Category Archives: iPads

The BGS Christmas Hunt!

I like a good puzzle and to stretch the lateral thinking of my students a little (not a lot, it is almost Christmas…) They’re itching to fidget and love something a bit different, so December brought the first BGS Christmas Hunt. Around the school I dotted QR codes with clues as to where the next code was, and also some challenges to complete along the way.

Organised into teams with punny Christmas names, they shot off to try and be first to complete all the challenges, hunting in all unusual parts of school.

Thoughts for next time, don’t start all the groups in the same place as they follow or stalk each other.

Apple Distinguished Schools Summit 2018

Back again for another year at the Apple Distinguished Schools Summit. This time down south and not on my own. Behind the scenes I have been very busy completing and tweaking the latest edition of the Bedford Girls’ School Apple Distinguished School story in Apple Book format. We were very pleased to be confirmed as an Apple Distinguished School for 2018-2021 (three years this time!) and came away with a shiny framed certificate and new banner.

It was great to catch up with friends new and old from other Apple Distinguished Schools, particularly our friends from Alderley Edge School for Girls who had visited us not so long ago to inform their own application to become an Apple Distinguished School.

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.

#ClassroomClips at the Science Museum

It’s always good to extend your STEM wings with other departments. I was invited along to join Year 8 at London’s Science Museum by the Bedford Girls’ School Maths Department. Apple’s Clips app was the perfect tool to create a summary video for our school’s marketing department to tweet.

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:

Using Apple’s Clips App with Girlguiding

I run a Guide unit each week in a church hall. It’s about as low-tech as I can get in comparison to the day-job, but I think in a way that’s a good thing. When you have a classroom full of students with iPads, it can occasionally make you forget how to approach things unplugged.

Girlguiding is currently changing the programme (loosely, the curriculum) nationally for all units, which is a very positive step. It last changed significantly when I was still at the age to be one of my Guides. This means they are testing activities, refining the offering for this summer. The girls in my unit chose to try out a shadow puppet storytelling activity. As one can’t watch a performance when you’re in it, we recorded their progress just like the students in my classroom might independently with their iPad.

I compiled a summary of what they got up to using Apple’s Clips App, and then tweeted it. Members of the programme team were delighted to see.

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.