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…


Trilby TV – Switch it on!

This video shows Y6 St Silas children enjoying the Hour of Code last week. We were using Apple’s Swift Playgrounds. Playgrounds is a good bridge between programming blocks and hard coding. It sits well alongside the Hopscotch app and feels like a very “grown up” experience for Y5 and Y6 learners. The app and content is quite large and needs a relatively new iPad.

The video itself, was made using the Quik app. This (unsurprisingly) is a quick way to combine text video and photos. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time to shoot and edit a movie. Think –  Pic Collage for  video! Great for busy Teachers and LSA’s.

The video in turn, is shared across school, using the extremely marvellous Trilby TV digital signage. I’ve been wanting to use this tool for ages, but it’s only this week that I’ve had time to start getting to grips with it. Trilby TV lets us share videos across the school, making playlists for and targeting specific Apple TV’s. It’s great for the school foyer screen, but far more flexible than the clunky tools currently available. The fact that teams of teachers can all contribute to the stream of content takes the burden away from one person.  The videos can also be streamed/blogged externally using a nifty Trilby Media player.

It is a very well thought out way of compiling and presenting digital content in and beyond school. Switch it on!