Key multitouch software for education

Key multitouch software for education

We’ve all heard that touchscreens are great for collaborative, student-led learning, but what can they actually do? Andy Cain explains key multitouch software…

Working with schools to implement multitouch screens, I’ve seen some fantastic learning outcomes, including increased peer-led learning and feedback, better student engagement and a rise in on-task behaviour, as no one’s ever left waiting for ‘their turn’ to work.

However, many teachers are nervous about adopting the technology because – unlike tablet devices, which run apps that you can download and trial at home – multitouch tools are a bit of mystery until you get your hands on one of the screens.

Obviously, the best way to get over this hump is to arrange a demo or get a sample screen to a TeachMeet so that staff can try it out (give me a call on the number below to arrange a demo, by the way). But until you have time to try one out, I thought I’d try and demystify the key tools included with one of our most popular ranges,Clevertouch screens.

Snowflake Multiteach

Let’s start with the pre-made stuff. Snowflake Multiteach is an excellent collection of pre-built fun activities that encourage students to learn by making use of the Clevertouch’s interactive features. Activities cover everything from maths and literacy to geography and biology, to music.

As well as being a subtle way to improve your class’s hand-eye co-ordination, these apps are great for engaging different types of learner and teaching content in a range of ways to ensure the message hits home for everyone. You can customise the pre-made activities for different levels of ability, or make your own activities using Clevertouch’s software (I promise you don’t have to code anything).

Top tips to save time/make you sound clever when you finally meet a demo screen: apps can be categorised for easy reference, then accessed by swiping left to right on the screen. You can also divide the screen into two (so that students can compete or carry out independent activities at the same time) by clicking on the Zones icon and then just selecting your preferred layout.


Next up is this fully-featured annotation application that allows you and your students to annotate over any type of document – if you’ve ever used SMART Notebook or Active Inspire, you’ll feel right at home, and will be wielding its multiple pens, brushes, highlighters, shapes and lines in no time.

The software installs on a Windows PC that connects to your touchscreen, and
every screen comes with five perpetual licences, so you won’t have to pay for
software subscriptions. Once it’s up and running, you can choose from its vast library of hi-res imagery (maps, buildings, people, animals and food all feature heavily) or drag and drop images from Google,which can be accessed without leaving CleverLynx.

Once you and the students have annotated to your hearts’ content, you can use screen capture to save the lesson’s work for revision or assessment. Much easier than keeping track of worksheets.


If you order an Android-based Clevertouch screen, you’ll get a model with the CleverNote annotation application included, so you can just turn it on and start scribbling. It allows you to annotate anything on screen – you can brainstorm, paint and import pictures to add notes to.

As CleverNote is incredibly simple to use and doesn’t require your screen be attached to a computer, there’s very little risk of failure or damage, meaning it’s a great app to let students use in their free time. Anything they work on can be emailled straight from the screen, saved to its built-in memory or to a USB stick.

Because this application doesn’t require a computer, it’s great if you want your screen to be trolley-mounted and mobile, and supply teachers can just upload their lesson content via USB stick and crack on – even if school laptops and computers are down.


DisplayNote allows you to wirelessly connect your tablet to the touchscreen to deliver presentations, or mirror the content onscreen to students’ tablet devices. Students can view and capture slides and pages, then collaborate with one another and the teacher in realtime – you can even give them access to the Clevertouch screen to add animations from their tablets.

Like the straightforward annotation apps, you can import any document or image and share instantly. You can also see at a glance which students are actively adding content, check their screens on your own, send them individual messages or pause a student’s access to DisplayNote if you think they’re up to something. And as every Clevertouch screen comes with ten perpetual licences, you don’t have to worry about subscription fees.

For more information, call 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Education app of the week: Sketch Nation Shooter for iPad

Education app of the week: Sketch Nation Shooter for iPad

Everyone loves a good side-scrolling spaceship shoot-em-up, but with Sketch Nation Shooter, you can actually design and develop elements of the game yourself, with no need for code. It’s a great way to bring out the imagination and creativity of of pupils (and bigger children too…).

What is Sketch Nation Shooter?

Sketch Nation Shooter (Engineous Games Inc, 69p) is an app that lets pupils create their own 2D game on iPad. You start by sketching out a spaceship on an ordinary pad of paper, some enemies to destroy and other on-screen elements, then use the camera on iPad to take a photo of the designs to upload into the game.

The app itself provides a game engine that scrolls across the screen, and populates the level with the custom-made graphics and characters. Students can then control their custom-made game using multitouch gestures. The functionality is simple, and you can see how effective it is in the below video:

How can it benefit the classroom?

Sketch Nation Shooter lets students get creative to produce simple concepts, then see them through to the design stage. There’s no coding involved and handy tutorials to get you started, so pupils of all levels can get involved – all they need is pen and paper, an iPad and an active imagination! And then when they’re hooked, you can get them started on coding and programming apps.

What’s the best feature?

While Sketch Nation Shooter lets pupils easily create their own game from simple sketches or stock images, we like that there’s also an advanced mode that goes into more depth. This includes extras like level design and a few other options, so pupils can take the development stages further.

How much is it and where can I get it?

You can download Sketch Nation Shooter (Engineous Games Inc, 69p) from the App Store on your iPad, or by heading over to iTunes. It’s also available under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme so, if you’re buying more than 20 instances of the app, you can get them for just 34p each.

– Missed last week’s app? Read our review of Tellagami for iPad here.

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

How to create free ebooks from Wikipedia articles

How to create free ebooks from Wikipedia articles

One of the most useful (and lesser known) features of Wikipedia for learning is the ebook creating tool, ‘book creator’. This lets you add any article you’re reading to a list, then craft the whole thing into a book which can be delivered as an EPUB ebook or PDF for viewing on iPad.

It’s incredibly easy to get started. First, you need to turn the book creator tool on by clicking on ‘Print/export’ in the links on the left hand side of the Wikipedia page, then ‘Enable book creator’. Now when you search for a relevant page (in our example we’ve taken a patriotic look at the history of the British royal family), you’ll see the book creator toolbar at the top of the page. This lets you add that specific page to your book creator list (or remove it if you decide you don’t want to use it), jump to your book, or even let Wikipedia suggest pages that might be relevant.

Wikipedia book creator

Once you’ve got all your pages together, you can start editing your book. Click on the ‘Show book’ link, and you’ll be directed to the list of articles you’ve selected. Here, you can manage your books by creating chapters, dragging and dropping articles to reorder them and adding a title and subtitle. When you’re happy you, can export your book by choosing the format (either EPUB ebook, PDF ebook, OpenDocument or OpenZIM), then click Download.

Wikipedia book creator

Your finished book is formatted with a title page, contents, then all articles categorised by chapter with a list of sources at the end. Sometimes the formatting can be slightly off, and you don’t get the full functionality of say, the Book Creator app for iPad, but it’s a really useful, accessible way of quickly creating ebooks that you can distribute to iPad.

Want to know more? Call us on 03332 409 333 or email To keep up to date with what our education team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page


Make your IT future-proof

Make your IT future-proof

Our tech team’s guide to preparing your infrastructure for mobile devices

Bringing a raft of mobile devices into your school is a great opportunity for teachers and students, but if you’re not prepared, it can put a strain on your IT resources. There are dozens of factors you need to bear in mind, including: internet access, workflow, being able to secure devices and, most importantly, ensuring student safety.

Luckily, we can help you every step of the way, testing out your existing infrastructure, conducting WiFi surveys to ensure you have ample coverage and even setting up trials of mobile device management (MDM) solutions. Here are a few of our favourite tools for keeping your mobile devices online and under control without bringing your network to a standstill, or giving students access to files that they’re not supposed to see.

Get easy internet access and WiFi

If you’re taking on an iPad or MacBook Air deployment, you might need to think about updating your school’s old WiFi system in order to let a class full of pupils all access the internet and stream content without the connection grinding to a halt. We can come and check if your WiFi’s up to the job by carrying out a WiFi survey to make sure you’re getting maximum coverage as well as capacity, then recommend steps to take.

One solution we’re seeing great results from is Aerohive, a managed WiFi solution whereby the connection is managed by individual access points in the classroom rather than a central controller. These clever white boxes cut out data bottlenecks and the single point of failure you get in a traditional WiFi setup, so you get continuous connectivity. It’s scalable, so there’s no limit on the number of users you can support, it’s easily manageable (you can view and control the access points from anywhere using an online console) and it’s not a big investment either, so all in all a great option for primary schools.

TOP TIP: Control who can connect what to which network and when by creating individual Aerohive PSK passwords (Private Pre-Share Key – a more secure form of login, basically) with time restrictions and specific permissions.

Manage devices and ensure secure web access

If you want to add mobile device management (MDM) to the mix, and make sure your pupils are safe on the web at the same time, try Lightspeed – a great all-in-one solution comprising MDM tools, online workspaces and a web filter. Lightspeed is cloud-based, so you can manage devices from anywhere, easily set restrictions on web access, and add or remove profiles to make sure anyone who’s not enrolled can’t access content on your network. It’ll even sync with your Apple Volume Purchase Programme account, so you can push out apps to your iPad deployment without having to do it one device at a time plus, use Lightspeed’s Web Filter tool to create ‘web zones’ where students can only access content approved for their age group. Works when you take iPad home too!

TOP TIP: My Big Campus, a Facebook-like online workspace, allows teacher to set up groups for different subjects or projects, then invite pupils to share work and resources with one another in an informal, student-friendly environment that’s designed to encourage collaboration and promote self-learning.

Make accessing and sharing files easier

To make it easier for pupils to be able to access files saved on the school network, search, transfer and work on documents quickly from anywhere, a file management solution from GroupLogic is probably what you’re after. This will let you make sure everyone can quickly have access to the right resource, without searching for files cutting into your teaching time.

mobilEcho gives you simple, secure and managed access to your existing network folders and file servers from your iOS devices, meaning you can use all your existing content easily. Because it integrates with your Active Directory, it’s also simple to set up secure logins and users with the same access permissions. activEcho, on the other hand, works a bit like Dropbox, the online file sharing service. It lets pupils and staff share documents on iPad from a centrally stored location in the cloud without having to use a third-party app (which you can’t guarantee is secure).

TOP TIP: Use mobilEcho to control which users can see and work with which files. For example, make it so that students can only find resources relevant to their classes, or teachers can see all their files, but not save certain types of document to their iPad for data protection reasons.

Get your Macs and PCs working together

If you’re using both Macs and PCs, you’ll need some way of giving everyone the same access to the same resources, regardless of what platform they’re on. There are ways of doing this, either by adding Windows to your Macs, managing everything with Windows servers, or managing macs and mobile devices together. Another GroupLogic brainwave, ExtremeZ-IP lets you use Active Directory to makes sure that Mac and PC users get the same user experience and can use the same files, printers, and devices as those on PCs.

TOP TIP: Don’t waste lesson time clicking through greyed-out files or watching progress bars. ExtremeZ-IP gives everyone access to the same resources, all without your IT team having to learn a whole new operating system.

How we can help…

With 20 years’ experience working with over 1000 schools across the UK, we can help with every aspect of future-proofing your infrastructure, from pre-sales consultancy to post-sale support. Accredited by GroupLogic, Apple, HP, Aerohive and more, our consultants and engineers have extensive installation experience, and our in-house tech team can provide a dedicated point of contact who knows your exact situation and needs. We can even arrange free trial runs with hardware and software so you get chance to see how much you can benefit before you buy.

Call us on 03332 409 333 or email to find out more.