Changes announced for Apple Professional Development catalogue

Changes announced for Apple Professional Development catalogue

Apple have confirmed considerable changes to their APD catalogue. The company look to build on their success offering training courses to educational institutions.

It’s hoped that the revised catalogue will provide greater flexibility to schools and offer a fresh approach to teaching. While Apple Education Trainers will still deliver a full day of training, existing courses in the ‘Fundamentals’ and ‘Curriculum’ (renamed ‘Integration’) categories have been reviewed and updated. They will now be split into three-hour modules, streamlining the teaching experience and tailoring it to suit the needs of different groups or individuals. Two identical three hour sessions may be offered to schools in order to relieve scheduling pressure for teachers, while a bespoke training plan could be put together to better tailor courses to the classroom.

AETs will host seminars following each three hour course, giving teachers the chance to get to grips with their newfound knowledge and consider the implementation of new Apple-based learning methods.

The catalogue will include new Higher Education offerings, while skills developed in ‘Foundation’ modules will be complimented by rebranded ‘Integration’ modules. Five new courses will be offered in correspondence with the refreshed catalogue:

– Facilitating real world learning

Creating authentic learning activities with Apple creativity apps and the Challenge Based Learning framework.

– Designing interactive learning activities

Incorporating gaming into lessons to make them more fun and engaging.

– Physical education, health and fitness

Integrating Apple creativity and health apps into physical education.

– Cross curricula for elementary learners

Learning authentic ways to integrate Apple creativity apps across all areas of elementary education.

– Making thoughtful recourses decisions

Exploring Apple stores and learning how to carefully select resources appropriate for all your teaching and learning needs.

Other courses offered include:

– Vision and plan

– Education strategic planning

– Coaching and mentoring

– Co-delivery and twilight sessions

– Planning

Read the updated APD catalogue here.

Want know more about APD and our education services? Call 03332 409 209, follow us on Twitter @Jigsaw24Edu, ‘like’ us on Facebook or email

BETT 2015: Why Apple for education?

BETT 2015: Why Apple for education?

Here’s our final discussion topic from BETT 2015: why we recommend Apple for education. Here’s a breakdown of our top five reasons why we think Apple in education is the way forward.

Yes, we’re an Apple Solution Expert for Education: so obviously we wear the Apple nerd hat with pride. But, when it comes to education, you really can’t get any better than Apple. Here’s a breakdown of our top five favourite Apple features that we think make them top of the class.

1. iTunes and the App Store

There are currently over 75,000 education apps on the App store, with a large proportion of these being available as free downloads. With the introduction of the new Computing curriculum seeing students learning about coding in lessons, what better resource to make use of than the App Store? Incidentally there’s a great range of apps both free and paid for to help children of all key stages learn and practice their coding skills. Its not all tech based though – there are apps to help with all subjects from maths and biology to music. Keep an eye on our education app of the week blog to see our pick of recommended apps.

2. iTunes U

iTunes U is a dedicated destination within iTunes solely dedicated to education content. It’s packed with resources like lectures, videos and books, all available for free for both teachers and pupils to take advantage of. Educational institutions including Stanford, Yale, MiT, Oxford and the New York Public Library all have material on iTunes U that is free to browse. As well as looking at existing content, you can also use iTunes U for free content hosting for lesson materials and creating your own course – a service which we can help you with. Teaching staff can assign students homework to do via iTunes U, with students being able to log time and complete tasks as they do them.

3. Volume Purchase Programme (VPP) for Education

VPP lets you purchase App Store apps and interactive books that are great for education, at educational institution special pricing. Buy apps in volume for both iOS and Mac through the VPP store and distribute them to individual users with redeemable codes or distribute to groups using a mobile device management (MDM) solution.

Schools can get a 50% discount when purchasing apps in quantities of 20 or more through VPP, with iBooks also being included in this.

4. Continuing professional development training (CPD)

When new technology is introduced into education, it’s important to make sure that your staff are clued up on how to use it. Through our e7 iPad scheme, we offer continuing professional development (CPD) training which focuses on giving SLT, teaching staff and technical team the chance to explore the potential of iPad in the classroom, and feel confident about using it in their subject areas.

5. iBooks Author

Available free on the App Store, iBooks Author allows anyone to create iBooks textbooks for iPad and Mac. iBooks Author provides teaching staff with the opportunity to create their own textbooks, which can easily be edited to keep up with the changing curriculum. Using iBooks Author can easily save your school money too – by eliminating the cost of buying new textbooks every year.

To find more about Apple in education email or call 03332 409 333 or visit To keep up with all the latest news and reviews follow @Jigsaw24edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 



Motivating students and liberating staff at Hertfordshire & Essex High School

Motivating students and liberating staff at Hertfordshire & Essex High School

In 2012, The Hertfordshire & Essex High School decided to roll out a 1:1 iPad scheme, starting with their 200 sixth form students. However, they were unsure whether to also offer the devices to staff, as teachers were already provided with a school-managed laptop. They worked with our e7 team to set up a term-long trial in which 40 key staff members were given an iPad.

Pupils in Hertfordshire & Essex High School now have their own iPad to use in lessons and at home

Pupils in Hertfordshire & Essex High School now have their own iPad to use in lessons and at home

“There’s obviously been a huge shift in focus away from desktop PCs towards mobile devices,” explained the school’s Strategic Leader of ICT, Ross Woodall, when asked about the decision to roll out iPad. “We wanted to have a device that was friendly and intuitive for the students to use, and we didn’t want to deploy a Windows-based device and make it part of our domain, because a lot of our services are delivered via web interfaces. We thought that iPad was well made and well supported, and it really engaged and enthused the students. We trialled it with a few students and they were particularly keen on iPad over any other device.”

Trialling iPad with staff

The school rolled out iPad to their sixth form first, partly due to the increasing popularity of the sixth form but also because “we really wanted to provide a device that they could embed in their lessons [from the start of the academic year].” However, after the initial rollout, it was clear that a few of the staff were a bit uncomfortable because some of them were less familiar with Apple products. “We decided to do the e7 trial so that the staff could get some hands-on experience with the iPad and see if it was beneficial as a teaching resource.”

Although our e7 deployments are usually split between staff and students, we were impressed by what the school had planned, and worked with them to identify 40 key staff members who would receive an iPad for a term. The school already provided staff with laptop computers, and one of the main aims of the trial was to assess whether providing an iPad as well would be an effective use of the school’s ICT budget.

“I think the e7 Project was very helpful in reassuring us that iPad for staff was a worthwhile expenditure,” Ross said. “Trialling the device enabled us to see the benefit it brought, while actually supporting the staff. This meant that they could make better use of the hardware with the students, as well as using it themselves. It meant that their teaching became much more mobile. They were able to teach out in the field or the playground if they needed to, and could do audio and video recordings in lessons with no planning needed in advance. Things like that were much, much less viable with a traditional laptop.”

Assessing Mobile Device Management (MDM) options

When the school joined the e7 Project, our team met with them to discuss how they planned to manage their iPad deployment. While many schools are locking down their ICT equipment and filtering the type of apps that their students can download, the Hertfordshire & Essex team decided that when it came to getting older students to buy into the scheme and use their devices as much as possible, freedom was key.

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,” explained Ross. “We already have a system where students can borrow laptops, and we found that this was underused because there wasn’t the flexibility [to allow students to put] their software on the laptop they were using, whereas with the iPad, freedom has allowed them to become a much more valuable resource rather than just being another item to carry round. We have very responsible students, so I’m sure we have the odd game installed on the devices, but we see them being used a lot for taking notes and recording lessons (to video or audio). I think that’s really valuable for them, the ability to access the teaching outside of the lesson.”

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,”

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,”

Increasing usage while maintaining network security

The school’s tactic of keeping the iPad deployment relatively open seems to be paying off: they rolled out a new WiFi network to support the deployment, and of the 170 devices they handed out, Ross has seen “a hundred and twenty Apple devices connected all day, every day. We’ll have between 170 and 180 devices on the wireless network daily and seventy five per cent of them will be Apple devices.”

And how does the school cope with having so many unmanaged devices on their network? “We deliver a lot of our services through web interfaces: our VLE, our email and remote desktop access – all of that is accesible through a web browser. All devices on the wireless network authenticate against our Windows domain and all traffic is transmitted securely.”

Encouraging more mobile teaching and learning

When it comes to working with the iPad, the school is happy for students to take the lead, encouraging them to use the devices for general note-taking, research and organisation rather than structuring lessons round specific apps. “We have many teachers who have really embraced the iPad in their teaching,” Ross noted, “particularly the arts and the technology faculties. PE and music are using them a tremendous amount and designing lessons around them – I think a lot of that is to do with the touch interface and the flexibility and portability that you get with the device, which really feeds into those faculties.

“PE and sports sciences are now able to film people moving [using the iPad] and play that back so they can analyse it frame by frame. I think that sort of thing is much easier for the teacher compared with borrowing one of the school’s cameras and having to take it back to the classroom to analyse the video. [With iPad they are] able to record and play it back and have instant feedback. It’s also very nice that students can project via an Apple TV in the classroom to show what they’re working on at their desk. You get collaborative use of a projector, with everybody in a class connecting to show what they’re working on and share their ideas, and that’s really quite valuable.”

The school’s next initiative is to deploy Apple TVs throughout the school and use them to allow students to share their work with the rest of the class. “We held off on rolling them out originally because the firmware didn’t quite offer the level of security we wanted,” Ross explained. “We were worried that a student would be able to share content via an Apple TV from anywhere in the school unless there was some way of locking them down. But one of the updates has enabled us to have a PIN-based access to the Apple TVs [that prevents people without the right password from sharing content].”

Once there are Apple TVs throughout the school, Ross and his team plan to look at ways to allow multiple teachers to FaceTime with a class during lessons in order to explain key points. “For example, if we have a teacher who’s teaching some tiny aspect of computing in a design technology or graphics lesson, they’ll actually be able to FaceTime with one of the IT teachers over the projector to explain that specific point, so you can pull that expertise directly into the lesson.”

You can find out more about the e7 Project on Alternatively, get in touch on 03332 409 306 or at For all the latest news, reviews and app recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter

Updating facilities to win new students at Barnsley College

Updating facilities to win new students at Barnsley College

Sam Wilson, head of the media unit at Barnsley College wanted to update the college’s entry-level cameras but at the same time keep costs to a minimum. He wanted cameras with better quality and resolution that would also give a good impression to prospective students.

We suggested that the Sony HD1000 which, with its shoulder-mount design, has a similar form factor to the professional shoulder mount ENG cameras ‘seen on TV’. Using cameras like this is a sure-fire way to get students more enthusiastic and excited about what they are learning than learning with a handheld camera might get them – an idea which appealed to the college.

In order to add more options to the audio on the cameras, we equipped them with BeachTek XLR units. Improving the sound quality with microphones gave large expansion possibilities to the course from a teaching perspective: they were able to include professional audio roles in the production, involving more students and increasing the depth to the production areas they taught.

Since then, the college have added a number of Sony HVR-Z7 hybrid workflow cameras to their technology resources for the students to study solid-state workflows as well as tape disciplines.

For more information about recording solutions, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email For all our latest education news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.  


Games development in education

Games development in education

New college and university courses and talk of A-levels and GCSEs based on games development are hot topics at the moment. As games development and the integration of 3D animation in everyday life is growing exponentially, there’s no greater time to let student imaginations run wild by letting them create and develop their own video games.

Finding a teenager these days that doesn’t like playing video games is a hard feat, then trying to find one of those that hasn’t ever thought about or talked with their friends about creating their own game is near impossible. Before now, the idea of sitting down with multiple 3D modelling applications and a dummies guide to software coding, kind of took the fun out of starting to create any sort of video game.

Thankfully we now have Unity

Unity is a great all in one games development solution that has been designed to ease creation of games. Aided scripting alongside a vast array of tutorials and walkthroughs makes for a very short learning curve. Pupils can instantly get engaged in exciting, interactive classroom based projects that they have a personal interest in.

When Unity first arrived in the Jigsaw office, the excitement could be seen on the faces of our 3D team. You could slowly see the smiles appearing around the department as the realisation that everything they needed to make that childhood dream game was hours away… needless to say, not much work was done that afternoon!

One of the great things about Unity is that students can get creative and start making interactive games right away. They can build them to play online with their friends, upload to the web or to run on their Mac/Windows PC. The software allows students to work with real-world technologies without subjecting them to the pitfalls and technicalities.

There is support for model import from all 3D applications, meaning whatever your current 3D modelling software, 3D models can be imported directly, hassle free! So there’s no need for students to have to learn new tools or the school to have to invest in new 3D applications in order to create things for their games.

Unity is not restricted to games development however. Unity’s built-in Ageia PhysX physics engine provides a fun and interactive tool for teachers to demonstrate or bring to life other subject areas of the curriculum. Unity allows pupils to build, experiment and interact with endless situations limited only by the imagination of the pupils and teachers – For example what happens to a stack of boxes when a car drives into it? Let the students create the scenarios and explore the consequences using a variety of real life variables such as weight or gravity!

For more on our 3D solutions for education, call 03332 409 306 or email Visit us on Facebook or Tweet us @Jigsaw24video.