Coding Week @ Echline PS

Jude Moir, P7 teacher at Echline Primary School, describes a very successful coding week run by his school just before the summer holidays:


Will Wright helping some of the children design their games


Mrs Crawford, Head Teacher, plays a game


Some of the Scratch code involved in creating a game


Andrew Knight and Will Wright – games designers

Last session Primary 4/5 and Primary 5 took part in a week-long interdisciplinary project that involved them devising and creating their own computer games.

The children were working in groups of 4 and had to decide on certain roles; Programmer, Head of Advertising, Story Director and Art director. Workshops were given throughout the week to help the children achieve success in their roles.

The children used Scratch to program their games, and were free to create a game in any way they liked. We were fortunate enough to have the expertise of Games Designer Andrew Knight, who was able to guide the children to create exciting games and help with any bugs that crept up throughout the week.

The children were working towards an exhibition of their work at the end of the week where they would have a stall set up with their computer game, and other classes from around the school would visit to try out the exciting games. Advertising was a really strong element of the exhibition and teams had made posters, leaflets and costumes to make their game stand out.

The teams were voted on under the following categories: Best Advertising, Best Game and there was also an Industry award voted for by Andrew Knight and Will Wright who were our visiting games design professionals, as well as Erin Mercer, a recent graduate of the Abertay Computer Design course. The children were also very excited when a photographer from the local newspaper came in to take pictures.

On the exhibition day the children also had the chance to try out Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that allowed them to explore the world of Minecraft.

The week was such a positive experience and on reflection the children identified teamwork, problem solving, ICT skills, literacy and art as the skills that were developed.

From a teacher’s point of view the experience was fantastic. The children were motivated, engaged and hard-working throughout the whole week. They showed resilience and persistence in the face of problems and worked together as teams to overcome any issues. My confidence with computers and Scratch was definitely an advantage, however the children soon overtook me in terms of mastery of the processes involved in creating a game.

If you are planning a similar project, or if it is something you would be interested in, I would recommend spending a bit of time letting the children explore Scratch first (or any other program). This allowed them to develop their confidence before working towards a more extended project.

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CPD iconPlease click on the icon or here to view the courses that are being offered by the Digital Learning Team this term.

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1:1 Digital Learning at Gracemount High School

XMA worked with us recently to film a case study about 1:1 digital learning at Gracemount High School. The video outlines the many advantages of 1:1, describing how successfully embedding digital technologies in learning can impact on engagement and attainment. 

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Using Aurasma in the Classroom

Aurasma is a free app which uses Augmented Reality technology to bring an extra dimension or overlay to otherwise static images in the form of an “Aura”. Simply use the app to create a “trigger’ which when scanned links with an “Aura” which can be in the form of a photograph, video or work created in another app such as iMovie or Adobe Voice.

St Mary’s have used Aurasma to bring displays to life around the school…

Aurasma and other forms of AR technology have quickly surpassed the QR Code and is increasingly adopted by multinational companies to promote their products. Educators use Aurasma to bring interactivity to traditional 2D displays, embedding its use in learning and teaching. To get started with Aurasma click here, for further support look at Classroom Uses of Aurasma and more Augmented Reality Resources.

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Apps for Assessment

board-361516_1280There are some great apps to make assessment and timely feedback easier for teachers- the following are just a few! Baiboard HD is a fantastic, free, collaborative whiteboard tool. You can set up a session with multiple slides, go live and invite pupils to join by simply entering a code (no passwords required). Pupils are then able to respond in real time, allowing you to see very quickly who is or is not understanding the concepts you are trying to teach. Feedback can be typed, written and pictures can be sent instantly. This is a particularly great tool for classrooms with just one iPad per group.

Plickers is a great, free app which can be used in a classroom with just one iPad! It collects real time data which is great for quizzes, voting, evaluation of personal performance and much more. To find out how to use it and some ideas for classroom use click take a quick look at the early years and “Minds in Bloom” blog.

Creative apps can be used by pupils to display their learning. Apps such as ExplainEverything and Showme enable pupils to explain concepts. Book Creator, iMovie, Adobe Voice, Puppet Pals and Piccolage are particularly powerful apps which allow multimedia to be used to display individual and group learning as a culmination of a project or concept.

Below is an example of how Book Creator might be used to collect assessment and examples of work and pupil reflection over the course of a term or year.

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Content Creation Apps@Towerbank PS

Teachers at Towerback spent some of their professional learning time investigating creative apps for iPad. The apps included Book Creator, Explain Everything, Adobe Voice and Aurasma. These apps are great for using in any curricular context and the pupils and staff found them very user friendly. Each class were given the opportunity to use the apps in a variety of contexts- take a look at some of the ways the classes used them.

Literacy and Health & Wellbeing using Adobe Voice

As part of Book Week each stage wrote and illustrated a chapter of ‘The Unlikely Friendship’ which will be published and go on sale in Portobello. Linking this to their topic on emotions, P5 evaluated the project and showcased the work for the community using the free presentation app, Adobe Voice.

Maths in P7 using Explain Everything

Pupils in P7 have been learning about fractions. In order to teach their peers they created a video in Explain Everything which helped reinforce learning, demonstrate understanding and build confidence.

Health & Wellbeing and Expressive Arts using Aurasma

Aurasma uses Augmented Reality technology to bring pupils’ work to life. As part of their transition project P7 pupils identified their worries about moving to high school. They created artwork in the style of Roy Lichtenstein to represent these emotions, which they had ‘unpacked’ using Emotion Works cogs.

The art work became a ‘trigger’ for dramas, which the groups filmed to represent their worries. Parents were invited to school and used Aurasma to load the ‘overlay’ and discover what the worries their children experience during this time of transition, and tips for overcoming them!

20150326_164541753_iOSFor tutorials and classroom ideas for these and other content creation apps try these creative app resources.

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Register for the Spring Mathletics Challenge

NewMathLogo_whitetxt_CMYK_LRSpring into the new term with the Edinburgh Libraries Mathletics Challenge!

In partnership with 3P Learning, the Edinburgh Libraries Mathletics Challenge starts on 27th April 2015 and runs all week. Pupils in participating schools will be able to complete activities and live online challenges throughout the week. Participation certificates will be awarded to all students and there will be prizes awarded to top schools and students for both achievement and improvement.

The 3P Learning team will be contacting all Edinburgh primaries and manage all logins and registration for the event. Your school will also get full access to Mathletics free of charge for the week of the challenge.

This is a great opportunity to engage your students and get them excited about maths, with student and class results tracked throughout the week; you’ll be able to see exactly how your school has performed over the challenge.

It’s easy to get signed up, just register your interest on the Mathletics Challenge page:

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