Active Inspire- A true Inspiration!

This week our Lovely Sam, from the Teaching & Learning team delivered an excellent session on how to use Active Inspire on the new Promethean boards we will have in our new build.

So what’s the rush? well…It is official we have 5 days left in the old building- a mix of sadness and excitement for any of us who have been here a few years! But it is time for a new adventure and we are certainly more prepared than we ever expected to be!


Sam helped show us that ActivInspire helps teachers bring lessons to life with rich, powerful activities that grab students’ attention, blending real-time assessment and real-world experience into the learning process.

There are 100s of reasons why you should use Active Inpsire in the classroom- And here are a few to get you feeling a little more confident and technologically aware…


Within this Playlist of videos you can learn basic elements such as using the toolbar, uploading and writing over PDFs, using the spotlight, magic ink and an array of exciting tools to bring your lessons alive!

Here are some of the ideas Sam showed us at Butterfly this week:


Everyone’s worry, everyone has I am sure had a panic about this- but fear not! The years and hours of planning lessons and SOW are safe- and can be used- but in an even better way!

Simply upload or convert to PDF and annotate until your heart is content- trust us it really does bring the lesson off the page/ screen and gives you so many opportunities to stretch and Challenge your learners. No two lessons will ever be the same again!

Variety is of course the spice of life!


Personally, this such a great tool ( if like me your handwriting could be better) With the ipad, at times, handwriting isn’t always clear- it depends on a few factors, stylus pens and the quality of them being the most impacting. However, with Active inspire you have the freedom to write on the board, and with one highlight and click, it is converted, in an instant to text- no more “Miss what does that say?”


With Sam being one of our amazing Art teachers, it was lovely to see the variety of tools she can already use on Active Inspire- and demonstrate the learning power these simple tools can have. Magic Ink is something very different and the kids love it! It could definitely be used in every subject and could be used as engaging starters or plenaries- give it a try! (the video explains how to use it!)


Lastly- the support you receive through Promethean Planet is out of this world-especially if you are a science teacher- you are very lucky- 1000s of resources and lessons ready, made and waiting for you to download and use! Go on have a browse this weekend!

Active Inspire has definitely Inspired us this week and having walked the new building yesterday, I know for a fact, staff at Westfield Academy are ready and patiently waiting to use these new ICT skills and become and technology Wizz kids in the classroom!

As always, any questions Please just ask.




Butterfly #5 The Secret Success of Socrative!

Our ICT knowledge is expanding by the week, and the staff body at Westfield Academy are really getting stuck in and experimenting with new ways to create exciting, interesting and engaging FL strategies. Butterfly CPD sessions have never been so well-attended and there is definitely a buzz of excitement in the air! imag0983Socrative is your classroom app for fun, effective classroom engagement. No matter where or how you teach, Socrative allows you to instantly connect with students as learning happens.

What does this app do?

Quickly assess students with prepared activities or on-the-fly questions to get immediate insight into student understanding. Then use auto-populated results to determine the best instructional approach to most effectively drive learning.

Why do we love it?


Design and edit your own library of assessments specifically for your students. Save them to your Socrative account to use at a moment’s notice.


Look how enthusiastic and competitive our staff are at the General Knowledge quiz!



Review student understanding at the class, individual student, or question-level. And, because each Socrative report is saved to your account, you can quickly download, email, or transfer reports to Google Drive anytime.


This personally is why I LOVE Socrative! marking and AFL in lesson and at home has never been so easy- instant reports sent to your email- instant marking-instant feedback!


Launch activities in easy-to-create virtual rooms to instantly engage your students, whether they’re in class or learning remotely. Share the unique code to ask students to join your room.


Space Races

Encourage friendly competition among students with an intergalactic quiz bowl. Turn any gradable assessment into a crowd-pleasing activity as individuals or groups race across the screen with correct answers. Celebrations guaranteed.

imag0988Our staff were so engaged at 8am on Tuesday morning- imagine what results this kind of testing could have with your classes!! Healthy competition in an engaging and stimulating environment leads to rapid and sustained progress- you need socrative in your life!


Look at Miss Vincent and Miss Larkin after they won the space race- a picture of absolute joy and success!🙂


Visualize student understanding in the moment as student results populate your screen in real time. Use the instant feedback to determine next steps in your instruction.



Live results were posted as the quiz was completed- the staff were able to share in their success and learn from their mistakes- the perfect feedback and plenary to our butterfly. This can really change the Peer and self assessment tools you use in your classroom and gives pupils a  better insight into how they can increase their confidence and ability.

We love it at Westfield Academy, and cannot wait to get stuck in, in our new build and use it daily, as part of our new ICT toolkit.

Please feel free to share your experiences and any other AFL apps you use- Our fantastic PE teacher, Mr Murphy has also Trialled Kahoot and loved it- more to come on that soon!🙂






Butterfly #4 It really does ‘Explain Everything’



6 months later and the ICT team are feeling very confident and impressed by all the new skills we have learned- we are so ready for the new build and the exciting prospects and challenges which lie before us. This week our fantastic head of literacy Jodie Vincent, presented our Butterfly session on the amazing app ( or so we think) Explain Everything.



Of all the applications and new software, I think I can speak for us as a collective group- We LOVE THIS APP!

Explain Everything, we feel has really changed the way we teach at Westfield Academy. Lessons have become pupil-led and the progress pupils make has become more and more an absolute focus of the lesson. Peer and self assessment has become so much more fruitful and impacting on pupils’ awareness of start and end points and enables them to  visually see their next steps to ensure maximum progress.

So How does the App work?

Teachers are using Explain Everything for both live and video-based instructional delivery. They prepare materials in advance or start from a blank canvas. Teachers also create projects and activity templates that are shared with students to work and build upon.

Students are creating rich artefacts of understanding with Explain Everything. Screencasts and other content created with Explain Everything become multimedia representations that can capture both the process and product of a learning experience. Students are creating tutorials, animations, and presentations — sharing ideas and becoming “teachers” themselves. They are working with project activities, collaborating in real-time, and sharing and publishing their work.

Explain Everything fits into any teaching and learning environment, with a variety of import and export integrations and connections including popular services like Google Apps for Education, iCloud, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and more. Explain Everything comes with its own cloud-based sharing platform as well. Leverage the open sharing community on Explain Everything Discover to get inspired, to download and remix public projects, and to let others access your creations with a single link.

Explain Everything Discover also allows private, closed-community sharing within a group or institution.

(information sourced from )
Jodie showed the group how she uses the App to teach science- for Example How the Sun travels- she then asked a group of science and PE to use the App and demonstrate o the group how they could use this in their lesson- Watch how focused and determined they are!
The top three reasons we, as a teaching & Learning Group Love the app:

Draw and Annotate

Explain Everything has unique drawing algorithms that make your drawings and annotations look great, regardless of what you use – finger or stylus. It also gives the ability to freely arrange your creations as every drawing and annotation can be moved, scaled, rotated, grouped, and flipped.

Import Photos, Videos, and Files

Insert and edit pictures, explain videos, work with documents, and presentation files. Thanks to Explain Everything’s wide support of multimedia files you can insert virtually any type of  content that’s fully interactive. Connect to your cloud storage and have them at your fingertips.

Move, Interact, and Record

The engaging power of Explain Everything comes from the ability to interact with every object. Whether it’s a video, drawing, text, or web browser it can be moved, rotated, and scaled. When recording all these interactions are recorded as well giving you the ability to create exciting, animated projects.

Being able to record class speeches involvement and discussion helps teachers reflect and adapt their lessons- it is reflective teaching at its best!

Trust us- it is the bees knees!!

Think together using Explain Everything

Over 3.5 million users build and share ideas with Explain Everything, the most advanced interactive screencasting whiteboard on the market. Now, ideas can be built and shared collaboratively in real-time using Explain Everything’s open-ended platform*.

With Explain Everything, users can work in small groups leveraging their talents and developing areas for growth. Work on the same slide view, on different sections of the same slides, or on different slides all while recording interactions and audio.

 Any questions, as always – feel free to drop me an email or come and see it in action!


#3 Take a dive into the unknown with Splashtop Classroom and whiteboard


Splashtop Classroom

Splashtop Classroom allows teachers to share their desktop and applications. Once connected, students can view, control and annotate over lesson content directly from their mobile device. Splashtop Classroom is perfect for teachers and instructors that want to engage the entire room!

Why we think it is great?

Share anything. Instantly. In real time.

Share anything. Instantly. In real time. Share ANY application – even streaming video. No need to reformat content for mobile devices. No need to upload documents ahead of time. Keynote, PowerPoint, Websites, Word documents, FLASH Videos, Online Quizzes…

Turn your mobile device into an interactive whiteboard

Set the toolbar to draw, highlight or write over any content. Draw over flipchart backgrounds – or include your own worksheets. Use the spotlight and screen shade tools to keep students focused.

Teach from all four corners of the classroom

Connect to the class PC/Mac from your mobile device. Get out from behind your desk and improve classroom management and student attention.

› Bring the lesson to the student

It enables teachers to tailor the lesson to the individual- amazing for differentiating and supporting gifted and Talented with extension tasks and 1-1 support with lower ability. No more printing of 5 different worksheets!!

› Supports hundreds of teachers and students

The more confident you become at using this fantastic technology, the easier your life will become as a teacher. Marking, adapting and reflecting on progress over time will be so simple and effortless.

Information sourced from

Putting our staff to the test!


This week at Butterfly , Chloe and I, decided to show the staff the real impact of the Splashtop software, by getting them to become pupils (even just for 15mins).

First up was a little maths equation- simply by giving the staff the ipads and enabling them to show their working- the power of feedback and learning together was instantaneous!


The challenge we found was ensuring our writing, using the stylus pen was clear- however, this will improve over time, as staff become more comfortable!

Next task was a Biology quiz- name the body parts. Chloe handed out several differentiated sheets, some with labels, initials and some with nothing. Then she took pictures of the answers , used mirroring 360 and threw them onto the screen. (This went slightly better than the maths equation at 8am!)





Look at our staff- working hard and engaged! This is what Splashtop classroom and whiteboard can do for you! It enables ALL students to be part of the lesson, ALL students to make progress- at their level and most importantly enjoy lessons and the fun ICT can bring to your lessons.




Butterfly #2 Mirroring360 and Magic in the classroom…

Week 2 and another CPD triumph at Westfield Academy-with 44 members of staff turning out for Tuesday morning breakfast and our session on Mirroring 360 and using Task Magic.

Mirroring 360- why use it? and how does it work?

Having trialled this now for a few months, I have to say I LOVE mirroring 360 and feel it has completely changed the way I teach and pupils learn. It enables your classroom to become a learning environment filled with enthusiasm, engagement and inquisitive learning.


Mirroring360 provides you the ability to mirror the display screen of devices such as iPad, iPhone, Chromebook, PC, or Mac to computers wire-free!   Now you can also mirror your Android Lollipop device’s screen!

Mirroring an iPad / iPhone or Mac screen is achieved using the AirPlay™ technology made by Apple, all you need to do is simply install the Mirroring360 application to the computer you wish to mirror to and start mirroring!



  1. For iPad / iPhone

        1. On a support iPad or iPhone, finger swipe from bottom up to reveal Control Centre
        2. Tap on AirPlay
        3. Select your computer
        4. Turn on Mirroring

    NOTE: If you did not see the AirPlay button in the Control Centre, try Mirroring Assist from the App Store and follow the step-by-step instructions within the app to connect.

    So why should we use it in the classroom?

    Mirroring360 lets you wirelessly share & record your Chromebook, iPad, iPhone, Android*, Windows, and Mac screens without the need for hardware or cables. Start sharing your work, your ideas, and your latest apps with Mirroring360.



    From anywhere in the classroom or meeting room, share your device screen onto a computer + projector, wirelessly!



    Teachers and students can share & record any content from their devices to the computer + projector or interactive whiteboard right from their seats.



    Presenters, educators, and gamers can easily record the live content on their mobile devices to the computer for replay & sharing.


    Use with WebEx, GoToMeeting, and – present any app or content from your mobile device or Chromebook computer to a remote audience.


    For 1:1 classrooms, use Mirroring360 in conjunction with Splashtop Classroom.Learn more + videos.


    Mirror your device to your computer for game recording. Share photos or music with your family on a big screen (via a computer or media box like Fire TV).

    The biggest impact I have witnessed: 

    Feedback feedback feedback- AFL has never been so easy and immediate!!

    photo-1-6 Using mirroring 360 to share pupils’ work and discuss as a class what went well and even better if, changes the learning environment and pupils’ attitude to peer assessment. With work being physically present and visible on the board, they all feel involved and are able to see what their peers have produced. It creates healthy competition and discussion- which I feel is a vital element to any stimulating learning environment!


    Now for a little Magic…

    Template-based authoring software


    TaskMagic is made up of 2 programs: TaskMagic Create is for creating resources. TaskMagic Play is for accessing them. In TaskMagic Create, a series of empty templates allow you to input text, images and sounds. Each template automatically generates a range of games and exercises based on your input. Click on the coloured buttons (above) to see screenshots of the templates and the available exercises. See this blog post for some sample screenshots and worksheets.

    All ages and abilities

    You decide on the content, so you can create activities which are appropriate for the age and ability range of your class. For this reason TaskMagic can be used successfully with Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form.

    All curriculum subjects

    Although originally devised for teaching foreign languages, TaskMagic can in fact be used to generate matching, re-ordering, close and literacy practice activities for any subject. (NB. TaskMagic only works with roman-script languages.)

    Multiple interactive activities

    TaskMagic generates a range of stimulating games and practice activities based on your input, so that the same information is recycled and reinforced in many different ways. The number of activities created depends on the template that you choose. The activities are ideal for use with any interactive whiteboard or on individual computers. Click on the coloured buttons above (or below) to see screenshots of the exercises available within each group. Or see this blog post for some sample screenshots and worksheets.


    For Windows™ PCs & laptops

    TaskMagic works in all versions of Windows up to and including Windows 10 (but not Windows Mobile or Windows RT for the AMD-based Surface tablet). We don’t have a Mac or Linux version. You can run TaskMagic on a Mac if you have some way of running Windows on your Mac, such as via a dual boot system, or software such as Parallels, Virtual PC or similar. Please also note that TaskMagic only accepts roman-script text.


    Each template / exercise group provides access to a number of worksheets, such as matching, multiple-choice, pairs, dominoes, wordsearch, gap-fill, text re-ordering, etc. See this blog post for some sample screenshots and worksheets.



    “I introduced your software at my previous school and it was the first thing on my list when I took up my new post! I think it’s a great product and talk about it a lot when I speak in schools.”
    Paul Howard, Head of MFL and author of the C’est Possible! & ¡Es Posible! courses based on the Michel Thomas method


    These are just two simple ways you can use ICT in the classroom to increase a love for learning and make AFL part of your daily routine; creating a diverse and engaging curriculum. These two simple software enable you  to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable students to be taught effectively, introduce subject content progressively and constantly demand more of your pupils- it is a win win scenario!


    As always, we would love you to experiment and feedback to us on your successes in the classroom!


    Thanks for reading,


Butterfly #1 Benefits of Joining the ICT Crew

The start is in sight- we can see the beautiful new build awaiting us and the promise of uninterrupted wifi and shiny new technology… sounds bliss doesn’t it?

Nearly there
The only thing is… we have 80 members of staff, all varying in ICT confidence. For some the prospect is exciting and a sense of impatience washes over them, they just can’t wait! The others are quiet, reserved and biting their nails in fear of having to ‘confidently’ use these new systems, applications and ipads, the minute they set foot in the door.

But do not fear! We have a plan and have every faith that we will go into our new build with an enthusiastic and panic free confidence with new ICT. To help you ease the pain here are the reasons why we are pushing full steam ahead…

Benefits of ICT for Teaching & Learning at Westfield

  • Instant Feedback
  • Shared access to files to and from students
  • immediate access to the internet (yay!)
  • Endless apps- 65,000 educational apps out there!
  • The largest publishers, producing 90% textbooks are partnering with Apple to sell digital versions!
  • Differentiation & support to EAL pupils
  • It makes you a Reflective and adaptive teacher- the best kind!
  • student engagement and motivation- proven to increase! #winning
  • Behaviour management improves- teaching from target classroom areas- you will never be stuck at the front again!
  • Assessment for learning – endless opportunities to check and promote pupil progress
  • Improving literacy- using the voice reorder will add new dimensions to your teaching!
  • Significantly helps pupils with SEN and fine motor skills (co-ordination and processing)

Applications we will learn to use at Westfield Academy

A positive Start!


On Tuesday we welcomed 42 members of staff into room 15 for breakfast and a presentation on the Benefits of ICT- the vibe was enthusiastic and everyone was eager to learn! If we keep up this fantastic momentum- we are definitely on to a winner and new ICT will be a gentle breeze!

What can you do next?

Set you your own showbie HW account- and start to make Homework engaging and more importantly- paperless!

The Heart of Your Paperless Classroom

Try socrative for amazing AFL and instant feedback- trust me the difference it makes to pupils’ enthusiasm and sense of competition is amazing! You can even set one quiz to one group per night for HW- HW is then marked and a spreadsheet is sent to you via email- what’s not to love?!

Research Apps that your subject could benefit from- the more research and trails before the big move- the better position we are in to get straight to it and make Teaching & learning at Westfield Academy even more exciting!

Observe or have a go!


Attached is the Teaching & learning team’s ipad lessons in rooms 15 and 12. Those in Blue are lessons where you can go and observe ( just send an email asking the teacher in advance please) and the lessons in purple, are free slots. So if you would like to experiment or have a play around- please just let me know


Making the Weather

Such an exciting year ahead, and one day less before our Academy move in November. The build is proceeding, so we have now 6 weeks to go of teaching in the beloved blue of the old building.

Our new Year 7s have their 1st full week coming up, and made a great start on Friday, and are resplendent in the new uniform with logo.


Aside from the new build, we met on Thursday to focus on priorities for staff development:

New ICT in the classroom, and how we equip all staff in the endless possibilities that are appearing. Chris Sweetman and Emma and the TLA team will lead on this, with the remit of embedding this technology across the Academy.

Secondly, our personalised approach to staff development continues with the development of Accessible Learning criteria. These focus on key areas from Teacher Standards, Ofsted and our own Westfield Way, and will allow targeted support and development for teachers to allow for the very best learning for all our students. Developing a Gold standard across the academy will be a primary focus this year.

A further area of development is our Future school initiative, with staff groups starting their research and discussions on Monday, looking at life after levels, Transition, Growth Mindset and more, all designed to build a new Key stage 3 that is very much fit for purpose and our new academy.

So much to think about, but this makes for great excitement about the future direction of Westfield Academy, and this is very much in all our hands. The responsibility is empowering, and the quote below encapsulates this, for all staff at Westfield:

‘I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized’