Tag Archives: ICT

Using ICT to develop creativity and innovation in the classroom

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services presented hands-on practical sessions for all probationer teachers in Falkirk primary schools, on using ICT to develop creativity and innovation the classroom.

There was a guided exploration of the wide variety of open-ended software installed on all PCs across all Falkirk primary schools, which can be used to support learning and teaching across the curriculum at all stages – and a reminder that resources to support every piece of software (providing examples as well as guides and tutorials) could be found online here: ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

There were practical activities related to how the free audio-editing tool Audacity might be used to support learning and teaching across a range of curricular areas. Recording voice, moving sections of recorded sound to different parts just like a word-processor, adding special effects (robotic and raising the pitch just being some) to create interest for pupil-read texts, adding a music soundtrack and varying the volumes of spoken word and music. More can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2013/03/25/school-radio-podcasting-pupils/

There were practical activities making use of one of the spreadsheet/graphing programs on all Falkirk primary school networked PCs, RM Starting Graph to show how such tools can enhance engagement with information handling both in mathematics and across the curriculum, so that the learning can be focussed on the questions being asked rather than on recording the information. More information about spreadsheets/graphing software for primary schools can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/03/30/spreadsheets/

The session provided a guided exploration of the tools and resources available for use with Smartboard interactive whiteboards (which are in almost all Falkirk primary school classrooms) to support teachers and learners across a wide range of classroom activity, including a host of pre-created Smart Notebook resources created and shared by teachers in Falkirk schools, as well as pointing out access to the worldwide network of educators who have shared resources in Smart Exchange: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/08/18/smart-exchange/

The session provided hands-on guided opportunity to explore the software 2DIY from 2Simple which provides the means for teachers and primary pupils to create their own interactive resources, activities, games, puzzles, quizzes. More information about this software can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/11/11/game-making-in-the-primary-classroom-with-2diy-from-2simple/

Guided hands-on practical activities were provided in the use of collaborative tools within Microsoft office 365 through Glow, using Word online to create and share a document in either a user’s online store space OneDrive (or from a class space), jointly edit at the same time as other users, add encouraging comments to the work of another (and all which can be done on a mobile device), use Outlook to share with others in the room, and to see possibilities for using the Lync video-conferencing tool – all within the Glow environment. More information about Office 365 can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2012/07/10/microsoft-office-365-for-education/

Practical activities were provided in making use of the programming robots (whether the robot or the software versions) making use of Roamerworld software (including the pre-created scenarios such as subway and storks which provide a learning context for the logical thinking, collaboration, maths of shape, position and movement and much more). More information about these programming tools can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/04/20/beebot-to-logo/

To help with classroom engagement some free tools were also used in the session which can be used in the classroom, including timerr and random-name-selectors. More can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/08/19/countdown-timer-from-classtools/

Encouragement was given to make use of Twitter both for sharing classroom activity and as a professional to develop a professional learning network to share ideas and benefit from the collective knowledge and skills of colleagues worldwide. More information about setting up and using a class twitter account can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2013/03/05/twitter-for-schools-and-classes/. More information about using twitter to develop a professional learning network can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/08/16/personal-learning-network/

Pupils as Digital Leaders at Carron Primary School

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, supported the first session with the new Digital Leaders group of pupils in Carron Primary School.

The pupils had selected to be a part of this group and will be led by teacher John Bell. This first session let the pupils say what they felt their contribution could be in taking the group forward in supporting the use of technologies in Carron Primary School. Pupils gave a variety of ideas which encompassed being the ones in the school who: know how to navigate the school computers, are willing to try to find a solution to an issue, are not being afraid to try things out and are eager to learn more (both together and on their own). Different pupils said what they saw as their areas of knowledge, interest and expertise ranging from programming in Scratch to creating things for a website.

Pupils used their wireless laptops to then work together on creating games using the software 2DIY from 2Simple which is installed on all Falkirk Council primary school networked computers.

More information about Digital Leaders can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2014/04/23/pupils-as-digital-leaders/

Taking ICT Outdoors with Mobile Devices

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, led a session at the Outdoor Learning Conference organised by Jane Jackson, Outdoor Learning Development Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team. This session explored using mobile devices in outdoor learning.

So why use mobile devices?

Many schools are now looking to use mobile devices to enhance the educational experience of learners – whether to provide the means to explain a task, to enhance engagement of learners, to record what’s been achieved, or to facilitate sharing of learner activity with others. And many schools are also trying to make the most of the outdoors to bring learning alive. So here are ideas for using mobile devices outdoors, making use of the features of smartphones to help engage pupils in learning outdoors.

What was needed on the mobile device?

To avoid the need for an active Internet connection (to avoid pupils using their own device incurring any cost, or to avoid wifi-only tablet devices needing a connection when aweay from any signal) none of the activities described below require to use an Internet connection to operate. However prior to going outdoors the device would require to have the following features found or apps installed as required (so may require to be downloaded in advance on a wireless connection) so that they can be used outdoors where there is no WiFi availability and so that no user’s personal 3G connection data plan should incur them in a cost.

Note that the mobile device will require to have previously installed apps:

1. QR code reader to read QR codes (e.g. RedLaser)

2. Camera app (which needs to be able to take still images and video with audio)

3. Audio recorder (e.g. voice recorder)

4. Note-taking app (e.g. Notes)

5. Timer (may be a feature of a clock or alarm app)

6. Email set up with an email account which will be able to send the resulting work from the activities

How was the session organised?

In groups of around 5, each group with one mobile device (smartphone or tablet), participants udertook a series of activities making use of apps on the mobile device.

Each group was given a map of the school grounds with locations labelled by number or letter. Each group was given a different starting point and then rotated round locations in different sequences from the other groups. When they arrived at the noted location they found a QR code in that location. The QR code reader on the mobile device was then used to scan the QR code – this then provided written text explaining the task to be undertaken at that location.

The activities which will require to be undertaken at each location were revealed in instructions via the mobile device to each group only when they scanned the QR code with the mobile device.

For more information about the use of QR codes within an educational context see:


The site used to create the text-only QR codes for this session was https://www.unitaglive.com/qrcode

What were the activities?

Here are the task instructions which were revealed on the mobile device once each QR code was scanned. Click on the following link for the document (in Word format) with the QR codes ready for printing: QR-code_sheets-for-Outdoor_Learning_with_mobile_devices

1. Take pictures using the mobile device camera app of the shape of each letter in the word OUTDOORS which your group will create out of materials at hand near the location (e.g. sticks, grass, stones, feet, etc). No faces should appear in the photographs.

2. Take a video, lasting no longer than 30 seconds, where no faces appear, and involving everyone in the group, where each person says what they feel learners get out of outdoor learning – be creative about what you point the camera at – anything other than faces (and give it some movement so it is not static picture but scanning around) – ensure the speaking is done near the mobile device so that it can be heard clearly.

Click on this link to view a video created by one group in response to this task:


3. Use note-taking app on the mobile device to type words which the group comes up with which describe how you feel when looking at a view or an object outdoors which you can see where you are now – jot down the words then use the cut/copy/paste option to rearrange the words to make a rhythmic piece of writing.

One group together came up with the words: Cold, Energetic, Inspired, Mad, Creative, Moved, Free, Enthusiastic, Jealous, Carefree, Motivated, Encouraged.

Then they moved the words around on the note-taking app and created the following: “I feel Happy, I feel mad, when I’m outside I don’t feel sad I feel jealous, I feel crazy, I’m so energetic I don’t feel lazy I feel creative, I feel inspired, of the outdoors I don’t get tired!”

4. Use an audio recording app (voice recorder microphone app) to record a chant/rap made up by the group (of a few lines length), including background improvised rhythmic sounds your group creates e.g. something starting like “1-2-3-4, Get outdoors more!”

Click on the following links to hear rap/chants created by two groups in response to this task:

Outdoor Rap_LB


5. Use timer app on the mobile device to have the group collectively name as many birds in one minute as they can. Repeat this for flowers. Repeat this for trees. One member of the team acts as the timer using the app. Another member of the team counts the number of items covered in one minute each time.

One group reported they had managed the following number of items in response to this task: 20 birds, 25 flowers, 15 trees.

6. Create a funny “selfie” using the mobile device camera app in which everyone in the group appears (including the photographer) but where everyone’s face is obscured by objects found outdoors.

How did learners share their learning?

There are different ways of sharing materials created on a mobile device. The way which was chosen for this activity was as follows. At the end of all of the activities, once back into an environment where WiFi was available to the user of the mobile device, the resulting work was then shared by email to a single email contact. Depending on the size of attachments they may require to have been sent as separate emails rather than all at once. And in some cases in order to find the audio recordings, video, etc on the device it may be that users required to go into the individual app and click on the file, then click share and choose email as the method of sharing.

What did participants say?

Feedback from participants included:

“The ICT workshop was amazing and I learned a great deal. I can appreciate how these lessons would motivate pupils and encourage their learning and creativity.”

“Gained some ideas about using mobile technology.”

“The session with QR codes was great for a) learning how QR codes work, b) using new apps on my phone!, c) how easy it could be to use QR codes for OL activities. It supports my plans for developing our John Muir Award activities for sharing information about Polmont woods.”

“The ICT workshop in the afternoon was great fun and I could see how this could so easily be adapted for use with pupils and I can see that it would thoroughly motivate and enthuse them.”

“I enjoyed the afternoon session which gave me a better understanding of how using mobile phone with regards to children’s learning might be used”

“Doing the ICT outdoors was great fun and I came away with great ideas.”

Commonwealth in rhyme – creating and editing audio recordings to share online

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, supported pupils from the Grangemouth High School cluster to create and edit audio recordings which they shared online as part of a national Digital Commonwealth project. Creating, editing and using an online tool to share recordings provided one set of skills learned across a series of themes in this project.

Working with Dugald MacGilp (of Young Reporters for the Environment, part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful Charity) and Steve Duffy of Grangemouth High School the pupils were set the task of creating an audio recording of a piece of writing in rhyme which represented a Commonwealth country of their choice. Some groups of pupils chose to find a representative poem from a Commonwealth country of their choice, while some did some research about their chosen Commonwealth country and their Commonwealth athletes (in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow) before creating a piece of writing, poem or rap.

Click here for Jamaica Rap which one group of pupils pupils created, edited in Audacity (including adding backing sounds) and uploaded to AudioBoo, free online podcasting host.

Click here for Swaziland Rap which another group of pupils created, edited in Audacity (including adding backing sounds) and uploaded to AudioBoo.

Audacity is free downloadable software which works like a word-processor except it is used to edit  audio recordings. With a simple click on a record button in the screen, and with a connected headset/microphone a redording can quickly be made of any audio. Once recorded there are simple cut/copy and paste icons just as in a word-processor to remove unwanted noise or move elements and reuse in a different sequence. It can also be used to have multiple tracks so that once the spoken word (for example) is recorded you can play it back and also record a new track at the same time (such as to add a beat sound). Once you are finished editing the audio you can go to File – export – and save as an mp3 file which is then ready to be shared with others for playing back. Click here for more information about where to download the Audacity software and how to use it.

AudioBoo is one of a number of free online tools which can be used to either upload previously recorded mp3 files or to record straight from microphone. The resulting AudioBoo recording can then be shared with others and played straight from the page where it is stored.

Interactive tools for supporting teaching Modern Languages in the Primary School

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services, led a guided hands on exploration session with primary class teachers on interactive tools for supporting teaching Modern Languages in the Primary School.

Most of the resources explored can be used in many contexts and this session looked at how they can be adapted to supporting teaching modern languages in the primary school.


Audacity – free downloadable software which lets you record and edit audio – pupils can record their spoken voice, reading words, phrases or sentences. And they can take words and re-order them to create listening activities for each other  (e.g. cutting individual words or phrases and pasting them out of sequence in the audio for other pupils to correctly re-sequence the words). Any audio files created in Audacity can also be turned into mp3 files so that they can be shared online, such as on a school website or class blog: http://glo.li/gJxmOi

Little Bird Tales – free online tool which lets pupils create stories combining voice, text and images. The teacher creates an account and provides pupils with a login code for that class – work of pupils can be seen by teacher but only made public if & when pupil feels it’s ready and teacher chooses to make it public. Other safety features include having the PC microphone enabled, but not webcam, so only audio is recorded. Pupils can upload images, or can use Little Bird Tales art editor online tool to draw own images on screen to illustrate a story or sequence of vocabulary or phrases. Pupils can create pages, building up sequence of pages, all of which can be saved at any time for future editing – and can be embedded online elsewhere – and the teacher can make content visible to the public on the Little Bird Tales website. http://glo.li/rsrAzz for description, guide and video of use.

Photostory 3 – free downloadable software which lets pupils sequence a series of photographs (adding panning and other effects as desired) to engage with texs and demonstrate their understanding of the text. Pupils can create videos to illustrate vocabulary, phrases, poems or songs.  https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/03/09/photostory-3/

Hello Mylo – free online tool incorporating games-based learning with badges to recognise progress. French, German, Spanish and Chinese available. The learner has choice of games, vocabulary tools and challenges – each provides visual, textual as well as audio feedback, with nugget-sized tasks providing scores on achievement. It can be used without any need to register but registered schools can set tasks for pupils (in groups or as a class) and get feedback on the progress of their pupils. Collaborative work can be seen only by the class, until the teacher chooses to publish it after reviewing it with the learners (if desired to be made public). http://glo.li/RqNj0r

Create word-cloud images for wall display, blog, or website. Pupils could create a word cloud of vocabulary on specific topics. Or they could connect foreign word and English word in Wordle by adding a tilde (~) between the words, or omit the connection and use as lesson starter for pupils to connect each word and translation with a pen on an interactive whiteboard http://glo.li/f2Ifx9

Interactive Whiteboard activities – using resources created with Smart Notebook inbuilt Lesson Activity Toolkit interactive tools, and browsing, downloading and adapting resources created by other eductors worldwide from the Smart Exchange website. http://glo.li/rQ3eRl

Comic Creation Tools – pupils sequence stories in chosen language, or annotate conversations with images and speech bubbles for visual story-telling. Free online Comic-creation tools and resources here: http://glo.li/eEkUjo

Google Translate – Use Google Translate to translate any text by copying and pasting words/phrases, paragraphs or a whole document or website. Use the speech feature to hear the text spoken with the accent of the chosen language. Translate class blog or school website. http://translate.google.com/

Lingro – Highlight words on any website in chosen language, Listen to the words spoken, Translate, then play flashcard games with all words chosen – all within the Lingro toolbar along the top of any website you choose. http://glo.li/hNnhFk

Song Videos with Lyrics – Online videos with printed lyrics to follow http://chansons-fr.com/ – may provide inspiration for pupils to create own videos http://glo.li/gTmdzS (for resources about using Flipcam-type video cameras). Lyrics-gap Songs on video with choice of level of missing words for pupils to select from words while listening http://www.lyricsgaps.com/

Classtools: Online class gaming tools already created for French or German. Easily add own arcade-type games with own questions/answers http://www.classtools.net

Quiz-creation tools – create self-correcting quizzes, provide feedback on what has been learned by pupils, pupils creating quizzes motivates & helps embed learning. One of many tools described is Zondle which lets the teacher detrmine the content to be learned by pupils, and the pupil chooses the game which then draws in the teacher-chosen content and presents it in the pupil-chosen game format.  http://glo.li/g73CnR

Further Online Links

Teaching Ideas – a series of crowd-sourced ideas shared by teachers http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/foreignlanguages/contents.htm

Cybrary Man links to resources by category http://cybraryman.com/foreign.html

Education Scotland MLPS resources – vocabulary and phrases for several languages with support materials to support teaching modern languages in the primary school.

BBC goes to Bonnybridge Primary School

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Council Education Service Support and Improvement team heard an item about Bonnybridge PS on Radio  Scotland on Tuesday 21st January 2014.  She was delighted to hear about P.6/7 from Bonnybridge Primary and their work with the BBC Commonwealth Class project. Michelle Cairns and her class worked on their debating skills and learned about issues and topics affecting countries within the Commonwealth.

The debates were fun and interactive and allowed the children to voice their opinions and thoughts appropriately. The project gave the pupils a fantastic platform for learning about tolerance, equality and working together in a real life context which will be valuable lifelong. Being part of this learning has had a huge impact on the children involved. The BBC contacted the class following their participation in previous debates, asking if they were happy to be filmed debating “in action” for the BBC.

The motion for the filmed debate was  homelessness in Commonwealth countries and how this related to the Commonwealth games. The children took part in a Skype call with a school in India in which they were able to ask questions and interact with another Commonwealth country. This experience enabled the children to see themselves as a part of the wider world and to really think about how they can contribute as global citizens. Click here to link to the television broadcast in BBC  Iplayer, here for the Good Morning Scotland radio piece, and have a look at the written piece here on the BBC website.

This interdisciplinary learning experience offered the children an opportunity to apply their debating, talking and listening skills within the Commonwealth context. It also offered them a valuable opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills through partnership working with the BBC. Isn’t it great to see Falkirk schools featuring so prominently in the media!

New Interdisciplinary Learning Blog!

Yvonne McBlain and Malcolm Wilson of Falkirk Council Service and School Improvement Team have created a new interdisciplinary learning blog. Yvonne will develop and maintain this blog as a major element of support for IDL across Falkirk Council education establishments.  She is working hard to fill the blog with useful material and valuable IDL practice. Click here to visit, and contact yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk if you have suggestions, ideas or  interdisciplinary learning practice to share.

Interactive tools for teaching primary numeracy and maths at second level

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Falkirk Council Education Services, presented a session to teaching staff giving a hands-on opportunity to explore a range of interactive software and online tools to support teaching numeracy and maths at second level.

Resources explored in this session included:

RoamerWorld – a simulated programmable on-screen robot. It is a graphical version of Logo. It provides concrete implementation of shape, position and movement abstract concepts. It has 16 in-built curricular-related activities.

Number Magic – spreadsheets to help with a series of calculations that need to be repeated often. Once they are set up they can be used to explore the effect of changing one number on the others. The data can also be displayed very easily as a graph or chart. Number Magic has a number of in-built curricular examples – in Blue level exercises folder.

National Numeracy Strategy Resources – Interactive flash resources to support mathematics available on every Falkirk primary school network PC in shared documents. Each has an associated set of instructions. These Flash files can be dragged into an open SMART Notebook page (or just used in an Internet browser). These included tell-the-time, thermometer, shape-sorting, symmetry, fractions and angle resources.

SMART Notebook resources – there are many tools and mathematics-specific resources in the SMART Notebook Gallery Essentials for Educators, and there is a huge number of pre-created SMART Notebook resources in the shared documents folders of every Falkirk primary networked PC.

Manga High – free online games-based maths teaching resource aimed at 7-16 year-olds. This combines development of maths skills with video game format games. The teacher selects specific maths/numeracy areas and level within the Curriculum for Excellence which assigns pupils teaching activities and game. The teacher can get reports on progress of individual pupils.

Other online resources included:

Primary Games Arena – a wide range of free online games matched to developing different numeracy and mathematics skills. 

Math is Fun – inlcudes games and a dictionary of mathematcis concepts for pupils.

Maths in the City – providing ideas for taking learning in mathematics and numeracy outside

Sumdog  – numeracy actvities where pupils can compete with others in a safe environment

Wolfram Alpha – described as a computational search engine!

Primary ICT Co-ordinator Support Session – mobile device focus

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Falkirk Council Education Services, provided support sessions for Primary ICT Co-ordinators, with a focus on mobile devices for schools at the beginning stages of looking at how to use them in learning and teaching. How mobile devices can be used to make a difference to learning and teaching, the practical implications of this in a school, and how to overcome barriers to successful integration, are issues around which schools embarking on the journey exploring using mobile devices consider.

This post describes just a few resources which may be useful to help schools at the beginning of the journey towards considering using mobile devices to support learning and teaching.


When schools have wireless,  which can be accessed by pupils on their own device, and pupils are signed up to an Acceptable Use Policy which sets out responsibilities, they can then consider how best to to incorporate personally-owned mobile devices in learning and teaching.

Falkirk Council Education Services provides educational establishments with an Acceptable Use Policy which takes account of mobile devices and social media. This is available here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/mobiledevices/documents/

Device Neutral Assignments

Device Neutral Assigments are tasks which let pupils choose tool according to device available. With multiple types of devices in a classroom (where pupils bring their own device), rather than the tool as the focus for learning, instead the tool should be chosen to suit the intended learning – and may be chosen by teacher or pupil to best suit task to support learning or demonstrate understanding of the learning – the learning activity does not presume a specific tool will be used. The link below provides further description of device-neutral assignments and provides links to tools for any learning activity (such as creating a video, note-taking, creating a video, creating audio, creating an assessment, etc) with suggested example apps/software/online tool specific to each device  https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/mobiledevices/device-neutral-assignment/ 

QR Codes

Quick Response codes are square barcodes which, with a mobile device app, turn the mobile device camera into a barcode reader, to then provide a very quick way to access weblinks, video, images or text. http://goo.gl/1nnb2


Socrative is a free classroom response system works on any Internet-connected device. This lets teachers set up questions for responses by pupils on any device. Pupils go to http://m.socrative.com & enter the teacher’s classroom number. http://goo.gl/w7t16. Socrative has a host of resources freely shared by other teachers worldwide.


Padlet provides a classroom-friendly feedback discussion area online , private to the classroom, which can provide a useful tool in formative assessment in providing an online feedback tool which works on any Internet-connected device. 


Managing Devices in the Classroom

The Traffic Light Approach is one way teachers have found useful to support classroom management of mobile devices. Using this approach the teacher determines the level of use, or not, of mobile devices, at any given time in classroom


Resources to support moving from One to Many to 1:1

From One to Many to 1:1 provides extensive links to resources which support the shift in emphasis in many situations from a dependence on desk-tied computing devices to embracing devices which are easily portable and able to be used anywhere by learners. Often these include devices owned by users themselves rather than by an educational establishment. The phrases often used to describe this form of application include: Handheld Learning, One to One (1:1), Mobile Learning, Tablets for Teaching, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).