Apple Teacher #5: Productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds

Apple Teacher #5: Productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds

In our final look at the Apple Teacher Starter Guides and how they can be used to upskill staff to help them plan engaging lessons with iPad and Mac, we’re focusing on productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds.

Enhancing Productivity Apple Teacher Guide

The Enhancing Productivity with iPad and Enhancing Productivity with Mac guides and badges could be completed either before or after the App guides. The book focuses on student productivity, and is broken down into four sections: Productivity fundamentals, Getting organised, Planning and sharing, and Documenting and reflecting.

We really like the ‘Organising a research paper’ activity and the vocabulary flashcards. It’s a great way to introduce the skill of referencing, which students will need to get used to if they go on to study the Extended Project Qualification or go to university after sixth form. The flashcards are a great and effective revision tool for students of all ages, as the content can be fully customised for the ability of the student, and personalised to them. There are links to other iBooks at the back of the guide that will give staff and students further information on how Apple technologies can make you more productive.

Fostering Creativity Apple Teacher Guide

The Fostering Creativity with iPad guide is all about initiating those creative juices, and is the perfect one to leave until last. You’ll know how to use all of the Apple apps on your iPad and Mac by this stage in your Apple Teacher journey, and will be one badge away from becoming an Apple Teacher. Fostering Creativity starts with the fundamentals of the creative process in learning, taking in brainstorming, gathering inspirational resources and, finally, telling compelling stories.

The ‘Reflect on family history’ activity, which uses Pages, Photo Booth (Mac)/Camera (iPad) and iMovie, is great for a simple app smash (combining apps together in one final piece of work). Not only does this develop local history knowledge, it can bring the whole family and school community into a student’s learning. By the end of the guide, you’ll be thinking of new possibilities to use iPad in your classroom.

Swift Playgrounds Teacher Guide

The Everyone Can Code series developed by Apple is a comprehensive, high quality and free set of resources that covers the entire curriculum from year 1 through to year 13. If students follow this programming language all of the way through to the end of sixth form, they will be working with industry standard development tools and be coding in a language that has been used to create apps such as Airbnb, LinkedIn and Eventbrite.

Swift Playgrounds is a block-based coding app (simply drag and drop a short piece of code or instructions) that has a full set of lessons and resources that can be downloaded, used and customised by teachers. For some activities, they also have possible answers which can be revealed (don’t tell the students!). You access them all from the teacher guide in the iBooks Store, and all of the lessons and challenges are mapped against the UK National Curriculum.

Additional support

Regional Training Centres hold a big event every year that are designed to support and inspire your iPad and Mac journeys. If you want additional support for Swift Playgrounds, then you might want to look at iTunes U. Apple Education have created an iTunes U course that is perfect for teachers learning how to code. It follows the Learn to Code 1 and 2 guides and is an excellent course to follow if you want that bit of extra support from home.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

Fostering Creativity introduces the concept of ‘app smashing’ (combining apps for learning), and to ensure this high quality learning is tracked and the progress is highly visible, we would recommend using Showbie. Our course The Paperless Classroom: Showbie upskills your staff to make sure app smashing and progress work seamlessly together.

The Swift Playgrounds app is an amazing introduction to computer science for Key Stage 2 and 3 students. What makes it perfect for the whole coding curriculum is that it allows third party apps such as Sphero and Parrot’s drones to be used by students for the control unit. If you’re interested in integrating these into your coding curriculum, contact your Jigsaw24 Education Manager for more information.

– Missed our last Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Apple Teacher #4: Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers

Apple Teacher #4: Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers

In our latest look at the Apple Teacher Starter Guides, and how they can be used to upskill staff to help plan engaging lessons with iPad and Mac, we get to GarageBand and Numbers. Here I explain how you can use them in ways you may not have expected…

GarageBand Starter Guide

Those of you who are already familiar with the Apple environment will know that GarageBand is an amazing app for easily creating great quality music in the classroom. But who would have thought that it can also be used in a way that helps literacy? The GarageBand for iPad and GarageBand for Mac Starter Guides focus on creating a lesson that brings a poem to life by learning how to use the Live Loops feature of GarageBand to add layered loops of music. This approach gets teachers and students to stray away from traditional learning and start to think differently.

Even if students cannot play an instrument, they can join in with a jamming session by choosing and playing a live loop. There’s plenty of inspiration to give food for thought and promote out of the box thinking for iPad and Mac in lessons, including ideas around creating soundscapes and radio shows, and a times table song.

Numbers Starter Guide

Numbers is Apple’s spreadsheet app, but it’s not all just about formulae and graphs. In the Numbers for iPad and Numbers for Mac Starter Guides, as with the Pages guide we looked at before, you build a full science report looking at butterflies. The guide touches on Challenge Based-Learning with iPad and Mac, and goes step by step into how students can build a real life science report, covering the project overview, formulae and budgeting for creating a garden to attract butterflies.

You’ll learn how to create tables, formulae and interactive graphs (not as scary as they sound!) that change with a tap of the screen or trackpad. Not only do they look great, they also aid students when they are analysing data, and comparing data sets becomes more visual. In the ‘Going further’ section, there are some great ideas in and around how you can use Numbers for assessment.

Regional Training Centres (RTC)

Most Regional Training Centres have a social media presence and tweet about upcoming Apple Teacher Workshops, so it’s a good idea to get on Twitter and follow your local RTCs (and @Jigsaw24Edu) who will quite often advertise their upcoming courses that are free to attend.  Having that extra bit of help can come in handy when learning how to use new apps.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

By now, your staff will know their way around iPad and be familiar with seven different Apple apps. So it could be time to think about taking training to the next level. Ask us about our mastery training courses where we look at ways of integrating iPad and Mac into your day to day teaching.

A good one to think about would be iPad in the Curriculum. In this course, our Apple Education Trainers use their expertise to work with staff to effectively plan iPad and Mac into schemes of work.  This can be delivered as a whole staff training session or with smaller groups of teachers. Another course you could think about is Making Music with Mac, where our trainers will go in-depth with GarageBand to help create amazing music lessons.

– Missed our last Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘Producing exciting lessons with Keynote and iMovie’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Apple Teacher #2: Exploring the Pages, iPad and Mac Starter Guides

Apple Teacher #2: Exploring the Pages, iPad and Mac Starter Guides

If you’re new to iPad and Mac, the Apple Teacher Starter Guides are the perfect place to start picking up new skills that you can use to plan new and engaging lessons with your iPad and Mac. The Pages for iPad and Mac guides are a great follow-on to the starter guides, introducing skills for producing new and exciting lessons. 

iPad Starter Guide

The iPad Starter Guide gives you an overview of the iPad and the key features you’ll need to know when using iPad in your day to day teaching. Chapter 3 starts with a skills list that you can use as a point of reference after finishing the book.

One of the best things you’ll learn here is how to use the AirDrop function to push out resources electronically, and make your printing bills go through the floor. The final chapter showcases the different places where you can find teaching resources, such as the App Store, iTunes U and iBooks Store. The book then finishes by giving ideas and inspiration for different teaching and learning ideas across a range of subjects.

Mac Starter Guide

The Mac Starter Guide is an excellent resource if you’re switching from a Windows-based system to Mac. It highlights all the user-friendly Mac features that you’ll love, with new ways to make your working life easier from Multi-Touch gestures through to accessibility features like the built-in narration tool that types as you speak. Again, chapter 3 starts with a skills overview, and even if you’re an experienced Mac user it’s well worth a look as you may learn something new to use in your lessons (AirDrop works on Mac too). Chapter 4 covers the learning resources available much in the same way as the iPad book, and the final chapter is full of inspiration and ideas.

Pages for iPad and Pages for Mac

The Pages for Mac and Pages for iPad Apple Teacher guides navigate you through designing a science report called Plants and Butterflies using Apple’s user-friendly word processing app. The guides start with how to navigate Pages and where to find key features. Chapter 3 begins with a list of the skills that you will develop, and the guides then go through step by step how to create your report. You’ll love how easily the picture editing tool Instant Alpha takes away the background of a photo and how effortlessly wrapping text works. You’ll also learn how to set up your project as a collaborative piece so groups of students can work together. At the end of the book, you get teaching ideas for Literacy, Maths, History and Assessment.

Additional support

If you are struggling with any of the content in the starter guides, don’t worry – there are other lines of support (in addition to Jigsaw24). Regional Training Centres or RTCs all around the country are hosting free introduction workshops based around the Apple Teacher Guides. These workshops are designed as an additional layer of support when it comes to achieving Apple Teacher Status, and are definitely worth checking out.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

Every school and every iPad and Mac project is different, and our Apple Education Trainers recognise this. All of our trainers are former teachers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience with iPad and Mac. Right at the start of your project, we can work with you to develop a bespoke training strategy that will ensure you get the best from your Apple technology. To make sure that your long term goals are achieved with iPad and Mac, we would recommend that you ask us about our Planning and Vision sessions.  Another good course that would build on the skills developed in the iPad, Mac and Pages guides would be our Reaching All Learners training session.

– Missed our first Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘An introduction to Apple Teacher’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Apple Teacher #1: An introduction to Apple’s professional learning

Apple Teacher #1: An introduction to Apple’s professional learning

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be delving into the amazing (and free) professional learning programme for teachers that Apple have created. Apple Teacher is a high quality, self-paced professional learning course and, having worked with schools integrating Apple Teacher, we find it gives staff the skills and confidence to be able to use iPad and Mac for amazing lessons using Apple apps.


There are two sets of guides in the iBooks Store that are free to download. Each guide has an online quiz to check your understanding of using iPad and Mac for teaching and learning. After completing the quiz successfully, you earn a badge for that element of Apple Teacher. When you complete all eight badges, you become an Apple Teacher.

Apple Teacher for iPad

The iPad starter guide is the best place to begin, as it shows you the basics of the iPad. From there, you can complete the other books in any order (I would recommend completing the app guides next). The guides focusing on apps cover iMovie, Numbers, Pages, Keynote and GarageBand. There are also two other guides that give practical ideas: Enhancing Productivity and Fostering Creativity. Each book looks at how to create resources, plan a lesson and use Apple apps in the classroom, and at the end of each guide there are ideas for other curriculum areas and links to more ideas and inspiration. 

Apple Teacher for Mac

The Apple Teacher guides for Mac follow the same format as the iPad guides and give you the fundamental skills and knowledge of the Mac environment. Schools wanting to switch from Windows to Mac will find this series of guides and Apple Teacher badges really useful in learning the differences in (and advantages of) using Mac in the classroom.

Swift Playgrounds recognition

The Everyone Can Code series of iBooks from Apple are a free set of resources and lesson plans that teachers can work through and use, beginning with Get Started with Code 1 and 2, followed by Learn to Code 1, 2 and 3. It is based around the Swift Playgrounds app on the iPad and lets students (suitable for Key Stage 2 and early Key Stage 3) learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift, Apple’s coding language. We recommend you complete Learn to Code 1 and 2 before you do the Swift Playgrounds badge on Apple Teacher.

Why we recommend it

At Jigsaw24, we look at the best solutions to make your journey with Mac and iPad a success. We love Apple Teacher as it is a great launch pad to give teaching and support staff the foundation skills they need for their first lessons with iPad and Mac.

This means that when we work with and support your staff, we can build on this early success and help to transform learning at your school. We’re then able to jump into some of our more advanced courses earlier than we were previously able to. For teachers, being an Apple Teacher is widely being recognised by schools using Apple technology, and tells them that you have the skills to be successful with iPad and Mac.

– Check in next week for our next Apple Teacher article on Pages and Apple’s iPad and Mac starter guides.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.