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Monday, 17 December 2012

Guest Post - James Grummett

Inspired by Professor Stephen Heppell’s ideas of inflatable classrooms and my own personal love of small individual spaces; I decided to create an ‘Art Shed’. With the help of many students we have transformed a very average looking shed into a light, visually interesting space which can continuously evolve.

The Art Shed has a part Perspex roof to allow lots of light in, it also has a sculpture of the Island created by students during the challenge your mind event. Small windows are placed at different points to allow for unusual observations.

Most people love sheds, it’s a chance to escape, acquire some personal time, contemplate, relax, a place in which to become fully absorbed in an activity, a non classroom environment. It creates opportunities for independent study, research, a quiet zone to draw/sketch, a place in which to see things differently.

Who is it for?
The shed is available for any student wishing to use it during their Art lessons and also during lunch. Around 4-5 students can work comfortably at any one time allowing the perfect space for group work.

Future Spaces
I hope in the near future we develop a range of individual small spaces within the Arts Faculty that will encourage all of the above. The Art Shed is just the start.

For more ideas on amazing spaces checkout this link to architect George Clark, another Mackam (someone from Sunderland) -

Guest post written by: James Grummett (Learning Director for Art & Design)

Friday, 14 December 2012

e-Advent Calendar

At IPACA we have been running our own electronic advent calendar, this has proved a fantastic hit and includes Christmas images from across the different campus sites. If you would like to see the advent calendar, please visit - and scroll through the lovely selection of photographs.

For those interested, the site was made using which is a site developed by Special Moves in collaboration with Friendship Works (a US-based charity). The site allows you to easily create a calendar by dragging and dropping images from your computer or Facebook. Finished calendars can be shared online (as IPACA has done) or downloaded as a screensaver.

Google Docs - Intermediate

For my fourth IPACA Engage, Innovate and Inspire CPD session I led colleagues on a session entitled 'Google Docs - Intermediate Level'. The session built on the session at Brackenbury on 27/11/12 and focused on the collaborative element of Google Docs while introducing new tools in the form of Google Gadgets. Below you can see a recording of this session made on Tuesday 11th December, 2012 at Grove Campus -

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Year 7 - 100WC

I am currently working once a week with a Year 7 intervention group at IPACA with a focus on developing writing skills. As part of this work the learners have written responses to the ‘100 Word Challenge’ (more information available at:, these now form a blog -

At the end of our lesson today I asked the learners a couple of questions about the 100WC and include below a selection of their responses:

Q. What did you learn today?

A. That I have a good imagination.
A.  How to feel surprised from lots of comments from people in Russia and other countries.

A. How to write a comment
A.  That people all over the world can see your work.

 Q. What do you think of 100WC?

A. I fell happy that an audience can see my work. This is so cool!
A. I thought it was an amazing experience and I love reading people's comments.

It would be fantastic if you could spare one minute to check this site occasionally to see the writing produced by this group and comment on the work. I would encourage you to make a positive comment on the efforts made but also add a question or thought to foster improvement.

It is hoped that this will be a running project that more learners could benefit from in the future.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

"Say Hi!" - S.E.N.D App

I was exploring technology to support pupils with a range of S.E.N.D needs today and came across the App -  "Say Hi! AAC". Many of you will be aware that I have a great passion for seeing digital technology support children who have particular barriers to learning and this augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tool does just that - FOR FREE! The app brings the world of basic communication to people with severe physical disabilities, limited movement, and/or challenged dexterity. See the below video for more information:

Say Hi! AAC was developed by the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to opening the world through technology for those with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and other physically challenging conditions.

30 iPad Apps in 30 Minutes

On Tuesday 4th December, I shared 30 iPad Apps in 30 Minutes at Underhill Campus as part of my IPACA Engage, Innovate and Inspire C.P.D Sessions. The session gave a whistle stop tour of 30 great and free iPad Apps to use in the classroom. After the presentation there was plenty of time to download and explore the Apps. 

At the bottom of this page you can see a recording of this session and below I include a list of the 30 iPad Apps shared with colleaguea. As always comments welcome below.

1. Toy Story: Read Along 
2. iOS6 Maps
3. Photo Booth
4. Clock - Timer

5. Pic Collage
6. Puppet Pals HD
7. Motion Maths: Wings 

8. NASA App HD
9. Google Drive
10. Mobile OCR
11. ScreenChomp
12. Bee-Bot
13. Paper by FiftyThree 

14. Video FX Live
15. QR Code Scanner

16. Recorder Plus HD
17. Find Me (Autism)
18. iDough! HD
19. Let’s Create! Pottery HD Lite 

20. Magnetic ABC
21. FREE Sound Effects! 
22. Extreme FX
23. SkyView Free 

25.FaceGoo HD
26. iSpeech
27. iMotion HD
28. iMotion R
29. GreenScreen Lite 

30. Aurasma

Friday, 7 December 2012

Inspiring Year 6

On Tuesday 4th December I had the opportunity to work with Y.6 at one of our Campus sites. We had a fantastic afternoon of shoeless learning with all learners engaged in their learning about e-safety. Please see the bottom of this post for my lesson plan from the afternoon.

In the main activity, children worked independently to create 'E-Safety Campaign Videos' using iMovie on the iPad. The following is a selection of their work:

The children were so engaged in this process that one group even put the following sign up to warn others that they were learning:

 Lesson plan:

An Update

I have been meaning to share a more general update about my role and work but haven't had the chance to write anything down yet. I attended a Teaching and Learning meeting at RM Campus on Wednesday night though and shared my role with the Head of Departments. I think the minutes of this meeting give a great overview of my role and work, I include them below for everyone to see:

The ‘Digital Learning Revolution at IPACA ‘– Gary Spracklen

- Gary introduced himself and described his work so far at IPACA.  

- A major thrust for the new academy will be to exploit the advantages that greater use of technology can bring to T and L practice. Focus will be on the learners and how using technology in lessons can impact positively on student outcomes.

- 120 students across the academy how applied to become digital leaders.

- Current focus is on ensuring that the ICT infrastructure is robust enough to support all that we will need it to do – as yet no ICT supplier. Will go out to tender in February 2013.

- Core group meets every fortnight. Next meeting in library at RM -3.30pm on Thurs 13 Dec. ICT vision for academy currently under discussion. Anyone interested urged to attend.

- Gary emphasized the importance of balancing need with wishes.

- Gary re-iterated his wish to work closely with staff. CPD sessions have begun and will continue to support staff to develop increased confidence in the use of advanced technologies.

Also in this meeting a colleague shared her experience using iPads with Business group in Year 11. ‘Socrative’ is a useful free app enabling maximum student engagement and teacher feedback and generating faster-paced learning. Students comment on how organised it seems, and on how much they appreciate the instantaneous feedback. It is possible to record students.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

iMotion HD

I have long loved exploring film and media applications in the classroom and for me you cannot beat working with students on their own stop-motion animation. The focus, concentration and sheer determination involved in making a film using this technique is incredible. In previous years, stop-motion animation in schools often involved an array of equipment (sometimes expensive, sometime not), specialist knowledge and a fixed working environment. Times have changed though and there are now a series of Apps that can be used to create professional style animations without any previous experience.

 iMotion HD is one of these Apps and I find it an intuitive and powerful tool for time-lapse and stop-motion work. For those of you who do not know, time-lapse is a cinematography technique which accelerates movement. It can be used to photograph cloudscapes, plants growing, crowds, etc, etc. Stop motion is an animation technique which makes a physically manipulated object look like it’s moving on its own. iMotion HD is free to download and I recommend everyone giving it a go. Check out the below video to see it in action: