#Minecraft Digital Leaders

I’ve recently been working with a group of Digital Leaders in a school in Wolverhampton. The school had a trial of Minecraft Education Edition and the Digital Leaders asked if they could run an after school Minecraft club – obviously, being a big fan of Minecraft myself, I said yes!

Not long after launching our Minecraft club, the Digital Leaders were approached by a member of staff from the History department interested in using Minecraft in his lessons. After a brief consultation, the Digital Leaders offered to create a world for him based on Medieval Britain.… Visit the author's original post

#dlchat #slowchat: 8th – 13th Feb – Digital Leader Myths

All this week (Mon 8th – Sat 13th Feb) I will be hosting #dlchat Twitter #slowchat.

​For those new to the concept, slow chats are just like normal edu chats except that they usually takes place from Monday through to Saturday - Usually only one question per day is asked during a slow chat and teachers can jump in whenever they want. - "Slow chats give you a chance to think, reflect and share." - Julie Szaj (@shyj) 

How it works:
  • On Monday 8th Feb the chat will start.
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Festive Computing & Coding Activities

Festive Hour of Code

Want to add a festive flavour to your Hour of Code activities? Then check out these festive coding resources:

Google Santa Tracker

Guide Santa back to the village with this Build Your Own Blocks style coding activity courtesy of Google: https://santatracker.google.com/?hl=en#codelab

TouchDevelop 8-bit Festive Challenge

Create festive 8-bit artwork using Microsoft TouchDevelop: http://touchdevelop.weebly.com/hour-of-code.html

Festive Binary Challenge

In this festive themed lesson, students will learn about how data is stored in computers and also how to convert binary to denary (and vice-versa): http://teachwithict.weebly.com/binary-representation.html

Code with Anna & Elsa (Frozen)

Learn how to code by creating snowflakes and helping Disney's Elsa and Ana to ice skate around the computer screen: https://learn.code.org/s/frozen 

Python Snowflakes

Learn how to create snowflakes using the turtle function in Python: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHmeX7YTHBY 
Steve's Winter Wonderland

​Thanks to Ben Davies (@b3ndavi3s) for sharing this one.… Visit the author's original post

Introducing #caschat

What is #caschat?

#caschat is a weekly Twitter chat, hosted every Tuesday, 8pm, which is dedicated to the teaching of Computing and Computer Science. It came about as a result of the buzz on Twitter surrounding the Computing At School Annual Conference back in July. For those new to the concept, a Twitter chat is a live event where a group of Twitter users meet at a pre-determined time to discuss a particular topic, using a designated hashtag; in this case #caschat.… Visit the author's original post

Are you ready for Hour of Code? A list of websites dedicated to Hour of Code

Hour of Code is coming again! This year it will be held between 7th and 13th December.

What is Hour of Code?

The 'Hour of Code' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

Hour of Code websites

Below is a list of websites dedicated to Hour of Code:

Hour of Code
The official Hour of Code website - http://hourofcode.com/us/resources - has lots of resources to introduce hour of code week such as videos, posters and hand outs.Visit the author's original post

#NT2tEU – Summary: What’s the benefit of Twitter for teachers?

On Tuesday 25th August, a team of educators including myself (@clcsimon), Julie Szaj (@shyj), and David Pollard (@edchatirl) launched #NT2tEU (New teachers to Twitter - EU). #NT2tEU is based on the highly successful #NT2t hosted and founded by Julie Szaj but timed more convenient for EU based educators. For those new to the model, #NT2t (and #NT2tEU) is a platform designed to help new tweachers (Tweeting Teachers) to navigate the twitter-universe by recommending who to follow and how to tweet. However, don't get confused by the hashtag, #NT2t is suitable for both new and more experienced Twitter users and is also a great place for sharing best practice and exploring how to integrate technology to enhance teaching and learning.… Visit the author's original post

Introducing #NT2tEU (New Teachers to Twitter EU) Chat

I was recently approached by Julie Szaj about expanding #NT2t. Julie, for those of you who don't know her, is a firm believer that “we are all better together”, a sentiment which I echo. Julie is what I would class as a truly “globally connected” educator, she is also the host of #NT2t (New To Twitter chat) - an edchat session designed for teachers that are new to twitter. Supported by a plethora of experienced educators, #NT2t aims to help new tweachers (Tweeting Teachers) to navigate the twitter-universe by recommending who to follow and how to tweet.… Visit the author's original post

Teaching TouchDevelop at Moseley Park School

It gave me great delight to return to the school where I took my first steps towards becoming a teacher. It was great to see some familiar faces but it was also great to see how the school has progressed. Everywhere I went, students were busily working away (despite the intense heat) and I could sense a positive vibe all around the school!

The reason for my visit was to run a workshop on TouchDevelop. For those unfamiliar with the web app, TouchDevelop is a novel programming environment that runs on iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Windows Phone.… Visit the author's original post

Introduction to TouchDevelop at Pedmore Technology College

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of delivering a #TouchDevelop workshop at Pedmore Technology College. During the session, staff and students explored how to use the in-built turtle library in #TouchDevelop as well as how to create amazing 8-bit graphics using the Pixel Art library. At the end of the session, students had a go at creating their very first game using the hour of code tutorials on the #TouchDevelop website.

An amazing time was had by all and the students were a credit to both the school and their teacher.… Visit the author's original post

#TweachCode: 22.06.15 – @Raspberry_Pi accessories

It gives me great pleasure to be co-hosting #TweachCode next Monday (22nd July) at 8pm. This week's chat will focus on Raspberry Pi accessories. During the session I will be exploring how to get the best out of your Raspberry Pi accessories as well as which are the must have accessories for your Pi!


1. What are your top 3 recommended / essential accessories for the Raspberry Pi. You can pick only 3 - no cheating! 

2. Thinking of your answer to Q1, what are the benefits of these accessories & in what way, if any, do they enhance teaching & learning?… Visit the author's original post

NEW CAS Survey for Teachers

Research is being conducted by a PhD student at the Institute of Education to look at how your participation in the CAS online community impacts your classroom teaching. Information from this survey will also be fed back to CAS to help us make improvements to the online community.

The survey will be open for 4 weeks (from 1 June - 26 June). It's short ( <20 questions) and at the end of each week there will be a chance to win a £25 Amazon.co.uk voucher.… Visit the author's original post

How to become a ‘Connected Teacher’ – #BettChat Summary: 19.05.15

On Tuesday 19th May 2015, I hosted a #BettChat session on the topic of "How to become a Connected Educator". During the session, I asked the questions: "How do you become a connected educator?" and "What are the benefits of being a connected educator" I also explored how we can use social media to expand our PLN (Personal Learning Network).


Q1. What does it mean to be a connected educator?

Q2. What are the benefits of being a connected educator?

Q3a.… Visit the author's original post

It’s all about the hashtag: 20 essential #EduChats for Teachers 

For me, Twitter is a powerful educational tool, not only because it allows me to engage with likeminded professionals and expand my ever-growing PLN (Personal Learning Network), but because it also provides me an opportunity to reflect and question my own teaching practice. One thing I have found myself doing more frequently is taking part in global chats. Although sometimes late at night or very early in the morning, I find these chats are invaluable for sourcing fresh ideas and discovering new ways of thinking!… Visit the author's original post

My #GlobalEd #TwitteratiChallenge

I owe much of my success and continuing professional development to the wonderful people on twitter. One hashtag (octothorpe) I use a lot is #SharingIsCaring and one I truly believe in. So, when I received a nomination from the wonderful Abigail Mann, I thought what a great way to say thank you to some of the people who have inspired me! Unfortunately, according to Teacher Toolkit’s rules, I’m not allowed to nominate someone who has already been named. People like Abigail Mann, Jill Berry, Amjad Ali, Sheli Blackburn, Mark Anderson, Dan Roberts - to name but a few.… Visit the author's original post

#BettChat – 19.05.15 – Being a connected educator.

No one can deny the power of Social Media for making connections, likewise, it is impossible to ignore the potential benefits of using social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to connect with like minded professionals and to share best practice / resources. In education, the terms ‘Connected Educator/Teacher’ and PLN (Personal Learning Network) are becoming more and more popular however, what does it actually mean to be a connected educator and how does a teacher become ‘connected’? These are just some of the questions I will be asking in the next #BettChat session.… Visit the author's original post

APPLE’S “TOOLS FOR TEACHERS” PROMOTION! – Discounted apps: Get them quick!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! 

To celebrate 'Teachers Appreciation Week' (1st - 10th May, 2015) a number of education apps are up to 70% off. Below is a list of education apps I have managed to find that are on sale. If you know of any more, please let me know and I'll add them to the list! 

List so far (Limited time offer so get them quick!):

Book Creator App - £1.49  (Normal price: £3.99)

Explain Everything - £0.79 (Normal price: £2.29)

Popplet - £1.49 (Normal price: £3.99)

MindNode - £3.99 (Normal price: £7.99)

Good Reader - £1.49

Star Walk 2 - £0.79 (Normal price: £2.29)

Meet the Insects - £2.29 (Normal price: £4.99)

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School Leaders’ Summit ’15 – Creating a student digital leadership team

In January, three of our Digital Leaders were invited to lead a panel discussion at BETT 2015. The organisers of BETT were so impressed by our Digital Leaders that they invited them to present at the School Leaders’ Summit at the NEC, Birmingham.

The School Leaders’ Summit, part of the Education Show, is a chance for School Leaders from schools across the country to learn, network and share educational best practice. A combination of case studies, panel debates and networking opportunities, the Summit covers a wide range of topics, which are obstacles facing school leaders today.Visit the author's original post

Happy Pi Day: Collection of Raspberry Pi related resources to celebrate Pi Day!

What is Pi day?

So, what is Pi Day and why is this year so important? Pi Day is celebrated around the world on March 14th. The reason why it's celebrated on March 14th is because, using the American date format, March the 14th is 3.14 (Month.Day) and, as we all know that Pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) is approximately 3.14146 (or 3.14 to 2dp) 
So, what is special about this year? Well, at precisely 9:26:53 on 14th March '15, the date and time will read: 3.14.15 9:26:53 which can be translated into - 3.141592653 which just happens to be the first 10 digits of Pi!… Visit the author's original post

Code something funny for money

On Friday 13th March, our Digital Leaders will be taking part in a national coding initiative in aid of Red Nose Day called Scratch Your Nose!

What is Scratch Your Nose?

According to the website: "Scratch Your Nose is a fun, exciting and educational event to create video games and raise funds for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day."

The idea, which is the brain child of Andy Goff (Director for Education - Gazoob Ltd.), is that students create games in Scratch, either on the day or during the run up to Red Nose Day, and then charge their friends to play their games and compete to get the highest score.… Visit the author's original post

#DLChat 26.05.15 – Maintaining Momentum

Yesterday (Thu 26th Feb 2015), it was my pleasure to join the Queen of Digital Leaders herself, Sheli Blackburn (@SheliBB), as co-host of #DLChat! This wasn't my first experience of hosting an online chat session however, this was my first time hosting a #DLChat session - something I would like to repeat in the future!

The topic for this #DLChat was "Maintaining Momemtum". During the session, I asked the questions: "How do we maintain momentum?" and "What has the future in store for the Digital Leader programme?", I also explored how we can strategies for supporting transition of Digital Leaders between Primary and Secondary school as well as ideas for giving ownership of the Digital Leader programme to the students.… Visit the author's original post

Revenge of the Kittens – Teaching HTML with EraseAllKittens

EraseAllKittens is a promising new website which claims to teach kids HTML in a new and unique way - using animated kittens!!!

According to the official website "E.A.K. (Erase All Kittens) is an online platform game, made by Drum Roll, that teaches kids to code and create on the web. It does this in a unique way - by encouraging them to hack into levels, written in HTML and CSS (the languages of websites) - in order to complete the game.Visit the author's original post

Why every teacher should spend a little time in the @staffrm!

'Thank you' and 'Well done' are words we all love to hear however, how often do we hear the words 'You are amazing' or 'You make a difference’, especially from those we seek recognition from most? Wouldn't it be great if we all had a magic mirror that told us everyday how amazing we are! Well, if like me, you don't have a magic mirror - the next best thing is a visit to the staff room.

'You are amazing' and 'You make a difference', are sentiments that resonate throughout the @staffrm (http://staffrm.io/).Visit the author's original post

Who’d have thunk it?

Some time ago, I was introduced to a book by Ian Gilbert called the ‘Little book of Thunks’. At first I was a little cynical however, whilst exploring new ways to engage my students, rediscovered this little gem and haven’t looked back since!

For those new to the idea, a Thunk is a question, with no right or wrong answer, that literally stops you in your tracks and makes you think!


  • Which is worse, a world without love or a world full of hate?
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Anyone for a game of ‘Code Golf’? – FORE!

Anyone who has taught Computing / Computer Science will know that the 'coding and programming' strand can sometimes feel like a very dry topic, especially for young children. One way to inject some fun into your coding lessons is to gamily them!

For those new to the concept, gamification is the process of introducing game-like elements into a traditionally non-gaming contexts to make them more fun and engaging. Gamification strategies include elements such as gamifying grading, incentivizing students with rewards and adding competitive elements such as leaderboards.… Visit the author's original post

#EdShowChat – ‘How to launch a Digital Leader programme!’

On Thursday 5th February 2015, it was my pleasure to be the very first host of #EdShowChat!

The topic for this inaugural EdShowChat was "How do we create a student digital leadership team?". During the session, I asked the questions: "How do you launch a Digital Leadership programme in your school?" and "What is the role of the Digital Leader?" I also explored how we can use Digital Leaders to support whole school CPD and the role of Digital Leaders in shaping how technology is used in and outside of the classroom.… Visit the author's original post

Welcome to the launch of #EdShowChat

On Thursday 5th February 2015, it will be my pleasure to be hosting the very first #EdShowChat!

The topic for this inaugural EdShowChat is "How do we create a student digital leadership team?". During the session, we will be asking the questions: "How do you launch a Digital Leadership programme in your school?" and "What is the role of the Digital Leader?" We will also be exploring how we can use Digital Leaders to support whole school CPD and the role of Digital Leaders in shaping how technology is used in and outside of the classroom.Visit the author's original post

Remember the date: 23rd Jan 2015 – The day that Digital Leaders took over BETT

Yesterday, I took a group of our amazing Digital Leaders to BETT. It had been a few years since I last visit to BETT and my first visit to the ExCel arena. I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised at the new layout - one of previous criticisms of Olympia was that it was difficult to find anything due the multitude of floors and numerous halls. It was great seeing the advancements in technology and exploring how some of these can be used in a classroom setting.… Visit the author's original post

Inject some magic into your Computing lessons: Introducing algorithms through Magic Tricks

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand algorithms, explain what they do, and correct or complete them
  • Understand that problems broken down into smaller parts are easier to understand
  • Understand and use sequence in an algorithm
  • Understand the importance of clear/precise instructions
Keywords: Algorithm; Decomposition


What is Computational Thinking?

So, what is Computational Thinking and what does it entail? Let’s start with what it’s not! Computational Thinking is not programming, nor is it thinking like a computer! For me, Computational Thinking is about solving problems.
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FREE CPD toolkit to help teachers with computing curriculum

Computing At School has produced a new resource to help primary and secondary teachers in England get to grips with the new computing curriculum which was introduced in September. Funded by Microsoft and the Department for Education QuickStart Computing is a comprehensive, national programme designed to help primary and secondary teachers to plan, teach and assess this brand new subject.

QuickStart Computing is a free CPD toolkit designed to help teachers to develop and run successful CPD in their school or cluster. All primary and secondary schools have access to QuickStart Computing online and 40,000 free hard copies are being distributed through Computing At School. 

The QuickStart website includes downloadable versions of the full teachers handbook, and lots of additional resources including links to useful sites, online videos and interactive tools. 

For more information visit: www.quickstartcomputing.orgVisit the author's original post

Are you an App Smasher?

Are you an App Smasher? The chances are that the answer to this question is yes
but you may not even know it!

So, what is App Smashing and how can it be used in the classroom?

Background – behind the concept

As teachers, we are very adept at finding alternative / cheaper ways of doing things. I’ve always referred to this as the ‘Blue Peter’ approach to teaching and learning i.e. the teaching equivalent of making Tracy Island out of sticky back plastic and glue.… Visit the author's original post