Category Archives: iBooks

Creating a 1984 Companion eBook

Claire Barrett of the Bedford Girls’ School English Department is a busy, innovative teacher who likes to keep me equally occupied! Over half term I created an eBook to support the students studying 1984. It is a book I admit I’d only heard an abridged radio play of, so this gave me the opportunity to read it properly while I was completing the work. Timely reading …!

BGS Book Updates

Here are a selection of book updates made for Bedford Girls’ School. I tweet these out from @BGS_DigitalC

A-Level Psychology by Paula Harrold with iTunes U

Paula Harrold’s A-Level Psychology Research Methods guide is one of the longest books published at Bedford Girls’ School. It’s been downloaded by several schools and teachers around the UK. In response to student feedback regarding the BookWidgets widgets, I created an iTunes U course to accompany the course with Google Docs templates to assist the students to take notes. The course and the iTunes U edit of the book are currently only internally available, but by request can be extended to other schools.

Internal Book Updates Galore

Not all the Bedford Girls’ School books we create are suitable for external publication. This is mostly due to referencing internal docs, the fact they support iTunes U courses and because they are designed specifically for a need within school. We are trying to publish more for external use, but it often requires a lot more planning and consideration to write for a broader audience. Here are a selection of insights into some of the non-public books at BGS. If you are intrigued by one, do get in touch.

Year 9 Projects 2018, Published

In Year 9 at Bedford Girls’ School, the girls all undertake a personal project for exhibition in the summer term. There is a day set aside to kick start things and then they work hard to put everything together. I set aside hours in my calendar to turn around a quick project book in time for the exhibition – laying out their written projects and other digital medium in a book which is published internally. A slightly slimmer version is then published to the iTunes Bookstore.

Impact of iPad at KS2

Charlotte Martin is a KS2 teacher at Bedford Girls School. As part of a masters, she conducted research into the use of 1:1 iPad at BGS with Science in Key Stage 2. Read the abstract below, and read the research as an Apple Book, which I laid out and published on behalf of Charlotte and BGS. Download the research here.


After more than half a century of research into the use of technology and its benefit to education, the argument for how it should be used, within the classroom, continues. As this research will go on to discuss, educators need to be aware that children entering school, at any age, will arrive with a varying degree of skills. In a digital age, most children will have had access to technology and as educationalists we therefore need to embrace the opportunities that technology presents, to ensure pupils are prepared for a universally-connected world.

Sangster, M (2015) suggests that tablets enable children to respond immediately and take greater risk in their learning. The ability to undo work empowers pupils to make mistakes and take risks. She confirms that: “It becomes possible to begin exploring and experimenting with little provisional planning, allowing ideas to be tested and develop more organically.” Sangster, M, (2015, p. 84)

This research was completed in the Junior School of an independent day school and set out to examine how the use of tablets in Year 4 Science impacted the teaching and learning. It was driven by the lack of research undertaken in primary schools in the UK, into the use of tablets in teaching and learning, and their beneficial effect on education.

Questionnaires were delivered to all Year Four pupils during their final lesson of the Spring Term (March 2016), in anticipation of the pilot that would be carried out during the first half of Summer Term. The aim of the questionnaire was to investigate their perceptions of Science and how it was taught before seeing whether they would anticipate benefitting from tablet use. 

Once the pilot had been executed, a second round of questionnaires was delivered with the aim of examining whether the pupils’ perception of how Science was taught had altered, and whether they felt they had benefitted from tablet use. 

From the outcome and analysis of the questionnaires, a focus group interview was conducted with a sample of 5 children (numbers 3, 5, 8, 13 and 16 in the class register) from Class 2. 

Finally, semi-structured interviews were performed with the two Year 4 Science teachers, to ascertain their planning techniques for the use of tablets, how they felt Science is taught and whether they felt the children benefited from tablet use in Science.

Animating Multi-touch Books with Keynote and iBooks Author

Since Academy, I have been on the lookout for a good multi-touch book project to use animation effectively within. A GCSE PE project has given me multiple opportunities to illustrate – from movements of the joints to the way blood moves through the heart and planes and axes.

I use a lot of vector art, which I draw straight into iBooks Author since it is so quick and effective. (I draw in Keynote too, but by drawing into iBA directly, it is retained as a shape, editable, and is retained as xml so is incredibly lightweight.)

To give you an idea of how this looks in the book, I exported a couple of videos:

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. 


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.

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

Apple Distinguished Educator 2017! #ADE2017

I’m in!

I let out an excited squeal when the email arrived from California. I’d just got home from school where I’d been working solidly in the Easter holiday peace when it arrived (us Digital Design Creators still toil while corridors fall quiet).

With only 9 months of work behind me when I made my 2 minute pitch video, I thought I was an outsider.

Still not come down from the ceiling – what a Monday!!


I had the pleasure of taking part in the second Harpur Teach Meet today. Our Teach Meets are open to staff within the Trust, and it’s good to meet people from our sibling schools. This time it was our turn to host.

This was my first ever Teach Meet, and the format was strictly 3 minute presentations! Both a long or a short time depending on what you chose to talk about.

There were some fantastic talks from how to engage students to explore their literature study, to feedback reflection, nature photography, spaced learning and a live demo of Kahoot!

I chose to speak about multi-touch books and their use in creating flexible learning materials.

My plan was to create my presentation as a book and use Air Server to present, but even technologically adept schools such as BGS occasionally have their hiccups. I used Quicktime instead to record my iPad screen as I interacted with the book, capturing the iPad’s speaking and other interactive items. This meant my presentation was bang on 3 minutes, but I had to try and match my words to my previously recorded interactions! In retrospect it probably needed more rehearsal, so in my growth mindset – not there yet.