Monthly Archives: May 2016

Inspiring the next generation of digital makers in Hull


We’re thrilled that the number of creative computing projects that we’re supporting in schools has increased again this year.

That also means that the hackspace at our Tech 4 Change conference extends as a showcase for teachers and children to share, collaborate and network through challenges.


Themes and partners

We’re inviting teachers to join us in Hull, on Thursday 23 June, as we explore peer to peer learning projects and reflect on the impact of digital making activities across the curriculum.

  • Are you co-ordinating the computing curriculum in your school and looking to incorporate new ideas for Computer Science, IT or Digital Literacy?
  • Thinking about transition projects and progression of programming from KS2 to KS3?
  • Planning enrichment activities and involving parents and carers with STEM clubs and Code Club?
  • Are you an art or music specialist and looking to incorporate technology into your projects as a ‘STEM to STEAM’ activity?
  • Looking to explore the language and terminology of the curriculum and plan creative activities?
  • Would you like support to ensure that the requirements for the Computing programme of study are met in your school?
  • Want to discuss ways to underpin the curriculum with computational thinking?

Children from Years 5, 7 and 8 will be working through challenges as they explore creative and imaginative possibilities through physical computing and programming.

001 (2)

They’ll be working with a team of passionate educators who’ll also be on hand to talk about your own plans for activities in school.  Here’s a taster of digital making activities and partners who’ll be with us in the hackspace on the day:

Making sense of sensors and programming possibilities with BBC micro:bit

We’re delighted as David Whale joins us and the children get hands-on with creative activities from the IET’s (Institute of Engineering and Technology) Faraday Challenge with micro:bit.

David joins us as a software developer, STEM Ambassador and volunteer with the IET, who has worked with the project from the early days to develop resources and liaise with schools.

We’ll be using the IET challenges and no doubt the children will add their individual creative twists with their iterations and plans!

  • Are you waiting in anticipation for a delivery of your students’ BBC micro:bit devices and want to talk to others about first projects?
  • Wondering about the potential of this micro:bit that’ll be given to this year’s Year 7 groups, and how to sustain their interests and ambitions?
  • Thinking about how to use the micro:bit to support STEM clubs and parental engagement activities through events back in school?
  • Or are you one of the schools that we’ve been supporting with your recent delivery of boxes and curriculum plans, and want to extend complexities and projects?

Join us with your own plans or questions to explore : )

Inspiring young makers on National Women in Engineering Day (#NWED)

It’s no surprise that we’ve chosen 23 June as the conference date, as we share new and ongoing inclusive and diverse projects to inspire digital makers in Hull.

#NWED is a celebration and a reminder of the projects and impact as we support school leaders and teachers to increase the participation of more girls in STEM fields and strategies to help close the gender gap.  Our own Ada Day follows on 30 June.

Immersive storytelling to support creativity in game making

We’ll be linking digital storytelling and literacy resources with the team from now>press>play to extend creative opportunities through programming.

We’re excited to be joined by Alice Lacey and Tom Owen, who will be facilitating activities and different kinds of learning experiences to use as a springboard into creative computing.  They’ll be engaging children through emotion, imagination and movement.

Join the auditory space journey that’ll lead to animation, game making and other digital activities using the resources from Code Club.

now press play

Inspiring children through the Code Club network of after school clubs

If you’re looking to extend computing opportunities for children through your enrichment programme, then there’ll be lots of opportunities on the day to talk to Victoria Sauron about starting a Code Club in your school.  

code club logo

Victoria joins us at the North East and Yorkshire Coordinator for Code Club. As the children use the resources as examples of challenges available at the club sessions, you’ll be able to talk through how other schools have benefitted from the programme and what you can do to make it happen in your own school.


To join us on the day you’ll need to register for your free place, and select your workshops and time in the hackspace, on the link below.

Look forward to sharing those projects with you on the day!


Embedding a culture of literacy across the curriculum


It was more than an educational visit to Bletchley Park that came out of last year’s Tech 4 Change conference.

The event sparked numerous projects and collaborations including a reading intervention programme supporting over 200 learners across 8 centres in Hull.

Once discussions around the positive use of ebooks to support literacy programmes in schools developed, it became apparent that a project in the city could be launched to extend current interventions.  The National Literacy Trust project was a catalyst to design a programme to extend readers in Hull.


Project overview

Through the Primary Headteachers’ forum, a project focused on progression of reading with children in Year 5 has emerged.

Each school has populated their own online library of ebooks with free titles alongside the ability to populate with a range of books appropriate to their children’s ability, interests and current reading schemes.  For some that has seen an extended range of Accelerated Reader titles added to their online library and for others, using pupil voice throughout decision making, a common theme has been more Diary of a Wimpy Kid or titles from David Walliams.

We’re also thrilled to see the head and teachers from The Boulevard Centre collaborating through the programme with their own project, supporting readers whose ages are lower and higher than Y5, and individual needs and interventions.

Measuring impact

Whilst the focus of the project is to report back on the impact with Year 5 children, schools have been encouraged and supported to utilise the books and resources with other classes and groups.  They’ll be able to continue to use their library of books after this first evaluation study is over.

Data collection such as attitudinal surveys and reading ages, taken at project launch and finish, will be collated as evaluation tools alongside anecdotal comments from teachers and readers.

We’ll share initial findings at this year’s Tech 4 Change conference in Hull on 23 June.


book devices

Implementation of an online library resource

Most schools are utilising tablet devices for children to access their ebooks, alongside laptop and desktop computers.  The latter have been used in a couple of schools when children have requested reading time once their computing activity has been finished!

There’s a definite mix of teachers who have previously used ebooks as part of their guided reading programme and those who are evaluating for the first time.  From the beginning of the project has always been the intention to explore progression of reading through ebooks and also to maintain a healthy balance with physical books.

Most projects have also added opportunities for pupil voice in their library decision making process. Teachers have chosen to include the ‘recommend’ option for children to suggest reading books to be added to their school library and individual collection.


Reading intervention time with ebooks differs for each group, let alone each school.  Some examples:

  1. A dedicated one hour each week for all Year 5 children
  2. Weekly guided reading session using ebooks (other times continue with physical books)
  3. Lunchtime reading clubs
  4. Daily intervention groups
  5. Supporting out of school access
  6. Reading opportunities within other learning times

Tools and reporting

Tools within the library have supported teachers to create a bespoke range of books suitable for their learners’ needs.

reading and interest age

Filtering by genre, interest level and reading age has been beneficial for one school who have been extending reading opportunities for above average girls in their project.  In another school, the tools have enabled bespoke packs to be created for children with EAL with other examples to share at a later date.


Reporting capabilities have also highlighted progress and time spent reading including number of books, page turns, interactions etc.  Of course this has flagged up continued reading for some children at home during evenings, weekends and holidays and perhaps the most requested and popular titles in the library.  For individuals, their progress is available for teachers to share and trends have been highlighted.

Individual learner needs and feedback

We’re starting to hear about comments and experience from children’s reading sessions and of course building up a bank of evidence and quotes through the surveys.

Requests from children for a particular genre of book or author are highlighted to teachers through the reporting tools and their comments about using ebooks for one of their guided reading sessions have been positive.

At one school there’s been an excitement at using mobile devices to access their books as they’ve taken pleasure in answering questions related to their assessment focus.  Guided reading sessions have given opportunities for challenges to further interact with the text, which the children have particularly enjoyed.

For a couple of readers at one school their enjoyment of reading, time spent reading and confidence have all increased as they’re making progress.  This has led to requests for ‘more challenging books, please’ which was quickly acknowledge and actioned by their reading intervention teacher!

For one child with general learning difficulties, previous use of an iPad for learning activities has proved difficult.  During this ebook project he’s gaining positive experiences through reading with a peer.

Early lessons learnt?

Further interventions have been needed for some children in the project, either supporting their learning, reading behaviours or access to the online libraries.

Reports have flagged up the small number of children who ‘test out’ the monitoring system with apparent mammoth reading activity only to find that they’ve become ‘page flickers’.  Soon resolved!

For one child with autism, he’s found connecting an iPad to his medium for reading exceptionally difficult. Comfortable using a tablet for learning activities, sees the iPad as a device for quizzes, games, research and projects.

What next?

The project will continue over the Summer term, with schools able to extend their library to more children, and particularly as the new academic year starts in September.  There’s no switch off date.

Some of the teachers involved in the project will be sharing their experiences and reporting on reading progress of their children at the Tech 4 Change conference on 23 June.

If you’d like to learn more about using ebooks to embed a culture of literacy across the curriculum, join us on the day by registering for a free of charge place on the link below.

Tech 4 Change


Turning a digital vision into reality: Creating online portfolios in Food Technology using Google Classroom


Google Classroom is reported to support teachers and pupils, through electronic tools, when setting and completing online learning activities. This is confirmed anecdotally.

Its major impact arises from the automation of the workflow shown below, which is further supported by the other tools in the Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suite – Slides, Docs etc.

google flow

Project overview 

This is an introductory account and reflections from one teacher working with us through the CPD programme.  We’ll share her discoveries using Google Classroom to support learning and teaching with one group of students. Look out for a future post highlighting considerations and feedback highlighted by the students themselves.

Food Technology students from Malet Lambert school used a portfolio template from their teacher to upload learning activities and projects to Google Classroom.

This became their individual online leaning portfolio where students uploaded their work and plans using applications offered by Google Apps for Education (GAfE).

Students responded to assignments given to them through Classroom using comments and further tools from the online environment, until the time to finally submit for assessment.


Hardware and Software

The project utilised existing hardware already in school and a personal teacher laptop for out of school use. Some students independently discovered how to use Google Classroom on their smart phones and the school also trialled a Toshiba Chromebook as part of their ongoing evaluations of ed tech.

Malet Lambert school had an existing educational GAfE tenancy and this allowed access to Google Classroom and Slides. In addition, students used locally installed Office software and Internet browsers.

Teacher experiences and reflections

Kelly-Anne was able to seamlessly share documents and assignments with students and interact throughout their project phases.

Students were enrolled into their assigned online area within Google Classroom using an auto-generated code for the class. This worked first time in most cases, with some exceptions:

  • Additional set up requirements for some students meant Google accounts did not exist for them at the start of the project.
  • There were a few unexplained logon errors, which appeared to be transient. These did, however, disrupt the lesson in some way.

Access to the students’ responses can be made from any location with an Internet connection and this allowed the teacher to review work on more occasions than had been practical without Classroom. She felt that this allowed her to make more extensive, meaningful and helpful responses to the students’ work.

Teacher Commentary

“My experience of using Google Classroom has been more positive than I imagined it would be.  As a teacher I am less ICT literate than I expect I should be in this day and age – but willing to experiment and give new ideas a try!”

I found it easy to upload new assignments and attach documents, without the need for printing and filing resources. Differentiating resources to students could be done much more discreetly and also extension material and exemplar work could be issued immediately. In a busy classroom situation, with strict timescales for completing work – any opportunity to avoid unnecessary wandering around – or digression from the task itself is welcomed!

The Google Classroom/Google Slides feature- that enables comments to be added to students’ work was a huge success. It provided students with an ongoing commentary regarding the progression of their project. I could highlight areas to focus my feedback and students could respond showing their understanding. The need for printing work – which is both costly and time consuming, drastically reduced. I am no longer the teacher who is lugging great piles of folders to her car on a Friday night!  My laptop suffices.

My successes are predominantly on a practical level at present. As with any aspiring pupil – I am now keen to develop my techniques and look for ways to progress and develop my own teaching style – in addition the how Google Classroom can develop the skills of my learners – it’s an exciting prospect.  I feel the experience has opened my eyes to this.”

Kelly-Ann Sibary, April 2016

google apps

Many thanks go to Kelly-Anne Sibary and her students at Malet Lambert, for their enthusiasm, reflections and willingness to evaluate new tools for learning.

To find out more about how we’ve supported other schools in Hull to implement their vision for learning, join us at the Tech 4 Change conference on Thursday 23 June.

Register for your free place and workshop programme here.





Ada Day: Thursday 30th June

Ada Lovelace Day in Hull: An event to inspire the next generation of digital makers and support an increased participation of girls in computing

Invitations have now arrived in schools for a day of creative and collaborative digital making challenges with career connections at Winifred Holtby Academy on Thursday 30th June.

This event aims to encourage Y7 girls to explore physical computing and e-textiles through social and hands-on learning activities.

We’ll be using resources and activities from the WISE Campaign’s People Like Me project and collaborating with STEM Ambassadors through a range of hands-on challenges.


Wearable inventions

Event aims:

  • To support the participation of more girls in computing and strategies to help close the gender gap in STEM fields.
  • To challenge and influence perceptions of computing with positive role models
  • To share creative opportunities through physical computing as a wearable tech STEAM projects (art, textiles, design etc.)
  • To support teachers with networking and collaborative opportunities

Peer to peer learning

Look out for more opportunities with peer to peer learning activities and community digital-themed events across the city of Hull.

Encouraging creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship

Supporting ideas and collaborations, based on innovative technologies, is a common theme to emerge from our schools’ development plans for CPD in Hull.

During this academic year, we’ve continued to work alongside teachers and leaders to adopt technology-supported pedagogies which improve learning outcomes and extend project opportunities with students.


CPD themes

For some that’s taken the focus of a’STEM to STEAM’ approach to explore peer to peer learning projects and reflect on the impact of digital making activities across the curriculum.


Supporting STEM days with partner primaries

For others an opportunity for teachers to evaluate a particular technology such as 3d printing as a mechanism to extend creative opportunities to model solutions.

A group of learning innovators have recently looked towards wearable technology as an area of innovation and developed their own applications and designs through an enterprise perspective.


Peer to peer learning through wearable tech challenges

In other areas, the safe and responsible use of technology at home and in school has been supported using augmented reality tools. More educational applications of virtual reality are also emerging as groups of teachers and learners are experimenting and creating content using Google Cardboard.


Image courtesy of Google Expeditions project

The programme of CPD evolves from individual school plans into a diverse mix of hands-on learning opportunities, workshops and action research projects which are shared across the city. Fundamentally, to support teachers and leaders to:

  • Engage and Network with peers
  • Celebrate and Share aspects of innovative pedagogies to support engaged learning and student successes
  • Discoverand Reflect on great practice and emerging initiatives
  • Inspire and Collaborate to explore the ‘digital maker’ culture

Our annual celebration of great teaching with technology approaches again with the Tech 4 Change conference on Thursday 23 June.

Whilst hosted in Hull we’ll be welcoming colleagues, friends and partnerships from the city and beyond as we share successes and plan for next steps.

If you’d like to join us and be part of the growing collaboration opportunities through ed tech, then please use the free registration and workshop booking page below:

Tech 4 Change

Link to registration page

One outcome from last year’s event was an educational visit to Bletchley park for over 80 students and teachers.  Wonder what will emerge from this year’s event?

Together, we’re nurturing and inspiring the next generation of digital creators, critical thinkers, problem solvers, collaborators and leaders from the city.  Exciting times ahead as we approach 2017 as a City of Culture with it’s own digital programme of opportunities.

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