Lesson ideas for using touchscreens in the classroom

Lesson ideas for using touchscreens in the classroom

Interactive touchscreen technology is great – you get to present content to your class in a more engaging way than with a whiteboard, and teach content in different ways for a more effective pedagogy. Think multitouch collaboration, integration with your mobile devices and feedback in exciting quizzes and surveys.

And the list of benefits is as long as your arm. As well as improved educational outcomes (for pupils, teachers and the school), better engagement between teachers and pupils, ease of use (it’s quick and easy to add content), touchscreens can support multiple subjects and are suitable for the whole secondary spectrum. While the possibilities are endless, we’ve come up with a few very basic lesson ideas to get you started…

Our top touchscreen lesson ideas


1. Pointless history quiz

If your students are anything like the teenagers we know, then they’ll be big fans of daytime quiz shows. As the questions on quiz shows take a format students recognise, we’ve found this can be a great way to really engage them in topics, and splitting them into teams builds on the collaborative aspect too.

As an example, take our current daytime favourite, BBC One’s Pointless (though we’re rarely home in time to catch it, unfortunately), and apply a history angle. Come up with sets of questions and answers based on the current topic you’re covering in the style of the quiz format, and get teams of students up to the front to answer them on-screen and compete to see who can get the lowest scoring answers, while you play joint Xander/Richard hosting duties. “We asked 100 people what the main causes of the First World War were”, “We asked 100 people if they could name these Elizabethan figures” etc.

2. Understanding imagery in poetry

Getting students to understand some of the often complex imagery in poetry and ballads can be difficult (it’s not really an onion, is it, Carol?), but using a more visual approach can really aid their comprehension so they can go off and start using more advanced poetic techniques in their own creative writing. That’s where an interactive touchscreen can come in useful.

A fun, engaging activity is to choose a variety of images that pertain to the imagery of the set of poems the class is currently studying (you could search stock photos or Google Images to download some free to use ones), then get students to think about what the image connotes. Get them up to the front of the class to annotate the images on the interactive touchscreen with creative adjectives. Go further by getting them to think about similes and metaphors they could use in their own writing.

3. Discussing drugs in PSHE

Interactive touchscreens are perfect for any topic where group discussion is involved, so they lend themselves perfectly to personal, social and health education lessons. This lesson idea uses students’ listening, answering and researching skills to discuss drugs, smoking and alcohol.

Split students into groups to answer as many questions as they can on the effects of drugs (how does smoking affect your lungs, for example). You start by running through the questions on the touchscreen, while the group-assigned scribe jots them down. Now get them to go off and find the answers themselves on their iPad, making sure they’re working together so that each group member knows the answer to each question. A good tool to use for this would be a mind-mapping app like BaiBoard for iPad, that lets students combine text, drawing and images to create a ‘mood board’ of ideas, connecting with other users to collaborate on a brainstorm as a group.

Now you can go through the set of questions gain, getting another member of each team to give their answers for each question. Students can annotate the questions and compare answers and bits of additional information they didn’t find, while another team member writes up the answers. These findings can then be shared with the class as a resource.

Want to know more about interactive touchscreens? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 218 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com For all the latest news and reviews follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

The Jigsaw24 guide to finance

The Jigsaw24 guide to finance

Once you’ve decided your school is heading down the iPad route, the next step is to find the perfect financial option for your scheme (one that’s going to help you get the most out of your budget, ideally). To get a better understanding of the range of options out there, we sat down with our finance partners Burnetts and CHG Meridian to ask the big questions concerning finance…

We’ve never heard of a contribution scheme. What are they and how do they work?

“A parental contribution scheme is a programme whereby the parents of pupils opt to pay towards devices their children are going to be using in school, whether that be in full or in part. For a lot of schools, parental contribution schemes are the only way to make a new technology investment happen. If you’ve decided to run a contribution scheme, the first question to ask is whether you have any budget to put towards the scheme or if you need to fund the whole scheme through contributions. Don’t worry, either way works.”

How does it benefit the school?

“It’s all about providing sustainable IT. We all know the advantages mobile device technology can bring to teaching and learning, especially in a 1:1 deployment, but they can be expensive for a school to cover the whole cost, so getting parents on board is key. If they can see the advantages iPad is having to their child’s progress, they will pay towards the technology needed.”

What does a monthly payment from a parent actually pay for?

“That monthly payment pays for: the iPad (along with any associated accessories, such as cases), warranty protection for the length of the lease, insurance against accidental damage, theft and misappropriation by an authorised user. It also covers parental contribution cancellation insurance to make sure the school isn’t out of pocket if a parent leaves the scheme for any reason. Also Direct Debit collection costs and all administration costs for managing changes of payment details, and all correspondence with parents if a payment is missed.”

How do we make sure we’re getting the most out of our budget?

“As the lease agreement is with your school rather than with individual parents, we don’t need to run any credit scoring or background checks. Instead, you can use public sector borrowing power to get lower finance rates, and students and parents pay you back a monthly fee based on that rate, rather than the higher one they’d be offered in the high street. You will need to pay the VAT upfront, but you can claim this back at the end of the scheme (to do this you need to prove the device is essential for learning, so you’ll need to offer it to all pupils within a year group or across your school to qualify).”

Do we have to organise all the admin side?

“Nope – Jigsaw24 have all the admin legwork covered, providing an exclusive digital portal, branded to fit in with the rest of your school website. Parents can log in to this using a secure username and password, then choose from a pre-selected list of devices and accessories. They then register their Direct Debit details so that Burnetts can administer their monthly payments on behalf of the school.”

How do we collect Direct Debits, and what happens if a payment bounces?

“When a Direct Debit collection fails, we know straight away. Burnetts will agree with you in advance how you would like this to be managed, then the team will contact parents on the school’s behalf and make alternative arrangements, all being discussed with you to make sure you keep control of your scheme. For example, you might want two collections to be made the following month, or might choose to spread the missing payment over the remaining period. If a parent stops paying, you can protect your school by taking out Burnetts’s Parental Contribution Cancellation Insurance.”

So who actually owns the devices?

“Good question. The leasing company technically owns the device, but the agreement is with the school directly. It is possible for school to pay a portion of the cost of devices (so things are cheaper for parents) and the monthly cost for parents can be adjusted to compensate for any extra investment from the school. The title to the devices can be transferred to parents by paying the residual value of the iPad as a one-off payment at the end of the scheme. Alternatively it could be built into the monthly contribution amount from the start.

“This can also be extended to staff. We’d advise setting up a separate login area for staff, showing a pre-agreed list of devices (which could extend to Mac notebooks and other additional devices) with options for monthly payments, but the mechanics of the system would be the same as the student purchase scheme. We can also offer salary sacrifice schemes for teaching staff.”

How do we get started?

“We can help you with everything from all the equipment, including iPad devices, WiFi, software and apps, to a compliant operating lease, theft and accidental damage insurance to make sure your devices are protected, as well as a system for collecting contributions from parents. If you’re looking to run one of these schemes, one of the Jigsaw24 education team can come to your school to have a chat about it with a representative of both CHG Meridian and Burnetts.”

Want to know more about options for financing your IT vision? Get in touch with the education team on 03332 409 217 or email learning@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news and reviews follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

JAMF Software release v9.7 of Casper Suite

JAMF Software release v9.7 of Casper Suite

IT admins the world over will be very happy to hear that JAMF Software have released a huge new update to Casper Suite. Version 9.7 will, JAMF Software assure us, help you deploy apps and OS X images far more easily than ever before, with new capabilities for securing Apple devices in both business and education environments alike.

What’s new then?

This new release includes a bunch of enhancements to Casper Suite, JAMF plug-ins and Self Service too. Among the many new features, JAMF Software have picked out a few highlights which allow you to:

– Streamline VPP assignment and distribution workflows for App Store apps to targeted users and groups.

– Create a single DMG that includes multiple partitions – eliminating the need for creating a separate DMG of the recovery HD partition.

– Support new OS X and iOS configuration profiles and security management features, including the ability to send a command to clear activation lock in mass.

There are also a number of bug fixes and enhancements which tackle a few tiny niggles some users had identified, including in Casper Focus, Casper Admin, Casper Imaging, jamf binary, JAMF Distribution Server, JAMF Software Server, Recon and Self Service Mobile.

How do I get it?

To ensure the upgrade goes as smoothly as possible, you’re probably best to check out JAMF Software’s own best practices, tips and considerations on upgrading your JAMF Software Server (JSS) explained in their Knowledge Base articles.

What is JAMF Software Casper Suite?

If you’ve never heard of JAMF Software before, Casper Suite is all about making the life of system administrators easier by improving the management and deployment of Apple Mac and iOS devices.

You get tools for: inventory, imaging, patch management, software distribution, remote control, settings and security management, licence management, usage management and more – all in one unified solution. With JAMF Software’s Casper Suite, you can deploy, update, activate and report on OS X and iOS devices, while reducing the cost of ownership and minimising liability.

Want to know more about JAMF Software’s Casper Suite? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

NAB 2015 news: Canon corner 4K with the XC-10, Atomos announce support

NAB 2015 news: Canon corner 4K with the XC-10, Atomos announce support

Canon have played their 4K card ahead of NAB 2015 in Vegas, by unveiling the XC-10. This clever compact video camera captures 4K Ultra-HD footage to internal CFast 2.0 cards at up to 305Mbps or Full HD video to an SD card at up to 50Mbps, has pro-standard 4:2:2 colour sampling and is capable of 12MP stills. Oh, and the Atomos Shogun recorder is fully approved for recording from the XC-10 too.

For the full lowdown on why integration between Canon’s latest “pocket rocket” the XC-10 and Atomos’s Shogun recorder is such a blessing, check out the official word from the Atomos press release below…

Canon XC-10

Melbourne, Australia – 8th April 2015: Canon’s latest announcement sees the Japanese giant launch a compact 4K video camera, the XC-10. Inheriting many features from the Cinema EOS range but in an incredibly small form factor it delivers 4K on the run and most importantly has the essential feature of clean HDMI, start/stop trigger and timecode over HDMI for perfect integration with the Shogun and other Atomos recorders.

“Atomos is proud to be playing a major part in the 4K revolution by enabling these amazing cameras to record to edit friendly formats,” said Jeromy Young, CEO and co-founder of Atomos. “Canon today has changed the playing field again with this pocket rocket that is only unleashed by the addition of a Shogun recorder or an Atomos CFast card, we are confident Shogun will be the first accessory purchased for the XC10.”

Atomos Shogun on Jigsaw24

With the Atomos Shogun, XC-10 users will gain:

– Direct to ProRes/DNxHR 4K recording (up to 2160p30) and ProRes/DNxHD recording (up to 1080p60). This means users do not have to transcode the XC-10’s internal recordings ready for editing in Apple FCP X, Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer.

– The 4K recording, apart from being the native codec for NLEs, is also 4:2:2 color accuracy and 10-bit colour depth that enables the freedom in post-production to integrate 10-bit effects and overlays.

– A 7″ monitor almost six times the area of the XC-10’s 3″ display, is the best and only way to truly set up pro shots with professional features not available on the XC-10 like 3D LUTs, 2:1 and 1:1 zoom for critical focus, vectorscope, false colour and the ability to have ongoing colour calibration using an optional Spyder unit.

– Ability to tag footage on the fly as Favorite/Reject ready for immediate integration into Final Cut Pro, Adobe or other NLEs.

– Long record times onto affordable and reliable SSD media as opposed to the more expensive $/GB media option on the XC-10.

– With built-in HDMI to SDI signal conversion, the Shogun/XC-10 combination can perfectly integrate into an existing SDI workflow.

– The breakout XLR connection gives the Shogun/XC-10 combination both balanced analogue XLR audio and 48V phantom power options for condenser microphone solutions.

For all of this added functionality, users do not sacrifice usability since the Atomos Shogun and the Canon XC-10 have synchronised start/stop trigger and timecode over HDMI meaning one touch recording from the Canon will trigger the record and timecode to start on the Shogun.

Want to know more about Canon cameras or the Atomos Shogun recorder? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

NAB 2015 news: Boris FX and axle team to provide Transfer FCP and AE

NAB 2015 news: Boris FX and axle team to provide Transfer FCP and AE

Big news ahead of NAB – Boris FX, creators of the excellent and much-loved Transfer FCP and Transfer AE sequence transferring software, have teamed up with axle Video, media management supremos, in an exclusive partnership. That means axle are now the sole providers of Transfer products. More from axle in their pre-NAB press release below…

BOSTON, MA, USA, April 7, 2015 – Boston companies Boris FX and axle Video today announced a partnership agreement under which axle Video has become the owner and sole publisher of the Transfer FCP and Transfer AE products originally developed by Boris FX. These innovative products, designed to facilitate the transfer of sequences between video editing and effects software from Adobe, Apple and Avid, will now be sold on axle Video’s website and integrated into future products from axle.

Pricing for Transfer FCP and Transfer AE will remain unchanged, at $299.00 each, and for both bundled together at $399.00. The products work with both Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.

“We’re thrilled to make this powerful technology available to the video industry,” says Sam Bogoch, CEO of axle Video. “As video creation continues to flourish and become more and more common, there’s a growing need for tools to move projects quickly and easily between editing platforms. We also see clearly that this type of technology can improve future versions of our radically simple media management systems.” These products join axle Video’s award-winning lineup of media management solutions.

“Following our successful acquisition and merger with software developer Imagineer Systems, we are focusing our development on creative visual effects, image restoration, and motion graphics tools for post-production,” says Boris Yamnitsky, founder and CEO of Boris FX. “Yet there is also a market need to concentrate on this area of interoperability. With their knowledge and resources, axle Video is a perfect partner to further develop the Transfer products for more hosts and workflows.”

axle Transfer FCP is a two plug-in set for Final Cut Pro 7 to transfer sequences between FCP and all Avid editing and finishing systems; one for AAF file format-compatible FCP7-to-Avid transfer, the other for Avid-to-FCP7 AAF file import. Editors can exchange projects that include transitions, effects, image and time warps, 3rd-party effects, and keyframes. All media markers, cuts, dissolves, filters, and audio are also preserved.

axle Transfer AE is a plug-in for Adobe After Effects to perform seamless sequence transfer from Apple FCP7 and Avid Media Composer, including direct import and translation of Avid AAF format files. Transfer AE preserves every Avid or Final Cut Pro project component including edits, cuts, dissolves, and treatments; in addition, it uniquely translates Boris Continuum Complete effects used in Avid or FCP7 projects to corresponding BCC effects in After Effects.

As part of the agreement, Boris FX will take a minority equity stake in axle Video. Both companies are privately held. Boris FX and axle Video will both be exhibiting at next week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas in the South Lower hall. Boris FX will be in booth SL4225. axle Video will be in booth SL16015.

About axle Video

axle Video LLC is a Boston-based software company dedicated to radically simple digital media management for small and mid-sized workgroups. Founders Sam Bogoch, Steve Ryan, and Patrice Gouttebel have extensive experience in media asset management for creative applications. axle’s media management software has been recognized with a Best of Show award at its introduction at IBC 2012, and at NAB 2013 received prestigious DV Magazine Black Diamond and Post Picks awards.

About BorisFX

Founded in 1995, Boris FX is a leading developer of VFX, compositing, titling, video editing, and workflow tools for broadcast, post-production, and film professionals. Boris FX products have grown to serve over a million artists worldwide. The company’s success lies in its ability to tightly integrate and leverage technologies through strong partnerships with Adobe, Apple, Avid, Grass Valley, Nexidia, Sony, Quantel, and other leading developers of video editing software.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Education app of the week: Seesaw for iPad

Education app of the week: Seesaw for iPad

It’s not always easy to catalogue exactly what students are working on, but with the Seesaw app for iPad, you can easily create learning journals by snapping pictures of projects that can then be viewed by teachers and shared with parents too. Here’s how it works… 

What is Seesaw?

Seesaw: The Learning Journal (Seesaw Inc, free) is a free iPad app that lets students build up a digital portfolio of all the projects they’ve been working on in class. Made by the same developers as the excellent Shadow Puppet app (check out our review of that here), it’s incredibly easy to add assets to a portfolio, and you can do it in a number of different ways: using the iPad Camera, you can take a picture of the worksheet, diagram or any other paper-based work, shoot a video to give a recorded account of things students have learned, add items from the Camera Roll or even draw directly in the app to make diagrams and notes on what they’ve been working on. Once loaded into Seesaw, students can then add annotations as well as voice comments to the items for further explanation.

Seesaw for iPad

From a teacher point of view, Seesaw lets you browse and sort assets from the whole class (you’ll need to set up a free Seesaw classroom account first, then get students to join by scanning a QR code). Everything’s all in one place, so you can just scroll through the whole class’s submissions or drill down into a particular student’s work, and easily access the whole lot on your iPad from anywhere.

Seesaw are also adding PDF support so you will be able to export from Book Creator or Pages as a PDF and then import to Seesaw, as well as support for adding ePUBs to Seesaw.

How can it benefit the classroom?

Giving students the ability to create and organise their own work in a digital journal empowers them to develop their academic voice and collaborate with classmates. And by bringing in the parent communication aspect, with realtime notifications, gives an insight into what their children get up to during the day, as well as providing an opportunity to support learning at home.

Seesaw for iPad

What’s the best feature?

While Seesaw is great for students and teachers, we really like how there is also the added bonus of being able to share work with parents. Once a teacher has approved a submitted piece of work, a feature in Seesaw sends automatic notifications to parents’ iPad or iPhone. This means they can see what their children have been up to in class, and discuss the work with them later at home. Parents just need to set up and sign in to their own free Seesaw account.

Where can I get it?

You can get Seesaw: The Learning Journal (Seesaw Inc, free) from the App Store on your iPad or here on iTunes. All you need to get started is to sign up for a free Seesaw account.

– Missed last week’s app? Catch up with our review of MathBoard 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 learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

Adobe case study: Collaboration with Creative Cloud at Nature’s Path

Adobe case study: Collaboration with Creative Cloud at Nature’s Path

Nature’s Path Organic Foods are the largest indie manufacturer and distributor of breakfast cereal, snack bars and other wholesome grub in the whole of north America. With a 30 year history (they’ve got five years on Photoshop!) and a brand to retain, they decided it was high time their in-house graphics team made the move to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams for all their packaging, print materials and digital artwork.

The result? More consistent branding, easier collaboration, an expanded toolset and seamless workflows.

Click the image below for the full lowdown on Nature’s Path Organic Foods and their new Adobe for Creative Cloud for teams workflow (PDF).

Adobe case study: Consistency and collaboration with Creative Cloud at Nature's Path

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Wacom release the darlin’ new Cintiq Companion 2

Wacom release the darlin’ new Cintiq Companion 2

A little over a year ago, Wacom released their very first graphics tablet with onboard processing power, the Cintiq Companion. Now they’re back with the second generation Cintiq Companion 2, your all-in-one tool for creating on the go. With five different models to choose from, we’ve broken down what’s what with the new Wacom…

What is the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2?

Just about the most flexible graphics tab ever. Running Windows 8.1 and packing Intel Core processors, the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 lets you run all your creative apps while you’re on the move. Edit images in Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, create characters in Autodesk Mudbox or even just fire off a few emails (and check Twitter, obvs) – whatever your workflow, the Cintiq Companion 2 lets you get creating with all the precision and pressure sensitivity you’d expect from a Cintiq, but without needing a separate desktop/notebook machine to run everything from. We’re not usually ones to over-react, but it is truly awesome (we recently held an event at our Soho office to show off the Cintiq 27QHD and Companion 2, and you guys said the same).

Wacom Cintiq Companion on Jigsaw24

So what’s new?

Fawning hyperbole out of the way, let’s look at what’s actually new in the Cintiq Companion 2 compared to its forebear:

– A simplified range that now allows users to work in full Windows 8 or hybrid mode on one device. This means the Cintiq Companion 2 will work as a fully functional mobile tablet running full professional creative software, as well as a Cintiq Interactive Display when attached to a Mac or PC.

– Improved CPU and graphics performance which enables the customer to run 3D applications properly.

– High resolution (2560 x 1440) display impresses with sharp pictures and colour brilliance.

What’s this about five different models?

So there are actually five models in the Cintiq Companion 2 range – Value, Standard, Premium, Enhanced and Enterprise (specs haven’t been released for this yet), the difference between each being memory (ranging from 4GB to 16GB), storage (from 64GB to 512GB) and processing power (ranging from Intel i3 to i7). The better specced models also come with Windows 8.1 Pro as opposed to standard Windows 8.1, as well as an additional stand and carry case.

These five models will replace the current old Cintiq Companion and Cintiq Companion Hybrid models:

Cintiq Companion 2

Model Name

Cintiq Companion 2 64GB Value

Cintiq Companion 2 128GB Standard

Cintiq Companion 2 256GB Premium

Cintiq Companion 2 512GB Enhanced

Cintiq Companion 2 Enterprise


Intel i3

Intel i5

Intel i7

Intel i7














Operating System

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 Pro

Windows 8.1 Pro


Included Accessories

Pro Pen

Pro Pen, Stand & Carry Case

Pro Pen, Stand & Carry Case

Pro Pen, Stand & Carry Case


When can I get hold of the Cintiq Companion 2?

The first four models – Value, Standard, Premium and Enhanced – are available now from Jigsaw24 with an expected shipping date of the end of March. The Enterprise model hasn’t been released yet but we’ll update our website with more information as soon as it is.

Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD, or our full Wacom Cintiq rangeGive us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Flash

Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Flash

 Could your Adobe Flash workflow be a little more efficient? We’ve put together these keyboard shortcuts that make it easier to switch between all your essential tools, shaving precious seconds off your web work! Just click on the image to see the keyboard a bit bigger…

Adobe Flash keyboard shortcuts (click to enlarge)

– Using Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator? You’ll want our keyboard shortcuts for those here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator

Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator

Want to make your Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator workflow that little bit more efficient? Learning these little keyboard shortcuts will soon have you jumping between cropping, lassoing and zooming tools like a pro. Just click on the images to see the larger keyboard…

Photoshop CC
Adobe Photoshop keyboard (click to enlarge)InDesign CC
Adobe InDesign keyboard shortcuts (click to enlarge)Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator keyboard shortcuts (click to enlarge)

– Working in web? Check out our Adobe Flash keyboard shortcuts here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.