Education app of the week: Penultimate for iPad

Education app of the week: Penultimate for iPad

Sometimes you just want to take notes the old fashioned way, which is why we’re big fans of this week’s app, Penultimate, which lets pupils jot down notes and annotations and sketch quick diagrams directly into iPad.

What is Penultimate?

Penultimate (Evernote, free) is a really simple app for hand writing notes on iPad, rather than using the onscreen keyboard (you can either use just your finger, or go with a pen-style device like the Griffin Stylus for a bit more accuracy). Made by the people behind Evernote – another of our favourite apps for taking notes and collating and organising information from around the web – Penultimate will integrate seamlessly with Evernote as well as photo annotation app Skitch. There are a few different ink colours and paper styles included, and also the ability to import images to create your own custom paper and notes. These can then be sorted in your Evernote folders along with your Skitch and Evernote notes.

How could it benefit the classroom?

Because you can import pictures into your notes and then annotate on top of them, Penultimate becomes a great note taking/annotation/mind mapping tool. It can be used pretty much across the board, in any subject where pupils are taking notes or need to draw up quick diagrams to help remember processes, such as in a science experiment or food technology class. When finished, single pages of notes or full notebooks can be shared as PDFs for feedback and assessment.

What’s the best feature? 

The real beauty of Penultimate is that it actually recognises your handwriting, which makes it really easy to search through all your old notes. Simply search by keyword, project or topic – very handy for quickly finding something specific among all your notebooks – or just browse manually through all your notebooks at once in Penultimate’s carousel view.

Where can I get it?

Sound like something you and your pupils could benefit from? Head to the App Store on your iPad or download Penultimate (Evernote, free) from iTunes. While Penultimate is a free app, there are a number of paper packages available to purchase ‘in-app’ for between 69p and £1.99.

– If you missed last week’s app, check out our review of Snapguide 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.


Education app of the week: Brushes for iPad

Education app of the week: Brushes for iPad

Every teacher I’ve told about the Brushes app for iPad has gone mad for how easy it is to use, how it can inspire students to get more involved in art lessons and the fact that it’s completely free too. It’s even made a splash with David Hockney…

What is Brushes?

Brushes (Taptrix Inc, free) is a painting app for iPad that, compared to others out there, is actually very complex and offers a variety of different brushes and techniques which usually cost quite a bit within an app. Now in its third version, it offers 14 different brushes with simulated pressure, huge brush sizes up to 512×512 pixels, adjustable brush settings (spacing, jitter, scatter etc), adjustable colours, hues, saturation and more. It’s also optimised for the incredibly high resolution Retina displays on the latest iPad devices, and has a wide range of sharing options via the cloud, email and social media.

World renowned British artist David Hockney is also a convert, and last year introduced a whole exhibition – A Bigger Picture, at the Royal Academy – devoted to paintings of the English countryside composed entirely using iPad and the Brushes app.

How can it benefit the classroom?

While the glut of features on offer may sound complex, Brushes is actually perfect for all levels, from primary up. Its bright, breezy interface is perfect for beginners, and it takes full advantage of iPad’s multitouch gestures so students can paint using just their fingers – zoom with a two finger pinch, toggle interface visibility with a single tap, tap and hold to access the eyedropper tool etc. In fact, one of our e7 customers Congleton High School have just started using Brushes in art lessons, and have blogged about it here. They said:

“This year I am trying to encourage all curriculum areas to get into mobile computing. One success is with art. They are now using Brushes (a free app) with their students […] The art teacher said that they all really got inspired and excited about using the iPads and software.”

What’s the best feature?

I love pretty much everything about Brushes, but one of the most useful bits has to be the redo/undo and versioning features. The app records every step of your painting, so you can quickly go back if you decide you don’t like the direction it’s going, and also watch the whole process back from your first stroke to your finished project. While this is very cool, it’s also a valuable tool for evaluating the processes students use, and assessing their progress in art classes.

Where can I get it?

Brushes 3 (Taptrix Inc) is free to download straight from the App Store to your iPad deployment, or from iTunes. If your students want to take their painting a bit further, there’s also an upgrade that lets you experiment with different layers, and that’s available within the app for an extra £1.99.

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad in the classroom? Call us on 03332 409 333 or email You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


e7 resources: Design Day with iPad at Fernwood School

e7 resources: Design Day with iPad at Fernwood School

We were recently at Fernwood School, Nottingham, to lend them some iPad devices they could use as part of an upcoming Design Day event. This was a chance for staff and students to find exciting ways to use iPad for a wide range of creative subjects such as home economics and CDT, as well as get to grips with using iPad as part of a real lesson environment, before embarking on our free 1:1 iPad trial scheme, the e7 Project.

Handily, they filmed the whole thing, so you can check out how they got on below…

Want to know more about 1:1 iPad deployments in schools? See our e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email You can also follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

e7 team: iPad training at Netherfield Primary School

e7 team: iPad training at Netherfield Primary School

Netherfield Primary School, Nottingham, recently signed up to our e7 free iPad  scheme and I went in today to hand over their 40 trial devices and make sure staff were comfortable using them before teaching. Netherfield had actually already purchased 24 brand new Apple iPad devices with Retina displays, and had given them out to staff over Christmas to get acquainted with, so it turned out they already knew much more than I was expecting!

On top of the 24 teachers who had already had chance to put iPad through its paces, the training session was opened up to a further 40 or so teaching assistants who we split into groups with the more iPad-savvy staff, so it turned out to be a pretty full hall in the end! 32 of the 40 new devices were going to be used by a foundation group of three to four year olds, with the other eight earmarked for a slightly older Nurture group (as well as being used as a bookable resource).

We started by running through all the physical features of iPad, including the different multitouch gestures and camera, and then had a bit of fun in the Photo Booth app. What the staff at Netherfield seemed to really love was how easy it was to create folders for apps and also create shortcuts to webpages, so they could set the pages they visit the most, such as their webmail, as their own apps on the home screen with just a couple of taps.

Another highlight for staff was iPad’s Guided Access feature. This lets you go into an app and highlight any areas you don’t want students to be able to access – such as advert banners and buttons for in-app purchases – so students can’t accidentally buy things on the school account. The staff all agreed that this was perfect for the age groups they would be working with, as was the ability to set up passcodes so students wouldn’t be able to leave an app without a 4-digit password. A demonstration of how tough the Griffin Survivor cases we send out with the e7 iPad deployment are (I started the training by mercilessly throwing my own iPad on the hall floor!) also went down well.

There were a few interesting questions from staff about setting up email (Netherfield use a system provided by the local authority), but ultimately they found using iPad pretty straightforward. The staff who had been using the devices over Christmas even wanted to show me a few things they had found interesting, including the Augmented Reality app, which launches interactive virtual animations when pointing the iPad camera at certain trigger images. Very cool!

We’ll be catching up with Netherfield Primary School again soon, but in the meantime, you can find out more about the e7 Project here). To keep track of all our latest e7 happenings, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page. Want to get involved? Call 03332 409 333 or email





Education app of the week: Paper

Education app of the week: Paper

For our latest look into essential iPad apps for the classroom, we’ve gone all creative with Paper. This free drawing app makes it easy to create great looking images and documents and share them directly from iPad, and even Apple themselves made it the 2012 Winner of their iPad Developer Showcase award. Here’s why we think it’s a hit for students…

What is Paper?

Basically, Paper (FiftyThree, free) is a creative app that lets students easily draw and sketch with simple gestures on Apple iPad. Unlike some other free drawing apps, Paper lets you create whole projects of drawings rather than individual files – you simply make a new ‘Journal’, give it a name, then start drawing on the first page. When you’re done, flick to the next page and carry on sketching until you’re ready to stop, then save the file, add a personalised front cover, and export it to any number of productivity apps like Dropbox or Evernote, email as a PDF or share directly to Facebook or Twitter.

The free version comes with a basic brush tool, colour palette and eraser (other tools are available as in-app purchases), as well as the very cool Rewind feature, which allows you to undo any changes you’ve made by simply twisting two fingers until you get back to where you want. It’s all very simple to use, and even comes with interactive tutorials to get you started.

How will it benefit the classroom?

The most obvious use for Paper is in art and other creative lessons, for creating everything from initial sketches to short digital folios. Because it’s so easy to email or export the finished project as a PDF directly from within the app, students can submit their work to teachers with just a couple of taps. But it can also be applied to other subjects across the curriculum. For example, students can sketch diagrams in a subject like science or geography, jot down a few annotations using the Write tool, then open the whole thing up as part of a presentation in the Explain Everything app (which we reviewed last time here).

What’s the best feature?

Where Paper really excels over other free, more basic, drawing apps is in its accuracy. You great detail with every brush stroke, and serious artists can even get pressure sensitivity while drawing using a Pogo Connect stylus. This puts it a step ahead as a real solution for art students who are working on digital projects, but want to keep the precise definition of a trusty old pencil.

FiftyThree’s website has some great examples of what you can do, but I was recently talking to a teacher at one of our iPad trial schools – Kat Booker from Netherfield Primary School – and she was raving about just how easy it is to get great results with Paper, as you can see in her sketch below…


Where can I get it?

You can download Paper (FiftyThree) from either the App Store on your iPad or from iTunes. The app’s free and comes with a basic brush and toolkit, and you can buy extra tools Mixer, Color, Sketch, Write and Outline from within the app for a further £1.49 each. Or, get the last four of those five bundled together in the Essentials package for £4.99.

– Missed our last app review? Have a read of our Education app of the week: Explain Everything here.


If you’d like to know more about some of the other apps we recommend for Apple iPad in the classroom, call us on 03332 409 333 or email You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

e7 resources: Preparing parents for an iPad deployment

e7 resources: Preparing parents for an iPad deployment

One of the barriers in the way of a 1:1 iPad deployment like our e7 free iPad trial scheme can often be issues on the parts of parents and key stakeholders. So it’s important to prepare parents with plenty of information and solutions to ease any worries (funding, safety, loss of device etc) they might have.

Trinity School, Nottingham, have done this by preparing an informative proposal PDF for parents – iPad across the curriculum at Trinity – which outlines exactly what the scheme will cost to the parent, details roll out and support of the devices and allays any issues around pupil safety and device management with a list of possible solutions. It’s an approach that’s definitely worth looking into if your school is going down the 1:1 iPad route.

Interested in a 1:1 iPad scheme? Find out more about the e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email You can also  follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.