Archive for the ‘Using ICT’ Category

Prezi – PowerPoint for the Ant n Dec Generation

June 4, 2011 1 comment

Basically it allows to get info over to kids in a way like PowerPoint but it’s more interesting to look at.

I say this a solely personal opinion having been at TeachMeet Leeds recently and when someone used it I was gripped.

Get going at –

Watch an example below:


and because I’m a huge fan of Queen:








Fab Multi-Use Online Notice Board – Linoit

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Take a look at

It’s literally a virtual noticeboard – think of the potential. I know a school that has every teacher during form display a noticeboard for the relevant year group – no paper, no fuss. It’s accessed at this school through links of the VLE/School Website. Easy access for all.

I’m thinking of using it to show how rehearsals for a school show are going and have ideas for costumes where the kids can post ideas on too – turning it into a bit of a pupil voice tool.

Possibilities are huge for this.

You can have a play without joining here.


Categories: Pupil Voice, Using ICT

MuseScore – Free and EPIC Sibelius Replacement!

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I hate Sibelius. It is brilliant at what it does – but it costs a lot, it only does one thing and with a large proportion of the kids I teach something like mixcraft and the ability to record and manipulate sound has more impact than composing or scoring using Sibelius. It was too one dimentional. Plus I’d seen it used to really bad effect – being used by pupils to type in the James Bond theme tune they had been given already on a piece of manuscript – this apprently constitutes as Film Music… bad times!

However a scoring programme does have a use in the correct manner as a creative learning tool used in balance with variety and with a relevance and purpose. There it is useful to have on computers in school – but a site license for Sibelius was 4 times the budget I had per year in my last school.

With the cost of Sibelius – I never judged scoring software a useful or needed expense.

Well now all problems are solved. Thanks to MuseScore – it’s like Sibelius, infact if you want to see how like Sibelius check out this article.

Amazing and Free. Plus available and easy to use on a macbook! Nice 🙂


NUMU – A Must for a 21st Century Music Department

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Imagine being 12 years old and spending an half an hour composing a piece of music. After half an hour you and your group perform it, you get the customary round of applause, a few good comments – a few things you could do to develop your compositions skills blah blah blah. What then happens – nothing. The music is lost to the ether.


Numu is incredible. It’s very simple to use, has very helpful support and has a huge impact with the pupils.

Numu is your own online record label. You set up you record label and add artists to it. Every pupil gets their own artist page and username/password. On their artist page they can upload a photo, write a blog and listen/download to other students work even commenting if they wish. It’s all perfectly prepped for safeguarding – only school’s can access it and no post goes ‘live’ until a ‘publisher’ (a member of staff) approves it. Also whilst anyone can go to your site and listen to the kids – they can’t see the photo’s and blogs unless they sign in – very safe!

You record pupils work in the lesson. After the lesson you upload it. I will often be uploading music during lessons later in the day or during meetings. It’s very easy to work.

What it means is pupils can now go home and listen to them performing their compositions. Pupils can go home and download their work and put it on their ipods/mp3 players/phones. Pupils can link form their facebook pages so others can listen to their work.

The possibilities for using NUMU to improve pupils musicianship is limitless – and the kids LOVE IT.

It also gives you a handy resource bank of files for assessment purposes – and BTEC students can use their blog and comments people give them as evidence! BONUS!

I started a record label for my current school 1 week ago today. It has already had over 500 listens to pupils work.

The record label I set up for my old school has had over 50,000 listens.

It boosts confidence, engagement, enthusiasm, excitement, to the feeling of relevance and pupils desire to improve.

It also gives your school an easy to manage way of presenting a public image to the community. I have lost count of the staff who have said listening to pupils work has made them feel proud about working at the school the music originated from. I’ve even known staff ring their friends and families all over the world and tell them about it.

It’s quite simply EPIC!

If nothing else – my recommendation is for you to set up your own record label now – you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to do, and the huge impact it has in your school!


YouTube Downloader

April 6, 2011 Leave a comment

YouTube is a resource I would find it very difficult to live without in the classroom – it’s absolutely brilliant. At my last school I did face a bit of a battle campaigning for it to be unblocked but after a week or two teachers were allowed access. At my current school teachers are allowed access to a Secure Mode. Therefore if you haven’t got access it can be done safely. I always watch everything on youtube before playing it in the classroom.

A useful youtube downloader for Windows users is this

It can also act as a file converter for other files on your computer converting many formats rather nicely and easily. It also let’s you turn the volume of the music down on the video to make it quieter or mute it all together – very handy!

This also is a useful safety net against the age old internet going down a few moments before OfSted walk in!


The Interactive Classroom

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Based on an experience of using Microsoft Live “Spaces” I have recently set up an Interactive Classroom for the Performing Arts Department I lead. It is very much in it’s infancy, it is infact only 10 days old. However it has had over 300 hits, so it is already being used.

We post all kinds of resources / info up there for all kinds of reasons.

We have a Live from Lessons feature where the pupils blog live form the lesson answering questions a member of staff gives to them – so far we’ve started simply with “What are you doing in your lessons today?’.

We also have links to youtube video’s both related to things we’re doing in lessons and as a Do-It-Yourself Instrumental lessons feature.

It’s proved to be useful so far – It’ll be fun to see where it goes.

We also blog about how rehearsals are going for the school production.

You can take a look at