Assessment using Pingpong

PINGPONG – Simple but thats why its so Good!


One app that we have recently pushed out to our Year 7 students is pingpong. Pingpong is very similar in principle to solutions like Socrative and Kahoot, but unlike these 2 other systems pingpong requires a very minimum level of preparation. In essence pingpong is a student response system which can be used during any part of a lesson. I have recently used each of the features during both starter tasks and plenary task in my BTEC sport lessons. To run pingpong you have a Host who runs the dashboard and then Guests join the classroom by entering the class code. I like the option here to be able to change the name of your class code which makes it easier for students to input the code. You can run pingpong on any internet connected device, although there is an app that can be downloaded from the apps store. To use pingpong via the web click the link below:

How it works:

Once the students have joined your class you can then select one of the following options:

  • 1 & 2: Multiple choice
  • 2. True or false
  • 3. Send Text
  • 4. Send image

Remember that when using pingpong you ask the students the questions and they respond using pingpong. So in order to use options 1 and 2 you will need to display the question on a presentation or write it out on the board. I prefer to use these 2 options as a starter or plenary task. But the other 3 options can be used at any time during the lesson. I particularly like the true or false option and you can throw this in at any time during the lesson. Below are some ideas of how each of the options could be used:

  • 1 & 2: Multiple choice

Questions are displayed on the screen when the students enter the room, the results allow you to gauge what the students can remember from last lesson or even what they currently know about the new topic you are about the teach them.

  • 2. True or false

A simple true or false questions gives you a good idea if the class are on the right track and it allows you to gauge their understanding of the topic.  For example: True or False, You should alway stretch at the beginning of every warm up?

  • 3. Send Text

This is great option to use if you want to recall keywords. There is a limit to 40 characters so you could ask for more than just a word. For example you could write a sentence on the board with both spelling and grammar mistakes. Then using pingpong get the students to rewrite the sentence with the necessary changes. As the host you can then select one of the responses to share with the class.

  • 4. Send image

This is one of my favourite options that really does have endless possibilities. As well as the ability to send a drawn image pingpong offers the ability to access the camera and photo album. This is a great way for students to send pictures of their work. As the host you can then select the image that you want and possibly display this on your classroom screen.

The video below goes through each of the examples and shows you what both the host and guest see.


For me Pingpong is a simple solution that requires little planning and really can be used during any part of the lesson.




Downloading Videos using ClipGrab

clipCLIPGRAB – Simple and Fast.

There are so many different ways to download videos from YouTube and over the years I have tried and installed many different pieces of software in order to do this. For me the easiest and most effective solution that I have used on a macbook has to be clipgrab. At our school we are fortunate to have a very powerful wireless network solution but I still prefer to download all my videos and add them into my keynote presentation instead of embedding a link or code. This give me total control when presenting. The video below shows you how to use clipgrab and briefly how to drag these videos into your keynote presentations.

To download clipgrab click the link:


Thanks for watching.

Survey Monkey and Possible Uses.

SURVEY MONKEYWhat use could it have?

survey monkeyMore recently and in addition to my other responsibilities I was given the role of coordinating the WBQ. At intermediate level the students are required to complete the application of number essential skill. One of the tasks is to gather data from surveys and or questionnaires. The task that was set was based around organising a trip to a theme park (in this case Oakwood park). I would regularly use google forms for something like this but to create them on an iPad is not that straight forward, so this where survey monkey comes in. The only real limit comes with the number of questions that you can write (10) and the number of responses (100), but both of these figures are generous enough.

There is a brief video below explaining how to set up surveys, write questions, issue out the survey and also analyse the data.

In a classroom setting I have used this app in BTEC sport lessons in a number of different ways, for example:

  • As a starter activity with different questions based on the learning from a previous lesson
  • As a poll where a simple yes or no, or true or false question is used.
  • As a plenary activity to assess the impact of the lesson
  • Get the students to create questions in groups and send the surveys that they have created to other groups, they can then feedback the analysis to the respective groups.
  • As homework tasks

I regularly use Socrative for some of the task listed above and although survey monkey does not give the in depth analysis that socrative will, it does have the advantage of not being limited to a live there and then session.

I am sure that there are many more different ways that you could use the app in your subject area?

Thanks for spending the time to read this post.


Videos to Showbie using Book Creator


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Showbie has become an integral part of our whole school workflow solution. We currently use the free version and with this we have experienced lots of success. The ability to layer a variety of uploaded work with the teacher and student having the option to comment in a variety of formats, both supports and enhances our whole school assessment procedures. But as with all free versions the paid or in this case Pro account offers additional functions. One of the main problems that we have faced is the limit placed on video upload. In the free version you are limited to 1 minute, while the pro version gives you 10 minutes. There are a number of different work arounds that can be used in this situation for uploading longer vides, for example using google drive, or even a class or departmental you tube account. However the additional steps needed here are not simple and instant.


 So to overcome this students use book creator and produce a simple book that includes their videos and sound for each of their BTEC assignments. The video below shows how to create a basic book in book creator that includes text, image, video and sound. The maximum file size of the book that can be up uploaded to the free version of showbie is 25mb. The example in the video contains a trailer created in iMovie, an image and some written text along with a sound note. The size of this video was 5mb, so you can see that there is capacity to add far more that what has been shown in the example. For further information on using showbie into your workflow solution visit the showbie blog at:

Showbie is simple and effective and I think that we will soon need to consider the value of the full pro version. Thanks for Watching.

Any comments greatly received.


When working daily with iPads there are many occasions where there is a need to edit a picture or image. This could be something as simple as adding text, or changing the background colour but sometimes there is a need to create collages or groups of photos or images. With this in mind there are 2 main apps that I have used regularly with my classes. To download the apps click on the images.


pic collage

Pic Collage is my favourite and below is an example of how my class have used the app to edit 2 images for BTEC sport. The images were later exported back to their camera roll and used in both a keynote presentation and a THINGLINK project (blog to follow soon on the thinglink app). If you register for a pic collage account you can also save the image to pic collage and share the image via a link. This is a great feature for group work.


This is what the image looks like via the link: click to see:



Moldiv is very similar to pic collage and offers similar features, an image example can be seen below:

Processed with Moldiv

I have found these 2 apps essential when asking pupils to create tasks and projects using the iPad.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome.



WORDSALAD 2  WORDSALAD: Word clouds are a very popular resource in classrooms and there are lots of ways that these can be created on the internet. Being a 1:1 iPad school this example is based around the free app wordsalad. Further on in the blog post there are links to websites that will create similar clouds but I really like the simplicity of wordsalad. Wordsalad allows you to create word clouds in seconds on the iPad, the added advantage of the dictation option on the iPads keyboard means that words can be spoken into the app. This is a really nice feature that strengthens the literacy focus. For a quick instruction video on how to use the app watch the video below.

I am sure that as teachers we can come up with many different ways of using the wordsalad app in lessons and please do share these with each other, but these are some examples of how I use wordsalad in my lessons. At the moment my BTEC sport class are looking at different types of training so the wordsalad below was used as a stimulus on the screen.


Each student was then asked to select 3 of the words and then:

Summarise a sentence for each in their exercise books. They then took this a step further and investigated the type of athletes that would use each of these types of training and give reasons for their answers.

Some other examples of how wordsalad has and could be used:

  • Use it to create displays on display boards that could be used during question and answer sessions.
  • Get students to write 5 – 10 words that sum up the topic that they have done
  • As a revision session split your class into groups and get each group to create a wordsalad for a different topic from the specification. They can then airdrop or email this to a different group in the class who have to summarise or define each of the words.

Wordsalad is a great free app to use as a starter activity, as a graphic in a poster or presentation or evan as part of a plenary task. If you don’t have and iPad but can connect to the internet then there are number of different website that can do this but below are my 3 favourites.

1. Tagxedo

2. Wordle

3. ABCya! Word clouds for kids

Happy word clouding.

Training / Need


Within this section I will try to highlight and answer some of the questions that staff have been asking me over the past few months. There are obviously some apprehensions over what a lesson will actually look like in our new building. The simple answer to this is ‘the same as it looks like now’. One of the things that I do know is that there will not be a bucket at the front of the room to catch the water that constantly drips through the ceiling, and I am sure I will no longer need the piece of string that I use on occasions to keep the fire door shut. Will I miss all of this? Probably, but everything in life has to move on. There are a number of myths that are circulating around the school, but I think it is important to consider what we do know:

All of our classrooms with have a TV that simply replaces our projectors
We will all have an ipad instead of our slow (sometimes with keys missing) laptops or desktop Pc’s
There will be writable walls in every room instead of old white boards
So in essence nothing is really different, or is it?

STEP 1. How to use the ipad, are you comfortable navigating your way around the device?

All staff have now had their ipads for over 2 months and have been given the opportunity to take the ipad home and simply play around with it. (VPP has not yet been set up so staff were allowed to set up their own iTunes account and download apps at their leisure, there was no pressure here to pay for apps). In order to support staff with this first step a checklist was produced and distributed, small workshops were set up to support staff. The checklist can be accessed below:

If you have any problems with the tasks on the checklist, please let me know.

STEP 2. Whole school questionnaire

Staff Questionnaire

Training sessions clearly identified a range of needs among the staff. In order to get a clear understanding of the needs of all staff a questionnaire was given out. There were a number of different issues that were highlighted from this (full breakdown of the analysis will be posted later) but the main issue that dominated the majority of the responses was ‘how do we get our current resources onto the ipad?’

So our first challenge is to consider the different ways of getting all of our current resources (power points, PDF, word documents) onto our ipads. In the future a number of these resources will no longer be needed, but lets not worry about that now. It is important to remember that the ipad doesn’t use a conventional “desktop” file management system, and it should not be used in the same way as your 500Gb hard drive on your home computer or your large external hard drive. There is a limit to its storage capacity, but technology is constantly evolving and there a number of so called ‘cloud based storage systems’ that will easily provide enough space for us all. I am sure if you search the Internet you will find a number of other solutions, but it is important to consider all of the options and make a personal decision to use the system or systems that best suit your needs.

The document below gives some examples of different systems and their possible uses and advantages and disadvantages of each. But before you read the document I would like to give you an insight into the different systems that I use everyday.


I use moodle as a means of storing departmental documentation, so my department’s handbook, GCSE schemes of work and resources along with BTEC National documentation all have separate courses that can be accessed by all members of the department. I currently use moodle to set assignments for BTEC national but at the moment there are limitations with how you can send and mark work using the ipad. With this in mind I recently started to move these courses over to EDMODO and although it is early days the pupils seem to respond more positively to it and marking and sharing resources is far more straightforward. I first started using DROPBOX to share my documents on all my devices. Once I became confident using it I set up a shared folder to share GCSE documentation with my year 10 class (they all have an ipod touch). This works really well but the 2Gb of free storage soon fills up. With this is mind I decided to research and trial a number of other cloud based storage systems. I currently now use google drive for all my documents that I need to share in Edmodo, this is one way that I can overcome edmodo’s limitations of only being able to upload one document at a time, which is frustrating. I registered and set up BOX and use this to store all the documents that I link to this blog. I have just installed SUGAR SYNC and SKYDRIVE which both offer a similar alternative. With this in mind the storage size that I have available to me is as follows:

MOODLE unlimited as long as BCBC don’t start charging us
EDMODO No limited to the size that I store in my library
DROPBOX 2gb, but if each member of staff is allocated their tutor group for recommendation each teacher could get 16gb of free storage.
BOX free 5gb of storage
GOOGLE DRIVE free 5gb of storage
SUGAR SYNC free 5gb of storage
SKYDRIVE free 7gb of storage
Lets not forget that at school currently all staff have been allocated 1 gb of storage on the y drive. My solutions above offer far more space than this.