All posts by Katigori

Project manager at Harmony Internet Ltd [http://www.harmony.co.uk] self confessed geek, Guide leader and choir member.

CyberFirst Girls 2018

After last year’s small-scale fun of managing to find 6 students to take part in the inaugural CyberFirst Girls competition run by the NCSC (part of GCHQ), I proposed to take part again, as the rules had changed to pitch it at girls in Year 8. I happen to now teach 3 out of the 5 Year 8 classes at school, so it was much easier to convince a few more girls to give it a go.

This year 23 girls took part to form 6 teams. Every participant contributed in some small way, working together, trawling for answers to all manner of cyber security, cryptography, networking, logic and coding challenges. Only one team could be put forward to the grand final, and although Team Error put in great effort, they were not selected to be in the final 10 nationally.

I hope, however, their experience has further convinced them to continue with Computer Science in year 9, with a view to taking their GCSE.

Hosting International Apple Education Visitors

This is our second year of being an Apple Distinguished School and our second week of hosting international visitors over here to visit the BETT show and visit other schools like us.

This year we hosted visitors from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. We were delighted to share our 1:1 journey, including how we use iTunes U and multi-touch books. The girls enjoyed having visitors in their lessons and were excellent at holding conversation and sharing what they got up to. They are great ambassadors and it was lovely to hear what they thought (they were allowed to tell the truth, warts and all!)

Read more from school here.

See photo gallery here. 

#HTINSET

Our school is part of the Harpur Trust, and at the start of January we collaborated for one Trust-wide INSET day at Bedford School. James and I were asked to present a session about the 1:1 approach at BGS. We chose to present about iTunes U and multi-touch books as our specialisms, but we needed to pitch it to teachers who were not in 1:1 environments (yet, maybe!) so looked wider to how the approaches could be used towards VLE, ePub, Chrome Books etc. to help our audience.

We had a packed room on the day, and I hope that what we shared helped our colleagues in the Trust consider how technology can improve teaching and learning for them and their students.

#ClassroomClips – iBooks Author

Off the back of ADE Academy 2017, we were encouraged to create our own series of #ClassroomClips . As iBooks Author is my specialism, I created a set of clips to illustrate some tricks.

View the rest of the set here in this Twitter thread. 

Journey’s Just Beginning

This time last week I was putting things in my suitcase, considering the British weather and casual dress code, and almost glad I was driving to Windsor and didn’t have to also worry about weight.

It was a beautiful, warm day on Tuesday when I got into the car and headed south. Not even the stop-start traffic on the M25 could take the edge off the mix of nerves and excitement at what lay ahead. The schedule looked full on – but I’d never been to a professional residential event to compare. I felt like a fresher heading off for fresher’s week, either way, hoping I’d fit in and not look decidedly dim amongst all the talent.

I’d been in the door two minutes before someone stopped me to ask if I was Kit, and the eternal question of ‘have we met before, or just on Twitter’ began! I was really glad to have participated in Tuesday night #ADEchat since my application, as I could recognise quite a number of faces both of class of 2017 and alumni. Putting them all physically in one room later that evening with both live hosting and questions on Twitter was at times mind-boggling. As the week went on, I felt I had underestimated how many people had met in person before – through working at RTCs, or from becoming AETs etc. To hear that this year’s Academies were smaller to help people network, I felt quite relieved, as although I said hello to so many people, I couldn’t help but feel I was grazing the surface quite often.

The workshops on Wednesday were one of the parts I was most looking forward to. It was great fun to try and work out how to get Spheros to flash or dance in time to music, and the long exposure light trails I’d seen in a Twitter photo were more tricky to film than code in the end. (Although we have earlier generation Spheros at school, I hope we might be able to apply the concepts with Tickle or similar, until we can budget for some updates.) The Lego robots were intriguing and I definitely enjoyed the crossover of subjects with computing.

It had been a really hard choice to pick workshops, and I was glad we were able to sneakily switch. I’d been using Clips quite a bit on the lead up to Academy, and a heads up at breakfast suggested my other shortlisted choice of Designing Educational Resources would definitely be worth going to instead. The talk was a kick up the backside for me – it was practice I knew but wasn’t putting into action. I’ve been so preoccupied with the content, accessibility and the basic design and low file size to get books produced swiftly in the first 12 months, I’ve not been pushing the boat out design-wise. With us replacing our original iPad stock this autumn (goodbye iOS 9 at last) and some increased storage on each device, I can afford to be slightly less strict with myself on the export size, and certainly I will need to start using the larger resolution images.

The showcases and stories shared from Wednesday onwards had us laughing, gasping, cheering, photographing and filming. I really hope they might be published again online as it would be very good to watch again and absorb them properly. There were so many interesting insights, ideas and experiences in there that would be applicable to colleagues across our 7-18 age range.

Thursday’s final workshop session of coding apps with Xcode was great. Although we jumped from bit to bit, it was an excellent overview and insight into what could be ahead if we are able to acquire Macs/MBPs in our computing department to trial. I’d also gone along to the fireside chat the previous day, but as we were not able to use Swift last year, I couldn’t offer experiences. However, I hope we’ll be able to integrate it as another language soon.

That afternoon I was pleased to join up with Sebah and Linda to begin a set of Clips on BookWidgets – something we each used but for different reasons! Within an hour and a half we had pulled together two clips from scratch, using Keynote for some additional content. Once the dust has settled, I look forward to figuring out a couple more to add to the collection – and BookWidgets were rather pleased at our efforts.

On Friday, with final showcases, instructions, presentations and photos it was all over, though I knew the journey was just beginning.

#BookWidgets #ClassroomClips

Featured on Imaginify!

My dear friend from university, Sarah Francis, has set up her own organisation – Imaginify.

  • Imaginify celebrates women who have a passion for technology and digital
  • Imaginify empowers women and girls to pursue careers in digital and technology.
  • Imaginify builds technology that helps women and girls reach their potential

As part of a showcase of women in STEM, Sarah asked me to do a little email interview:

Read the full Imaginify interview here.

GCSE Chemistry: Salts Book Published with Rosemary Houghton

Rosemary is a pioneer in the Chemistry department at BGS. She was the first member of staff to help me engage students in creating content for our multi-touch books (as opposed to just Book Creator). For this book on salts, she shot her own videos of experiments for inclusion, created self-marking tests with Book Widgets. I tied it all together ready for some edits and eventual publication.

Available for FREE here on iTunes Bookstore

Experimenting with Clips

With all the news of #ADE2017 still fresh, had to give Clips a bit of a play. It’s definitely rather addictive. I’ve found myself mucking about with it, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it’s capable of.

The app feels like a sibling to iMovie on the iPad, while bringing the handy editing features of Photos together. Once I’d mucked around a bit everything felt familiar.

The voice dictation is an exciting feature, and it’s handy to know you can edit the text, as it’s not always spot on.

Definitely need to play with it on the iPad and create some good examples with students and colleagues. Might be a new addition to our Year 7 work on Inside the Computer. 

Here’s an example of one embedded in a tweet: