Friday 12th January 2024

“Happy New Year, to all of our schools and colleagues in and around South Tyneside! Wishing you a year filled with inspiration, growth, and joyful moments in the classroom. I hope you all had a restful and relaxing festive season 


ICT in Schools News


As you know Amanda retired at Christmas and is sunning herself on an Australian Adventure as we speak. She has passed the torch of “5  Minutes on Friday” on to me.I intend to continue the communication that she started by giving timely reminders, sharing little news items from the world of computing and STEM, shameless plugs for CPD and sessions with us as well as anything else that catches my eye!


We are currently without Steve Robert as he was injured in a car accident over the holidays and will be absent for some time. If anybody needs anything please contact myself or Mike during Steve’s absence. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him well and sending healing vibes his way.


What’s new?


Coolest Projects

Coolest Projects is a celebration of young digital creators and the amazing things they make with technology. There’s an annual worldwide, online Coolest Projects showcase and in-person Coolest Projects in person events also take place in several countries. Coolest Projects in the UK is taking place at the Life Centre in Bradford on Saturday 11 May 2024.

Click here to find out more about Coolest projects



By now, many of you will have received your free class set of  Micro Bits.

We have an NCCE course that we are running here on 6th February 2024 (FREE to attend) which will support you with using these. We also have a class set here, if you wish to book a taught session with your students.


If you are already confident with using Micro:bits, the Micro:bit Classroom tool might appeal to you.You’ll be able to display everyone’s creative coding on the interactive whiteboard and return to the session if you run out of time.There are also a series of project based lesson plans available. Click here to download the scheme of work.


CPD and Class Sessions

We have got some CPD sessions coming up, check out our mini website for full details of all courses HERE. 

We also have some last minute availability for visits to OpenZone.  Contact me for dates. There are a range of opportunities available. If you have points left please note they must be used by April!

Subject Leaders 

Dates for your diary

  • Subject Leaders Network Meeting  – Tuesday 24th January @The Word  4 -5:30pm
  • Click View “Huddle”* –  Thursday 1st February @The Word  4 -5:30pm
  • Subject Leaders workshop – Thursday 8th February @The Word  1 – 4pm

* Many of you are Click View Champions. If you do not have a Click View champion please let me know.


Contact Julia [email protected] to book your place on any courses. 

(NB Schools outside of our service agreement would incur additional charges.)

Have a lovely weekend 




Friday 19th January 2024

Hi Everyone,

I bet we all feel like the Christmas holidays are a distant memory already!

But now the snow has arrived and that wind chill reminds us that winter is still here.

Young children and AI

As teachers and parents, you don’t need to know all the details about AI to answer young people’s questions, but you can avoid accidentally introducing alternate conceptions. 

This article offers some top tips to help you point those inquisitive minds in the right direction.

Year 4 Animation

We are often asked about teaching animation and what software to use. We tend to use Stikbot and iMovie for Stop motion but there are other ways to animate.

I came across this FREE Unit from 

There is a unit of work (5-7 hours) with 6 pupil activities that can be used with ipads and computers. Some of the activities use Powerpoint and Google slides to animate objects and there are some nice cross curricular links with an activity using google maps.

Safer Internet day 2024

The theme for SID 2024 on 6th February 2024 has been announced by the UK Safer Internet Centre: “Inspiring change? making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online”. Further details and resources can be found HERE


Please remember if you have points to use with us for curriculum days, they must be used before 31st March! 

Contact Julia [email protected] to book your place on any  CPD courses

(NB Schools outside of our service agreement WILL incur additional charges which would be subject to VAT.)

Have a lovely weekend 


Friday 26th January 2024


I received my goodies for being a Kami Hero this week . I am one of only 3 Kami Heroes in the UK!

What is Kami?

Kami is an online document annotation and markup tool. You can highlight, underline, and strikethrough text in PDF and other document formats. You can also add text boxes, shapes, and images. Kami works with Google Drive and Google Classroom. With Kami, you can easily collaborate on documents in the classroom while avoiding the hassles of printing documents.

Here’s our newly released video that better explains what Kami is.


What can I do with Kami?

  • Students Get Work Done: Students engage with Kami’s user-friendly and vibrant interface, encouraging creativity as they learn. Enjoy a seamless experience with the Google Drive Auto-Save feature. 
  • Teachers Save Time:  Teachers save valuable time by using Kami, enabling them to enhance workflow and collaborate with their students in real-time. 
  • School Districts Save Money: Get all the essential tools without the high price point. With Kami, schools and districts cut down on printing costs while saving the environment.
  • Go Paperless!: Tired of wasteful printing? Kami lets you do everything that pen-and-paper allows you to do without having to spend a lifetime in front of the photocopier. Gone are the days of the dog eating your students’ homework!

Become a Kami Certified Educator

Those of you who love a badge for your email signature or a certificate as much as I do,  can take the FREE online Kami training for beginners and become Level 1 accredited in under an hour. 

How much does it cost?

There are a number of different license options depending on how you’re looking to use Kami. You can find more information about that on their pricing page:


You can have a 30 day free trial as a teacher but GOOD NEWS because I am a Kami Hero, I can share my Hero code with new and existing Kami users and you can get a 5 MONTH TRIAL FREE!

#KamiHeroes #KamiHero

Have a lovely weekend 




Friday 2nd February 2024

Hi Everyone,

Well it’s finally February after a January that seemed to go on forever! The first week in February always brings us Safer internet week. I’m sure lots of you will be doing lessons and assemblies to support this. I know I am doing some sessions in school next week.

Safer Internet Day 2024 

will take place on the 6th of February 2024, with celebrations and learning based around the theme ‘Inspiring change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online’. As an event that stands out in the calendar of online safety, Safer Internet Day has a singular goal: to make the online world safer for children and young people.


UK Safer Internet Centre has resources available from age 3 to 18. There are resources for parents and carers and social media resources too. 


Here are some additional resources for Safer Internet Day 2024 from computing at School (CAS)

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 2


We would love to hear about what Safer internet Day activities you have going on in school.

Have a lovely weekend! 




Friday 9th February 2024

Hi Everyone,

We’re nearly at half term – it’s gone so fast.  


Next week is half term for the Catholic schools. Hope you all have a smashing break.


This week’s 5 Min  on Friday is all about Coolest Projects.

Registration is now open for Coolest Projects UK! You can now register digital technology projects for Coolest Projects UK.

Registration is open from 7 February to 17 April, and any young coder aged up to 18 in the UK can enter. 


Register now to join us at at live event on Saturday 11 May at the Life Centre, Bradford.

Register here 

Spaces at the event are limited by venue size, so can’t guarantee everyone who registers will get a place. 


Partial bursaries are available to support the costs of attending, for example, travel costs. You can apply for a bursary in the registration form.


All participants will get fun swag bags, personalised feedback on their project, certificates, and more! We’ll be running fun hands-on coding activities throughout the day too. So this is one event you don’t want to miss!


There’s also an online showcase

Registration is open from 14 February – 22 May 2024.

The Coolest Projects online showcase is open to any young person up to age 18, anywhere in the world! Creators can share digital tech creations with the world in our online gallery, get personalised feedback on projects, receive certificates and fun digital swag, all for FREE.


Looks like some great coding opportunities and some fab merch!


Have a lovely weekend 




Friday 16th February 2024

Happy half term!

I hope you have an enjoyable break and the weather is good!


We have had some concern from schools this week around Roblox and similar games one of which is PK XD

What is PK XD?

PKXD launched in 2019 and is available on all platforms. PK XD is a virtual world game for mobile devices where players can create their own avatars, build houses, socialise with other players, and participate in various activities. It’s known for its open-world exploration, mini-games, and customization options for characters and living spaces. 

What does PK XD stand for?

Even though PKXD stands for Play Kids Extreme Digital, adults enjoy playing.


The game provides a platform for users to unleash their creativity and connect with friends in a virtual environment. 


Common Sense media,even%20adults%20will%20enjoy%20playing.


Does PK XD cost money?

XD Plus is the PK XD subscription service. For a monthly fee you get access to some premium benefits, such as exclusive name colour, Private World App and in-game currency.


What are the risks of PK XD? 


While PK XD is generally designed to be a safe and enjoyable virtual world for users, there are some potential risks associated with online gaming environments in general. These can include:


  1. **Inappropriate Content:** User-generated content can sometimes include inappropriate or offensive material. The game’s developers try to monitor and filter content, but it may not catch everything.


  1. **Online Interactions:** As with any online platform, there is a risk of encountering inappropriate behaviour or interactions with other players. It’s important to use caution and report any instances of harassment or inappropriate conduct.


  1. **Privacy Concerns:** Sharing personal information, even within the game, can pose privacy risks. Players should be cautious about what details they disclose and whom they interact with.


  1. **In-App Purchases:** PK XD, like many mobile games, may include in-app purchases. Players, particularly younger ones, should be mindful of spending and understand the associated costs.


To mitigate these risks, it’s advisable to use privacy settings, report inappropriate content or behaviour, and educate users, especially younger ones, about responsible online behaviour.


Always stay informed about the game’s features and any safety guidelines provided by the developers.


Have a lovely weekend 




Friday 23rd February 2024 – HALF TERM HOLS

Friday 1st March 2024

Welcome back to those of us who were on half term last week. I hope you all had a great week. It was nice to see the sunshine.

This week Five minutes on Friday revisits an old favourite that has had a lot of changes recently. Book Creator!

Many of you will be familiar with the Book Creator app for iPads. This is great but the FREE version limits the number of books you can create to 1 and the paid for version is £2:49


Well, this week I want you to meet the Book Creator website

With a teacher account on the website you get a library of 40 books on the FREE version, which is Awesome! There’s a wealth of FREE resources and example books too.

There are so many new tools and links with in built apps that Book Creator can be used for EVERYTHING. So don’t think it’s limited to literacy just because its called Book.


We have been Book Creator accredited for some time but now there is a refreshed training course that is FREE and you can be accredited within an hour or so. 


Top tip! – You can speed up playback speed to get through it faster


I’ve retaken mine and recommend you do too 


Just a reminder that next week is our First Lego League Regional Tournament – Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th March and we look forward to seeing many of you there!


Have a lovely weekend 


Friday 8th March 2024

Aspiring young engineers and innovators gathered at The Word on 6th and 7th March for our annual FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge: MASTERPIECE Edition. This year’s theme, “The Art of Communication,” challenged students to explore the power of art and expression through various art forms and technology. Teams of up to 10 students, aged 9 to 16, presented their innovative solutions related to communication.

Judges evaluated the teams based on four core areas:


  1. Robot game – 2:30 min game where missions are attempted with a Lego robot
  2. Innovation project presentation – that embodied the team’s interpretation of the season’s theme.
  3. Core values – teamwork
  4. Design of a Lego robot. 

All of our teams were fantastic. Many of them were new to the competition and it was a steep learning curve. The FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge provides a valuable platform for students to develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, and technological skills in a fun and engaging environment. This year’s MASTERPIECE Edition further encouraged them to explore their creativity and express themselves through the power of art and innovation.

The young people’s dedication and teamwork truly exemplified the spirit of FIRST® LEGO® League.

Here are the awards given

Wednesday 6th March 2024

Champions:  Westoe Innovators

Robot Performance: Spikey’s Team Of Engineering Masterminds Neville’s Cross or STEMNX

Robot Design: Mortimer Lego Masters

Innovation Project:  Lego Hedz – Hedworth Lane

Core Values: Team Void – Forest View

Robot Game Knockout Winners: Hedworthfield Master Builders

Judges Award: Valley View Lego Team

Thursday 7th March 2024

Champions:  Harton Primary Puzzlers

Robot Performance: Harton Primary Puzzlers

Innovation Project:  Laygate Lego League Legends

Core Values: Simonside Wannabes

Judges Award: West Boldon Westies


The champions from each day will represent our region at the national final on 20th April in Harrogate. Good Luck Harton and Westoe Crown!

The success of this competition would not have been possible without the commitment of dedicated team coaches. We appreciate the countless hours you invested in mentoring and guiding your students, helping them not only develop their technical skills but also fostering valuable life skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. 

We could not make this event happen without our volunteers and our staff who do a fantastic job and we really value their time and support. 

Thanks everybody! We look forward to seeing you again at next year’s FIRST® LEGO® League Competition!


Have a lovely weekend 




Friday 15th March 2024

This week Five minutes on Friday is all about The Noun Project.

What is the Noun Project?

The Noun Project is a website that aggregates and catalogues symbols that are created and uploaded by graphic designers around the world. Based in Los Angeles, the project functions both as a resource for people in search of typographic symbols and a design history of the genre.

The Noun Project is building a global visual language that unites us — a language that allows quick and easy communication no matter who you are or where you are. 


Check out the Blog here 


And reviews here 


Have a lovely weekend




Thursday 28th March 2024

Well we have made it to the end of the Spring term and I am sure a good break feels long overdue!


Although this has been a short half term it’s been a busy one.


A few cybersecurity things this week for 5 minutes on Thursday – we are a day early in honour of Easter weekend!

Cyber security’s core function is to protect the devices we all use (smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers), and the services we access – both online and at work – from theft or damage.

It’s also about preventing unauthorised access to the vast amounts of personal information we store on these devices, and online.

Cybersecurity is critical because it helps to protect organisations and individuals from cyber attacks.

It’s a step by step guide to recovering a HACKED ACCOUNT.

I have attached a one page help sheet.

Be Cyber Safe

Lots of useful info on here.

Lots of useful links on here.

Have a lovely holiday