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 before you click the link.

If you’d like any more information with this or any aspect of our support please email

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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 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 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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Jaguar Cars Maths in Motion Bradford Summer Face 2 Face – Update

After nearly 2 hours of hard preparation we had a very exciting final with the weather and fuel proving to be significant hurdles to completing the course.

At the chequered flag the team from Lowerfields Primary proved to be the strongest on the day and won this year’s championship.

Congratulations to all the schools who took part and have a great summer!

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Jaguar Cars Maths in Motion Bradford Summer Face 2 Face

It’s been a long year of Cars Maths in Motion activities and the children have become dedicated fans of the software practicing and competing against each other throughout the year.

Bankfoot Primary once again kept the Bradford flag flying in the World Final Event held in June this year by finishing a wonderful third.

Today is the last day of the Bradford Challenge with children competing for the Bradford Champions trophy. A 2 hour competition with limited teacher support is presently being undertaken with the final to be run at 11.15 this morning.

I love the fact that this software / competition is the only one I am aware of where children are given some basic track information then work feverishly and independently for the best part of 2 hours applying a whole range of maths knowledge and skills to make their car competitive. An update with details of the winning school will be available shortly.

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Film Literacy Screening 2017

Today we headed to the National Media and Science Museum in Bradford for the 2017 screening. We had schools from our key stage two film Literacy project and one school from our key stage one project took the chance to attend. This is the chance for the children in our project to watch their films on the big screen. It was clear to see how excited the children were as soon as they walked through the door and saw the screen. Flowery Field Primary travelled from Hyde and sent this tweet showing us how excited they were.

The cinema started to fill up…

…and we got started. Each school had the chance to stand on the stage and tell us about their films and the creative process.

Then it was showtime.

The children really enjoyed the day as can be seen in these tweets from Flowery Field Primary School.

The running order included some scary films, here is the audience reaction to a film called Why So Serious?

We all had a great time and are looking forward to next year already.

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The Bradford Poisonings-A Victorian Drama and Technology Event

For years Alex Fellowes has brought his innovative drama days to schools in Bradford and beyond. Alex combines a range of improvisation  techniques with his own brilliant acting skills to get incredible performances from children. Many years ago I used to work with Alex and jumped at the chance to work with him again.

Alex and I have developed a half day on the topic of the Bradford Poisonings. We use drama and technology to help children discover what life was like in Bradford in the 1830s. We based this around a real event where twenty one people died as a result of arsenic being used to adulterate sweets instead of harmless gypsum. Our first booking was at St Columba’s Catholic Primary school working with year six. The children came up with some amazing drama which will kick start their Victorian topic.

Here are some some images and videos from the session.

Mill brutality tableaux using a green screen.

We created a market place where sellers were trying to get you to buy various revolting foodtsuffs. Alex makes an appearance in role as Humbug Billy.



We used conscience alley to decide if Humbug Billy should adulterate the sweets by replacing sugar with gypsum to save money.

We improvised as on the spot reporters interviewing Bradfordians about the spate of mysterious deaths.



If you like to book this event or if you need any more information contact

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