Thursday, 26 February 2009

Teachmeetnel2,Asus feedback, Anithings and more

Welcome to another Redbridge Primary ICT update

In this issue:

  • Dates for your diary
  • Film entries
  • Asus in Review
  • Teachmeet North East London 2
  • Anythings - a software developer seeks your help
  • Siftables
  • Last Minute Links

Diary Dates
Don't forget the following :

12th March 2009 All Day- Redbridge Primary ICT Coordinators regular meeting - supply cover is paid of course- look out for the agenda here soon

23rd April 2009 Using the Whiteboard Effectively- Numeracy - this is aimed at intermediate users of either the SMART or Activ Primary boards and is hosted by Liz Gibbs, co-author of the Primary Strategy 'Keys to Learning' publication. Places are still available

Book now via Redbridgepdc

Asus in Review

Fairlop primary school have been using the first generation Asus machines for a range of curriculum applications. The following is a feedback from the school on how the project has gone.

Before you read on, please remember the following. The Asus was one of the first in a generation of 'netbooks', a sort of big brother to PDAs and younger brother to the laptop. These are an affordable computer but there are limitations, and the term 'netbook' is given quite aptly, as they are designed to be used on the net, rather than as a memory hungry multimedia suite. Also most Asus devices are Linux driven, which some teachers struggle with as it is an unfamiliar interface. There are newer Minibooks, which run Winows XP home, but these are difficult to network, remember most school laptops are Windows XP Professional, there is a difference.

This is how wikipedia define a netbook:

A netbook (a portmanteau of Internet and notebook) is a class of laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet.[1]

Primarily designed for web browsing and e-mailing, netbooks "rely heavily on the Internet for remote access to web-based applications"[2] and are targeted increasingly at cloud computing users who require a less powerful client computer.[3]. Netbooks typically run either Linux or Windows XP[2] rather than more resource-intensive operating systems like Windows Vista[4]. The devices range in size from below 5 inches[5] to over 13,[6], typically weigh 2 to 3 pounds and are often significantly cheaper than general purpose laptops.[2]

Netbooks represent a "greener" alternative to larger laptops due to "lower power demands, fewer toxic components, and a resource-efficient approach to computing" and some models have achieved EPEAT

The Samsing NC10

The Asus was the machine of 2008, since then other machines have entered the arena. The ICT team are currently using the award winning Samsung NC10,as their machine of choice, this runs Windows XP Home, and has just the most amazing battery life.

It featured on the wall of netbooks at the Microsoft stand at Bett and was the clear winner. I am not sure though if the NC10 is the device of choice for pupils, as it doesn't seem to like being dropped. Whereas the Fizzbook Spin from Zoostorm is a far more rugged device. It is a Windows driven Netbook with a tablet screen and ruggedised outer case. All classroom laptops should look and be packaged like this !!

The Fizzbook

If you are thinking of buying a set of netbooks for your school staff or pupils, we would ask you to consider your choice carefully.

  • Think about what you will be using the device for - is it powerful enough to drive a SMART Board?

  • Can you load applications on this device? - LInux devices are difficult to add new software to

  • How long does the battery last for - this will enable mobile working by either teachers or pupils, my NC10 can last for almost 7 hours before a charge- that is incredible

  • Can you easily network a set of the devices you are buying - if in doubt then talk to and listen to your ICT support company, ask them what is working well at other schools. It may be helpful to visit a school where they are using netbooks and see them in operation.

  • Do you have the wireless infrastructure to support a number of these devices, and if so how many, again talk to your support company and ask for a wireless survey

Using ASUS minibooks in Year 5GR/Fairlop Primary

The ASUS computers were a welcome addition to my classroom. As a primary school teacher with 30 students and only an hour of ICT a week I hoped these laptops were going to make our lives so much easier. The students were excited about the extra computer resources.

The class were very mature and responsible with the computers, but there never seemed to be a safe way to get them out onto tables without it being a big production. An additional bonus for me was that the computers in class definitely helped me out as a teacher when I needed display work. All my students had their work typed up and just need to add pictures or change text size, saving me lots of time!

I was a huge fan of the ASUS computers if we could workout/ fix the problems that I have highlighted below. The computers added excitement to the students work. Students I believe tended to work harder and better if they knew they would be using the laptops. The students also enjoyed having their own computer. They felt like it was something they should be proud of. Although we cover word processing tasks in our basic skills lessons from Year 3 upwards, I was shocked at how much the children forget about basic wp features, when we used them for typing.

The students had a chance to use the Beebots, digital camera and laptops all on the same day. We had a technology day one day mid trial. The students were to use the beebots to tell directions, record themselves teaching a younger year group have to use the beebots on their laptops or using the digital cameras. The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and made great instructions.

Overall my class really enjoyed this project and the opportunity to use the minibooks. They were previously used in the Year 6 trip to Glasbury and are transferring to Year 3 for the last three weeks of the term to be used to help re-inforce recently learned wp skills and inserting photos on Hindu, Romans and Literacy topics.

Frustrating points:

Classroom didn’t have many power outlets for charging purposes (solved by purchasing several 4-gang electrical leads to assist with battery charging)

Minibooks didn’t hold their charge for very long – 2 hours or so (students got very nervous when the warning sign appeared!)

1 minibook’s charger is not working correctly nor is 1 router charger

Unpacking & packing up laptops for security purposes – (solved by getting additional key cut to classroom, locking door at break or lunch time, if minibooks were left out)

Internet access only supported 8/9 users per wireless router – some children unable to gain access until another child logged out

Saving work for printing or future use in class means saving to a memory stick/somewhat time consuming

The students found a couple times that their work, which I personally helped them saved, was not there the next time we signed in.

The program on the computer which the students used for word processing didn't have spell check feature, this would have been a real bonus enabling students to see when they made a mistake and be able to correct it independently.


Film Entries

You will remember in the last addition, I mentioned th launch of the Redbridge schools film competion, well, so far we have over 16 requests for packs, but that still leaves quite a few of you, who are still without a free camera and out of the compettion.

Visit for more details


Teachmeet North East London 2

Do you want free CPD and Cakes?

Do you want to be inspired by some of the those on the cutting edge of ICT and those that are just naturally doing good stuff in the classroom?

Do you want to network, meet new friends and just generally have a great evening?

you do !

Then Teachmeet North East London is the night for you, proudly organised by Redbridge Primary ICT ( NIcholas and Anthony) and the Havering ICT Team, and building on the success of last years event

Why should you attend ‘TeachMeet ICT NE London 2’?
Held across the United Kingdom, TeachMeets offer the chance for teaching assistants, teachers, consultants, governors, bloggers and twitterers to share 'what is working' in ICT in education. ‘TeachMeet NE London 2 – ICT’ offers you:-

A variety of ‘real classroom practice’ ICT presentations that so far include a focus on the London MLE in Action, Visualisers in Art, Blogs and Wikis in the Classroom, Animation and the new LGfL Internet Safety Scheme of Work. A number of MiniNote presentations (15 minutes) will be presented by guest speakers including Teachers’ TV Star Tom Barrett and inpiring secondary teacher and blogger, Drew Buddie

The opportunity to either share what they are doing or to just listen (lurker) to what others are doing in ICT. Why not come and speak about what is happening in ICT in your learning establishment via a mini (7 minute) or nano (2 minute) presentation?

Free food and refreshments, as well as a free shuttle-bus from Dagenham East Underground Station to CEME and back throughout the evening and free car-parking. NO ENTRY FEE.

Terry Freedman, Former Chair of Naace and Advisor to Becta and QCA as host for the evening.

A raffle with excellent prizes, with proceeds going to help rebuild a Cuban school destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Sponsors include Joskos, The Visualiser Forum, 2simple, Moshi Monsters, AverMedia

Please give your support and come along as either a presenter or 'lurker' by visiting:

If you have any further queries, then please contact Anthony Evans or Dave Smith

...Sign-up fast though, as places are limited.


Red Plane Demo from Stripey Design on Vimeo.

This is your chance for your class to contribute to the design of a new software package.Anithings is a brand new children's creativity tool. It enables animated stories to be created simply and quickly, allowing children's creativity to run wild. It's desinger Steve from Stripey designs, tells us below what the software does:

What does it do?
Anithings contains a number of powerful features which are brought together in an innovative and easy-to-use interface. Features include:

  • Storyboarding. Start the process of creating your story with the storyboard tool. Add characters, props and set scene properties.

  • Tweening'. Simply drag the timeline slider to the required position and move your object. The object will now animate by moving to the new position when the animation is played. An object's properties such as colour, size, transparency and rotation can be animated in the same way.

  • Scene Animating. Scenes can be animated in the same way as objects. e.g animate the light levels to produce a day-break effect.

  • Recording Motion. As well as the tweening capabilities objects can be animated by pressing record and capturing movement directly. This allows animations to be created extremely simply, opening up the medium for a wide range of abilities.

  • Character construction. Objects can be snapped together to form characters and props (Anithings). Hinges are created to allow limb animation. These Anithings can be re-used by dropping them on the 'bank'. The bank also contains a number of pre-made Anithings for children to use in their animations.

  • Speech Bubbles. Speech bubbles which help to tell your story and bring your Anithings to life. This is just a subset of the features that will be included. Keep an eye out for the Beta version (coming soon) to discover more for yourself.

As mentioned above the product contains a bank of pre-made 'Anithing' characters for children to use as part of their animations. Steve at Anithings is looking for ideas for characters to include, if you would like to get involved then he would love to receive charater designs/ideas from your children. Any ideas that are used will win a free copy of the product when it is launched!
Simply contact Steve via the
email link here if you would like to participate


Last Minute Links


Are you studying adverts for Literacy ?- this site is brilliant it contains all the latest TV adverts, without having to scour Youtube, it also gives you the option of purchasing adverts as a DVD compilation.

Quite simply its a timer, you can change how long the timer runs and thats it - simplicity itself.



This piece of tactile tech caught my eye on TED Talks recently, would love to see a box of these on the shelf of nursery classes

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