Microsoft Classroom Pilot Launch

Last Friday a group of teachers visited the Microsoft Offices at Waverley gate in Edinburgh. They had a session led by Anna Kellner of the DLT with Natalie Burgess, Microsoft Teacher Ambassador and Andy Nagle, Microsoft Education. They are currently piloting Microsoft Classroom as the first teachers in Scotland to be using it with pupils.

Anna Kellner, Leigh Gilmore, David Sansom, Liz Dighton and Jim Duchart at the Microsoft Offices

Microsoft Classroom is currently in its preview version, so the teachers will be providing valuable feedback to Microsoft about the product before it has its full launch in the near future. The Digital Learning Team are excited about the potential of this product and how it can help teachers and pupils in Edinburgh. We look forward to hearing feedback from our teachers and learning about how Classroom can have a positive impact on teaching and learning.

Totally Techy Teaching Tips

ddmApp creators Duck Duck Moose have joined forces with Khan Academy making all their apps free to use!

Duck Duck Moose have created 22 apps to “encourage imagination, creativity, and learning in children”. These apps are mainly targeted at the early years and primary stages and are broadly categorised as curriculum, nursery rhymes, creative expression and play.

Best Picks

Draw & Tell

This is a great app offering different backgrounds and drawing tools with the added bonus of a voiceover recording feature. Like Explain Everything for primary pupils!

Chatterpix Kids

A creative and easy to use app which allows you to bring any picture to life for up to 30 seconds. Great for pupils to summarise learning, share ideas or explain concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Superhero Comic Maker/Princess Fairy Tale Maker

Nice and simple storytelling animation apps for young children with lots of pre-made templates to help scaffold the storytelling process.

Literacy & Maths

The literacy and maths apps on offer are well worth a look for reinforcing learning with Moose Math and Pet Bingo helping practise some early level SEAL concepts in different ways.

DLT Recommends: Online Resource Roundup

Here at the DLT we often get asked to recommend resources that teachers will find useful, so we decided to make a shortlist of blogs and websites that we use to gather new ideas and inspiration. If you don’t already do so, signing up to blog newsletters that interest you can be a great way to find new ideas as blogposts are emailed to you as soon as they are published. Please feel free to comment below if you’ve got a recommendation that we haven’t included.


Edutopia Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.12

What is it?

“A comprehensive website and online community that increases knowledge, sharing, and adoption of what works in K-12 education.” Run by the George Lucas Education Foundation.

Why we like it:

Edutopia covers all aspects of education, not just digital technologies, and often has thought-provoking and helpful articles which encourage teachers to re-think and evaluate how things work in their classrooms. Although it is very focused on the American education system, there is lots of content about teaching and learning that apply globally.


Mr P’s ICT Blog – Tech to Raise StandardsScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.21

What is it?

“My blog will share creative ideas to raise standards across the curriculum using technology.”

Why we like it:

This is a blog written by a practising primary school teacher who is great at coming up with practical ideas and ways to incorporate digital technologies meaningfully into your teaching.


ICT EvangelistScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.46.44

What is it?

“With 20 years classroom experience including that as a teacher, middle leader, lead teacher, assistant headteacher and responsible for some of the UK’s most renowned edtech deployments, Mark is a passionate advocate for developing the modern educator’s toolkit.”

Why we like it:

Mark is particularly good at sharing ideas about how to use iPads in different contexts and highlighting new apps that can be used for learning. He has also got a big Twitter following in the education world where he is good at sparking online discussions about pedagogy.


Brown Bag TeacherScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.46.53

What is it?

“A 5th grade ELA teacher now exploring 1st grade – loving all things Daily 5, Guided Math, & Writer’s Workshop!”

Why we like it:

This blog is full of ideas for teaching and learning. As this practising teacher uses a workshop approach there are some great ideas for using technology in groups, which is perfect for primary classes that only have access to a few iPads!


EdTech Blog – Paul Hamilton
Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.43Paul Hamilton’s YouTube channel

What is it?

“Transforming education through innovation is at the heart of what I do. Creating what no-one else has created, or being the first to make a connection, is what I love.”

Why we like it:

Paul has created lots of high-quality videos that can be found on his YouTube Channel with ideas for using apps across a range of curricular areas.


Learning in Hand – Tony Vincent Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.50.09

What is it?

“Learning in Hand is an educator’s resource for mobile and digital learning. It was started in 2002 as part of Tony Vincent’s classroom website. At first focusing on Palm handhelds, Learning in Hand now encompasses all kinds of digital and mobile learning.”

Why we like it:

This one is for teachers who are confident and regularly use technology in the classroom and want to take ideas to the next level. Tony Vincent doesn’t tend to focus on classroom ideas but has lots of ideas to enhance your own resources, definitely worth a look from ime to time.


Schrockguide – Kathy SchrockScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.52.00

What is it?

She is known for her practical presentations dealing with pedagogically sound practices for the embedding of technology seamlessly into teaching and learning. Kathy’s passions are online tools to support classroom instruction, the role of emerging technologies in the classroom, infographics, tablets in the classroom, assessment and rubrics, copyright and intellectual property, and gadgets of any type!

Why we like it:

This site blends the theory and practice of teaching and learning perfectly. There is literally a guide to everything, but we particularly like the iPads4teaching section. It has lots of great ideas for learning and practical ideas for organisation too.

OneNote in Educationonenote in education

What is it?

Microsoft Office blog showing new developments for OneNote that can be used in education. There are also posts showing how schools around the world are using OneNote.

Why we like it:

There are great ideas for how to use OneNote in the classroom. It is also interesting to see the new developments like the Class Notebook add-in and the Learning Tools add-in.

Subject-specific resources:

Deep Space Sparkle (Art)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.30

What is it?

“I’m Patty Palmer, founder of Deep Space Sparkle, and my passion is to help you teach art to kids. I’ve been teaching public school art for 13 years and helping in the classroom long before that. Deep Space Sparkle came along in 2008 when I discovered that blogging was a way to share what projects worked for me in the art room.”

Why we like it:

This is a fantastic resource to support the teaching of Art. Patty Palmer is a specialist art teacher and has organised lesson ideas by year group, subject and art technique. It is a great place to get inspiration for IDL topics and with step by step guides on how she teaches it is a great way to help build skills in art with your learners.


Creative Star Learning (Outdoor Learning)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.59.04

What is it?

“Creative STAR Learning Ltd was established in 2007 by Juliet Robertson to provide Support, Training, Advice and Resources on almost all aspects of outdoor learning and play, hence the STAR in the company name.”

Why we like it:

Creative STAR Learning is a fantastic resource for outdoor learning ideas. The blog keeps you up to date with the latest global thinking on outdoor learning and the ideas are well organised to support learning across the curriculum outdoors.


The Literacy Shed (Literacy)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.59.29

What is it?

The Literacy Shed is home to a wealth of visual resources that  we have collected over 10 years as a primary school teacher.   I trawl YouTube, Vimeo and other sites looking for suitable resources to  use in the sheds. The sheds are broadly thematic but sometimes a resource could go in 2 or more sheds, I slot it in where I think it works best.

Why we like it:

This is a great resource with videos, ideas and other digital resources organised broadly in to themes or “sheds”. The short videos can be used to stimulate some excellent creative writing, teach skills such as prediction and inference in reading and there is even a Edtech Blog Shed to keep you up to date with the best ways of using tech in the classroom!

Digital Safety @ St Margarets PS

P4/5 at St Margarets have been learning about how to stay safe online. They completed a series of lessons, researched safety tips for different age groups and used creative apps to display their learning for others.


The class started off by answering key questions about digital safety to assess prior knowledge. They answered the questions on Post-its and the answers were collected and organised using the Post-it Plus iPad app. The app is free and great for collecting all the assessment information lurking on your desk!

Once this activity was complete the class were organised in to mixed ability groups. They decided what age group they would research, broadly organised to Early, First and Second Level. Using appropriate websites found in our digital safety planners (sent using the Chirp app) the class researched key information for staying safe online, whilst applying skills in note-taking they had recently been learning. When doing any research it is a good opportunity to test the reliability of a website and discuss its appropriateness. Resources for teaching critical awareness can be found here.

Each group used the easy to use, free app ChatterPix Kids to create animated video messages to share their learning. They then used Book Creator to add text, images and sound clips to host all their content.

The pupils were able to share their learning with their parents at a recent open morning which proved to be a great success! Take a look at one of their books below.



How to: Make an iPad ‘Hologram’

After stumbling across this Adobe Slate presentation describing how to make an iPad ‘hologram’ we thought that this would be a brilliant project to try out with our learners in Edinburgh.

Here is an overview of the process:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A video of our prototype in action:


If you want to give it a go, here are some useful links that will help you create your ‘hologram’:



  • A step-by-step guide on creating a presentation using Keynote along with a video creation app of your choice. I used Tellagami in my example.



  • An example of a ‘hologram’ video found on YouTube that can be used with your transparent pyramid – there are many, many more examples available online.


Good luck with your ‘holograms’ and, as always, please feel free to share any good ones that you create!


Echline iPad project – transforming learning in P7

A guest post from Jude Moir, Primary 7 teacher at Echline Primary School:

The Primary 7 class at Echline Primary were incredibly fortunate over term 3 to have access to 15 iPads on loan from the Digital Learning Team. I wanted to share some of the amazing things we were able to do as a result of having these iPads, with the aim of giving people some ideas for your own class. Over the course of the term there really was so much to write about so I have tried to condense it into a few of my favourite apps and uses.


I first started using the iPads without much structure. I knew I wanted to increase the creativity and choice in my class but didn’t have many ideas for how I was going to do this. My undergraduate degree was Film and Media so I was very comfortable with film making, which may be the reason that iMovie was used a lot in the first couple of weeks. I allowed the children a lot of choice for how they were going to use the iPads to respond to creative tasks. In no time at all, the children were making trailers for books, videos to demonstrate learning in maths and were recording their reflections in the style of a big brother diary room. There really are so many ways that this app can be used in class and having 15 iPads allowed everyone the chance to develop their skills in this area. I was really surprised with the independence that came from allowing the children freedom to use the app how they want. By the end of the term not a day would go by where the children hadn’t made an iMovie about something happening in class.


Hopscotch quickly became another favourite app in our class. We had a world of work project in partnership with Hopetoun house. The children had to plan a Wedding or a Horse trials event that would take place at Hopetoun. Several of the groups used Hopscotch to code their own website, they made animated adverts and an app that allowed you to choose a colour scheme for your wedding. This is a fantastic app that my class picked up very quickly because of their experience using Scratch. It is a very similar block-based approach to learning computer programming.

Explain Everything

For me, Explain Everything is the best iPad app I have ever used. It is so versatile and can be used for almost any creative project you would like to do in class. The app is basically an interactive whiteboard that allows you to record your actions on screen. The children in my class used this for such a wide range of activities, and it became a running joke that if we didn’t know how to do something – Explain Everything would be a good place to start.

The class created an animation that was projected during their Primary 7 show. They also used this app to design tickets for this show. We used the app during maths lessons to record how children tackled certain problems, as well as an assessment tool to show levels of understanding. I also now use this exclusively as my presentation tool. I make up all my class slides and attach my iPad to the smart board every day. I love using it to take pictures and then highlight/annotate great examples of where children are being successful in certain lessons.

One of the main things I noticed about having the iPads in my classroom was how quickly they became embedded in our class. It was not a case of, “lets get the iPads out after lunch for a mess around”, we were using the iPads as a way of improving and developing the key  learning taking place. The feedback from the children has been incredible. Children who were previously disengaged were motivated and inspired, showing high levels of creativity and passion. We didn’t use the iPads for every lesson, but the children knew that they were always available if they were needed. One of the main things I noticed was that the children were all very comfortable with exploring the functions of new apps. I did not have to be an expert at all, and the children were teaching me how to use the apps at the end. I think this is exactly how it should be! The learning was not about how to use a specific app, the key learning always came first and the children were given a choice about how they wanted to solve a problem or demonstrate their learning.



Thank you to Jude and all of P7 who contributed to this post for sharing their experiences and ideas with us.

Using iPads to support SEAL @ St John’s

Laura Spears, class teacher at St John’s Primary, worked with the Digital Learning Team to explore how iPads can be used to support SEAL in a P1 classroom. The focus for the lesson was to develop counting strategies for numbers to twenty.

IMG_0027The class has 23 pupils who were organised in to three groups with access to 10 iPads. The groups rotated through three stations, one group teacher led, one games based (supported by iPad) and one independent iPad task.  ChatterPix Kids was used to share the learning intentions with ‘Learning Owl’, a character familiar to the children, as well as to play some counting games. iPads were used to support independent group games with videos to show (and remind) the children how to play them. The videos were extremely simple and quick to make using the built in camera and editing in iMovie (headphones are a must in a busy learning environment!). A number of apps were used to reinforce the concepts taught with Subitize Tree being a firm favourite with the learners and staff! Assessment of this learning could include pupils taking photographs of their work and using Book Creator to talk about how they solved the problems. To support homework, videos of SEAL strategies could be made and linked to homework sheets using Aurasma (find out more here).