.

With just these three elements in place children can experiment and begin to build their own games. If you are reading this on an iPhone or iPad, you can download the project and remix it.

Here’s my code. There’s probably more elegant ways to code it, but I’m a learner just like the children in the classroom.

Rock Kidz

The Rock Kidz guys came and totally rocked at Heygreen Primary this week!

Hey! Hey! Hey!

After School Computing Club

We’ve had some fun this term making Bloxels video games. Some of the children have become very adept at designing with this app, adding story/narrative elements and instructions. We were going to enter the Bloxel’s competition (the prize includes a trip to the USA), but the majority of children at school are Muslims, they were very worried that they wouldn’t be allowed into the country.

So we made our own little competition  complete with winner’s T shirt!

We do love America, Americans and we love Bloxels. Shame some people can’t reciprocate the love.


Video made with Quik, iMovie and other Apple magic. Weird audio glitch in the middle is good though. Sorry about that!

Handing out and handing back PDF’s in Seesaw.

Ok! yep, I know you can’t edit a PDF in Seesaw. But with the file editing option you can share PDF files to the class , like worksheets and SAT papers, saving time and trees.

More importantly, your class can use another app, in this case Notability to annotate and hand back the completed worksheet or SAT paper.

Here’s how…