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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Spell Up from Google

Spell Up is a new word game and Chrome Experiment that helps you improve your English using your voice—and a modern browser, of course. It’s like a virtual spelling bee, with a twist.

Google worked with game designers and teachers to make Spell Up both fun and educational. The goal of the game is to correctly spell the words you hear and stack them to build the highest word tower you can—letter by letter, word by word. The higher the tower gets, the more difficult the word challenges: You’ll be asked to pronounce words correctly, solve word jumbles and guess mystery words. You can earn bonuses and coins to level up faster.

Spell Up works best in Chrome on your computer and on Android phones and tablets. (It also works on iPhones and iPads, but you’ll need to type rather than talk.) Whether you’re just learning English or you’re already a pro,check it out! And if you’re a teacher, we encourage you to try it out in your classroom. 

Just speak to play!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Exciting news from @seangtute and the team at Tute


Tute, the UK’s leading social education platform, has announced that it is broadening its subject range to include both GCSE and A level courses. The extended offer is in response to demand from schools looking to expand their curriculum, as well as from overseas schools looking to deliver qualifications from English exam boards.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Classroom by Google

Super excited about 'Classroom' by Google -

Classroom is a new, free tool coming to Google Apps for Education that helps teachers easily and quickly create and organize assignments, provide feedback, and communicate with their classes. This video highlights the experiences of some of the teachers and students who gave us feedback to help develop Classroom. Learn more:

Coding in Reception

Great work from the new Early Years Blog -

Coding in Reception.
In our learning we have been exploring the Daisy the Dinosaur app on the IPAD.

The children had to use a series of commands to make Daisy shrink and grow.

Progresso - 21st Century MIS Solution

At IPACA (Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy) we put a lot of thought into how we wanted to use data to engage, innovate and inspire learning. To this end, we broke away from our old MIS provider SIMS as we feel it didn't meet our demands. We went with Progresso and we haven't looked back.

Don't get me wrong, changing your MIS is never easy... but, with Advanced Learning the process in moving has been managed carefully and effectively. Support is always on hand when you need it and the company are really keen to develop and innovate their product (something our previous supplier was not prepared to do).

Progresso for us has provided the perfect solution to meet our demands, see why in the video below -

I strongly recommend Progresso MIS and would be happy to talk to anyone about the difference the system is making to teaching and learning.

If you want to find out more I encourage you to sign up to the following event -

IPACA Focus of SWGfL Newsletter

SWGfL (South West Grid for Learning) is a not for profit, charitable trust company, funded by 15 Local Authorities across the South West of England. Recently they made IPACA a feature of their newsletter which is sent to schools and colleges throughout the South West of England.

"Windows to the World" - IPACA leading the way in the digital age

IPACAThe Education team at SWGfL had a great opportunity to visit our inspirational friends at the IPACA Academy on the Isle of Portland last week. We met with Gary Spracklen, Director of Digital Learning at the Academy, whose passion for revolutionising education in this digital age is more than clear.

So what makes the IPACA Academy such an exciting place for children to learn?

Taking your shoes off as you walk into one of the ‘super-classrooms’, it is immediately evident that the Academy is breaking the mould of the traditional ‘30 same-age pupils, 1 teacher’ classroom model. Taking inspiration from IPACA patron and visionary educationalist Stephen Heppell, the school have adopted a ‘stage not age’ approach to progression where pupils are taught in classrooms with up to 90 peers across the age range, moving on when they are ready. This learner-led design ensures that the education experience really is tailored to each individual pupil.

Super Classroom

Embracing and celebrating technology is at the centre of the new approach. Following a successful trial of 16 Google Chromebooks in Food Technology classrooms, the school now provides each and every secondary pupil with their own Chromebook, with all data and applications stored in the cloud. And the best thing? This is at zero cost to families. So in an area which sits within the lowest 20% of child-wellbeing nationally, each pupil now has their own device that they bring to the classroom each day and can take home to use for homework. At primary level, in a cohort of 240 pupils, the school has 90 iPads, 90 Chromebooks and 30 desktop Windows PCs. The aim is for a ‘device agnostic’ approach in which pupils are confident and competent with a range of technologies.
‘Windows to the World’ is now a regular feature in primary classrooms and sees a group of pupils using Skype Education to connect to another classroom anywhere in the world, participating in a game of 20 questions to try and work out where the other pupils are based. At secondary level, YouTube is used in dance classes with pupils filming routines using their devices, applying filters and immediately uploading to the site. Using a cloud-based storage system encourages collaborative working across classes and years as different pupils in different locations can work on the same project, and edits are saved in real-time.

And support for the teachers? Every Tuesday evening at the Academy sees an Engage, Innovate & Inspire CPD session in which teachers are educated in software such as Google Apps and Edmodo, and how they can be proactively used in the classroom.
IPACA img2
For an approach such as this to really make a difference, both staff and students must be engaged, and the support required put in place. This is recognised at IPACA and the school has created a network of 140 engaged ‘Digital Leaders’ across the age range from 3-16 who share ideas around the use of technology and new software. Using Edmodo the group hold meetings online and provide digital support around the school, training parents and adults where required.

As we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. In sequence with all the ‘super-cool whizzy technology’, the pupils at IPACA are also taught how to behave safely and responsibly in our digital world. This is through delivery of the SWGfL Digital Literacy curriculum which provides a structured range of free resources and ideas of how to integrate with other subjects, broken down by year group.

To access the free Digital Literacy curriculum, visit

We came away from our visit with a new appreciation of what is possible in the classroom, provided the vision and passion is there. As the global community becomes increasingly digitised, this is a really exciting time for schools and the next generation, and the pupils living on the Isle of Portland are at the forefront of this.

The Isle of Portland
Published: 5/13/2014

Sunday, 11 May 2014

@SecurlyInc - Whitepaper

Really enjoyed reading this whitepaper from the great team at Securly (IPACA's preferred filtering supplier). 'Best practice to shape and secure your 1:1 program' is well worth a read and I embed the full copy below.

When reading anything like this though, we must remember that good security doesn't just come from 'a solution' it comes from a 'roots to branches' approach that puts Education at the core with the aim to always build the culture which leads to safe internet usage.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Shoeless Learning

So, shoeless learning is a big thing here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. We believe it makes a difference for a host of reasons. It's best summed up by our Patron Professor Stephen Heppell who has a whole section of his website dedicated to shoeless learning - check out -

On Wednesday 7th May, 2014 BBC South Today reported the concept of 'shoeless learning' by making a visit to us here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. The below is their report -