Hour of Code 4-9 December 2017

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2017 Computer Science Education Week will be December 4-10, but you can host an Hour of Code all year round.

Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.

It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities here! Why not have  a go with your class?

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CodeWeek EU – what’s happening in Bradford!

In early September we posted about CodeWeekEU and several organisations across Bradford have arranged activities across the next fortnight.

All the activities can be found on the CodeWeekEU website or via our own events page and are FREE to attend. Some activities require advanced booking so please book early to avoid disappointment!

Below is a quick summary of some of the coding activities across Bradford you can get involved with.

Click the title of the event for further information.


Every month the Bradford Coderdojo club run a free coding club on a Saturday morning aimed at families and children aged 7 – 17 years old. We play and investigate a range of coding and game making activities allowing young people to enjoy and develop their coding ability. This session is an informal drop in session to meet the mentors and the children who attend to showcase and share some of the projects they have been working on to encourage you to try coding yourself or join our CoderDojo.


You are invited to our Family Hack Jam at Green Lane Primary School as part of EU Code Week in Bradford.
The aim of this Family Hack Jam event is to bring together friends, families and teachers to discover the fun, excitement and power of computer science, through an enjoyable, team-based problem-solving evening. We invite you to join us and other children, adults and teachers from a range of ages and experience levels for some family fun, competition and games. Please note that all children must be supervised by an adult.


Learn the basics of coding with this interactive storytelling session where you’re in control!

For Europe Code Week 2017 (7–22 October), join us for this storytelling session where you—the audience—control what happens. The story teaches basic coding principles using ‘if’ statements and events. You’ll create the rules of a game and see how these translate into pictures and a storyline.
When the story is complete, your group will get a link to a webpage where you’ll be able to replay the game as many times as you like! You’ll work with coding experts from Impact Gamers, using easy-to-understand software called Clickteam Fusion. No previous coding experience is required, but basic IT skills will be useful.
This event has been designed for children aged 5–12 and their families, but all ages are welcome.


Before GUI’s, flash and C++, there was a generation of kids who got a box that plugged into a TV that did nothing. It was up to them to write something to make it do something and that culture inspired what we have now with computers.

We are taking it back to basics, no need to download an operating system, no need to FTP from a desktop PC to a microchip, simply a blinking cursor ready for instruction. We will be running a meet and greet, drop in session. Simply show up, chat and have a go on a Spectrum to a Commodore or a Raspberry Pi running FUZE basic.

Our aim is to introduce the principals of coding and inspire interest into programming. Once you make sense of the basics, suddenly programming isn’t as daunting as it first appears. We want to change your perception by giving you the opportunity to experience the coding culture of the 80‘s!

We are located within Keighley College, next door to the train station. Ask for the Fab Lab or the Star Centre.


An after school event for parents and children. Try out some physical computing with these fun size, programmable devices from the BBC. Create simple games and download the programs.


Robot building and experiments with BBC micro:bits for all the family. Organised by Digital Catapult Yorkshire, British Computer Society and the University of Bradford as part of EU code week. 3 x 1 hour drop in sessions.


You are invited to our Minecraft Hack Jam at Exa Education as part of EU Code Week in Bradford.

The aim of this Minecraft Hack Jam event is to provide an opportunity for families, students and teachers to discover the fun, excitement and power of computer science, through the world of Minecraft with an enjoyable, team-based problem-solving evening.

We invite you to join us and other children (minimum age 11), adults and teachers from a range of ages and experience levels for some family fun, competition and games. Please note that all children 16 and under must be supervised by an adult.

The organisations running the events have all given their time freely to deliver these exciting events. Please support them and together we can ‘Bradford coding!’

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We have recently started using Seesaw with KS2 pupils in a Bradford 2 form entry school

Seesaw is a free multimedia journal that allows pupils to showcase what they’re learning at school. Throughout the school year, Seesaw builds an organised, digital portfolio of each pupils’learning, accessible by teacher, pupils and parent.

Seesaw lets pupils independently document what they are learning at school and show what they know using photos, audio, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links.

It makes it easy for pupils and teachers to review progress over time and demonstrate growth.

When pupils add to their Seesaw journal, content is uploaded, organised by pupil, and immediately accessible to teachers from any device.   You can browse work from the entire class, or for a single pupils. Optionally,  you can use folders to organise work by subject area or project.

Seesaw portfolios are a great asset at parent meeting and you can share pupils work with parents online

With support for QR code sign in for younger learners and email or Google account sign in for older pupils, Seesaw works in any classroom on any device and we have found it a wonderful tool to engage and enhance learning.

You can find out more here



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Creating Instructional Videos.

Last week I worked with Mr Ranton and a group of children at Lower Fields Primary to test an idea. We wanted to try some different ways of turning instructional writing into instructional videos. We started with a simple idea. Write out instructions step by step. Take a photo of each step, create a voice over for each step and narrate it over the video. We accomplished all of this in iMovie. It was a very simple and quite straightforward to do. You can see an example here. We created paper aeroplanes because it was easy to set up and it was fun!

The next stage was a little more ambitious. We recorded each step of the instructions as a video. It would be quite simple to add these together in iMovie and then simply narrate over them again as we did for the still images. This time we recorded saved all the shots as a single movie. We then imported it into DoInk Green Screen and used it to play in the background. After this a willing volunteer was recorded reading the instructions. You can see the example below. When we filmed making the paper aeroplane we deliberately left a gap on the right so there was space for the presenter without hiding the video in the background.

This was a test recording, there were a few things we agreed we would change next time:

  • Use a tripod with an iPad mount to eliminate any wobbles when filming.
  • Film in a smaller room so our voices are easier for the microphone to pick up.
  • Think about buying a bluetooth microphone to wirelessly connect to the iPad.
  • We’d have a bigger green screen in school to give us more space when we film. We had to film this shot in portrait, ideally we’d like to use landscape.

Now that we’ve learnt these lessons from our first go we can put our ideas in practice and make more instructional videos.


Another app that may be worth using here is video collage. In the example below I’ve recorded the different steps of an investigation but it could be used to record each instruction.

If you need any more info or help tweet me at @idletim or email tim.bleazard@theinnovationcentres.com

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Create Virtual Reality Environments With Your Class



Virtual Reality has been one of the biggest areas of technology growth in the last year. Many schools have benefitted from a visit from Google Expeditions to try out Virtual Reality in the classroom.

Whilst viewing virtual reality made by someone else is great the next step would be for children to make their own environments. This is now really easy to do with a fantastic new product called Co Spaces. This comes in two flavours. Co Spaces Maker and Co Spaces Edu.

Co Spaces Maker is the free version aimed mainly at individuals. This is a good place to start and explore what Co Spaces can do. It’s easy to create environments on laptops or iPads. You can then view them on a laptop screen, with an iPad or use a phone or iPod touch and a VR viewer to get the full VR experience. Co Spaces involves many more skills than developing the VR environment  including recording audio and programming.

Co Spaces Edu has a much larger range of objects you can use. It also giveds teachers total control over user accounts. It’s also quite cheap starting with fifty licences at € 70.

Here are a few examples of projects.

An Art Gallery for Art created by pupils at Horton Park Primary School. Use your mouse and arrow keys to move around.

Retelling part of Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo.


You can also scan this QR code on an iPad or phone which will open the CoSpaces app if you have it installed.

I’ve made a series of seven video tutorials for subscriber schools. These take you through setting up Co Spaces, recording audio, adding scenes, programming characters and more. I’ve shown how this can be used in English to visualise a setting and passage in a story as in the example above.

Below is the first video tutorial. Schools who subscribe to Curriculum Innovation’s scheme of work can access all seven videos here. You will need to log in to ticbradford.com before you click the link.

If you’d like any more information with this or any aspect of our support please email tim.bleazard@theinnovationcentres.com

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Social Media and Violence

Social media now plays a central role in the lives of young people in the UK, with the vast majority of teenagers using smartphones and tablets to access online platforms throughout their waking hours. The integration of social media into the daily lives of young people has left online– offline boundaries increasingly blurred. Whilst there appears to be concern about young people accessing pornography, we feel that a large area of concern should be around people viewing violent videos online and it consequences.

Whilst online activity offers huge potential to enhance the quantity and quality of communication between people across the world, it also raises some serious challenges. A report from Catch 22 and Birmingham University report focuses on one of these challenges, namely, the links between young people’s use of social media and youth violence.

Whilst social media platforms are being used to glamorise, display and incite serious acts of violence, this content currently drifts under the radar of responsible adults and organisations which have the potential to respond to and challenge this behaviour.

The main finding from the report focuses on

Continue reading

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CodeWeek is coming. Let’s get Bradford coding!

Many of you will deliver regular coding sessions to young people and adults through work or voluntarily through clubs such as the Bradford CoderDojo.

You may not be aware that Europe Code Week runs from the 7th – 22nd October this year and we are encouraging all local schools and other organisations in the Bradford area to support this event by getting involved.

Simply download the information toolkit flyer here and decide how you want to be involved.


If you are a school it would be great if you could run an event in school to get as many children involved in coding or run an after school event using enthusiastic children to do some coding with parents or other members of the communities. You probably have children who are already very competent creating code in Scratch, Kodu, Python, etc. who could create and deliver a simple introductory session for the community. If not, you could ask them to use the ready-made materials available online from sites such as Code Club or the Hour of Code.

If you have Digital Leaders at your school this is a great opportunity for them to showcase their skills and lead a coding event at or on behalf of your school.

If you feel more ambitious it would be great to partner up with a local organisation / business such as your local library and arrange for the children to deliver a session there. If you are interested in delivering such a session please contact Beth.Simpson@bradford.gov.uk who is in contact with local organisations and businesses looking for young people to code at their venues.

Local Business / organisations

Several organisations already support the coding agenda such as Barclays Digital Eagles and we would like as many local businesses / organisations to support Coding Week. Ideally, you may have staff with expertise in coding who could provide a short introductory session about coding or you may have a space at your venue you are happy to make available to other organisations / school children to utilise to deliver a coding session on your behalf. If you are interested in either please contact Beth.Simpson@bradford.gov.uk who is co-ordinating events across the Bradford district.

We hope you can find the time to get involved. Once you have confirmed the session don’t forget to add it to the list of events on the  CodeWeek website  and let us know what you are doing by emailing Beth. We will be sharing all the local events with schools and organisations across Bradford in the 1st week of October #Bfdletscode

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Digital Leaders: What makes a good presentation?

As part of our Digital Leader Academy we have online badges accredited to Digital Leaders for effective presenting. In order to achieve the Presenter Level 1 Badge the children need to be able to plan, create, deliver and review an effective presentation(s). In order to achieve this they need to be able to identify good /bad elements of presenting and presentations.

This is often perceived as one of the easier badges to achieve as children are often given opportunities to create and present through their regular curriculum activities but teachers need to be aware that the standard of presentation creation and delivery to achieve this badge is high. Presentations should have a consistent design / theme and any effects or music need to be suitably used to enhance the presentation. Often using less effects is more effective. It is key to remember that a good presentation will engage and educate the audience relevant to the aims / objectives of the presentation.  I often see children presenting where they have a decent presentation and then read slides from the presentation to the audience and this is received with warm applause and positive comments. Reading a set of slides to an audience who can already read is not good presenting! The expectations of this badge are higher than that and the children should understand small amounts of well chosen text and interesting images are often the best means to capture the attention of the audience. The true skill of a good presenter is to have strong dialogue with the audience using the presentation content to support or model what they are saying whilst maintaining strong eye contact where possible. It also takes lots of practice rehearsing and delivering presentations to reach the standard expected.

Peer and staff evaluation of their presentations and delivery is crucial to achieve this badge and in the schools who have worked on this effectively the standard of the presentations and presenting is of a significantly high standard and this builds confidence and self-esteem in the Digital Leaders.

The following video clip is useful to help the children identify and evaluate elements of a poor presentation. They can then reflect on these to create criteria for a good presentation by suggesting how it could be done better.

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Proving Impact- Tagtiv8 Research with Leeds Beckett University

It’s always wonderful to see Bradford leading the way with pioneering research, especially when TICB (The Innovation Centre Bradford) can help support the process. We were delighted to supply Leeds Beckett University with banks of iPads as part of their research into the active learning approaches devised by Bryn Llewellyn.

Bryn has worked in various Bradford schools for 25 years as a Teacher, Deputy Head and Acting Head. Over time, he became increasingly frustrated that outside agencies were putting undue pressure on teachers and learners. Many primary schools were focussing only on English, Phonics, Guided Reading and Mathematics, with certain subjects put to one side. Subjects were being taught in boxes and experience shows this is not how we learn best. Bryn therefore decided to create educational resources that develop confidence in key areas of the curriculum through physical activity and founded Tagtiv8 Active Learning Games in 2012.

Setting Out

It’s all well and good having stories and anecdotes. However, people want facts and data. Real research is needed – not just a case study.

“I didn’t know he could do that. He’s never done that in a maths lesson…he’s never shown that in his maths book.”

The words of a teacher from Durham, with whom Tagtiv8 were co-delivering their prototype active learning programme. Teachers in schools around the UK have subsequently echoed similar phrases during Tagtiv8 Active Learning Days.

“We know that something magical happens when teachers take their children outdoors to play with numbers – when their Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) kicks in. The extra blood flow, oxygen and glucose to the brain improves learning abilities.”

Bryn Llewellyn, Director Tagtiv8

Robust Research

With this in mind, Tagtiv8 approached Andy Daly-Smith and fellow researchers at Leeds Beckett University to test out the active learning approach. They wanted to assess whether the anecdotal evidence was true. The aim was to evaluate the impact of Tagtiv8 maths lessons on both physical activity and maths performance.

Initial discussions with Andy Daly-Smith reiterated the international research:

“Lesson times are the most inactive times in a child’s life.”

Children in KS1 and KS2 from a primary school in Leeds were baseline tested before being randomly allocated to groups; taking part in either a seated classroom lesson or a Tagitv8 active learning lesson.

Commenting on the results of the tests, Andy Daly-Smith said: “The results showed that pupils who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson achieved over nine minutes more MVPA compared to the traditional classroom lesson. They spent 15 minutes less in sedentary time.”

“When it came to assessing whether active learning led to better academic outcomes we saw promising results. Overall, there were small improvements for pupils who learnt in an active way. Further, those pupils who were most active in the Tagtiv8 lessons seemed to have the greatest benefits. This suggests activity may play a key role in enhancing learning. Additionally, lower ability children, who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson maintained their academic performance whereas pupils in the traditional classroom lesson decreased.”

The challenge now is to get the active learning message and evidence out there – to the decision-makers and practitioners in both education and health. Schools are incredibly busy places with time and money in short supply. Like the Head Teacher in the video, once school leaders see the games in-situ with their learners, ‘they get it’. They realise that core subjects do not need to be taught or learned while sitting down. This will help the Chief Medical Officer for England realise her aim of getting all children and young people sitting less and moving more – by engaging in MVPA for at least 60 minutes every day.

What Next?

As regards further research, Andy Daly-Smith commented: “We would now like to seek funding to assess the impact of the Tagtiv8 active learning programme over a school year. It would be great to see if small improvements accumulated over time could lead to substantial improvements in the longer term, especially for those who are most in need.”

To find out more about the research, the key findings and video visit the Leeds Beckett University website.  Click here to view the feature that appeared on various regions of ITV News.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Bryn and Team Tagtiv8…

Office: 020 3370 4272                        

Mobile: 07506 523354





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How to use Fitness Tracking Apps without Sharing Where You Live

One of the first things we tell children is not to share personal information online. We do this all the time for instance when we check in on Facebook or post pics when we are on holiday. I love a bit of fitness bragging. Every time I do one of my slow, ambling bike rides I post it online using Ride With GPS .

Whichever fitness app we use there is the potential to show everyone where we live. People often post maps of their runs, bike rides or walks online including the start and end point. In many cases this will share where they live and when they are out. You can set up privacy zones in some fitness apps that will hide locations.

This is how to set up privacy zones in Strava.

Here’s how to do it in Ride With GPS

RunKeeper seems to be a little different. By default activities are set to private. If you share activities they can only be seen by people with a Runkeeper account. So far I can’t see a way of setting up privacy zones but will update if I find one.



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