OneNote gets handwriting on iPad … Finally!

Finally it’s here! Microsoft has finally added handwriting to OneNote on iPad. After keeping it for Windows only devices, it was released on Android and now it has made its way to iOS.

Obviously as it’s iPad you have to use a capacitive touch stylus or you can use your finger to write. It was quite easy to do and handwriting wasn’t too bad. Up to now I’ve been using NotesPlus (paid app) which includes the excellent MyScript handwriting recognition.

It also includes OCR text search of images that are inserted, although it takes up to 5 minutes per image for any text be recognised and indexed.

Notes can be saved either to OneDrive or OneDrive for Business so you can keep all your notes in sync and switch between your iPhone, iPad and Windows devices.

If you’re used to using a stylus to write on OneNote on a Windows device (as I am for work), it does take a little getting used to but very quickly my handwriting improved to be something which is passable and I could share with others without complete embarrassment.

I use the excellent Bamboo stylus on my iPad which can be purchased as either a Solo stylus (capacitive touch stylus only) or the Duo stylus (which has a regular pen on one end for use on paper and the capacitive touch on the other end).  Many have also recommended the Pencil stylus from FiftyThree available in either gold, walnut or graphite.

So download the update from the App Store now and start writing on your iPad straightaway using OneNote.

#movemeon book

lrg-buyordownloadI’m always amazed when people do something for nothing! From sharing a useful link on twitter to a whole scheme of work on a blog, it makes everyone’s life a little easier and shares best practice.

When Doug Belshaw mooted the idea of #movemeon the twitter community was engaged immediately and hundreds of great teaching tips came flooding in.

Doug and I have worked hard to collate these into a format that is easier to digest and it is now available to buy for a physical copy or download FREE OF CHARGE!

The PDF is available for free download:

The book is available at cost price:

Badges to promote the book are at:
(no need for CC attribution, etc.)

EyePet – just good fun or more than that?

The concept of the digital pet is not a new one and they were all the rage in the mid to late 90s.  Now Sony have brought the digital pet back for the modern audience but is it really that different?  We purchased the EyePet to have a go with interesting findings including how a 2.5yr old child deals with it.
TamagotchiEarly Digital Pets

The Tamagotchi was launched in 1996 by Bandai and took the world by a storm.  This keychain sized pet needed regular care and attention and eventually got sick and died if the attention was not forthcoming.  Many Tamagotchi are now dearly departed but the virtual pet was a massive success as Bandai have released 44 versions and had sold 70 million units as of 2008.

Around the same time Ubisoft launched Dogz and Catz, which eventually became part of the Petz franchise of games.



NintendogsFast forward ten years and Nintendo capitalised on the success of the DS console and launched Nintendogs.  The user trained and cared for their dog using a combination of the touch screen and the microphone (to give voice commands). 

This was a successful move for Nintendo and helped push the DS to a wide audience with the bundled Nintendogs application.



EyePetAlmost five years later and SCEE and London Studios have released the EyePet for the PS3.  The EyePet uses a combination of augmented reality, audio input and motion detection to create an engaging and rich experience of having a pet in your living room without having to clean up the poop.

The EyePet is a fictional oviparous species (it hatches from an egg) but looks like a cross between a monkey and a mogwai (search for Gremlins released in1984 kids!)  So immediately the temptation is to name him/her Gizmo but we called ours Herbie.  So what do you go through to get your own happy little Herbie running round your living room floor.

You need the Sony PlayStation Eye which you set up according to instructions from the helpful scientist who talks you through the process of setting up your room, lighting and camera to create the optimum conditions.  You end up with an egg which you have to hatch by rocking it back and forth.  Eventually your EyePet will hatch and the fun starts.

Trampoline TimeI won’t ruin it by giving too much away but you have daily challenges and training exercises to get you used to caring for your pet.  When you complete these you earn gifts, toys and styling options to customise your EyePet and keep him/her happy! 

By launching the game you are entering into a commitment to look after the little fellow; you have to play with him, feed him, wash him and scan him to ensure he is medically fit and mentally stable. 

The level of user interaction is very good and there are a number of activities that are very clever including teaching your EyePet to draw by drawing a picture and showing it to the PlayStation Eye, singing into the microphone so he can learn to sing and using the “magic card” (augmented reality bit) that allows you to play games.  There are also some nice little touches like his memories and dreams that show actual footage of you playing with him.


Who’s it for?

I considered the uses of the EyePet and think there is potential for use in the classroom as part of a scheme of work as there are valid learning points with respect to caring for an animal, responsibility, commitment and health/wellbeing of an animal. 

I wondered what age groups would be able to deal with the concept of a virtual pet scampering around their carpet and how they would react with something that wasn’t really there but I was surprised to find that a 2.5 year old child was able to deal with this conceptually.



Here are a small sample of activities with the EyePet.

Stroking the EyePet

Teaching the EyePet to draw


Taking a shower

Scanning the EyePet to check health

Trampoline Fun

Using the Magic Pen

Styling the EyePet

Bowling with the EyePet

EyePet Dreams

Naughty EyePet

The great BIG netbook competition

lenovo_s10I’ve been absent for the last month … absent from twitter, facebook and my blog. All of my ‘gained time’ from the departure of Year 11 and Year 13 has been taken up with an exciting project for my school. The great BIG netbook competition!

We (like many other schools) don’t have enough provision for ICT and the pressure is increasing. A potential way forward for us is for students to have their own netbooks. We managed to secure funding to buy approximately 100 netbooks for a pilot to see how it works and to find whether it is worth a major financial investment a little further down the line.

We decided that we would give a class set of netbooks to a teacher to use all day every day with their classes but we were really interested in what would happen if we gave netbooks to students to use at school in all their lessons and take home at the end of the day.

So we decided we would give a set to a tutor group who are currently in Year 7 and another group in Year 8 in September 2009 (when they are in Year 8 and 9 respectively) but we have fourteen tutor groups in Year 7 and fourteen in Year 8 so how do we decide who gets them? This is where the great netbook competition comes into it.

We decided we would run a competition where groups would work together to demonstrate why they should get the netbooks. We put the idea to a panel of Year 10 students to help us decide how the competition would work. They came up with a points based competition which tested them as individuals and as a group. So the competition was as follows …

Individual Challenge
Register for Moodle and log in on five different days (5 points)
Post five different messages in the forums (10 points)
Have 95% attendance for the month of the competition (10 points)
* an average was calculated and then multiplied by 10 to get a maximum tutor group score of 250 points.

Group Challenge
Two equipment checks as a tutor group with a maximum score of 50 points for each check.
Maximum score – 100 points

The Pitch
Tutor groups to pitch to a panel of judges why their group should win the netbooks.
Maximum score – 200 points

Competition Handbook
Download the competition handbook

So the competition was launched at the start of June and the atmosphere was electric. The Moodle usage went up from 200 registered users to 1500 registered users. The forums went from 22 threads to ~1800 threads … and the conversations were fascinating! The Moodle effect spread from Year 7 and 8 students to their siblings higher up in the school.

It wasn’t without a struggle! To ensure equality, all of the equipment checks were carried out by one person. 56 equipment checks covering 850 students was extremely time consuming and the communication with 28 tutors was sometimes a bit of a struggle and the message didn’t always get through.

The positives

These students produced AMAZING pitches! They were innovative and we learned a great deal about what our students think about ICT at the school.

Moodle now kicks ass! Students love it and they see it as a valuable social networking tool for school. The educational content is growing on there and they see the educational ‘stuff’ as a bonus and actually use it and then discuss it in the forums.

So what now?

We ran the competition and two brilliant groups won the netbooks. They will receive them in September when they get back for the new academic year. We now need to train their teachers, generate ideas for how they will be used, look at access to Internet in lessons and how this can be controlled, deal with behaviour issues, deal with forgotten netbooks, deal with broken netbooks and see how the wireless network fares with a concentration of laptops in one place!

I can’t wait!

TeachMeet Gran Canaria

Although I unfortunately couldn’t be in Gran Canaria for Kevin’s TeachMeet GC, I did send a video for my presentation so he could show it.

I covered two things I use in the classroom and outside of the classroom in extra-curricular clubs.  The first one was Weebly which is a online website editor/creator and the second was Atmosphir, an amazing free games creator!

Check out my video below.  It’s hosted on YouTube so if that’s blocked at your school it won’t appear below and you’ll be left wondering what’s going on!  Sorry.