Raspberry Pi Course

Posted in Physical Computing, Programming

Yesterday I ran a course at the DTC in Bury. The course involves staff and their digital leaders coming down to the training centre in Bury; it went down well with everyone- I think! The content of the course is to look at Raspberry Pi computers, we look at the components and the basic software on the device.

Within the course we looked at Scratch, Sonic Pi and Minecraft- all three are available for free with the NOOBS package. Scratch is the programming software that allows you to make animations or games. Sonic Pi is an exciting programming software that lets the user sequence blocks of music so that in the end you can make a song in a similar way to a music producer- definitely ticking of STEM targets. As for Minecraft, in short it is a ‘sandbox’ game which allows you to create anything you can imagine using blocks.

I’ve put together a quick video using iMovie (the password is Raspberry):

Raspberry Pi Course from Adam Chase on Vimeo.

Here is a sound recording of a song we collectively made using Sonic Pi, all the children are 7-10:

Here is a review of a Raspberry Pi by a 10 year old girl:

That’s it really, if you are interested in learning a bit more about Raspberry Pi’s  check out:




My Top Ten Classroom Apps

Posted in Apps for AfL, Apps for Learning

I was having a discussion with a colleague this week around how technology and classroom practice develop over time. Further, we talked about how there are certain apps that can perform the same job as another strategy, but they can do it cheaper or easier. For me this is vital for classroom usage- technology should save time or money; otherwise they can become difficult to maintain. So here are my top ten apps for the classroom.


Padlet Mindmap tool

Padlet Mindmap tool

Padlet is a mind-mapping tool with a difference, by switching on Airplay on their iPad users can collaborate in real time. I like to use this at the beginning and end of a topic to gauge children’s understanding. Also, if you just want to gauge the understanding of a group of very quickly then this can be an ideal tool to do it.


Drag up from the bottom to find Airplay.



Music can be a powerful tool in helping people to remember facts, this can especially be true with children. This is how Ditty can be of use in the classroom. To use the app all you do is type a message of up to 50 characters, choose a tune and it becomes transformed into a ‘ditty’. I have used this in the class to help children with quick facts or an instruction like ‘could you quietly tidy up? ’ this is sure you grab your children’s attention!



Stop Motion Studio

If you ever want to create movies similar to Wallace and Gromit then this is the app to do it. Create beautiful stop motion animated movies anywhere instantly on your device. Everything you need at your fingertips. No computer needed. It’s simple to use, it’s incredibly powerful most importantly with a bit of pedagogical knowledge it has the potential to tie in with almost any theme you might be covering.


Do Ink Green Screen

doinkThere are a few green screen apps available on the market but the one I prefer is Greenscreen by Doink. In my opinion it is the best one available – especially as I would prefer for the children to be in charge of the editing the video.  The task of doing this is simple you place a video that has been recorded using the camera app onto the first bar, next you can either place another video in the middle bar and finally in the lowest bar you can place your background image.



QR Reader

qr readerA QR (quick response) code is just like a bar code that we are all so familiar with. An app like QR Reader scans the QR code and then presents some information which could be a number of things:

  • Web Address
  • Email Address
  • Sound clip
  • Text
  • Twitter profile
  • Coordinates



imovieThese days there are lots of video editing apps that are available both for a tablet and a PC, however the child-friendly layout of iMovie takes some beating! You open the app and can either create a trailer, which allows you to physically place videos and pictures into a set template, or create a movie without a template. With the trailers there are 12 different templates that give a ‘Hollywood’ sheen to your clips. Further, as it has quite a child-friendly layout, your class can quickly navigate themselves around it and make some very effective videos.




audioboomAudioBoom is an app for recording and sharing your voice with the world. This free version allows you to create audio up to 3 minutes in length and post that to your own account on the web. You can add titles, tags, geographical location and a photo to the recording before you upload it. Also, it is worth noting that if you go on the desktop version of the website you can print QR codes of these sound recordings or embed onto a website.




plickersPlickers allows you to poll your class for free, without the need for student devices. Just give each child in your class a card (“paper clicker”), and use your iPhone/ iPad to scan them to do instant checks-for-understanding, exit tickets, and impromptu polls. Best of all, your data is automatically saved, student-by-student, at plickers.com. The app on your device can read the orientation of the child’s plicker and can then interpret it in an easy to understand form for the teacher.




classdojoClassDojo is a bit of a global phenomenon, essentially it is a behaviour management app. Quite handily it is available on the desktop to be shown during lessons and to review afterwards, pupils and parents can also download the app to review your pupils’ behaviour progress throughout the week. ClassDojo relies on positive (add points) and negative reinforcement (take them away but give them back) and I have found it to be very effective in the classroom.


Book Creator

book creatorBook Creator is an app that allows you to place text, videos, audio and images in a book layout, when completed this can be exported in iBooks and even published to the iBookstore. In my opinion this app is quite powerful, as it allows children to combine multiple parts of their learning about a particular theme into one piece of work; which demonstrate curriculum and technological skills.



In summary, I hope this helps some of you these are just some core apps that I find useful on a weekly basis. In the future, I will be doing more in depth blog posts about each of the apps; with helpful pictures and videos to help you get started with them. There are so many apps out these days that are constantly being developed, so I will also be covering subject areas such as assessment, digital literacy and maths.

Marvelous Minecraft

Posted in Minecraft

Fairly recently I did the unthinkable, I invited Minecraft into my lessons- and I haven’t looked back. Like many teachers I had often overheard the incessant whispering or ‘Steve’, ‘Creepers’, ‘Villagers’ and ‘Pigs’ and I had decided it was enough! I was going to sort out this Minecraft thing once and for all!

It was at this point that I looked into Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi, this comes with the ‘Noobs’ software (available at: https://www.raspberrypi.org/). After a few hours of getting used to the controls I could see the potential. So I thought I would test the waters a bit by exploiting the children’s love of this ‘sandbox game’ in explanation texts. They would explain to this novice (aka me) the different features of the game, controls, how to play, getting started and even what it is. Heck they might even make some progress! Win win!

Within a week, I had some excellent writing from the children in my Year 5 (age 9-10) class, which they were incredibly engaged with, as they were ‘the experts’. Also, I then decided to continue with this thread of enthusiasm by using Minecraft in Topic as we needed to design an Anglo-Saxon village; I must say I was impressed. Within twenty minutes, every child in my class had created a house, with rooms inside and fashioned their own windows (no glass allowed). I can’t wait to continue to use more Minecraft and technology in my lessons and I am sure the children agree with this.

To sum up, this digital building block game has been a gift to my lessons. I have enjoyed even more engagement from my class and this has led to a deeper understanding, which they can take home and practise whilst playing on their games. More importantly, the children really enjoyed this! Granted I may not do this for every lesson and yes Minecraft does have some pitfalls such as growing crops in saltwater? However, hopefully the children will go home and switch on the goggle box and make the connection that they explained to the ‘philistine’ of a teacher what Minecraft is and how it is played.

Perhaps they will create a pyramid when we cover Ancient Egypt, or a rainforest when we learn about the amazon, or even a replica of the Indus Valley! Who knows! What I do know for certain is without creating an opportunity for these connections it definitely won’t happen.

Here is a video by @thecommonpeople , from time-to-time I look here for great ideas this one I found is a parody of the tiger who came to tea. Adam Clarke has lots of great ideas on his Youtube channel, from getting started and controls to lesson ideas.


So what? What are the next steps? Well knowing how gifted my children at designing and building these digital models I could write a description of an area and see if the children could recreate it using inference and deductive skills. I could use Minecraft to inspire some writing. My pupils could create a scene from their favourite book, favourite monument around the world, or even build a perimeter and area problem for their friends to solve. I must be honest, and I know it sounds somewhat cheesy-pie but the possibilities are endless for the curriculum. The more I type the more I can think of ways this game of digital building blocks could be utilised in the classroom. Also, with the recent developments of Microsoft buying Minecraft and the educational version MincraftEdu I’m sure there will be developments over the next few months.

Our week of Minecraft:

For more ideas of how Minecraft has been used in the classroom you can view:

Mr Parkinson’s Blog: http://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Minecraft

@MattPEducation ‘s Blog which shows English and Maths strands and how they can be achieved. http://5tanfieldlea.weebly.com/blog/minecraft-literacy-and-numeracy

Lego WeDo Course

Posted in Lego, Physical Computing, Programming

In the course we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Lego® WeDo in the classroom. We cover the hardware of Lego® WeDo and how teachers can use it- I’ll be honest I lose a lot of the teachers and children during this part. Then, we look at the software and an introduction to what you can do with it. Quite handily the software guides you through the building of a project you choose from twelve different options.

Following that, the software then holds your hand on programming using the purpose-built Lego® programming software. Both children and staff from schools came on this course and they all enjoyed it! For me it demonstrates a different way to programme which is good for students to experience. Also, it gives the idea of programming and robotics a creative twist!

For more details see:


Or you can follow me on: Mr_The_Chase

More about courses:


Learning with Lego from Adam Chase on Vimeo.

The Password is: Lego

My First Post.

Posted in Blogging, Education

I was on a course earlier in the year and was lucky enough to hear both @redgierob and @ICT_MrP, who both led a brilliant course about learning with Technology and how it can benefit Literacy/English. Lee Parkinson, also suggested that having your own personal blog is a brilliant way to develop yourself, so here goes nothing!

This year I have been lucky enough to join Bury LA Leading Teachers, who are a group of teachers chosen to run courses at the Development and Training Centre as well as in schools. As the Computing co-ordinator for coming up to two years, the Head encouraged me to take up this opportunity, which is great for me to share my interests and also for me to benefit from the interests of others. I am a big believer that the quality of learning will always be better when you have a teacher who is passionate about the subject.

My role this year was to encourage the passion I have for creative programming onto others. This year I have taught programming to mixed courses of teachers and children, these include:

  • Raspberry Pi- these are a credit card sized computer. On the Raspberry Pi website you can get ideas, inspiration and even the software for the Raspberry Pi.
  • Lego ® WeDo – which uses a Lego® bricks as hardware and then you can program with either Scratch or Lego’s own software that they have created.

The journey has been a really enjoyable one so far. I am halfway through my second half term and loving my role. The enthusiasm and engagement from the children and staff carries on to be overwhelming.
My main goals for the year are as follows:

  • Continue set up of class blog’s (Yr-Y6) and try to use this blog to showcase children’s work. and hopefully by providing an audience see an impact on the children’s learning.
  • Branch my interests and experience further into iPads so that I can develop this interest with others.
  • Deliver courses in other areas.

If interested in anything I’ve said please visit: