Using Green/Blue Screen in iMovie.

I’m currently running Saturday enrichment sessions focusing on the ‘Everyone Can Create’ modules published by Apple Education.

Below is a short video I made using clips to support the pupils in creating green/blue screen videos using iMovie. Hopefully you might find it useful as well.

Apps for Education- Nearpod

Redefining learning

What is nearpod

Nearpod is an App that allows teachers to share presentations. It also lets you be a fully engaged participant and interact with the presentation through polls, quizzes, videos, drawing interactivity, website-sharing, self-guided quizzes and more.(Edudemic)

Tried and tested

  • I’ve been using nearpod to create my own bespoke text book. Presentations can be uploaded from Dropbox and camera roll etc. The draw function has allowed me to present a question that students answer and submit on the screen. Once all answers are in I display a worked solution for the class to compare and discuss.
  • Whole exam papers can be uploaded through Dropbox when in PDF format and by posting the link to the presentation on a student learning platform such as Edmodo students can work through the questions at this own pace.

Apps for Education – Educreations

Redefining Learning

What is Educreations?

Educreations turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. Creating a great video tutorial is as simple as touching, tapping and talking.

Tried and tested

  • I use Edcreations to support students with their learning by recording worked examples of topics covered in class. These can be recorded prior or post delivery and made available for students to view through learning platforms.
  • Students can record their own lessons at the end of a unit topic to further embed their understand. This can then be used as a revision resource that can be referred to whenever needed.

Getting E’s to B’s Just let them learn.

This post, I hope, provides some evidence that if you give students responsibility to decide their own pathway through a academic course, their progress is positively affected. How this is facilitated obviously plays a key role to it’s success.

This post’s evidence is based on GCSE Maths classes where students were regularly testing at low D’s and E’s.

There is no reason why this cannot be adapted for any curriculum area, as the progress is down to pedagogy not content.

I use GCSE papers for data and  guidance. Some may argue that it’s teaching to the test. My response is, we are all teaching in some way towards some form of terminal assessment. During this Journey, if students can develop the ability to become independent creative learners, then their level of understanding and experience goes beyond that of which a GCSE examines.

Step 1 

Gap Analysis. The whole class complete an exam paper in exam conditions which is then analysed using conditional formatting in an excel spread sheet. The assessment be adapted to fit the length of the lesson, I often use half an exam paper to fit the 1 hour lesson format our school has. Exposure to real external exam questions has it’s obvious benefits.


This is a very powerful tool both to me, and the students. Vertically it shows me whole class strengths and areas for development. Horizontally it shows the students where their focus needs to be.

Initially this was quite a time consuming exercise I did myself. It’s now a class activity that only takes around 20 minutes to process, collect and input the data. A worth while investment in time, that has the students captivated as they watch the spread sheet evolve.

The above example shows class results from a higher level Maths paper. Green signifies full marks, white half marks or more, red below half marks.

Step 2

Personal Progress Action Plan. Each student then spends time planning their focus for the next week or fortnight and recording it on their Personal Progress Action Plan sheet (Click here for a copy)


This sheet will typically last for Half a term. The tick boxes down the side are for personal fruition. Progress Sheets are regularly monitored by myself. Students share at the beginning and end of the lesson what they plan to do and what they have learned.

The creativity of the students during this phase always impresses me. Work related conversations spontaneously begin on Edmodo, learning posters get produced without being requested and students begin teaching each other in class.  For those who are skeptical that allowing students to chose what they do will lead to a break down in lesson structure and a loss of control, I have experienced quite the opposite.

Many of the students like to record their notes using learning summary sheets. (see my post ‘evidence of learning‘)

Step 3

Test to measure progress. It was the students who decided the two weekly test rotation, but this can be adjusted to best fit. Past exam papers are used, and we tend to maintain focus on either the calculator or non calculator paper for three rotations. Again this is flexible.

Regular referrals to grade boundaries allow students to see their progress and how many marks they need to reach the next grade. 15 marks (about a grade on one paper) broken down over 3 weeks equates to under 2 marks a lesson. Put like this every student in the class believes they can achieve.

Progress obviously varies from group to group and year on year. Questions on whether it’s the technique or other factors that are responsible for the progress students make, can also be asked. I can only comment on personal experience, but over the last 2 years, an increasing number of students are making 2 and sometimes 3 GCSE grades of progress in a year using this technique. They are also taking responsibility for their own learning and coming to class with questions that are a direct response to their independent studies. This allows me to use class time more effectively and support individuals with exactly the issues that will promote further progress. This mirrors the advantages of the flipped learning model.

Next Steps

The summer Break has allow me to look into applications that will further enhance independent learning. These include

  • Padlet (web publishing wall)
  • (live twitter feed)
  • sorify (collect and publish web media)
  • Aurasma (Bringing displays to life. Augmented reality)

Blogs on my progress and experience with these will follow.

Ways to evidence student progress.

Notes based on INSET delivered on 3rd September 2013

Progress is the development of understanding between two points in time. It doesn’t have to be demonstrated through level it can be as simple as accumulating knowledge, demonstrating understanding and applying skill and technique.


what affects progress?

  • Engagement
  • Listening versus doing
  • Repeating versus Applying
  • Discussing versus Telling

Feedback is the most powerful learning and teaching strategy for progress. Think of creative ways you can vary its delivery but make sure you maintain its effectiveness.

Types of academic progress

Academic understanding (New topics)
Academic application (Higher end Blooms taxonomy)

Evidencing progress

Think how you are going to measure progress has taken place and how are you going to evidence it.

Quality Success criteria is paramount.


  • Students annotating their notes. ( I did this because……) see this and more by downloading  ‘Top tips for Proving Pupil Progress‘ by Claire Gadsby
  • Students teach or explain to someone else.
  • Complete; Assess; Feedback; Repeat. ( students pass their work to a peer to assess and feedback before adding suggestions to the task)
  • Target board (see targeting visible progress by @teamtait)
  • Use technology applications such as Padlet. (see this week I’ve mostly been using padlet  by @School_LN)
  • Use a Learning summary resource see below.
    Measuring Progress

    Measuring Progress

     click on picture to download from TES website

Further Reading

How teachers can show student progress during lesson observations by Roy Blatchford

Examples of how to use QR codes for learning.

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan.

The QR Code system has become popular in schools due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity.

QR Codes in learning.

‘A student with a SmartPhone is walking around with a dictionary, translator, calculator, encyclopaedia, camera and video recorder in their pocket, and that’s before they have downloaded any applications!’

(Ben Solly is assistant principal at Long Field School in Melton Mowbray)

Embed in worksheets

By attaching a QR Code to a worksheet, students have the opportunity to deepen their understanding through links to online resources or videos. One of the main advantages of this is that students can watch or view the links as many times as they need in class or in their own time for homework.

Codes Trigger Videos

Codes Trigger Videos

Adding a new dimention to existing resources

Textbooks are still a valuable source of information but can be enhanced by placing a QR Code at key points within the text. These could link to an online resource, video, picture, diagram, blog or survey to further develop student understanding. In the past I have got students to create a resource as part of their learning. This can then be linked to a QR code and used to support other students when they reach the same point in a course.

Classroom/corridor displays

Enhance the impact of displays by including a QR Code that links a relevant online resource. (Examples below from our Maths, English, Business Studies and PE departments)

QR codes add a new depth to the info in this dispaly

photo 1 (8)

photo 2 (7) photo 3 (8)Interactive notice boards Interactive notice boards

We are currently developing displays of students work, where a QR code will open a link where the student explains a bit more about their piece.

Treasure hunt and Orienteering 

These activities are becoming more and more popular and you can find several shared resources on the internet. By placing QR Codes around the school or classroom, students move around in small groups with a Smart devices, scan the code, complete the task or solve the problem and then move to the next code. Our PE department have adapted their orienteering course so that they now include QR codes.

QR codes on Mini Whiteboards.

If there is a website you use regularly in your lessons you can attach a QR code to a mini whiteboard. The example below takes students to Socrative.

QR  codes on mini white boards

QR codes on mini white boards

Other uses include Links to

  • Homework tasks
  • Extension task
  • Kit or Equipment reminders
  • Lesson Notes
  • Book reviews
  • School publications
  • Calender dates.

The rule is, if it’s on the web you can use a QR code to link to it.

Below is a link to a site that allows you to generate QR codes and also lets you track the usage of them.

you scan me link

If you want something a bit more colourful try see example below.

Getting SMSC into every lessson

What is SMSC?


SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural.

All schools in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC and will be measured on how these elements are embedded across the curriculum.

I teach in a secondary school and below I have included some of the ways I approach each element of SMSC in my Maths lessons.Having supported staff in other curriculum areas on this topic I can confidently say these examples are easily implemented into any curriculum area. 


  • Encourage students to explore and develop what animates themselves and others through focused project work which includes photos, posters and other work produced by students.
  • Develop a climate or ethos within which pupils can grow and flourish, respect others and be respected by allowing students the opportunity to offer their ideas and feel comfortable that they will be supported by teacher and peers.
  • Develop a sense of belonging by being an effective member of learning group.
  • Value students’ questions and give them space for their own thoughts, ideas and concerns.
  • Encourage students to relate their learning to a wider frame of reference – for example, asking ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘where’ as well as ‘what’.
  • Encourage students to take responsibility for their actions – for example, respect for property, care of the environment and developing codes of behaviour.


  • Through the quality of relationships and interactions, model the principles which they wish to promote – for example, fairness, integrity, respect for others, students’ welfare, respect for minority interests, resolution of conflict, keeping promises and contracts.
  • Recognise and respect the codes and morals of different cultures represented in the school and wider community.
  • Encourage students to take responsibility for their actions – for example, respect for property, care of the environment and developing codes of behaviour.
  • Develop an open and safe learning environment in which students can express their views and practice moral decision-making.


  • Help students develop personal qualities which are valued in a civilised society, for example, thoughtfulness, honesty, respect for difference, moral principles, independence, inter-dependence, self-respect.
  • Provide opportunities for students to exercise leadership and responsibility by supporting the learning of their peers in class and extra curricular sessions.
  • Encourage students to work cooperatively through group work and peer assessment activities exploring their own and others’ views.


  • Provide opportunities for students to explore their own cultural assumptions and values by participating in whole school themed weeks.
  • Extend students’ knowledge and use of cultural imagery and language by exploring how different cultures have influenced the way we use Mathematics.

No excuses, you don’t need an iPad.

Online Applications to enhance your teaching. 

iPads are very nice and if you get the chance I would never pass up the opportunity to utilize them to enhance the learning experience of your students.

 What if, like many schools, you are not in the position to offer this type of technology.

 Here are some online applications that can be used with a laptop or PC. I speak from personal experience that staff who now include these in their lessons are feeling more inspired and demonstrating an increase in creativity.


Having your own You tube account enables you to store all sorts of multimedia resources for free. The creation of a link that can be passed to your students also makes it a very efficient way to share information or create screen casts /movies. I have found this particularly useful when using a flipped learning technique with my classes. On top of this, it is very important to ask students to create ‘educational’ YouTube accounts. This means that all the new ‘work’ they create has a visual medium to facilitate sharing between peers and the teacher. YouTube as a creativity medium is very powerful. 


‘Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.’

Socrative is an excellent ‘assessment for learning’ tool and works like a class set of voting hand sets. A teacher can set a quiz and have the answers from students graphically represented for feedback and to display if required. This can be done on the spot or teachers can pre-load a quiz that can be assessed straight away. 


One of my favorite applications, Edmodo, is superb as a tool for peers to interact in a safe and secure manner. The ability to question staff and students, when faced with an academic problem, has proved supportive to learning particularly during homework time. This feature is enhanced by the storage of resources in the Edmodo library and interaction with assignments set. I have found the collaborative skills the students develop through their online interactions are then verbally mirrored in the classroom.    

Popplet allows students to individually or collaboratively summarise learning and make connections between the levels of their learning. It can also be used in class or as a homework exercise. 

Dropbox is a cloud based memory store that is available on every internet device. The ability to access information anytime, anywhere is truly powerful in the learning environment. Dropbox can also act as a workflow solution with shared folders between teacher and students.The first 2GB is free.


 I’ve included twitter in this list as Learning has always been based on exposure to new stimuli, research and communication. Ideas are formulated through external opinion, reflection and conclusion. The availability of these components lead to increased productivity and informed decisions. Twitter makes the process easier.

We are all learning together. If you have a problem, your PLN (Personal Learning Network) may be able to solve it. If you are struggling for ideas, there are people to ask. 

I’ve shared these applications based on personal experience. If you use these apps and would like to add your experience please do. If you haven’t tried them, I recommend you give them a go. 


Flipping Your Classroom: The Basics

What’s the best use of a teacher’s time in class? 

Talking at students or working with them?

Recently I’ve adopted the flipped classroom technique where students carry out some initial research on a topic I’m going to teach. This can be done by watching a video lesson or carrying out some independent research at home. Students then come to school with an insight into the concepts and skills needed for the lesson. This then allows the students to focus on deeper understanding and connections in the classroom where there is immediate help available from either myself or their peers.

Advantages from my experience. 

  • Students learn at their own pace.
  • Students have a resource they can rewind or revisit at any point to support.
  • Students come to class with questions.
  • Class time used to extend understanding.
  • My support can be a lot more focused on individual and need.

Did I miss out?

During my teacher training, e-learning was not a focus, and to be honest a lot of the new technology making it’s way into the classrooms was yet to become commercially available. Any use of new technology during teaching practices was down to the individual. I don’t however think my experience has had a negative impact on the implementation of technology in my teaching. As a teacher I’m always looking for creative and engaging ways to enhance the learning experience of my students. My students live in a world which has advanced from the system I was taught in. It is an educators duty to provide a service / experience that matches the world students live in. Technology is the future, the positive effect it has in education is apparent to those who use it and is quickly spreading to those who currently don’t. Teaching is a profession where training never ends. If you didn’t experience it at university I don’t believe you miss out. Like driving you learn more once you out there doing it.