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. I'm also an Apple Distinguished Educator, so at least Apple think I know what I'm blathering on about. 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.

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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Back to School with an iPad? 5 ways to go paperless this term.

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Back to School. The phrase that strikes horror into students (and teachers) of all ages up and down the land. Back in the day, there was the excitement of writing neatly on the first page of your new exercise book, and then slightly less so on the second page which was not quite so nicely padded on all those leaves of fresh paper. Now, many students are just as likely to walk into the classroom with a piece of tech as they are with a pencil case. Here are the top 5 cost effective, paper busting productivity apps for a student going back to school in 2014 armed with an iPad, in no particular order. Continue reading

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Contest: 5 promo codes for Notes Plus to be won

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UPDATE: All 5 promo codes gobbled up. Thanks for the excellent productivity app suggestions below. Codes to follow for the 5 posters.

If you’ve read the Notes Plus review and you are eager to try the app out, the developers of Notes Plus have kindly given us 5 promo codes.

To get one of the free promo codes, simply reply to this post with the top 3 productivity apps that you use on your iPad currently. Please make sure you comment with a valid email address so the code can be sent to you.

The first 5 valid responses will get a code for Notes Plus. Good luck!

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Graduation time from your favourite notes app? Notes Plus iPad Review

IMG_1074As some of you may know if you have read my articles before (thanks Mum!), I love productivity apps and the app which constantly does the business for me is Notability. Ginger Labs, the creators of Notability have designed their app in such a way that it appeals to power users and beginners alike. The school I work in has a lot of iPad users of varying experience, but Notability is a favourite amongst many of them. It is with this staunch Notability love that I review Notes Plus. Continue reading

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Glide Across your iPad Screen: Dart Active Stylus Review

DSC_0001I reviewed the Apex Rechargeable active stylus a few weeks back and I was really impressed with it after years of using those rubber or mesh tipped disasters to try to add a handwritten element to my iPad. As commented in the review, being in the Ned Flanders left handed brigade made the use of a non-active stylus sometimes infuriating for handwriting. Handwriting is one of the few things that the iPad doesn’t do particularly well, unlike Samsung and their Note range. Thankfully we are starting to get some really decent active styluses on the market and they are starting to appear at price points which are attractive. This is where the KickStarter funded Dart Stylus from Precision Touch comes in. Continue reading

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An End to the Scourge of Vertical Video: Horizon for iPad Review

IMG_1057I was watching the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games recently and the geek in me was interested to see what technology the athletes were brining into Celtic Park to record the momentous event. There were the standard tablets, phones, head mounted GoPros, DSLRs, some weird blue ring things which I’m still not sure what they are (please enlighten me if you know in the comments at the bottom). The vast majority of the nations were doing a great job filming their evening, and then New Zealand made their entry. I almost choked on my cornflakes to see that nearly all of them were holding up their iPhones and iPads and filming in VERTICAL VIDEO! Horror of digital horrors. Continue reading

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iPad Telescope Control: Celestron Sky Q Review

Control your telescope wirelessly.
Control your telescope wirelessly.

As we know, the iPad has several amazing apps which help you stay productive, have fun and do a variety of other things. One of the things I have been slightly underwhelmed by is third party hardware support. I’m not talking about simple stuff like bluetooth keyboards, rather hardware that attaches your iPad to other devices.

Celestron have a long and distinguished history manufacturing some of the best telescopes on the market and they have released a piece of hardware called SkyQ, which is essentially a wifi dongle that you can plug into your Celestron ‘goto’ compatible telescope and control it with an app on the iPad. For the uninitiated a ‘goto’ telescope is basically a computer controlled telescope that once aligned, will point automatically to any object in the sky. It’s great for lazy people like me who don’t have the time or brain power to learn about the night sky in the traditional way. Continue reading

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Explain Everything for iPad Review: The 21st Century way to present

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We’ve all done it before. Sitting in a classroom on a hot, hazy afternoon, the teacher explaining something to the class in great depth, only for your mind to wander to the latest cricket score, what you’re going to have for dinner or what time you’re meeting your mates for an after school kick around. Suddenly, it’s work time and the teacher asks you to apply this knowledge they have so painstakingly imparted and you haven’t listened to a thing they have just said. So, the teacher will either have to patiently explain it to you again, or say “weren’t you listening to anything I just said?” and you have to desperately ask your mates for an explanation. Either way it’s not an effective use of either student or teacher’s time. As a teacher and student, I’ve been there on both sides of this situation and if Explain Everything was around in the 90s, I wouldn’t have had to worry about my mind wandering during lesson time. Continue reading

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