C-Pen in exam

Digital scanning pens are now allowed by exam boards for students who need them. Teacher Jonathan Boyle looks at the C-Pen

The C-Pen Exam Reader is a totally portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an English almost-human digital voice. When I learned that electronic reading pens had been allowed by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams I began to take note.

On scrutinising the section ‘Adjustments for candidates with disabilities and learning difficulties’ it was clear to see that this was something different and now legitimately allows students who do not qualify for a reader to have access to an electronic device that reads questions. Clearly this had to be evaluated for our students.


Even if you lost a Datashur Pro it's no use to anyone else, and your data is secure

Cyber security is a huge issue. So big that the Government started spending millions to shoehorn it into an already congested curriculum (see "Cyber security lessons offered to schools in England").

Teachers are urged to be “data driven” but pupil data must be carefully protected. And we’re so used to high-profile cases of sensitive digital material being lost that we may forget that this is also an everyday danger in education. Which is why it's worth checking out clever USB storage devices like the Datashur Pro – so secure that only an idiot or a GCHQ genius might try to open it.

Screen Q-files

London primary teacher Emily Funnell finds an illustrated internet encylopaedia that's perfect for her classroom - 'Q-files'

The Internet. It's the epitome of 21st century living. It's rare these days to go even a day without using the World Wide Web, be it for social interaction, professional emailing or even to find the answer to number 12 in the pub quiz while stealthily hiding your smartphone behind a coaster!

So, when the Internet is mentioned in the classroom, it's sometimes greeted with groans as the "27-year-old dinosaur" (yes I've been called that!) tries to educate those who are already technically literate about the possible dangers of something that dictates so much of modern life.

Exampro screen

Deputy headteacher Jonathan Boyle reports on his longterm test of 'Exampro'

In a former life I meticulously prepared a raft of past exam papers and as many supporting documents as possible to meet the revision needs of my students.

Compiling question papers, mark schemes and examiners' remarks takes a lot of time and organisation. Should you print or archive them? And did you leave anything out? But this was before AQA Exampro.


Blue-Bot floor robots have proved their worth in Computing for deputy head Darren Hooley

Like many schools, Ladycross Infants in Derbyshire has long used the TTS Bee-Bot floor robot as a staple resource across the curriculum. The recently introduced Blue-Bot takes all of the advantages of this classroom favourite and adds some valuable features of its own to improve on what was already a great product.

The Blue-Bot is a small floor robot which can be easily controlled using a simple keypad on it’s outer shell. Using four arrows and a Go button, children as young as four can program its movements and watch as their simple algorithm is put into action.