National Sumdog Contest

Sumdog-StarsSumdog have planned their biggest ever national maths contest to bring in the holiday season – it starts Friday 5th December.

The prize for the winning class is an iPad and every student who plays in the Holiday Contest will receive festive outfits for their on-screen avatar: Santa, snowman and reindeer! Teachers can enter here.

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Genius Hour and

Genius Hour is inspired by Google’s 20% time, in which a fifth of a Google employee’s week is dedicated to self directed and innovative personal projects. Adopted in the classroom this concept is an hour in which children research, document and present their ideas about a chosen ‘passion project’. This is a great way for pupils to become familiar with content creation apps for sharing their learning, whilst applying literacy skills in a new context. Find out more here.

One way of facilitating Genius Hour is to visit a website which encourages children to complete challenges using skills from scientific inquiry to code. Pupils can learn from others’ approaches and earn recognition for their efforts in the form of online virtual badges. For more ideas about how to incorporate and Genius Hour in the classroom click here.

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Computing at School Scotland Conference 2014


Computing at School Scotland are holding their annual conference at Edinburgh Napier University on Saturday 22nd November 2014.

This will be a great opportunity to learn new skills and make connections with colleagues who are successfully embedding skills in Computing Science in the classroom. For more details and how to book on the course see the flier from CASS.

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Sumdog Contest this November

sumdog-writingSumdog’s free maths contest is back for Edinburgh schools on Friday 21st November and will run until the following Thursday.

This year you register as a whole class and compete against other classes across the city. Pupils who answer at least 100 questions will be given new legendary rewards. The contest takes around an hour and can be completed at school or home.

In order to join in the fun, teachers can register here. For further information contact

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Digital Leaders

Digital Leaders are a group of pupils who support the use and development of ICT in school. The group can vary in size and be made up of children of any age (usually upper pupils in primary schools). The roles of the members may include the following:

  • Contribute to the school website
  • Blog on behalf of the school, individual classes or clubs
  • Share their ICT skills with classes, pupils and teachers
  • Heighten the profile of digital safety running whole school competitions etc
  • Lead lunchtime ICT clubs
  • Share up to date resources with staff i.e. app of the week, websites and creative apps
  • Share troubleshooting tips for iPad users
  • Carry out iPad house keeping duties i.e. clearing camera rolls at the end of term

phontoWith a growing number of iPads, pupils at Clermiston Primary have formed a Digital Leaders team. They applied and interviewed for the job and are supported by a teacher who helps them with the organisation of tasks, ensures members have relevant skills and meets regularly with the team. Suzanne Gilhooley, PT at Clermiston, used resources created by the National Grid for Learning Wales to help get the team up and running.

Download the Digital Leaders Pack to help your school set up a team. It includes information about the roles of Digital Leaders, how to get started, application forms and links to further resources. This is an excellent way to involve pupils in the whole school ICT strategy, develop pupil voice and skills for life and work.

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ComputerXplorers: Programming for Primaries

computerxplorers-1.300x0Following on from the success of Programming for Primaries Week 2014 ComputerXplorers are running this initiative again in 2015.  In addition they are offering free app programming sessions for primary school children and a free programming CPD session for primary school teaching staff. The week will run from January 26th to 1st February 2015. Click here for more information about the project and how to register.

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Augmented Reality in the Early Years

Augmented Reality (AR) is technology which superimposes digitally generated information on to the user’s view of reality, this may take the form of a video, 2D or 3D image etc. AR works well with the iPad and a number of apps have been created which can be used creatively in teaching and learning, here are just a few examples.

AR Flashcards 

IMG_0274The award-winning company, AR Flashcards, has created free flashcards which can be downloaded from the website. Once downloaded the app is used to scan the cards or ‘triggers’ to reveal a 3D image. There are two sets of free cards including the alphabet and dinosaurs. Once scanned, touching the image on-screen causes the letter/dinosaur’s name to be read out. Multiple cards can be viewed simultaneously allowing the alphabet to be used for letter recognition, ordering and the spelling of short words such as CVC/CVVC and sight words.



IMG_0265Chromville is a great, free AR app. There are five worlds on Planet Chromville, each with different themes. Currently there is one chapter (picture) for each world which, once coloured in, could act as a stimulus for both storytelling and creative writing. There are also customisable characters, which once personalised, could stimulate individual or collaborative digital storytelling.




Phonic Tricksters

IMG_0261Phonic Tricksters is a great app for consolidating and assessing knowledge of phonics in a fun and interactive way. Children will love chasing the Tricksters, who have stolen phonemes, around the room. In order to progress to the next stage they must identify the phoneme with a matching word. This app is free to trial and requires an in app purchase of 69p to unlock all the Tricksters.

Other interesting AR apps created by PBS Kids include Fetch! Lunch Rush, which practices addition to 20 and Cyberchase 3D Builder which, designed for 6-9 year olds, practices problem solving with 2D and 3D shape.

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