HTML Projects for KS2

HTML Projects for KS2Those fabulous guys at Code Club have created some great resources to help KS2 children learn how to program in HTML and CSS. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a language for describing and structuring web pages and CSS is used to style them. Young coders can save their code online, allowing them to access their webpages both at school and at home.

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Intel Primary Maths Resources

Intel Primary Maths ResourcesHere are a 24 interactive maths lessons, created by Intel, covering many areas of the KS1 and KS2 programme of study including number, statistics, shape & space and measure. They have also been added to the Primary Maths Resources section and sorted into the correct year group objective. The lessons include three elements - learn, test and review.

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Raspberry Pi Internet Enabled Security Camera

Raspberry Pi Internet Enabled CameraUsing the Raspberry Pi camera module, you can stream video both on your local network and across the internet. This means the video can be accessed anywhere in the world. Your Raspberry Pi will be transformed into a customisable video surveillance camera that you can place anywhere you want.

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Scratch on ipads

Scratch on ipadsAlthough Scratch isn't officially available on ipads (unlike its little brother Scratch Jr) there is another app that is based on the Scratch source code and runs on ipads. Pyonkee looks exactly like the Scratch interface, reduced to fit on the smaller ipad screen with a different set of characters.

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3D Pens in the Classroom

3D Pens in the ClassroomForget 3D printers in the classroom that take forever to print anything out. Imagine getting children to create 3D shapes immediately in a maths lesson by drawing them in the air! Or drawing 3D musical notes and passing them round to children to look at in a music lesson! All these things and more are now possible, at a reasonable price, thanks to the development of 3D pens.

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Reading Bingo

Reading BingoGetting children to read for pleasure can be difficult. Reading seems such a passive activity, and they can quickly become restless and bored. The idea behind Reading Bingo is that they put these bingo cards in their home reading books, and when they've read a particular genre they get an adult/teacher to sign it off for them. If they get 4 in a row, they get a special prize!

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Making E-textiles At School

E-textiles at schoolImagine making a monster badge that had flashing eyes or a bookmark with a light? The idea behind e-textiles, or wearable electronics, is to use electronics with different materials to add functional or decorative effects. All you need to achieve this are basic sewing skills and a limited knowledge of circuits. The materials and electronics are inexpensive and a full detailed guide is provided to create lots of fabulous e-textile products.

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NNS ITPs

NNS ITPsThese National Numeracy Strategy Interactive Teaching Programs (NNS ITPs) were developed in 2002 to help with the teaching of maths in UK Primary Schools. There are 32 NNS ITPs in total and many are still useful for maths teaching in classrooms today. They are ideal for class or small group teaching and cover many areas of numeracy incuding number, shape, measure and statistics.

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How To Be An Enthusiastic Teacher

How to be an enthusiastic teacherTeacher enthusiasm (and the perceived competence that it conveys) usually leads to greater student achievement. Children are more engaged, more willing to contribute in class discussions and more willing to discuss any problems or concerns that they may have. The question, then, is how can teachers become more enthusiastic? What tools and techniques can you learn to convey enthusiasm to your students?

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Persuasive Ideas For Schools

Persuasion with a purposeTo round off our persuasive writing unit, my year 5 literacy class produced video adverts using Adobe Spark for our favourite brands. We uploaded them to YouTube and contacted the CEOs or marketing department for each brand/organisation and asked them to feed back on them. We were staggered with the positive feedback that we received (not to mention the freebies!). Here's how we went about it.

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Gamification in Education

Gaming provides players with an immersive experience, one that engages them on all levels. The power of play in the classroom opens up children's imagination and ambition. Creating a game where players progress based on their achievements in the classroom makes learning a positive experience for all children.

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How Technology Motivates Children

Technology has always had an effect on its user. Whether it buzzes, flashes, beeps or lights up, it attracts its makes you want to do something. Due to its interactive nature, it can motivate children in many ways by allowing them to learn from their mistakes, giving them rewards, helping with problem solving and allowing them to be creative.

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Mathematics Problem Solving Strategies

Anyone who has taught maths for any length of time will know how difficult it can be to teach pupils to solve maths problems out of context. Present pupils with a familiar setting or a sum that they've tackled before then they're usually fine, but turn it into an unfamiliar problem then it's a different matter. However, in the same ways that we teach strategies for other areas of maths, we can also teach strategies to solve maths problems.

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Promote your ebook using Facebook

Promoting and marketing your ebook on Facebook is a great way to bring potential readers face to face with your e-book. Whether you're selling your book through Amazon or through another website, you need to let people know that it exists and, what better way to do this, than through Facebook, the largest social network in the world.

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Creative Writing using Minecraft Edu

Minecraft Edu Creative WritingWe've spent a really productive afternoon today with year 5/6 children from the local area using Minecraft Edu to inspire creative writing. The children were set a series of tasks to perform during the course of the 2 hour session and then asked to write notes about what they could see, who they met and how they felt along the way. These notes were then used in literacy to develop their creative writing.

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A Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

What’s the difference between businesses that grow and those that can’t get out of survival mode? It all comes down to this: All successful businesses have a clear social media marketing strategy that makes everything they do more effective. This article explains what you need to do to in order to prepare for promoting your product or service online.

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Progression in Mathematics at Primary School

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) have published a series of videos, powerpoints and supplementary material to demonstrate the progression of mathematics teaching and learning at primary school. There are 60 short videos, filmed during 2012-2013, which demonstrate how to teach mathematics at primary school.

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Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Regardless of your age and where you live in the world, the chances are that you’ve used a social network in some way over the last month or so. The use of social media has grown exponentially over the last few years and this has changed how marketing is done on the internet. As a result of this, there are a lot of advantages for using social media rather than traditional techniques when it comes to marketing your product.

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Business Skills For KS2 Children

I was lucky enough to be invited to an event today with other KS2 and secondary teachers to play the logistics board game entitled "Business on the Move". The purpose of the game is to develop business skills in children (and adults too). The game challenges players to run a business that must respond to customers’ orders, moving different products around the world as profitably as possible.

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Uses of Drones in Schools

Uses of drones in schoolsWe have a drone at school which is linked to an ipad. The ipad controls the drone and stores the videos that it captures. We use these videos for making movies about events around the school calendar, such as maypole dancing and sports day. The footage has been really useful for the children to see our school from many different angles.

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Printable and Editable Scratch Blocks

Printable and Editable Scratch Programming BlocksHere is a fabulous collection of Scratch programming blocks. They are editable and available in a number of formats, including svg, png, Smartboard and Powerpoint. They are useful for display purposes and for teaching with. The blocks can be edited by using a free vector editing program such as Inkscape.

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Studio Ghibli movie trailers collection

To celebrate 30 years of animation magic, here are the trailers for all 20 Studio Ghibli films from 1986 through to their last movie in 2014, listed in chronological order. The studio's name came from the italian noun "ghibli" meaning sirocco, or Mediterranean wind, the idea being the studio would "blow a new wind through the anime industry. They certainly did that as you can see from these wonderful trailers.

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Free BSD on Raspberry Pi

Free BSD on Raspberry Pi Most Raspberry Pi's run some form of Linux (Raspbian, Ubuntu, etc) but you can also run other Unix variants on the Raspberry Pi. Before I started using Linux in the mid 90's I used FreeBSD - an extremely robust operating system. The good news is that Free BSD for Raspberry Pi is now available and I'll talk you through how to install it.

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Lexile levels for UK book bands

Book Band Lexile LevelsSometimes school reading schemes are a little restrictive and you'd like to put well known books in there too. To help with this is a table that I've put together that correlates between age, national curriculum level, Oxford reading tree book band and lexile level. It can be used in conjunction with the search tool at Lexile.com to fit any non-reading scheme book into your reading scheme.

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Preview your site in Google search results

Taking care over what your site looks like in Google Search Results is an important consideration. Potential customers will read the url, title and the short snippet that google provides them with before making a decision as to whether to click on your link or not. Therefore its important to get this right by using a selection of free online tools for previewing Google search results.

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Update Google Analytics using PHP

Google Analytics is usually updated by embedding Javascript code into your web pages. If you've written a web application and want to add extra information into your analytics tracking then using PHP to update Google Analytics may be a better option (using Google's Analytics Measurement Protocol). To do this you'll need a web server with PHP and Curl installed and your Google Analytics tracking ID.

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Raspberry Pi phone calls

Raspberry Pi Phone Calls I've written before about getting the Raspberry Pi to speak the weather forecast, but did you know that you can also get the Raspberry Pi to make automated phone calls? Imagine triggering a phone call based on any event such as an appointment reminder or an update on football results. Perfect for those of us who don't have smart phones but want to remain in the know.

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Create an ebook from the Linux command line

Two years ago, I wrote an article about how to create an ebook in Open Office. Since then, I've moved to creating ebooks using the linux command line because I found it quicker and a lot simpler: from a finished text, a Kindle ebook can be created in less than a minute - and its all completely free. The tools I use to create epub and Kindle ready books using the command line interface (CLI) are any text editor (emacs, nano, vi, etc), pandoc and KindleGen.

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Maths races

Maths racesHere's a variety of numeracy and PE games to make maths more active and to help those kinaesthetic learners do what they do best - learn by doing. In these games, the class is split up into two teams and they run races against each other based on the maths questions that you call out. The games can be adapted many different ways and differentiated as you see fit by pairing children of similar ability against each other.

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Scratch Jr tutorials for English and Maths

ScratchJr is a graphical language for young children (KS1/Elementary) to create their own interactive stories and games. We've been using it with our Year 1 and Year 2 children and have recently tried to incorporate other elements of the UK National Curriculum into our programming, such as creating letters and counting.

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How to publish your own ebook

The publishing world has been changed so much by technology; publishers and traditional bookshops have been pushed to the side and online retailers, such as Amazon and Google, have become the new distribution channels. For budding new authors, the phenomenal rise of ebooks is a great way to get your work published without any help from a publisher. But how do you do this?

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What happens in an internet minute?

Here's a great poster/infographic to display in your classroom about what happens in an internet minute. It provides many astounding facts such as in 2017, it is expected that the number of connected devices will reach three times the number of people on earth. That's really provoking and should get your students thinking too.

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Small Basic tutorials for KS2

Small Basic is a programming language, designed by Microsoft, to make programming extremely easy, approachable and fun for beginners. Small Basic’s intention is to bring down the barrier and serve as a stepping stone to the amazing world of computer programming. Its a lot more advanced than Scratch but certainly something to challenge the more able KS2 programmers.

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Greatest album covers of all time in ASCII art

ascii album artHere are the top 20 iconic album covers of all time lovingly converted to ASCII for your viewing pleasure. The original art on these wonderful record sleeves was sometimes as important as the music itself and is representative of modern culture in the 20th century. Unfortunately, the rise of digital music production and distribution threatens this great medium so it is represented here in ASCII art for posterities sake.

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Raspberry Pi Virus Protection

Raspberry Pi virus protectionAlthough viruses are quite common on Windows machines, Linux based computers such as the Raspberry Pi don't really suffer from virus attacks. There have been some proof of concept virus attacks on Raspberry Pi's but they are aimed at "seeing if it can be done" rather than aiming to cause any actual damage. However, it is always best to be one step ahead so here are some tips on the best way to prevent your Raspberry Pi from viruses.

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Virtual Reality in Education

Virtual Reality in EducationAccording to educational psychologists, we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear and 90% of what we do. So learning in an immersive virtual environment which has been created to meet the exact needs of the learner could be very succesful. Learning would be a lot easier for students of all ages and there would be potential for our brains to remember it for a long time. But how close are we to virtual reality really making an impact in education today?

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Google Classroom: Announcements

In Google Classroom, announcements can be made to your class to remind them of an upcoming event or as a general notice for the class. They appear in the class stream and can be commented on and made sticky (i.e. They stay at the top of the class stream). Anyone can add comments to announcements, which are visible under the announcement.

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Google Classroom: Grade questions

In Google Classroom, you can ask quick questions to your students and these questions can also be graded and the grades returned to the student. The questions can be seen in the class stream and the answers can be viewed on the Student Answers page. Also on the Student Answers page you can see a quick overview of pupils who have or haven’t answered the question.

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Google Classroom: Grade and return assignments

As students begin working on assignments in Google Classroom, you can view their progress and add comments or make edits. When they have submitted the assignment, you can grade and return it to the student. After the08PaigePickering assignment has been returned, students will be notified by email (if your school has email setup for students) or will receive a message the next time that they login to Google Classroom.

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Google Classroom: View work

When you've created assignments and questions in Google Classroom and the students have submitted their responses, you can view their work in the Work page. Here you can review student work/assignents and questions as well as any grades that you have allocated and comments that you have made. Student's work can be organised by class or you can view all work across all of your classes.

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Google Classroom: Ask a question

The 'ask a question' feature in Google Classroom is a great way to get feedback from your class on a particular issue. It can be used for a quick straw poll on a current issue in the class or as formative assessment on a topic that you're studying. Asking a question is done in your class stream and can be done at any time. When you've asked the question, you can see how many students have and haven't answered. You can decide whether you want students to be able to edit their answers and/or reply to other student's answers.

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Primary computing questioning

Primary programming questioningHere is a list of questioning prompts, based on Blooms taxonomy, for teachers to ask pupils in programming sessions. The questions can be used by teachers and support staff to deepen children's understanding through questioning. They are categorised into knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation and there are around 5 or 6 questions for each category.

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Google Classroom: Create and modify assignments

Now you have your class set up, you're ready to start giving work to your students. In Google Drive this is done by creating assignments. Assignments are created in your class stream. You can attach documents in the form of templates, worksheets and so on to the assignment and when your students turn their assignments in, you can grade them and return them to your students. This is all managed for you by Google Classroom.

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Google Drive: Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys that you can use to perform a task that would typically require a mouse or other pointing device. An example of a keyboard shortcut is pressing ctrl and S together on a Microsoft Word document to save your work. For those Google Drive power users out there, here is a list of keyboard shortcuts for Google Drive on the web. Note that these do not apply for Google Drive on tablets or phones.

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Google Classroom: Multiple teachers in a class

Just like your local school classroom, in Google Classroom you can have more than one teacher in the class to help coordinate class activities. There are just a few things to bear in mind before adding extra teachers to a Google Classroom. Firstly, the primary teacher will own all class materials and the primary teacher's class and assignment folders will be shared with the additional teachers in Google Drive (which underlies all Google Classroom file sharing).

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Google Classroom: Class resources

In your Google classroom, its handy to have resources available for your students to use, just as they would in a traditional classroom. Here you can post any materials or instructions for the class, such as a classroom rules or links to often used websites. These and more resources can be all be added in the class resource page and accessed by all students and related teachers.

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Annotate images on Linux

Annotate screenshot LinuxAnnotating images in Windows is relatively straightforward. There are many tools available to do it, but on Linux there are not so many options. For my Google Classroom tutorials, I have been using some screen annotation software on Linux called Shutter which works really well and is as fast, if not faster, than some of the Windows variations.

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Google Classroom: Setting up your first class

Once you have your Google Classroom account (a Google account on a Google for Education domain) then you can log into Google Classroom and set up your first class. You can set up as many classes as you want but before you do, take a minute to work out how you're going to name them. I've settled on using the Year and Class as the class name (e.g. 2015/16 Year 5) and then I use the subject as the section. So I have 2015/16 Year 5 Maths, 2015/16 Year 5 English etc.

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Troubleshooting cron on the Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi cron troubleshooting Cron is the name of program that enables Raspberry Pi users to execute commands or scripts (groups of commands) automatically at a specified time/date. Although its reasonably straightforward to set up, if it doesn't work then it can be tricky to work out where the underlying problem is. This troubleshooting guide to cron on the Raspberry Pi should help with the debugging process.

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Redirecting web pages using 301

If you need to change the address of a page that appears in Google's search engine results, you'll need to use a server-side 301 redirect. The 301 status indicates that the page has permanently moved to a new location. When Google (or any other search engine) sees a 301 redirect it knows that the page has changed location and will carry any link weighting from the original page to the new URL.

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How to set up a school radio station on the cheap

We've just gone live with our school radio station this week. The children (and staff!) have worked really hard to get it up and running and we're all really pleased with it. It broadcasts over the internet so children and parents can listen to it on their computers, mobile devices, TVs, etc and we've managed to do it on a very tight budget. This article documents how to set up your own school radio station cheaply.

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Google Voice Typing in School

A lot of pupils are great at telling stories orally but when it comes to writing their ideas down, they really struggle. If you're using Google Docs within your school then your pupils can make use of the Google voice typing function, which allows them to dictate their work directly into a document. We tested it out recently and it recognised all the common words that we spoke as well as more obscure ones such as ‘coelacanth’, ‘octogenarian’ and ‘disestablishmentarianism'. It even added asterisks to swear words too which could be useful if you have some 'live wires' in your class.

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Overview of Google Primer

Google is delivering marketing tips straight to mobile users’ fingertips with its Primer app for Android and iOS devices. The app helps users learn new digital marketing skills with quick, five-minute lessons. New lessons are added every week and cover the topics of advertising, content, measurement and strategy.

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Google Classroom: Introduction

Google Classroom is a free web-based platform that helps to manage planning, resources, assignments and communication between yourself and your class. If your school, doesn't have one already, you'll need to sign up for a Google Apps for Education account to use Google Classroom which will give you all the Google Apps services including Drive, Docs, Sheets, Gmail and Calendar. Google Classroom is available on tablets, phones and desktops, making it mobile for both teachers and students.

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Interactive stories with Google Apps for Education

Creating interactive stories teaches children creativity, language, computer skills and logical thinking - all at the same time! I first got excited about the idea after an inspiring workshop at a local secondary school a year or so ago, which showed pupils how to create interactive stories and so we started writing our own at school using twine which was really successful. I've recently been looking at other ways to write interactive stories using Google Apps for Education including YouTube, Google Forms, Slides and Docs.

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Assessment Without Levels at Primary School

At my local primary school, we've been using a new primary assessment tool to assess children's work. The system, called TAP Assess, has given the children more ownership over their learning in the time that its been in place. Not only does it allow teachers to assess children's achievement and progress, but it also allows children to assess too, against the 2014 primary curriculum. Furthermore, the children can also set their own targets for literacy and maths, and receive certificate rewards when they hit certain milestones.

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Google Sheets for Primary School Maths

Since the last time I wrote about using Google Drive in the primary (elementary) classroom, things have moved on - as they always do in education ;) We've made improvements to the login system that the children use, have done lots of collaborative writing in literacy using Google Docs, have set avatars up for the children, made presentations with Google Slides and have started to use Google Sheets for practising basic operations in maths.

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Website requirements

Really thinking through your website design requirements before getting in touch with an agency will save both parties time and money. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and outlining what you want from your website will remove ambiguities and allow an agency to give you a quicker, more accurate quote. It will also make you thnk more subjectively about the role the website will fulfill in your business and help identify your goals and objectives.

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Northern India Travel Tips

After travelling around Northern India for 21 days, we've learned a little about what makes a happy trip so I've gathered together a list of tips to help with both the preparation and planning for the perfect trip. From visas to health considerations, these tips will help you to become ready for the cultural differences between the UK and Northern India and will also help you decide what to pack and what not to pack. We could have carried far less if only we'd known....

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Northern India Trip

Northern India Holy cows, nights in the desert under the stars, the Taj Mahal, Hindu Gods, the holy River Ganges, Bollywood movies and utter chaos all around; this could only be India! Our backpacking trip around Northern India took in Delhi, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, Jaipur, Bharatpur Agra and Varanasi. It took 21 days and during that time we experienced many highs and lows including beautiful views, exquisite monuments, friendly and curious people, extremes of poverty and wealth and traffic like we've never seen before.

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Choosing the perfect domain name

New parents spend months agonising over babies names. They buy books to help them choose. They research “what’s in a name” and garner opinions from friends and relatives before finally deciding on one which will suit the new addition to their family. While nowhere near as emotional, when you choose a domain name you go throuh a similar process.

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How to shorten tweets

Twitter only allows for messages of up to 140 characters, which is about the length of a headline. Bear in mind that your 140 characters includes spaces and everything else, so how can you shorten your tweet to make sure that everything you have to say is contained in those 140 characters? Here are some tricks to do just that.

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Updating the system time on the Raspberry Pi

Keeping the time on the Raspnerry Pi up to dateThe Raspberry Pi doesn't have a real time clock (RTC) so when your Raspberry Pi loses power, the time isn't kept accurate. You can buy a real time clock for the Pi ot you can run a time server on the Pi to keep the time on the Raspberry Pi accurate. Luckily, this only takes a few minutes to set up and you'll be keeping your fabulous Raspberry Pi computer in 'pifect' time!

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Offsite SEO

In the first of my articles on Search Engine Optimisation, I wrote about on-site SEO. This is how modifying the content on your website can affect your search engine rankings. This second article is about off-site search engine optimisation: how getting links to your site from other sites can propel your web pages up the search engine listings.

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Google Mobile Friendly Update

On April 21st 2015, Google changed their search algorithm to boost the search rankings of mobile friendly web pages. This means that pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices (phones, tablets, watches, etc) will rank significantly higher in mobile search results than those that are not mobile friendly. This applies to individual web pages and not the site as a whole.

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Onsite SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) simply means optimising your web site so that it ranks highly in the search engines, and as the vast majority of search is done through Google, it really means making your site Google ready. This is done in two ways. The first of these is making the content on your own site relevant to what people are searching for – this is known as on-site SEO and is what this article is about. The second is developing relevant links from other site to your own site – this is called off-site SEO and is covered in a seperate article.

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Experiences of Google Drive at Primary School

We're in the process of moving the children at school onto Google Drive instead of storing all of their work on the local network. The benefits are that the children can collaborate together on projects, they can store work created on ipads on their drive and I can mark their work from anywhere at any time :) They can create a digital portfolio of their work which they can share with their parents/carers.

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Texts for Guided Reading

Reading Comprehension ResourcesIf you've ever struggled finding guided reading resources for use in your classroom (I know I have!) then you may find this site useful. It has hundreds of reading texts on it, ordered by US Grade, Lexile level, text type and skill/strategy. Each resource has a reading text, along with comprehension questions (which can be used to differentiate) and the all important answers.

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How to install ITV Player on Amazon Fire TV

ITV Player Amazon Fire TVAmazon Fire TV is a streaming media player that works out of the box for BBC iplayer, Netflix and Demand 5 but unfortunately has no direct support for ITV player. There is however a way to get ITV player working on the Amazon Fire TV by installing it as a plugin for Kodi and then side loading Kodi onto the Amazon Fire Tv. You don't need to root your Amazon Fire TV box to do this either.

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50+ ideas for using QR codes at school

QR codes at schoolQR codes are everywhere nowadays: on cereal packets, posters, adverts, TV, websites, etc, etc. More and more schools are using these little codes to enrich the learning experience of their pupils. They are free to create and the software to read them is also free. They can be read using tablets, phones and laptops and can contain text or link to any online resource. Here are 50 (and counting...) ideas for how to use them in your school.

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Scratch Jr programming with KS1

ScratchJr Ks1This week, we started introducing KS1 children to Scratch Jr, a new simplified version of Scratch designed for younger children from age 5 through to 7. Scratch Jr is an ipad coding app in which children snap together graphical blocks of instructions to make characters move, interact, speak and transform on the screen. However, its not just a coding app - it lets children run wild with creativity as we found out :)

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Setting Up an Online Store

When you're setting up an ecommerce website, make sure that you're building firm foundations in the design, structure and usability of the site. Getting everything right up front will save you some serious heartache further down the line. I built my first online shop for one of my customers in 1998; many things have changed since then but the same guiding principles apply.

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Primary Maths Resources

Primary Maths ResourcesThese Primary Maths Resources, which are based on the current UK National Curriculum Year Group objectves, are fully searchable and sorted into different categories, including number and place value, the four operations, fractions, measurements, properties of shapes, position and direction, statistics, ratio and proportion, and algebra. It is a useful companion to my other APP maths objective planning tool.

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Using Google Maps to teach Maths

Google Maps is a great tool for children to explore their local area. Here is a maths map of Hull where the children can navigate to local landmarks and then answers maths questions based on what they can see. For example, how many lines of symmetry can you see in the garden at East Park or draw a pictogram of the different coloured cars parked around the stadium.

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Game based assessment

Game Based AssessmentWith Kahoot, primary school teachers can create quizzes for children to play on in a social environment, using any device with a web browser… including a laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android, Chromebook or PC. The children can can take part in fast paced quizzes against each other, giving instant feedback and both formative and summative assessment. The multiple choice quizzes are simple to set up and simple to play and the results are available to analyse in Excel or Google Sheets.

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Self marking assessment using Google Forms

Self Marking Assessment Using Google FormsWhen you've finished testing, does it take you ages to collect the data, input it into a spreadsheet and then analyse it to work out where each student is with their learning? I've just started using a really productive system that takes a lot of the hard work out of the post-test analysis using Google Forms, Google Sheets and an add-on called Flubaroo.

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Oslo Trip

This weekend my daughter and I travelled to Oslo to see the sights of this wonderful city - deemed to be the most expensive city in the World. We visited Vigeland Park (the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist), the Nobel peace centre and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. We were only there for the weekend and tried to make the most of this intriguing green and white city.

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A 5 year old writes

a five year old writesThis handwriting was given to me by one of my old headmasters years ago and I couldn't find it on the internet so wanted to share it. It shows a 5 year old child's handwriting from 1909. The child was educated by italian educator, Maria Montessori, whose focus was on not being taught writing, but discovering writing by being exposed to certain conditions and experiences, and then developing the fine motor skills needed to write.

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Creating interactive Greek Myths using Twine

Using Twine with KS2"Choose your own adventure" books were really popular for children in the 1980's. These interactive books allowed the reader to make decisions of where they wanted the story to go and, depending on their choices, this would shape the outcome of the book. Budding authors can now write their own interative story books and publish them online using a fabulous website called "Twine". My year 5 (aged 10 - 11 years old) literacy class have just created some wonderful Greek myths using this method.

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Mirroring ipads in the classroom

Imagine teaching a maths lesson where the children are using their ipads as interactive whiteboards, working through a problem that you've set them. When asked for their answers, the children simply press a button on their ipads and their work is shown on the interactive whiteboard for the whole class to review. This is all possible now using the AirPlay feature on your ipad, along with some inexpensive software for the PC.

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Scratch Projects for KS2

Scratch Projects for KS2These scratch projects from Code Club are fabulous for giving the children step by step instructions for how to code their scratch programs. They also include online instructions that the children can open in another browser tab to follow and cross off while they are coding.

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Maths games without computers

If you do an internet search for Maths Games you will find lots of maths games that can be played on a computer. But what if you don't have a computer or if the children in your class are all "computered out"? Here is a collection of maths games that can be played using either no resources, or simple resources that are around the classroom.

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Inspiring Children to Program Computers

Inspiring ProgrammingHere are some great inspirational videos to inspire children to get involved with programming computers. There are clips here featuring Mark Zuckerman, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and will.i.am, carrying powerful messages as to why children should learn to program computers.

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Progression in Programming at School

Progression in programming at schoolTeaching programming to children - where do you start? How can you make it fun and interesting, but at the same time develop the correct skill-set? This video shows the progression of visual programming from Primary school through to Secondary school, using both iPads and desktop computers.

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National Curriculum Android App

National Curriculum Android AppDo you ever feel the need to read the English National Curriculum whilst on the move? Well now you can with my new and exciting Android App which brings the National Curriculum to your tablet or mobile device! With an easy to navigate interface and extra resources such as spelling, grammar and a glossary, you will never be bored again :) Ok... its not that exciting, but it does include all the curriculum for all the statutory subjects from KS1 through to KS4.

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Kodu Programming Resources

Kodu Programming ResourcesKodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. I've been working with a group of KS2 children for the last few weeks developing games so I've put together a list of resources which I've found useful.

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Music Video Jukebox

Music Video JukeboxMy kids spend a lot of time watching music TV but they have no control over the videos that they watch. I've often thought it would be a good idea to have your own music video jukebox where you can select the music videos that you want to watch, not just those that someone else wants you to watch. I felt so strongly about this that I wrote my own Music Video Jukebox addon for XBMC which does just this.

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Estonia, Finland and Latvia trip

Baltic trip I've just returned back from a six day trip to Estonia, Finland and Latvia, with my daughter, Laura. We travelled by ferry, bus, tram and plane and managed to fit so many things in in such a short space of time including visiting the capitals of all the three countries along with seeing their major tourist attractions.

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Gordons Numeracy Teaching Resources

Gordons numeracy ITPsHere are over 100 simple Flash resources to support the teaching and learning of Maths. These are produced by the Coventry Primary Numeracy Team for use by teachers and pupils and are known as Gordons (due to the little superhero character included within them). They are ideal for class or small group teaching and cover the majority of areas of the primary maths curriculum.

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Installing Pygame on Ubuntu 12.04

Python, Pygame and Ubuntu 12.04 I've had a lot of trouble trying to get Python working with Pygame on Ubuntu 12.04 recently so I've documented the process which finally got it up and running. Hopefully this will save someone else lots of work trying to get Python3, Pygame and Ubuntu 12.04 running together.

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Tunisia trip

Tunisia trip One of the countries on my list of places to go was Tunisia, so when we found a reasonable deal on a trip there we decided it was time to pack our suitcases and go. Our base in Tunisia was Port El Kantauoi, a purpose built leisure port close to the city of Sousse, on the north west coast of the country.

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Missing money grid

Missing Money GridA printable worksheet which helps to develop KS2 children's monetary skills. The children have to work out what the missing coins are which add up to the totals of all the columns and rows. Teachers can click on the coins themselves to remove them and generate their own worksheets using random coins. This can be left on the whiteboard screen whilst the children have printable copies themselves to work through. When the children are finished, they can mark their own work by revealing the missing coins on the Interactive Whiteboard.

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Teaching KS2 children how to write scripts on the Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Scripts Last week I worked with a group of 10/11 year olds at the Raspberry Pi command line, using my speaking weather script to show them what can be done with the Raspberry Pi at the command line. This week I went a step further and got them to write a script to create a menu which incorporated the speaking weather forecast and also showed them some other cool things that the Raspberry Pi can do at the terminal.

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Creating epub ebooks without Calibre

Creating an epub ebook without Calibre This guide demonstrates how to create your own epub files using Libre Office (or Open Office) on Linux, Windows or a Mac. This is handy if you have some text that you'd like to read on your book reader but your book reader doesn't support the format that you have it in. Or if you have written some text yourself which you'd like to publish. EPUB stands for 'electronic publication' and is the open standard for digital ebooks.

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ipad apps for teaching programming at primary schools

ipad apps I went to an IT conference for Primary Schools today organised by the hard working team at Wawne Primary School and discovered a lot of information about using ipads to teach children programming concepts, from early years through to upper KS2. When you're looking for apps it can be really time consuming so I thought I'd put them all in one place for an easy reference to save people time and effort.

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Warsaw and Krakow Trip

Poland trip Here is a trip report of our recent trip to Warsaw and Krakow - two very different cities in Poland. I travelled with Steve, an old friend of mine, and we went for four days at the end of March 2014. We managed to cram a lot in during this time with the highlight of the trip being a Segway tour around Krakow. Why can't we have these machines to ride on the roads (or even pavements) in England?

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Using PHP with Pelican

PHP and Pelican I've been using PHP to develop websites since the mid 90's and, even though I'm really happy with my Raspberry Pi and Pelican setup, I really wanted to add some php code into some of my scripts. After spending a while testing a few approaches out, I finally found one that worked and seamlessly integrated into the Pelican framework.

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KS1 and KS2 Computing keywords display

Computing curriculum display images I've just come across this website which has a set of downloadable posters containing key words from the 2014 computing curriculum for KS1 and KS2. The posters are in "pupil speak" and contain computing keywords such as algorithms, debug, process and program. Very useful for the computing area in your primary school.

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Increasing the volume on a Raspberry Pi

Volume on Raspberry Pi If you plug your speakers into the 3.5mm jack on the Raspberry Pi, the volume that you get is really low. I wanted to make the volume louder so I used this script that I found on the Raspberry Pi forums to do just that. By increasing the analog volume and saving these changes in the correct place, you can increase the volume to a level that works for you.

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2014 Primary Computing curriculum guide

Computing curriculum booklet Computing at School, in association with Naace and other partners have published a guide which explains how primary teachers can get started with the new 2014 Primary Computing curriculum. It provides many pointers to excellent resources and ideas for building an innovative and exciting curriculum and can be used in conjunction with the Government's publications on the new 2014 Primary Computing Curriculum.

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Getting your Raspberry Pi to speak the weather forecast

Raspberry Pi Speaking Weather Every evening, I like to know what the weather is going to be like for the next day. Should I pack a salad or have a hot meal? Do I need my coat or not? Sometimes I forget to check my phone/tablet/laptop/TV etc to find out what its going to be like the next day, so I made these wizzy little scripts to get the Raspberry Pi to tell me my local weather forecast at 10pm every night.

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Tweeting from the Raspberry Pi

Tweeting on the Raspberry Pi I recently found a way to tweet from the Raspberry Pi using an app called Tweepy. I've written a tutorial below on how to do this as I've wanted to automate Twitter feeds for a while now and this looks like just the thing to enable me to do it. It took me about an hour to setup and now I've got it up and running, I'm going to look at reading data from the environment, the web and local databases and tweeting them out directly.

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Pelican: A fast blog/CMS for the Raspberry Pi

Fast blog for Raspberry Pi If, like me, you're hosting a website on your Raspberry Pi, you may have struggled finding a fast blogging engine or content management system. Over the past year, I've tried a number of solutions that really on an application server and/or database server but none have been fast enough due to the amount of grunt needed to run these servers.

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Running a Calibre ebook library on a Raspberry Pi

Ebook Library on a Raspberry Pi This article describes how to set up your own ebook server which will run on a Raspberry Pi or any other webserver running PHP. This allows you to give your friends access to your ebooks across the Internet without keeping the machine that manages your Calibre library turned on all the time, which costs more money and can be really slow if you have a large book library.

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Berlin Trip

Berlin trip In October 2013, my family and I spent a few days in Berlin, taking in the sights of the city and soaking up the atmosphere. We stayed in a hotel just off Tiergarten which is the oldest public park in Berlin and the home of the Berlin Zoo and Bellevue Palace, the residence of the German President.

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Converting images on a Raspberry Pi

Ebook Library on a Raspberry Pi I've been using Imagemagick, a really useful tool, a lot recently to convert images for my ebook collection. I use it to create smaller versions of the images that Calibre produces to run on my own ebook web server. This mini-tutorial will show you how to install and use Imagemagick on your Raspberry Pi. This could be on the command line, in batch operations or using a server side scripting language.

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Southern Thailand Trip

Southern Thailand After the end of our Northern Thailand trip, we stayed on in Bangkok for a night before joining another group of friendly people and embarked upon a further trip to the islands in Southern Thailand. We travelled down on an overnight sleeper train to the port at Surrathani and, after crossing from the mainland, spent some time snorkelling and exploring the beautiful islands of Koh Tao, Ko PaNgan and Koh Samui.

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Northern Thailand Trip

Northern Thailand In August 2013, my family (Sue, Laura and Lucy) and I travelled to Thailand for a week to explore the north of the country. We had an amazing time visiting Bangkok, the temples at Sukhotai, elephant sanctuaries, staying with locals and trekking through the jungles. We also explored lots of Thai culture including watchingThai boxing matches, taking part in buddhist ceremonies, visiting local schools and watching lady boy shows!

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Primary KS1 and KS2 Sublevelled maths objectives

Maths objectivesThis Maths planning tool, which is based on the UK National Curriculum APP levels, is fully searchable and categorised into different assessment focuses, including number, fractions, decimals, percentages, problem solving, shape, measures, time, angles and data handling. It gives you the sublevel for every single Maths objective and is useful to ensure coverage of the UK national curriculum.

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Stop Receiving Junk Mail

In 2002, the UK Minister of State responsible for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimated that direct mail promotions accounted for between 500,000 and 600,000 tonnes of wasted paper. We can help to reduce this by opting out of receiving junk mail.

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USA West coast trip

USA West coast trip In August 2007, my family and I travelled to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Yosemite Park. We took a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, went to the World Series of Poker in Vegas, visited San Diego zoo, Disneyland California, Venice Beach, Malibu, stayed in Santa Barbara, drove along the Pacific Coast Highway and even had a go on a Segway.

more ...Written by Gary Hall

Gary Hall Gary Hall is based in East Yorkshire, England, and has a background in education, marketing and technology.