Partners in Learning Appathon

This is the first post of 2013 after the first week back at school, and what a week it has been. Like most schools the first week back is always the most hectic with trying to sort out everything in the hope that it will make the term easier and above all help you get back into the swing of things.

Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to be selected as one of 50 teachers from around the world to take part in the first Partners in Learning Appathon Competition. for those of you unfamiliar with the Partners In Learning network more information can be found here:

The program was aimed at building a capacity to develop innovative education Apps on the Windows Platform. You did not need to have a technical background or have any development capabilities to participate in just the willingness to learn about the touch develop platform and to take part in 3 Virtual Universities.

The Virtual Universities where very interactive and run by an expert in the Touch Develop platform who helped us via Lync create and develop or skills. We learnt several things whilst taking part in these online events; I was very surprised on how quickly you could pick up the programing language. It had what I would probably describe as a predicted text input like you have on your phone which guessed what you might be wanting to do (this was very helpful when you weren’t quite sure what exactly you wanted to do). You can find the Touch Develop software here:

It even works in the browser so there is no need to download anything ideal for schools who want to look at programing; there are lots of Apps as well online tutorials to guide you through your creative process.

Following the three Virtual Universities, it was expected that those who were interested in continuing with the Appathon to submit a mock-up of an educational App that they would like to make. If they were selected, they would be invited to go to London and take part in a 24 hour Appathon. The purpose of the 24 hour Appathon is to build your app with the help of an expert who will be there to support the group. The selection of the 20 – 25 educators will be based on the innovation of the idea, its practicality in the classroom, and the feasibility of it coming to life.

I am very happy to say that I was one of the 21 educators selected to attend this event. My App idea is called Smart Shade and it is aimed at Dyslexics (I am Dyslexic myself) just to give you some brief background knowledge for those of you who are not familiar with Dyslexia (I am sure you are but you never know).

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a common type of learning difficulty affecting reading and spelling skills.

How common is dyslexia?

Statistics show that about 10% of the UK population have dyslexia – 6 million people in the UK. It is estimated that 80% of children with a learning difficulty have dyslexia. 15% of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, has some type of learning disability, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Coloured Overlays- The Solution for Visual Stress

Scientific research has shown that a specific and individual colour, worn as tinted lenses, will relieve the symptoms of Visual Stress and allow more fluent, efficient and comfortable reading.

Each individual’s optimum colour will be different and likely to involve a combination of tints. It allows the user to vary the light with three controls, one for colour (hue), one for strength of colour (saturation) and one for brightness (luminance).

My app aims to hopefully remove the need for tinted glasses when using a Phone, Tablet or PC here is the Mock up I submitted.

Hope you enjoyed my first post of 2013, I will be updating you on this when I get back from London at the end of January. As always thank you for taking the time to read my blog.