PingPong – SPOT networking

I, along with many colleagues up and down the land, regularly use small A4 size whitebaord’s for children to express answers to questions and show their learning in the classroom, especially during the time introducing a subject in the ‘circle’. This is a brilliant tool, but sometimes it can be a pain to manage the use of them, messing with the lids, dropping bits of equipment, giving out the equipment etc I then found PingPong, a great, simple app that allows a question to be posed by the teacher and gives the children the correct tool to answer it, be that a blank whiteboard to write their answer on, a poll of true or false or a multiple choice response. When the children respond this is sent to the teachers iPad and displayed, this allows the teacher to realise a childs misconceptions quickly and address them.



Getting children to join the class that you are running PingPong in is really easy, inputting a short code and their name. When you start a question type, the screen on the children’s iPad automatically selects the correct tool for them to answer. The information is fed back as either images or as a graph, the information that is displayed can also be presented in other graphical ways.

All in all, a great app that I shall be recommending others in my school to test. Again, another free app (I like those!!) with huge potential not just in the SEN classroom.

Orbit & SeeSaw Apps – Children’s learning journals

The nature of a lot of the class assessment within our school is photograph and video based observations. Historically we used to take photographs, print them out and attach a post-it note observation to this, a very labour intensive task. Since we have invested in our 1-1 iPad scheme we needed to find a suitable solution to this issue, especially as we could record lots of observations as videos (and you can’t print them out!)

As a school, we first looked at a solution for our EYFS team, we came across two possible solutions: firstly we trialed ‘2simple 2build a profile’, secondly we used ‘Orbit early years app’.

During trialing them both we found them to both be very user friendly and very little to call between the two. We ended up opting for Orbit as it was free and did everything we wanted! We have been using Orbit as our main recording system in our EYFS and year 1 for the past 18 months, and staff and parents, alike, have enjoyed it!

During this 18 months period we have been looking for a solution to  recording observations for the rest of the school. We looked at using Orbit and not attaching the EYFS curriculum statements, but this wasn’t a really sufficient solution.

The search continued.

Late last week, I came across SeeSaw, from the team behind ShadowPuppet, an essential school app, with a proven pedigree, so I instantly sat up and took note!

Seesaw – The Learning Journal

I set it up over the weekend, and was pleased that it took no longer than the thirty seconds the website states!

I have been using it with my class since Monday and the children have got to grips with it really well (after a quick 5 minutes setting it up and tutorial). We have been saving content that we have created including Book Creator e-pubs (exported as videos), animations, pictures etc. Most of these have worked from within the apps, using the open in another app feature. The children are taking ownership of their work and making sure that it is ‘filed’ correctly, a huge step for them.

The other staff that also started to use it, to record their video observations, have been happy, with both the ease and the time saving abilities of this app!

You can easily moderate the work being placed there by the children and can add comments to it. You can even ‘like’ the work, in a very social media stylee!

I advise everyone to try this app, as a great way to record observations and to store created content. So simple, and above all a freebie too!

(We haven’t used the parent feature yet, as a school we are finding the correct solution to keeping parents informed of the children’s progress and work in this digital age!)


Tiggly Numbers

I recently purchased and posted about Tiggly Shapes, here.

I took this set to school and showed the EYFS team and the teams in the SLD classes, they were as excited as me. It was decided to raid the coffers and purchase some sets, one for each of the four classes. We also looked at Tiggly Numbers on the Tiggly website. We decided to get four sets of these too. Thursday saw them all arrive.

A set of the Tiggly Numbers stayed with me, so that I could have a look, think and play! The Numbers are built in a similar way to the Shapes. With the addition of a magnetic system at the end of each piece, allowing them to join together and stayed joined. The pieces teach children addition facts to 5 as a stand alone activity, owing to the fact that placing  the 2 and 3 pieces together makes them the exact same size as the 5, for example.


Like Tiggly Shapes, Tiggly Numbers has three Apps available on the AppStore. These three free Apps, allow the Tiggly Number pieces to interact with the games.

Tiggly Cardtoons – this game introduces the children to the numbers to five by story telling, counting and moving as well as using the pieces, reinforcing the numbers name and value.


Tiggly Chef – this game introduces adding two numbers. You do this by helping the slightly wacky chef (with an ace moustache!) to add the ingredients to create the bizarre recepies of his dishes. As you place the pieces on the screen an number sentence is constructed on the screen. This is a really fun way to start addition!


Tiggly Addventure – a step on from the Chef game. Addventure gives the children the opportunity to add numbers to build bridges and ladders to help the characters continue on their journey. This extends to counting in twos.


Tiggly Numbers, just like Shapes, will be a great teaching aid in our setting. I can highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun way to work with numbers, and I for one can’t wait to see the children using them in class. I also hope that Tiggly make some more high quality toys and Apps that I can take into the classroom.

iBook – Family Time With Apps

The use of technology with children with SEN is increasing, they find it accessible and it can capture their imagination. Although, a lot of their parents are very worried about the level of screen time their child has per day, this great iBook, written by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center (Seasame Street!), discusses how to turn this round into using apps (games, books, creation tools etc) for spending quality time with children, it gives a selection of apps and ideas of how to use them in a family context. A great read for any teacher or parent, I will most certainly be sharing this with parents of our children.

iBook – Family Time With Apps

Example page

Example page

Tiggly Shapes

After looking on the Apple Store one evening whilst bored, looking for Christmas presents for myself, I stumbled across two products that looked exciting, Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Numbers (not for me strictly, but I have played with them!) They struck me as being great for the SEN classroom and for my home!

Tiggly Shapes (£24.99) was the product I went for first, for the simple reason I have a two year old son and the shapes are targeted for 18months upwards , whereas the Numbers are for three up.

The shapes are four brightly coloured rubber coated objects that have small ‘feet’ that the iPad can sense. They are very comfortable to hold and are large enough for those with motor issues to find holding easy.


There are three free apps that are available for the Tiggly Shapes to interact with, these are:

Tiggly Safari – teaches shape names by playing shape ‘snap’.


Tiggly Draw – stamping the Tiggly Shapes on the screen creates animated characters, that are named and can be moved around on screen.


Tiggly Stamp – uses the Tiggly Shapes to stamp a shape on the screen, then use the inbuilt tools to add features to these shapes, creating fun faces, that are animated, creating a larger picture.


Also available is Tiggly Christmas for £1.49, I am yet to try this for the obvious reason of it no longer being Christmas and its price!

The three free apps are great fun and would be an ideal way of teaching shapes, fine and gross motor skills, colours as well as being creative and entertaining.

I can’t wait to get some of these for school (or borrow my sons set!) and try them with those children working in lower P levels and the EYFS. I’m sure the children (and staff) will love them too! It won’t be long before I get a set of the numbers too! Great work Tiggly, on combining the old with the new!!

Class Dojo – Behaviour management tool

class dojo

As a SEN teacher I am always looking for something to ‘hook’ the children into behaving in and out of classroom. Around a year ago I did some work with Trilby, our training partner, Ben and Neil happened to mention the website and App, ClassDojo. During the following weeks I looked at ClassDojo and was immediately struck by the fact that it was visually appealing to me and looked easy to use. Over the coming months I tested it out with my class, to find the best way to integrate ClassDojo into the behaviour reward systems for the children.

This year I hit the ground running with my new class and began using ClassDojo in conjunction with a marble reward system. This works something like this:

We set up ClassDojo with class agreed positive and negative behaviours, we give points at the end of each lesson. At the end of the day we look at the Class Reports generated for each child, a great visual idea of how they have got on for the day, green = good and red = bad, to this end we give a varying quantity of marbles, 3 for 100%, 2 for 90% etc

The children then save their marbles in jars and when full, get a reward, certificate and a sticker for their chart. Upon filling 5 jars they get a super prize!

We gave the children the ownership of the positive and negative behaviours, they were given a login (on a one off) and designed their own avatar for their monster!

The children love using this system, and the behaviour has been exceptional this year thus far (have I just jinxed it!) We have ‘rolled’ ClassDojo out across the school and with bit of work we have managed to get most classes linked with each other, enabling us to give points for those good things you see as your walking the corridors! I can recommend ClassDojo to any SEN or primary teacher, i’m sure you will have as much joy with it as I am having.

Our ClassDojo behaviour reward board:


Augmented Reality Christmas Cards

After using Aurasma to great effect this year, I decided to get the WOW factor into our christmas cards!

Aurasma is an App and website that allows you to create videos and attach them to any trigger image. There are some great guides to using Augmented reality in education in the iBook store:

Augmented Reality in PE – Mathew Pullen (@mat6453)

Augmented Reality in Education – Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist)

Augmented Reality In Education – Paul Hamilton (@Paulhamilton8)

I also read a few posts by iPadWells around the subject!

The children started off by creating a christmas card design, as in years gone by. We then used YakItKids App (iPhone App, so change your setting when searching!) to create a short video, animating the christmas card design by adding eyes, mouths and the children’s voices. These videos were then exported to Photos for the next step.

The next part of the process involved using Aurasma, we created a new account and channel before hand and allowed the children in the class to follow the process. This involves adding a video (YakItKids video) to a trigger image (our christmas card. then saving it in a public channel so that parents could access the videos on their iOS or Android device. A video explaining the process can be found below:

I placed a small flyer explaining, simply, how to access the videos on the rear of the card, we also told the children to get their parents to access Aurasma and find the channel. With a little practice this is a fun way of making things a little more exciting. Have a go, don’t be scared!

The children loved this process and we all hope that the parents get to see their videos. Happy Christmas!

Here are some images of the card and the video playing when triggered in Aurasma.

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Christmas Santa AR scene!

As its the final week of term and christmas is fast approaching, we are always looking for exciting new ideas for classroom activities.

Last night I had seen a post from @ICT_MrP, about using some Santa based Augmented Reality (AR). My class are ‘hooked’ with the use of AR, having used Aurasma for a variety of activities, including our class Christmas Cards (post coming!).

Second Sight, an app and website based on AR, have created an animated Santa and have asked classes to produce a winter scene and add the AR Santa to this.

I decided to go ahead today and make a winter scene, in the time before the final Christmas performance, the children produced trees, snowmen, penguins, houses and all things Christmasy! I then downloaded the activity sheet, here, printed it and added the codes to our scene. Now, Santa magically joins our scene, dances, jumps and says ‘Happy Christmas’, when scanned using the iPad app.

The children loved it (the adults in school too!), a great Christmas activity for Primary and SEN children alike!

Here’s some images of the scene, with and without Santa!

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The ‘magic’ had some of the children attempting to grab Santa!


Displaying your iPad screen in the classroom.


It is a well know fact that children learn and take in videos and can respond and do the tasks asked, with much greater effect once they have seen a video of the task. This is why, when interactive whiteboards came out, they were the goto classroom tool.

When using iPads in the classroom, displaying the iPad screen, is the most valuable way of explaining to children what to do, especially in the SEN classroom, it also allows you to be dynamic, being able to walk around the classroom and present from anywhere. To this end you can use the projector, that is no doubt in your classroom, to display an exact ‘mirror’ of what is on your iPad display.

There are three main options, dependant on the equipment in your classroom/school, two app/program based and one hardware based.

If you want to use your available hardware; laptop or computer connected to a projector or display, the two available options are programs that run on the computer, these are Reflector and AirServer. These both retail at around £10 per licence (each machine) and work in the same way, connecting to your iOS device using the WiFi and Local network, both offer the ability to record your iPad’s screen. I personally use AirServer, but have experienced both. As an institution we had to invest heavily with the infrastructure on site to allow this system to work well, new Wifi network, switches etc BUT this has helped with the use of iPads within the school and would no doubt have had to take place at some point.

The other, more expensive, option is to use Apple TV, a piece of hardware, made by Apple. It links to an iOS device wirelessly but without the need to be on a WiFi network, connecting via Bluetooth or WiFi (newer models only). This can have its advantages, but at £80 £59 each it can be an expensive option, the output is also HDMI, so if using older projectors (VGA connections) an adaptor would also need to be purchased.

Connecting your iOS device to any of the three systems is child’s play, using the inbuilt AirPlay function in your iOS device. Below is a video explaining the basics of this functionality:

Sometimes this mirroring technology can ‘drop out’, losing the video link, but more often than not, simple reconnection will get it working again quickly.

If you decide that you don’t want to use any of these wireless options (or as a backup, just in case) you could always hardwire your iOS device to your projector using the available connecting wires. This IS the most reliable method, but does ‘tie’ you to the front of classroom, making the whole teaching process much less dynamic (they are also quite expensive!)