Category Archives: apps

Creativity is good or I did some art

Yesterday rollercoaster dive,this morning we knew the electricity was going off at 9, so until a visitor had been, I was working by natural light only. I produced some templates / shadow silhouettes of three views from the house that I can use to record the various spectacular colours we get at sunrise / Sunset.

Very productive and pleased with the outcomes. I had messed about with iOS app Art set last night when unable to sleep and did a marker and oil pastel version of a recent sunrise that was fresh in my mind. This has led to an idea on other Dorset landmarks close by that I could use for a range of skies including Corfe Castle.

Art app – marker version

Two of silhouettes produced with freehand drawing using fine nib on Promarker and then shaded using chisel nib. 

We then went out and visited a few places returning home in time to wash the Yeti down which I had squashed in a sketch of the cars this morning. I feel tired but enjoying finding energy to do things.

I have also agreed to have a table at a craft fair in Swanage on April 1 – so I will need to be producing goods and getting this @AndyKnillArt idea rolling. Details as it happens.


Developing a skill…sketching

Since June 20th I have been sketching and I have now bought books to read to look at others work, techniques and ideas plus the #teacher5adaysketch initiative currently taking place. I have used a variety of sketchbooks mainly A5 in size so far as they are easy to transport and carry around with me. I bought some drawing pencils but have then stuck with using fine liner pens. My first purchases were Pilot drawing pens bought individually in London from the London Graphics Centre. My student Rotring set awaits setting up to use – I must do this soon. Then I discovered Cass Art while on a break in Bristol and have since visited their Charing Cross Road branch in London and using Staedtler pigment pen set which others line widths from .05 to .8. 

I have thought about using colour but lack the confidence to try yet on paper, I have found a solution and am now using Paper app on the iPad. I sketch on the iPad or photograph one of my sketches and import it to then colour with pens or “paint”. The results are developing and it offers me an introduction to using colour.


Reblog piece from – time out example

Teaching through the medium of #pop videos | gasigict

Teachmeet presentation by proxy

TMStratford video presentation

Offered a chance to attend a Teachmeet but it’s too far away…is there a solution. These days a variety of options come to mind. You can: follow the #hashtag during the event to comment on or follow the stream of messages. Some events are live streamed so you can watch the presentations as they happen subject to technology and weblinks. Others may video the presentations so you can watch them later.

Asked to or want to present? Make a presentation and send it, or a weblink to it, to the organisers if this is acceptable to them. Video presentations can be made in many forms using a variety of software or apps. I have used iMovies to capture images / screenshots and added a VoiceOver. For TMStratford (upon – Avon) this week I used Haiku Deck for my Slideshow for the first time. I then added a VoiceOver using Knovio iApp which is free, however once the 5 presentations used up there is an in- App purchase to make more presentations – but I admit I like the product.

If the link works correctly let me know what you think… This links to my two Twitter network interests:
– apps and web applications for @gasigict
– solotaxonomy advocacy and sharing ideas @globalsolo

@BMTeachmeet 25 June 2014

I was lucky enough to attend and present this week at a new venue for TMEssex. Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow hosted their first Teachmeet. Toby Hall ran a very organised evening. We were entertained on arrival by a school singing group, the food was gorgeous before and at the break. The Head Boy was MC and did very well, if stuck at times for jokes. The prizes team – more pupils were very courteous and efficient at the. Conclusion of each twitter based competition.

Many of the attendees were colleagues at Burnt Mill with a few outsiders, the issue of attracting others to events – the “how” of attracting new audiences to participate in Teachmeets.

Three regulars of the region’s Teachmeets – Martin Burrett (@ICTMagic; @UKEdChat and @UKEdMag), Paul Hutson (@NightZooKeeper) and myself in @globalsolo guise enjoyed the wealth of prizes as we tweeted furiously.

Next week it’s co-hosting at @TMHavering on Tue. 1 July and a video presentation made for #TMStratford on Thursday 3 July. This has led me to using Haiku Deck and Knuvio iApps for the first time.

Oops …. Blog neglect

Hi anyone who follows this blog. I have realised that the gap since my last post was growing. So initially a fill in on what’s been happening:

March 16- informal post of first review of lesson planning format
Follow up – a student survey was carried out in the final week of the spring term to cover several aspects and this is still being collated.

March – April
More articles have been submitted for publication in @UKEdMag and so far I have been published each time either as @aknill or @globalsolo. I now await May’s issue to see if both pieces make it. Also promoted the idea at the at events I have attended. The number of twitter mentions to advertise magazine are maybe a little uncomfortable at times, but I fully understand how magazine must advertise its existence.

This time included the news that I had been nominated and listed in the @UKEdChat top 100 UK Ed Blogs – a very pleasant accolade. I’d display the widget badge thingy but not worked out how to do that yet.

April – I attended, the conference, my group’s stand and presented a workshop at #gaconf14. The Geographical Association’s annual conference held at the University of Surrey in Guildford. Being on the ICT Group’s stand and meeting a range of geographers from several countries was very interesting and I could see that further follow up would be needed.
My own workshop on Starting with Apps on Tuesday 15 April was an active event. Mission Explore had laid down some conference challenges to speakers linked around the word Dance. Well official photos showed a group of geographers joining in a mad dance free form to Electroswing at the start of the workshop. The room was overflowing, I hope someone counted how many attended but it was more than the 40+ spaces originally seated and arranged.Solo taxonomy was used to gauge progress and 26 post its were left for feedback. This will be commented on in further detail with a workshop write up on here, the GA site ( and a new blog – details in a bit. I enjoyed catching up with friends and colleagues, meeting many new people and stretching my brain with the subject concepts which I have not taught in many a year.
This weekend,at the start of May, has seen the start of that conference follow up through the beginnings of: @GASIGICT on Twitter and a new blog on: The aim: To have one central place for geography educators to share ideas about web resources and apps that have been or might be used. An encouraging start which of course has gone globally straightaway with links in Abu Dhabi, Australia, USA, Ireland, UK, New Zealand, China and Canada.

So busy? Yes you could say that plus family holidays with more coastal pictures already being shared in lessons.

App…lying new ideas

Using mobile devices is an ongoing learning experience as many of you will know. Technology never stands still and there are new apps appearing or us becoming aware of them everyday. Processing that influx of information is the hard part, deciding what to investigate, when to say no. During most weekends and especially now in the summer holiday I am trying to evaluate my collection and cull where needed.

This post focuses on producing posters or interactive resources to use myself and recommend to colleagues and pupils to use in their work.


Thinglink – available of apple devices for iOS 6. Also on

This discovery came from a conversation on twitter about sites where you could post images and add links. I investigated to find that you could add linked text or videos to an image. I will share my two trial goes, prepared in a rush so please excuse errors.

As a still image;



As a still image:


Try it for yourself and of course you do not need to be a geographer.

Quipio – again an Apple app

Use photos to add message or labels to. My thinglinks above are based on a series of posters I am developing for my Geography Alphabet which I have shared examples of at:


I could post about more apps and more examples but I am going to share my iPad poster folder and let you experiment for yourself. Plase post comments or send me feedback at @aknill on Twitter.

Toolboxes for teachers are welcome to repost if interested.


Making posters …

Ever since I have had mobile devices including phones, I have always taken many photos. These are stored digitally and are rarely printed so may not be seen beyond the computer or browsing through picture galleries.

As more colleagues and friends share images they have put together and apps they have tried the more I want to use my pictures in a more imaginative way. I have started to develop a Posters folder on my iPad2 where I try different apps out.


Some of the output has made it into lessons but mainly electronically via the Interactive Whiteboard. At the end of term I spent a lesson with all my groups developing ideas and gathering their feedback about Learning Spaces. I have now started to develop galleries I can use in my room, share with the department or maybe even use for cards to friends.

Here are some examples:


Keep Calm – introduced to me by members of the Digital Leader team as a personal way of venting thoughts but also a familiar format.


Phoster – using own pictures or news footage to look at a topic from a different perspective, e.g. River flooding.


Cloudart – a “wordle” idea for the iPad. Used here for key words in my musings online.


Quipio – created posters and then collated in “Pic Collage” to group ideas and ideas formulating to share with colleagues. Maybe a live Teachmeet demo opportunity.






…. and there you have it, a chance to brighten your home, classroom, friends homes or just be creative for fun.

The holidays are here …

So the summer holidays began for me on Friday afternoon. It used to take me several days to unwind at the end of the school year, but no longer. The brain is still thinking thoughts linked to work based topics, not least because more tweeting means lots of colleagues are still working this week. The last few months have been “eventful” and I have not had the capacity to go out and exercise, the spell has been broken. Saturday saw a tentative bike ride for the first time in months – how would I stand up to it? Would the bike work?? Well it was gentle,the bike liked that I had lost weight and 10 miles later I arrived home in a great mood. Sunday, I thought I would try a run cross country that became a walk/ jog that in reality was a walk, but quite fast. Four miles out in the local fields hot but again great to be exercising. Monday predicted the hottest day – a earlier bike ride was considered. Out by 08:15 and off to a local country park. I have no idea how far I went and tbh I do not mind. Out for two hours of country lanes,parks, tree tunnels, downhills, up hills and lots of fresh warm air. Yes I slept soundly after showering!!

Tuesday has started with the UK wake up thunderstorm but already planned as an easier day with a relaxing walk with my wife later. As awake early to admire the rain lots of tweeting, and chat online with sister in New Zealand.

In last few days made new contacts re spreading the Solo taxonomy message, made links with a Japanese exchange student from Sendai,reviewed recent events in my head and considering lots of ideas for a hobby that is not school related where I might make some friends for time out moments.

More thoughts but will share those across the holidays as I plot ideas, reflect back on the year and attend a reunion for some ex pupils aged 36.

See you around …

#gaconf13 part 2

Morning break and back to the balcony above the exhibition to share apps lists and refer interested parties to speak to Bob Lang about GIS. Caught up with Rob Morris (@lodgemeister) who’d spotted the tshirt earlier. Also caught up with Prffr David Lambert who’d tutored me on the MA at IoE 23 years ago.

My next workshop was Getting our geographers ready for tomorrow led by Becky, Beth and Emma from the secondary phase committee. I liked their ideas about looking forwards in activities, it matched ideas proposed by Dawn Hallybone in our Geografree Teachmeet takeover at Bett13.


Also met two guys from Essex who’d driven up that morning – possible TMEssex conscripts? Tony Cassidy introduced himself as sat at back of room so we met at last. Looking forward to his shared workshop later.

Made quite a few notes to go away with and also chatted about Solo and need to follow uplinks with Simon Renshaw. The careers cards from GA and RGS clearly have a longer term career link prior to options.

Off to lunch and found ourselves near the front1/3 of the queue which proved a great move after seeing how long the queue became later. Chat with a mix of people including meeting Richard Allaway at last. Then off to look around at least some of the exhibition and met up with Emma Rawling-Smith whose talk I hoped to attend at the end of the day.

The exhibition showed that those Icelandic tweets all week represented lots of trips on offer. Signed up to a range of information sources but I managed to limit myself to one box file of leaflets. Lots of sources I am already signed up to.

While browsing at the GA stand I spied a face that looked familiar. Could it be? So I asked are you Nigel? It was indeed – Nigel Bennett PGCE Leicester Uni 1987/88 with myself – one of a few who have kept in touch and there we were 25 years on still both teaching. Nostalgia ensued with memories of field trips to London Docklands and the Lake District. These linked to some pics I had rediscovered recently with our great tutor Patrick Bailey and the power of the chalk drawn diagrams we used to have to do to show ideas.

Fieldwork and the ranging poles.

Tutoring in field sketching – typical the physical geog/geol students taking photos of the human geographers in our territory.

The purpose of the diagram(one of my best ever) to show the group what the OS map information meant about our proposed walk up Scafell Pike the next day. That day will always live on in my memories and as Nigel said the risk assessment process today does not bear thinking about.

We set off together for the Pearson lecture by David Lambert. for two older guys we beat the lift on the stairs leaving many younger geographers in our wake. The lecture was essentially about how the GA and curriculum plans are achanging. Not for the first time in our careers. Essentially,a chance for geographers to mould what and how they teach so pupils gain a geographical core knowledge and include experiential skills as well. Time will always be a factor in this but it did clearly show how as a subject many ideas have been discussed and shared overtime putting us in a stronger position than other subjects in the curriculum.

Now for the IT based workshops with friends leading. Down the B block stairs 3 floors, over to the N block and up 4 flights of stairs ( ah this will explain weariness later). Workshop 20 App’ening geography led by Alan (@geoblogs) Parkinson and Katy Shipman. Earlier Alan had taken a pile of the apps sheets from our ICT stand and distributed the as part of this session. Some good background and resources were shared. It was interesting after spending a lot of time at Teachmeets how the baseline of app and mobile device experience in the session was lower than I had anticipated. Thanks to Alan for mentioning the overlap between the secondary committee and ICT group. I also made requests re. Teachmeet involvement (again!) and. Any Android or non Apple apps users to contact me so future GA lists could be more representative of the range of devices teachers may encounter. I encouraged people on my table to contact me so I could share geography app presentations used previously that included ideas suitable for primary and secondary use.

Suggested categories for app use – also see the apps list on the GA site ( newest list at conference not uploaded yet).

Now to zoom to the most anticipated meet up of my day. In between leaving files in rooms and retrieving my bag from downstairs another 8 flights of stairs and rest! Workshop 26 Two (hundred) heads are better than one: the power of collaboration led by Alan Parkinson, Tony Cassidy and John Sayers. Three names synonymous for those of us active online with outstanding contributions over a period of time. As the room started to fill it was initially the twitter collective very clearly. The presenters divided up their time. Alan led off, then Tony with a great pound land pedagogy activity and finally the resource table that others have pictured with John. What can I say? Inspired as always by three amazing and inspiring practitioners. Ideas galore and yes John could have presented for hours. Thank you gentlemen for a memorable session. We overran so a slower departure meant that Emma’s vignettes were missed but we waited around to see her after.

John, gave me a lift into the city centre, we found the Beermeet venue and I had one drink before the train. We met up with Angus Wilson,Nigel Bennett, Bob Lang and others arriving as I left. I tried blogging on the train but honestly brain and physically drained. Thank you to the GA for a grand day out. Surrey 2014 I need to be there and how do I book up to lead a workshop? Yes I am hooked.