Skip to main content

Welcome to the Basecamp

We call the initial immersion day for our Star Classroom programme "Basecamp" - because (and forgive the cliche) if the development and sharing of best practice in using IT in the classroom and to engage and support teachers, parents and students inside and outside the room is climbing a mountain, this training is not about carrying people up the slope, it is about getting them to the starting point well equipped and supported and ready to get climbing! In week one we've worked with eighteen teachers from nine different academies, some of whom have already had our new "standard" classroom set up installed.

Basecamp is about 10% to do with how to use the equipment in the room (the remote control takes a few minutes to master of course) but much more about sharing how the current good practice that led the teachers to be asked to join the programme can adapt to it, and the opportunities to  develop new approaches.

All of the materials used are accumulating on a public web page - (many of the videos though are behind a login, for various reasons - please let us know if there is a particular one you'd like us to move over to a public server).

We now have an official logo!
The day breaks into three sections. The first is the simplest and most obvious - making sure everyone can use the screen (both with and without the PC that is mounted behind it) and the various peripherals - and if they have anything else in their classroom already, they know where to connect it and how and taking delivery of their iPad in "Ben's Grotto" and ensuring it is all configured and apps can be installed from our in-house app collection.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when you let a group of people loose with things they discover features and tools you either hadn't picked up on, or didn't think anyone would care about. For example, when using the screen with its built in basic Android system, it's possible to call up the image from the main computer (and indeed a visualiser if you have one connected) and have them picture in picture to annotate using the pen.

Secondly we spent time on content creation - with a focus on using the iPad for one group of people, and using the "big screen" with the other. Tools for rapid content creation like Office Mix or Active Presenter, which enable you to take existing material and add voiceover and annotation before packaging the results into a movie you can share (through your class web TV channel of course) offer a very low-friction/ low hassle way to make material available to students in a simple way.

Finally we focused on methods to share resources with students including OneNote Class Notebook and Google Classroom.

One week down, five to go! Many thanks to the colleagues that made this week so enjoyable and interesting - and to Charles Read and Malcolm Arnold Academies that hosted the workshops.


Popular posts from this blog

Jamboard - New Tool

Jamboard has been around for a while as a high-end piece of digital office furniture from Google but the software is now part of G-Suite and therefore available to all users.

Staff or students can either go to for the web version (which is really only useful for viewing and sharing boards) or use the iOS app available on the Self-Service store.

What Jamboard provides is a lovely app to pull different kinds of documents from Google Drive or web pages, move and resize them and annotate over the top with different pen tools or a number of icons.

I plan to do a couple of blog posts about Jamboard in the coming days - one about the whole premise behind this kind of software and other comparing it to what up to now have been my go-to pieces of software, Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote.

If you'd like to see what Jamboard looks like in action, this (staged) teacher demonstration from Tom Mullaney gives a good overview.

OneNote and Google Drive in Harmony

Many of our staff use OneNote well and happily, as well as being a great place to keep everything for a topic in one place presented visually and annotated (in many ways better than with a specialist interactive board app) it is useful to share what you have had on the big screen with your class with a single link.

Most also use Google Drive as the main place they keep all their files to collaborate, share resources and work on them from anywhere.

When word reached us that Brendan Brannigan from Bringhurst Primary School had combined the two and now works on his OneNote files at home and school using Google Drive we asked to make a guide for colleagues - this video (also available on, login required) is the result.

I must admit, after watching it I had a "why on earth hadn't I thought of this?" moment - there is absolutely nothing wrong with OneDrive which is where OneNote prefers to live, but it is one more thing to worry about.

Now all I have to do is work out…

Welcome to

It's been a year since I started my role as an eLearning Lead with DRET, and what a year it's been! I've had the opportunity to lead on, and participate in, lots of training sessions, while visiting many classrooms and working with a host of talented teachers. It's incredible how you can show one example of how to use something new in the classroom, and subsequently see it being used and adapted a further dozen ways by different teachers. Throughout the year our team has been keeping notes on some of the best ideas we've come across, and we want to be able to share these ideas with everyone; thus, was born. is essentially a scrapbook of ideas in one website. You can search for particular tools or areas of development you are interested in learning more about, and see how other teachers have used these tools to make a difference in their classrooms. There are also other resources, such as how-to guides, training videos, and useful lin…