All posts by James Potter

My day job is Director of Technology at one of the UK's leading independent schools. I'm on a daily mission to use, and learn to use technology in the most creative, innovative and transformational ways. The iPad ticks all of these boxes. My geekery also extends to a passion for cricket, amateur astronomy, video gaming and bad guitar playing. You can contact me on Twitter with the link below.

WriteReader for iPad Review: Teach Children How to Write

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WriteReader with keyboard

WriteReader for iPad has clearly had a lot of thought go into it from an educational and technical perspective. It’s main USP is that it will help to develop your child’s writing through using phonetically based sounds to create words which can be turned into a publishable eBook. However, does it live up to it’s promise?

WriteReader has a lot of financial backing and it heralds from Denmark. It’s modus operandi is to teach children to write. I would say that the app should be aimed at reluctant writers who have a lot of parental support. I also don’t believe it is the sort of app your child could use effectively without direct assistance from an adult. Continue reading

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Notes Plus for iPad Giveaway: 5 Free Codes to Be Won

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You may remember last year I wrote a post about the excellent note taking app Notes Plus. My opinion was that it was a really well thought out app with plenty of options and excellent handwriting recognition, which at the time was an in-app purchase. You can read the full review here, and you can read my 3 way handwriting recognition app shootout here, in which Notes Plus came out as clear winner.

The developers have released a new version of the app with the headline feature being that handwriting recognition is no longer an in-app purchase, which is great news if you want to find a pretty accurate handwriting recognition app. The developers have also kindly given our readers 5 promo codes for Notes Plus which you can get by being one of the first 5 people to reply to this post in answer to this question:

What is the productivity app that you simply could not do without on your iPad? (mine would have to be Google Drive I think).

Your reply needs to have a valid email address, or I won’t be able to send the code to you and the contest will close on Sunday February 15 at 3:00 US Central.

In the meantime, here’s an App Store link for Notes Plus; it’s priced at $9.99.

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Koder for iPad: Take the Hell out of HTML

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One of the computing classes that I teach at school is HTML, and being a 1:1 iPad school I wanted to refresh my scheme of work to take advantage of using the iPad. Now, let’s get one thing out of the way, coding on the iPad may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the fact that I can work on it in class and get the students to take the same software home and continue working is a real bonus for me. I had a good look around for an app which would fit my needs and zeroed in on Koder. My reasons for choosing this were mainly because it offered a browser preview of your code and it also wasn’t rated 17+ (Apple rates pretty much any app with a browser 17+ for unrestricted web access unfortunately). It is worth noting that it offers other coding languages, but for the purposes of this review I’m going to concentrate on HTML. Continue reading

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Spout is the Prezi for social network feeds

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I was introduced to Spout at the start of the week and it was one of those apps that I was immediately wowed by. Pictures won’t really do it justice, it’s the movement and animation that really sell this app. The way to describe it is it is rather like watching a Prezi of your social network feeds.

Upon launching the app, you can configure your social network feeds and attach Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. Within this you can opt to display certain hashtags. If, for example you put #ipaded into the stream, Spout will only display tweets with this hashtag. As well as this, you can add custom text which will animate. It could be used as a message if your iPad is connected to a screen for example.

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Osmo for iPad Review: Magical and Educational

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We are all used to interfacing with a computer through mouse, keyboard, and in more recent times, touchscreen. Osmo has created an educational game system that allows you to interface with the iPad through physical objects. It’s a new way of using the iPad to engage children in learning and it is as close to a magical experience as I have come using an iPad. Continue reading

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Great Tool for Sports Coaches and Schools: Nexstar for iPad Review

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Nexstar, iPad, Apple TV and Coaches Eye used to coach swimming.

We use iPads a lot in the school I teach in. In fact, we have issued one to each member of staff and each student. iPads are amazingly useful in the classroom in a variety of different ways, and certainly one of the best features is the camera. Back in the day, you’d have to book a video camera, film what you wanted, download the file, and hope that it was compatible with your creaky PC video editing software. Now, students can just shoot, edit and they are done all on one device. We use iPad in sports coaching in school and while it works great, it relies on either a student holding the iPad still, or the coach filming, rather than coaching. The Nexstar Training system offers a custom made solution to this issue, and it has certainly been thought about with sports training specifically in mind. Continue reading

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Save Those Old Photos: Pic Scanner for iPad Review

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Scanning multiple photos

Anyone who is 25 and over probably remembers the analogue days of photography. The ‘good old days’ of not being exactly sure what your pictures would look like when you snapped them on your camera, and the agonising, up to a week wait for the photos to be developed. You then had the exciting moment of taking them out of the envelope, only to find half of them over or under exposed and a few ruined when you opened the back of the camera to see if you had film left. Despite all of this, these real photos are all the more precious, offering a tantalising glimpse to another time, when your parents were your age and you were a baby. I’ve probably got about 50 photos of me as a baby, compared to thousands of digitals which we have of my daughter. Our problem comes however when we want to share or preserve these old photos. Yes, we could scan them one by one, but Pic Scanner has kindly come up with a way to streamline the process somewhat. Continue reading

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Studying French? Triomphe iPad Review

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We had our family summer holiday in France this year and although I have plenty of French words stored in my head (thanks to my grammar drilling French teacher Miss Chettle), my pronunciation is terrible. In fact, it’s a bit like watching one of those comedy movies where someone totally out of their depth tries to speak a foreign language and ends up shouting and pointing everywhere. Thankfully for me, Triomphe, a new iPad app aimed at teaching French to school children has been recently released.

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iPads in Education: Why iPad?

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There have been lots of interesting stories in the news recently about various iPad deployments in education, some good, some bad. Earlier this year our school made a carefully considered decision to deploy iPads to each student on a one to one basis and we are currently in the second phase of our roll out. This article will explore why we chose iPad. Continue reading

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FlowBoard EDU for iPad: A presentation app that gets out of the way

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Presentation software. You either love it, or live with it. There isn’t too much in between. For years PowerPoint was the market leader, but the goliath of the PC presentation world hasn’t really kept up with presenting in the mobile world. It has left a niche in the market for other developers to leap in to banish WordArt, Clip Art and crazed animations to the same place that Clippy the paperclip now resides. There are lots of decent iPad presentation apps available. Keynote is probably the best known, but others like Haiku Deck, SlideShare and now FlowBoard EDU are adding some well thought out features to presenting on the iPad.  Continue reading

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Handwriting Recognition on the iPad: 3 Way Shootout

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One of my friends has just become a head teacher for the first time and she asked me if there were any decent handwriting recognition apps on the iPad which would enable her to turn her handwriting into text to save typing up notes after her meetings. I thought carefully about this and nothing sprung to mind, certainly nothing which would beat the performance of her Galaxy Note and S-pen. Handwritten note taking is really the one weak link that the iPad has and although styluses have come a long way recently, I wasn’t so sure about handwriting recognition. After a search online, I found three contenders for the iPad crown; Notes Plus, WritePad Pro and MetaMojiNote. Here they are, in order of greatness. Continue reading

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