Digital Leader visit Burley Oaks Primary

I recently visited Burley Oaks Primary school to talk to their Digital Leaders. I was enthusiastically met by Daniel, Gracie, Zach, Megan S, Megan R and Ms Archer.

The children attended Day one of the Bradford Digital Leader Academy in October and this was a chance for me to catch up with them before the second training day.

The children have been helping the Year 1 and Year 2 children with their computing curriculum work, they have created a help box where any children can request support from the Digital Leaders about a specific subject or technology and the Digital Leaders meet them at lunch times to help them. This is a great idea and one I have not heard before but will be sharing with my other Digital Leader schools.

The children have been trained to use the photocopier / printer and they help teachers with their printing and photocopying needs on a daily basis.

One of the big tasks the children have been set is to manage the photos on the iPads and this has involved going through them all and deleting old photos from the iPads.

At the Innovation Centre, we recently tested an app for sharing content, including photos, from one device to another called ZAPYA, this uses Bluetooth and seemed to work really well. It looks an ideal App for schools to use to move content from their iPads to laptops, PCs or other devices quickly and simply.

The children enjoyed the first day’s training at the Innovation Centre and particularly enjoyed learning how to use Green Screen technology; we used the wonderful Green Screen app by Do Ink.  The school has just had some big Green Screen curtains made and the Digital Leaders have been working on scripts for some Green Screen filming to make a film for Safer Internet Day on the 6th February ).

We talked about using Edmodo  a bit more to share the work they had successfully delivered in school with the other Digital Leaders across Bradford. We also looked the Online Badges we use and decided the children were ready for three of four of the badges already.

The children have already created a Digital Leader notice board including details of themselves created with Pic Collage and this is where the younger children post their requests for help. The children are also training ‘Digital Deputies’ who are used to help manage ICT equipment across school making sure it is ready and charged for use in school.

The Digital Leaders at Burley Oaks have been very busy and I look forward to receiving further updates on their progress over the year and talking to them in further detail during day 2 training.

Posted in Computing, Curriculum ICT, Digital Leader Produced Resources, Digital leaders, Education General, online safety, Primary focus whole curriculum, Whole curriculum development | Tagged | Leave a comment

Digital Leader visit St William’s Catholic Primary

Last week I visited St William’s Catholic Primary school to talk to their digital leaders. I was warmly met by Nicholas, Musa, Hannah, Harry, Wiki, Reece and Mrs Battersby.

The children attended day one of the Bradford Digital Leader Academy in October and this was a chance for me to catch up with them before the second training day.

The children enjoyed the first day’s training at the Innovation Centre and particularly enjoyed learning how to use Green Screen technology; we used the wonderful Green Screen app by Do Ink.

The school has a Green Screen wall ready to go and the children are still discussing how they might utilise this technology throughout school in the future.

Some of the Digital Leaders were finalising plans to run a computer club after school on a Friday for children in KS2. They were going to help children utilise some of the skills based software used in school and deliver some sessions around Online Safety.

The children are involved in a Minecraft Club where they are given themes and then they have to create worlds based on the theme. This is a competition for the best three worlds each week. This sounds very interesting and I am hoping to attend one of the clubs to see this first hand.

The Innovation Centre is running Minecraft session during half term week in February 2018 and you can book tickets here

The children talked about Online Safety and putting together some resources for Safer Internet Day on the 6th February 

In the year 5 and 6 base there is going to be an Internet café, this is where all the ICT equipment is stored and the children have responsibility for managing laptops and iPads across school and making sure they are suitably charged and in the correct places for use. The children are also in the process of creating a display board to highlight details of the Digital Leaders for the rest of the school to see. The children are to deliver a presentation to the rest of the school in the coming weeks introducing themselves as Digital Leaders.  They were a little nervous about this and presenting to the rest of the Digital Leaders on the second day of training at the Innovation Centre and they have been practicing for this over recent weeks.

The Digital Leaders at St William’s have been very busy and I look forward to receiving further updates on their progress over the year.

Posted in Computing, Curriculum ICT, Digital Leader Produced Resources, Digital leaders, Education General, Innovation Centre Days, online safety, Primary focus whole curriculum, Whole curriculum development | Tagged | Leave a comment

Life in ‘Likes’

Last week saw the release of the Life in ‘Likes’ report from the children’s commissioner, this report explores how children aged 8 – 12 use social media in their lives and what impact this can have on their well-being.

It has long been thought that social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp are been used by children under the age of 13 and this report, based on interviews and meetings with children aged 8 to 12 years old, suggests that the majority of children aged between 10 and 12 years have their own social media accounts.


The children used social media for several reasons including social media making them feel happy or more relaxed.

“If you’re in a bad mood at home you go on social media and you laugh and then you feel better”

“If you’re like really stressed or something and you watch a really satisfying slime video it makes you like calmer”

The report suggests that children’s use of social media is having an impact on their personal development and wellbeing.

‘Children felt good when they got ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ from friends, and some Year 7 children were starting to become dependent on them, using techniques to guarantee they would get a high number of ‘likes’.’

As children move to Secondary school it is clearly very important that social media and mobile phones are used regularly on a daily basis to communicate with their peers.

“Hmm, 24 hours in a day, so I probably use it 18 hours a day”

In terms of the children’s understanding of Online Safety they showed an understanding of how to protect themselves from online predators and online bullying and discussed strategies for protecting themselves including analysing pictures they had taken for clues to their real world location before sharing online.

“I think to make sure there’s no one I know in the background. My mum told me it’s a safety thing because people could look at it and get information. So, you just take a photo on a plain wall. I don’t want people seeing my house number. I could still do it at my house but just the bricks. If you’re at a friend’s house you definitely wouldn’t take a photo of their house, not showing the number of the house”

The children could also suggest strategies and actions to take if they were faced with online bullies but were less forthcoming on how to deal with their emotional well-being as a result of online bullying activity. There was also evidence to suggest that content shared between peers was often confusing as they did not know if it was real or a joke. Children were also unsure how to react to or deal with their emotions when coming across other emotionally challenging content including racist and violent content.

“When someone sent a racist video about me to a group Snapchat the sad feeling lasted for months, and I had to keep it in but I was angry. One day I lashed out and then it felt a lot better when I told them [my parents]”

Children are clearly affected by their own parents and older siblings’ use of technology and social media and many expressed concerns about the content their parents shared about them online without any discussion or consent often referred to as ‘sharenting’.

“I don’t like when my mum posts pictures of me, she just says ‘give me a picture’ ’’

Some of the key recommendations from the report are:

‘Year 6 and Year 7 are crucial ages at which to prioritise lessons around digital literacy and online resilience as this is the age at which social media can begin to dominate day-to-day life. Lessons around online safety learned at younger ages are insufficient to prepare children for the ‘cliff edge’ around the time of transition to secondary school.’

‘Educate parents about the change that takes place when children enter secondary school – the broadening of their exposure to peers and older children on social media – and that social media use at younger ages should not be assumed to prepare children adequately for this.’

‘While children have internalised messages around ‘online safety’, they are not always aware of the subtler impacts that social media use can have on wellbeing. Teachers should incorporate awareness of this into education about life online.’

‘If social media companies maintain that their services are not suitable for under 13s then it is important they address this underage use through closer and more rigorous moderation.’

It is important to remember that the majority of social media apps and content the children access online has been designed by adults for an adult audience and children suddenly find themselves in this world of content without the emotional development, experiences and resilience to process and respond to it.

The 5Rights’ ‘Digital Childhood’ report is a useful document to help schools address some of the issues raised in the report.

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Parent’s guide to technology

This time of year can be very challenging for parents and grandparents who want to buy the latest game or technology for their loved ones. This could be a smartphone, games and games consoles.

For advice on games, a great site is Common Sense Media. Here you can access a review section for the latest films and games allowing you to understand the age range for the game and an easy to read overview of the game and its content. This enables ‘non-gaming’ adults to make an informed decision about the games they want to buy this Christmas.

Smartphones are a great present but knowing what to buy, how to configure them and ensure that they are set up appropriately for the age of your child can be a dilemma. Before buying talk to staff in store about security and settings or spend some time looking at the relevant sections on the website of your provider such as O2, EE, etc.

Further information can be found here to help you buy the right device to meet your child’s needs safely.

Games consoles are always a popular present but deciding which one to buy and how to set it up safely can be a concern. The information and guides found here can help you make well informed decisions about your Christmas purchases.

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Messenger Kids


Facebook has brought out a safe app that is aimed at the under 13s and allows them to use a Facebook like environment in a safer and controlled way

Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app designed for children to connect with close friends and family from their tablet or smartphone.

Children can only connect with parent-approved contacts, which creates a more controlled environment. Group or one-on-one video calls with loved ones are more fun with interactive masks, reactions and sound effects.

Parents fully control the contact list and decide who can connect with their children. Messages don’t disappear and can’t be hidden in case parents would like to check in.

Parents, and approved adults like grandparents, can video chat and message with their children through their existing Messenger app. No additional app download is needed for parents. Messenger Kids allows children to message and video call using Wi-Fi so they don’t need a phone number and everything can be monitored from the parents existing Facebook account.

For more information click here


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Advent Calenders

These are 2 examples of Advent calendars created in Scratch by Y6 pupils Sienna-Rose and Dylon at St Columbas Catholic Primary School. You can see more here

Also try  our Code Club Christmas Chat bots here


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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

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