Freaked Out

The Bewildered Teacher's Guide to Digital Learning

By: Simon Pridham


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 222mm x 182mm
Pages : 128
ISBN : 9781781351055
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2014

When you are a teacher and new technology is all your pupils and colleagues are talking about it can feel like the loneliest, hardest place in the world to be, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

No one knows this better than author Simon Pridham, who faced with this problem set about improving his skillset as a head teacher and also developing a mobile device programme in his school. Drawing on his own experience, as well as other teachers and colleagues he has worked with, Simon openly discusses why this is so important in education and what to do when that tablet device is handed to you for the very first time by your head teacher or colleague. Simon will also take you on a journey which will highlight how empowered you feel when you reach the other side of the Digital Bridge. The book is the first of its kind in the education market as you are able to use your tablet or smartphone to scan images and QR codes to access screencasts, interviews, the Freaked Out YouTube channel and much more.

Freaked Out is packed full of information and useful tips as well as essential small steps, video tutorials and the story of Simon’s journey to taking his school to be one of the leading tech schools in the UK. The book covers everything from anxieties around taking that first step to empowering your pupils to become Digital Leaders so that this is a digital journey you all take together.

Click here to see how the book works.

In among the expert advice and practical tips, Freaked Out instils confidence, gives clear direction and a step by step guide on how you become an effective 21st century facilitator of learning in modern education. Inspire, engage and enthuse by reading Freaked Out today.

You can use the Aurasma app to scan the front cover of the book and view Simon’s introductory video. Here’s how it works.

Education Resources Awards finalist – Best Educational Book 2015.


Picture for author Simon  Pridham

Simon Pridham

Simon Pridham has successfully managed and implemented a mobile device learning programme as head teacher of Casllwchwr Primary, which is frequently named as one of the UK's leading schools in using technology. Simon has been Lifelong Intergenerational Furthering Education (LIFE) Programme Manager across Wales and has also worked closely with the country's Education Ministers as a member of the Welsh Government Practitioners Panel and the National Digital Learning Council.

He is co-founder and Director of Aspire 2Be ( who are a leading Ed Tech company working with schools, local authorities and governments in rolling out technology-led programmes.


  1. Freaked Out aka -˜The Teacher's Bible!'. The book is informative, interesting and interactive. It is a book that teachers can dip in and out of, which is appealing to busy teachers. There is something for every teacher to take away from this book no matter what their previous digital experience. It is evident that it is written by somebody who understands the changing face of education and understands teachers who find using digital technology in the classroom daunting. Yet it also enthuses and inspires teachers who are already working successfully with digital technology. The interactive nature of the book provides a balance to suit a variety of learning styles. The video clips have proven in our school to be useful for reinforcing and extending the content in the book.

    We purchased five Freaked Out books for our staff after attending a Freaked Out training event run by Simon. The ideas and guidance within the book have had a positive impact on teaching and learning at Cornist. The book and the training have helped us to embed digital technology throughout the school and the wider community. The teaching ideas in the book are not limited to just one curriculum subject, they can be applied to any subject for any key stage, which is rarely achieved in any education book. Here are just a selection of ways that Freaked Out has transformed and impacted on the teaching and learning at Cornist:

    -¢We are able to personalise children's learning even further by giving children more freedom to develop their own ideas, discover information for themselves and record work in a variety of ways to suit individuals 

    -¢Increased collaboration and communication between pupils and staff via iPads and the introduction of Google Drive 

    -¢We now use QR codes and Aurasma to make displays interactive. We also use these in Learning Logs for pupils and parents to access extra support online e.g the QR code may direct pupils and parents to a useful You Tube clip, a website or to a video made my the teacher using an app such as Explain Everything. All of these ideas came from Freaked Out

    -¢Apple TV is used within classroom- teachers are no longer constantly seen standing at the front of class, children can have a more active role now and showcase their work to the whole class by a swipe of a button

    -¢We have a set of key apps that teachers are becoming more confident with using across a range of curriculum subjects.

    -¢We now have increased digital communication and therefore better relationships with parents and the wider community. 

    -¢Overall increased staff confidence to enable staff to embrace new digital technology

    We now have a successful pupil Digital Leader team at Cornist. This appeared to be an extremely daunting task when initially setting up. However, Freaked Out provided us with QR codes which linked to useful resources that helped to get successfully implement a Digital Leader team. Freaked Out has also encouraged us to create a holistic approach to everything the Digtal Leader team  participates in e.g. in enhances pupil voice and suggests ideas which have enabled us to impact on pupils, staff, staff from other schools and the community.

    Freaked Out gave us ideas to engage the wider community which have proven to be successful. Recently, a Freaked Out book was left out in the staffroom and a parent picked it up and was extremely interested it. This inspired us to contact Simon and organise a -˜Freaked Out Parents Evening'. Simon hosted the first half of the evening and our Digital Leader team took over afterwards to train the parents about some of the apps they use in class. Pleasingly, many parents purchased Freaked Out and appeared to have a renewed positively about the use of digital technology at Cornist. The overall feedback from parents regarding the evening was also very positive. We are extremely grateful to Simon for helping us to promote the use of digital technology at Cornist and increase understanding amongst parents. 

    Freaked Out has helped us to transform the teaching and learning in the classroom, the school environment and has impacted on the wider community. This seems like a bold statement to imply that a book and one day of training has transformed and impacted on so many different aspects of school life but that is exactly what it has done. We have schools from around the county coming to observe good practice with digital technology and many of the ideas and tools have come from Freaked Out or Simon himself. Overall the book and the training combined have contributed considerately to our successful digital journey at Cornist Park and we are extremely grateful for Simon's support.
  2. In any profession, it can be difficult to adjust to new thinking and methods, especially when trying to make the changes on your own. This is and always has been, something teachers and school leaders address on a regular basis. Sometimes it feels like you hit a brick wall or lose your path - this is when you need some help. The -˜Freaked Out' guide to iPads is definitely helping our digital journey.  The book offers everything you need to know when embarking on your digital quest. 

    At Cefn Fforest Primary, -˜Freaked Out' guide to iPads has been of huge benefit to everybody. The pioneering use of multi media platforms to inform and educate individuals has been immensely impressive and engaging. It delivers advice through the very apps and technology that you want to learn about.  This method of facilitating learning is invaluable as individuals can see first hand how this technology can impact on the classroom. They are most definitely learning through doing!

    The guide caters for all ranges of abilities from the very basic skills to the more complex. The content is very focused and is set out in a manner that everyone is able to follow. The ability to scan QR codes to watch screencasts, interviews and Youtube videos enables readers to learn in whichever way suits them. We all learn in different ways and this book is obviously designed with this in mind. You cannot fail to be impressed.

    The impact this book has had on the whole school is superb. We use it in staff meetings when introducing an app featured within the book, enabling staff to learn at their own pace. This principle has been taken on by the digital leaders too, who use this book when holding inter-generation iPad club and parent IT evenings. It has given stakeholders in the school a real boost and change in attitude towards iPads and their use. Both children and staff absolutely love it! On the very first day introducing this guide, the clamour to read it was frightening! This included the Digital Leaders within the school too! The Digital Leaders won that battle and began to use the guide immediately to educate themselves about the endless possibilities an iPad is capable of giving. The clear layout and step-by-step instructions are features that the children (and staff) find very appealing. The interactivity of the book though is, in one child's words, -˜mind blowing'. The excitement and eagerness surrounding the book is incredible! The speed of learning shown by the children is even more impressive. Through the use of the guide, children set up an Aurasma account and taught themselves the dynamics of the app immediately. Not only that, they took it a step further and taught their entire class on the use of Aurasma-¦all within a week of receiving the book!!! This is just one example of how we have used this book. The digital leaders also use it when teaching how to use a new app. It has become a fundamental resource in their thinking and facilitating of learning. It has certainly enhanced their work with the younger digital leaders. 

    In terms of impact upon us as a school embarking on our own digital journey, I'd have to say that this book has been invaluable. It has given us real impetus in our thinking and how we use the iPad. It has facilitated our thinking in terms of identifying/using a select range of apps, getting the best out of them. By seeing examples of how the apps are used it has encouraged teachers to have a go themselves and to be more confident in their use. Classrooms have taken on a new dimension with the introduction of QR codes and augmented reality apps. Children's learning has become multi dimensional. Books, displays and work are able to come alive and give you that little bit extra!

    -˜Freaked Out' guide to using iPads has been incredibly helpful to Cefn Fforest Primary and will continue to be so.  The use, benefits and impact of this book far outweigh the price. It has brought books and multimedia into one convenient place, something that is new to this market. We are in the process of ordering more copies so that the impact it is having continues to be as strong for both staff and pupils.
  3. When I walked into Bryn Primary School 3 years ago, iPads were a new, highly anticipated, fresh resource for the school. They were hungrily used by the children as a reward for positive behaviour and as an enhanced resource in the classroom for areas of learning. Although I claimed to be confident with the use of -˜ICT', iPad's were relatively new to me-¦ I needed to refine my skills in order to determine the best way to utilise this expensive resource. I first met Simon at a -˜good practice' visit to Casllwchwr Primary School in 2012. I listened to his success story and observed how iPad's were utilised in classrooms; needless to say I was truly inspired by what I saw. Digital technology was a fully embedded, integral part of learning. Children were confident and enthused by an array of stimulating apps that not only aided but enhanced their literacy and numeracy skills. Granted, they were fortunate to have -˜one to one' - device per child but I could see immediately the impact it was having on the attitude towards learning in the school. 

    I returned to Bryn Primary brimming with ideas, overwhelmed with apps and motivated! I downloaded as many apps as I could manage and unleashed them on staff in one fail swoop! Oh, how naïve I was! After a few months, it was clear that as a school, we were no better off in terms of impact on learning than when we started. It was time to rethink. Thankfully, Simon was in the process of writing an excellent and timely book for teachers just like me! A book that would offer not only the practical support, but also experienced advice that would ultimately change the way digital learning was viewed in our school. We immediately booked Simon to deliver a -˜Freaked Out' inset day which was a huge success! It instilled confidence within the staff, refocused our action plan and gave clear direction on how to become a 21st century facilitator of learning in education. Staff were equipped with the skills and knowledge in the form of a fantastic, step by step, easy to follow guide and motivated by a man who had -˜been there and done it', there was no stopping us-¦ 

    The school is making steady progress in its approach to digital learning. We have introduced the role of -˜Digital Wizards' to selected children and tailored Simon's recommended  apps to suit their needs particularly in Literacy and Numeracy. The pupils are empowered, and in time, with their confidence increasingly growing, they will have control of their own digital learning. We are beginning to see less confident, reluctant children blossom with tailored apps such as -˜Puppetpals' and -˜Book Creator' enhancing their skills in oracy. Teachers and Additional Practitioners are using apps in lessons and are beginning to view the iPads as an integral part of learning, not just an -˜additional resource' or enticing incentive. They can rely on -˜Freaked Out' as a -˜dip in' teaching aid to consistently refer to in the fast pace chaos of everyday teaching life. A quick scan of a QR code, a glimpse a screen shot and staff have everything they need to inject excitement, intrigue and variety into lessons.

    In terms of CPD, the book, hand in hand with our -˜Freaked Out' training has provided us with the opportunity to address our digital learning needs within the school and will continue to do so.  I look forward to the months of -˜digi learning' ahead with eager anticipation-¦
  4. The interactive nature of Freaked Out definitely offers something different to other books which brag to being a teacher's guide to digital learning. Colleagues I have shared the book with have commented that they really enjoyed using the apps such as -˜Aurasma' to engage with the pages in the book. They noted that this first hand interaction with the book with the very apps mentioned helps to reinforce and develop their own skills and confidence in using their digital devices. The videos help to bring the book to life and help to make the subject of digital learning become less daunting.

    Working as a lecturer in University which develops trainee teachers I have been able share the messages in this book and to share extracts with students. I have received excellent feedback from students who have been able to use ideas from the book such as establishing digital leaders within their school placements. The use of tech in the classroom has been pushed by pupils who have been involved in the process and helped to establish this -˜digital environment within the class'. One student noted that at the start of their practice they were not confident in using the technology that was in the class. After a few emails back and forth I suggested that she read the -˜Freaked out' book, I had an email back after a few days to say that she bought the book which she used as a guide and “was almost a safety rope to use” through her practice. She noted “the steps were easy to follow to use apps and the content was easy to read with the light hearted narrative”.

    Students who have bought the book have noted that the book is a reliable tool in their arsenal whilst out on placement. As with my experience, students have been turned to by school staff to answer all technological queries within the school. One student noted how they were able to use the first few pages of the book as a guide to school staff in how to use their iPad effectively. Colleagues in school have used the book as a quick quide to guide them through easy to follow steps in procedures such as creating an Apple ID account.

    I personally have taken quotes from the book to back up points I have been making in my lectures such as my opening address to year 1 students in which we discussed the current education system and used ideas from the book to help to develop personal philosophies in pedagogy to help teach learners in the future. The passionately written chapter entitled -˜How to inspire, engage and enthuse' helped to rewire a lot of trainee teachers minds when thinking about pupils they will be educating in the coming years.

    In reflection the book can be deemed as cost effective not just for myself but seen through the students and colleagues who have used the text. For a small price trainee teachers who are starting out and beginning to develop their own philosophies on teaching have been able to use this book as a guide for technology and teaching.

    Current Professional Development within schools is limited with restricted budgets and limited time for teachers to leave classrooms. This book has been an ICT support life line for teaching collegues who working in a pressured environment and who are constantly looking for answers to problems quickly, have been offered resolutions to problems in bite sized steps. Along with the ever mounting targets and aims teachers are laden with, using technology within their class to develop learning seems to be at the top of most educators list of aims. With limited time this book offered readers information which has enabled them to build confidence in using the suggested technology and actually use the technology to interact with the book. The resource is by no means an answer to all teacher's problems with technology however it offers a common sense approach in an easy to follow and light hearted narrative, written by somebody who obviously was a teacher and can identify issues that will appear in every day school life.

    This book in direct comparison to a training course about digital learning obviously would be a quarter of the price of that of an afternoon's course. For under '£20 readers are provided with a wide array of relevant information, resolution to problems and useful glossaries that they can interact with at their own pace. A training course that may offer these same attributes however the customer wouldn't be able to return to the course information at their own pace or be able to recall information whenever they wanted like they can with the book.
  5. I am very happy to endorse the very innovative Simon Pridham publication “Freaked out”. I currently work as a senior lecturer in the initial teacher training in South West Wales Centre For Teacher Education within the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. I am the lead for technology enhanced learning and was a former Primary head teacher before this, and the importance of developing technology based skills has been a priority for me for many years. The difficulty is often the different entry point to which teachers or trainee teachers are when they use technology in their teaching careers. It is often very difficult to have material that caters for the needs of many different individual. This book certainly achieves this with entry level simplicity up to advanced ideas in order to develop digital leadership within schools.

    The book has been purchased and has been placed on the reading list across both primary and secondary PGCE and BAed programmes as well as being placed in our central student library and is accessible for other education courses. Many of our students have purchased their own copies and already the impact on classroom practice is being seen. Some of the more confident trainees have started to utilise some of the mobile technologies on their professional teaching experience with innovative use of augmented reality with pupils within the classroom. Aspects noted within the book for the less confident, such as creating and using QR codes, it can be seen there has been a significant increase with the use of QR codes within lesson activities. The useful tutorials that are embedded within the book mean the book is not only the physical pages and print that trainees have, but they are able to scan QR codes and augmented reality target images that make the book interactive with tutorial videos and further useful links. This makes the book very good value for money with all of these extra resources available to the reader.

    Another aspect the book as allowed us to develop is skills with our own staff. We have invested in the book for the teacher training team. Again the easy to read nature of the book have allowed less confident members of staff to develop their own skills as well as recognise the technological features utilised by trainees out in schools. In addition to this we are aiming to adopt the digital leader model outlined within the book to develop individuals in the centre with their skills and spread their expertise throughout the centre. There are also plans to develop a similar model with our trainees, in order to spread best practice.

    It is important to note that the use of technology alone does not equate to good teaching. The book provides sensible starting points that allow the teacher who uses these technologies to enhance their pedagogy rather than replace it, a key message throughout the book. The book also does not enter into the endorsement of relentless varied software and devices, but focuses on how to utilise often basic and free applications that are available to all and can have such an impact within the classroom.

    The way in which the book is structured and presented is very effective and is not too daunting for the novice and allows the more advanced to jump to wider technological aspects such as technology co-ordination and middle leader development. The fact that the author has implemented these fully into such a successful school means that the credibility the book has with its readers is very clear. Often technology books can often be technical and unclear, and likewise over academic writing can lead to sometimes a detached perspective. This book is written for teachers by a teacher and it reads in that way.

    I see the book as an excellent resource for teachers and it is very good value for money for those who purchase it. The impact it could potentially have in the classroom is something that is particularly encouraging as an individual who works in training the future teachers of tomorrow.
  6. Today's students will flourish in highly connected environments with teachers who can adapt to student/teacher collaborative learning.

    Simon's 'bewildered teacher's guide to digital learning' provides  teachers and other adults with the handbook to  de-mystify technology, thrive in today's classrooms and inspire students to be leaders of their own learning.

    Packed with advice on  useful apps, effective programs and lesson plans and a step by step guide to getting the most out of ipads in class, it's an easy read guide for even the techno-phobe.  Welcome to the 21st century classroom! 
  7. Freaked Out is a fantastic book full of useful information and guidance on how to use the iPad to support teaching and learning. It starts off with the very basics and builds momentum from there. Simon recommends apps and ways in which they can be used as well as suggesting useful websites that the reader can use to learn even more about digital technology.

    The books goes into detail about pedagogy as well as how using digital leaders can play a role in the in a successful iPad programme.  It's jam packed full of tips and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking into using iPads in education. Even if you have already started your journey you could learn a lot.

    Towards the back of the book Simon goes in to detail about some of the important factors often forgotten by some schools , such as infrastructure, security, MDM, social media and e-safety.
  8. There are an awful lot of iPads now being used in schools, with a few brave souls even opting for 1:1 deployment. One example is Casllwchwr Primary School in Swansea, Wales, which equips each of its pupils in Key Stage 2 (7-11 years of age) with their own iPad for the duration of their stay. Its headteacher is Simon Pridham, one of a small band of IT evangelists who are spearheading the effort to get our schools to embrace digital learning.  Aware of the yawning gap that exists between technological innovation and teacher confidence he has written this short book to help digital ditherers take their first steps.  And his chosen vehicle, as for many others, is the iPad.

    But this is a book with a difference. Structured like a hands-on workshop it starts with a brief introduction to the iPad itself, answers the muffled question -˜What is an app?' and explains how to create an Apple ID and iCloud account. Then, with the preliminaries covered, the real fun begins. Readers are shown how to download three apps: Aurasma, Red Laser and Audioboo. These are, in turn, an augmented reality platform, a QR Code Reader and a social podcasting platform. Rather than abstractly describing these apps and their potential educational uses, however, Pridham skilfully integrates them into the design of the book using them to take us off the page to Apple's App Store (for further downloads) and to short video and audio clips replete with practical tips and first-hand accounts from Casllwchwr's digital team.

    Enveloping all of this is a sound educational philosophy - -˜inspire, engage and enthuse' - and a tried-and-tested framework for involving the whole school community, including parents and grand-parents in this digital journey. Importantly, this includes mapping out an internal structure that recognises and harnesses the different skills and expertise of pupils and staff.

    While Freaked Out is not explicitly aimed at those working with children with special educational needs its central message of encouraging creativity, personalised learning and collaboration among pupils is relevant to all settings. As Pridham rightly states: -˜You need to have a love of learning, be able to model effective learning systems, be brave enough to take risks, be innovative and most importantly, become a teacher of learning rather than a a teacher of content, curriculum and facts.'
  9. There is no denying it-¦.technology is slowly and surely creeping into schools. Pupils use it every day. Some colleagues will be well versed in the advantages and disadvantages of all this technology, but others will panic each time they are expected to use technology within their teaching. Happily, technology has progressed since the advent of the BBC Computers being thrust upon many teachers, yet the fear still remains for many who can be scared to use an iPad to support learning. We've all worked with such colleagues.

    In his new book, Simon Pridham (@Freaked_Out123) takes the panic and concern out of using all this new technology, with a particular focus on the Apple iPad. Broken into eight sections (Meet your iPad; What is an app and how do I get one?; Where do I start and what do I do?; How to inspire, engage and enthuse; What is the digital environment; Who are the digital leaders? What about security and control? And; Some frequently asked questions), this book give the nervous technologist a step-by-step, pictorial reference for setting up a device, using apps, and what to do once up and running.

    Beyond the technology, Simon also advocates letting the pupils take the lead with technology, focusing a chapter on passing responsibilities onto Digital Leaders, whose jobs can include charging devices, teaching teachers, testing new technologies, or supporting the Leadership team with e-learning strategies within the school.

    If you are confidently competent with iPads and technology, then this book probably isn't for you. However, it will be very suitable for colleagues who are starting to embrace their digital journeys, enabling them to enhance pupils learning using tools which are everyday necessities in their lives - whether we like it or not!
  10. This book provides a step-by-step guide for befuddled teachers who are keen to improve digital literacy in their school by introducing the latest technology, such as tablets and smartphones, into the classroom. Pridham aims to build readers' confidence so that they can become effective facilitators of digital learning.
  11. Ipads seem to have hit schools at a tremendous rate, which may on the surface seem like a good thing. But what about those staff who are not as technologically confident? What about those who might be freaked out by this new tool for learning? Don't worry...there's a book for that!

    It might seem a slightly odd arrangement that, having been given an Ipad, a teacher needs a book to find out how to use it. Isn't this a bit counter-intuitive? How can a book even come close to reflecting the multimedia digital nature of the Ipad? Is there any point in a book like -˜Freaked Out'?

    First things first. Reading the back of the book instantly raises my confidence. The comprehensive list of topics covered, including -˜what a 21st Century classroom looks like' and -˜home-school links using digital learning' along with the reassuring blurb discussing the cross-phase and cross-curricular nature of the guide, mean expectations are high.

    The book begins with a simply written guide to the physical features of the Ipad. The freaked out will take confidence from the small step guide to switching on and explanation of the buttons and icons that face the user when the Ipad starts up; nothing is taken for granted which is a good place to start. 

    Next, apps. The friendly -˜arm around the shoulder' text (I had an image of Simon sitting on my grandparents sofa with a cup of tea in their best china-¦) gently coaxes the reader through registering for an Apple account and on to searching for and downloading their very first app! Interesting that the choice of app is Aurasma.

    Hang on...the next section is about Aurasma. Surely someone freaked out shouldn't leap straight into Aurasma? If you haven't guessed already, this is where the book comes alive, almost literally. We are talked through our first use of Aurasma and lo and behold there's an -˜Aura' ready for us to scan and there's Simon talking to us! Brilliant, and really hammers home the possibilities of this new technology. 

    From Aurasma we move to QR codes and these are used in the remainder of the book to enhance the content and provide direct links to items discussed in the text. Simon has included a series of icons to represent the content that will be accessed when a QR code is scanned. This enables the reader/user to decide if they need to, or want to, follow the link. Maybe they understood the text well enough to not need to watch the video.

    There's a range of further chapters that provide information and stimulate creative and pedagogical juices. Each chapter deals with key areas of implementing digital learning in schools to empower the freaked out (who I'm sure are more likely to be -˜freaked in' than -˜freaked out' by now) with more QR codes and a continuation of the easy-going chatty type text. It's all very well knowing your way around an Ipad and using a number of exciting apps but once the initial honeymoon period is over there are always questions...Fear not, Simon has included a FAQ section which is made up of genuine questions asked by real human beings. They cover an interesting range of issues from printing from an ipad to implementing with a small budget. Finally, an essential glossary and the book is done. 

    Although really it isn't. 

    Not only has Simon provided a brilliantly useful guide to enable the freaked out amongst us to start their Ipad journey, there is such a wealth of content that this book deserves to be revisited a number of times - and I'm certain it will be popularly shared amongst colleagues for years to come.

    So, is there any point to this book? Does it work in this digital age? Absolutely! The use of Aurasma and QR codes provides digital content to enhance (or should it be -˜augment') the traditional analogue book. Simon's friendly, non-patronising tone combined with his excellent knowledge of digital learning will empower any colleague, no matter their level of -˜freakedness', to confidently begin their digital journey. This is an essential book for the staffroom. Download it to your bookshelf today!
  12. Thank you Simon for this excellent and timely book which is enabling me to navigate on my new i-pad on a level playing field with my five year old grand-daughterwhilst gaining the “respect” of the older grandchuildren for “making an improved effort !!” I am sure that many teachers and support staff by reading this book, will, like myself, gain the practical support and confidence to promote their skills in the extended use of technology to access information and promote understanding. This excellent book is essential reading as a step by step guide for teachers, parents / carers and grandparents who are keen to gain the skills to use technology to connect with and open windows to a whole new environment for learning.
  13. 'Freaked Out' offers a lovely introduction to the iPad for digital novices as well as those with a bit more technical know-how. This book covers just about everything from turning the tablet on and off to security issues and pedagogical application. I've already started recommending Freaked Out to colleagues.
  14. Recently, we have come across a AMAZING book called 'Freaked Out' by Simon Pridham. It explains everything from turning an iPad on to security and control. It's got everything you need to know about using an iPad. This book gives us a clear step-by-step guide of all the apps we have in school. It's SO EASY to follow, even the TEACHERS could follow it! :) Our favourite part of this incredible book is the guide to using the app 'Aurasma' because it tells you how to create an account and make your object pop out and show on your screen. It was so clearly explained.

    As the book says technology has developed since the last decade. It has a whole chapter about the digital leader system and great apps that they could learn how to use. They could teach other children that are maybe a lower level in I.C.T.

    Whether you don't really know anything about iPads or I.C.T or are looking to improve what you already know, this book will really help you because it tells you these following things: How to download apps, How to put it on sleep, Use siri and loads more! Another FANTASTIC thing about this book is the fact that is interactive! This means that you don't always have to read to get the right information. Throughout this book, QR Codes have been placed so that you can get the information're learning is instant. We love the way that the Digital Leaders are used in the videos and tutorials too! Great idea!!!!

    We hope to purchase more copies so we can get the whole school reading and learning TOGETHER! This book is really useful for all ages and is available to buy so go and get your copy now!! Thank you to Mr Stone for purchasing this first copy, it has already helped us loads!
  15. From turning on an iPad to keeping safe online, apps to QR codes, digital environment to digital leaders, this book is literally bursting with information and advice to help any teacher on their digital journey.

    The -˜welcome' sets the scene perfectly. It prepares the reader for a change of mindset needed to fully embrace the potential of the book in order to change digital learning. And it leaves no doubt as to why teachers should be on board the digital revolution. Ideas around transforming pedagogical delivery, digital environments and the big question -˜how?' will probably be in the minds of most readers by page 6. But any sense of feeling overwhelmed is immediately calmed down with the -˜wonderful digital journey' being broken down step-by-step.

    The layout of the book is perfect for any bewildered teacher. -˜Meet your iPad' may seem basic for tech-savvy teachers but it acts as a great leveler for all readers and perhaps answers questions that some teachers may feel afraid to ask! The following chapters move from a personal experience in getting familiar with apps to using the iPad as a powerful tool for learning. The digital tutorials are very useful and key to inspiring, engaging and enthusing the reader. The blend of adults and learners in the tutorials are great to see and highlights that the digital journey should never be made alone. There is a true essence of community cohesion in every chapter and a key fact that teachers and learners on a digital journey together is a powerful combination!

    Reading the book page by page or a -˜pick and mix' approach to reading relevant chapters will undoubtedly enhance even the most bewildered teacher's digital competency and pedagogical skills. The book is written in an easy to read, conversational way. There are helpful tips, frequently asked questions and a very useful glossary all of which answer questions most teachers don't like to ask!

    Simon Pridham's passion for digital learning is evident throughout the book and if only a small part of this empowers teachers to embrace technology in the classroom then it has done its job! Even the most bewildered of teachers must be tempted to have a go and explore the digital world after reading this book. It's a must for every teacher's digital toolkit. And hopefully the start of a series-¦ -˜Freaked Out for Leaders, Parents, Grandparents' -” the digital journey goes on-¦
  16. Let me set my stall out: I don't particularly like iPads. I have settled in the other digital camp as I find Android devices more flexible and, let's be honest, cheaper (which surely must figure as a priority to a school).

    That said, my experience of using iPads across a school with approximately 2,000 students has been a positive one, mainly due to the ease of management of the devices and a talented IT team.

    So why am I interested in this book? Well, for one thing, I am a parent of a child just starting school who uses tablets naturally (just as the author describes his own child doing). And, as a teacher who uses them and develops ideas for their use in school, I am interested in reading what is being recommended to teachers in primary school -” the author's target audience.

    So what does Freaked Out have to offer the primary (or secondary) school by way of advice? The author clearly has a lot of experience in using iPads and his technical advice is authoritative and simple.

    The book begins with a guide to using an iPad; from turning it on, through setting up an iCloud account, to downloading an app (starting with the Aurasma app, which becomes important later). There are many screenshots showing how to complete tasks, though these may already be slightly out of date as iOS (the operating system for iPads and iPhones) has just been updated to a new version; the perils of print in a digital age. The author gets around this by littering the book with useful QR codes and images that link, via an iPad's camera and the Aurasma app, to online content. This makes reading the book a very interactive experience, and gives you some idea what a student's experience of integrated digital and traditional resources might be.

    This is a useful book for headteachers and teachers dipping their toes into the world of digital technology in school

    The book describes projects and structures for effective use of the technology, for example the “Skillshare projects” that the author has developed and led. These have been devised to help different generations in communities form a bond by learning to use digital technologies to enhance their lives. The account is very persuasive on the potential of the ubiquity of these devices in our lives to allow more social interaction and learning, not less. This aspect of the book was most interesting to me and seemed to strengthen the author's main message that technology should not frighten or make us “freak out” when used in school or in our daily lives. Sadly, not enough space is given to exploring these ideas in detail.

    There are bullet point lists and wishes of good luck as the text moves from describing the use of a particular app or technology to wider experiences such as the Skillshare projects with barely a paragraph to link them. I found this frustrating, as I would have liked the “dummies guide to iPads” to have been separated from how to introduce digital technology effectively into school. They are different problems and need space to be explored properly. This is most obvious in the FAQ section at the end which includes good advice such as “boring stuff on an iPad is still boring stuff”. This simple message would have made a great chapter about how iPad use in the classroom goes wrong.

    In summary, this is a useful book for headteachers and teachers dipping their toes into the world of digital technology in school, as well as a handy reference for those wanting more ideas to use tablet and smartphone technology to greater effect.
    It appears to be aimed at primary educators, yet I think the content is pertinent to all settings from early years to sixth form colleges.

    If you are new to using tablet computers in school you will find this book a useful introduction, but this non -” Freaked Out reviewer wanted to read a more in-depth exploration of good and bad use of the technology.
  17. About five years ago, I walked into a Year Nine classroom and began to explain to the pupils how I managed to write a book. The book was called, “There's Only Two Tony Cottey's”, and -” I'm relieved to report -” the children loved the session and showed an incredible appetite to want to improve their reading and writing, as a result of me explaining to them how embracing those skills through my own particular passion -” sport -” had provided the foundations for me becoming a published author.

    A week or so later, I discussed the success of the session with the Head-teacher of the primary school I am a governor of, and asked if he thought that a similar session may have a similar impact on his Year Six class. “Definitely” was his response, and the session was arranged. As in the first session, it went really well, and my story of becoming an author really did seem to resonate with young people, but I realised, once the story had been told, what next? I couldn't go on to re-tell the story continuously, but really wanted to build on the engagement and inspiration that had been uncovered in my session. So, the Head-teacher and I had a meeting and tried to work out how we could move things to the next stage. The next stage was to run a literacy session over a period of months where high profile Welsh sports people were invited into school, interviewed by the children, then written about -” in the children's own words. In advance of the sessions, I would work with the children on research of the sports person concerned, and before you knew it, so many areas of the children's literacy was improved. The Head-teacher thought that the end product was so powerful, that he asked me to turn editor and create a published book, which at a stroke, turned all those Year Six children into published authors.

    About a year later, after another successful sports project at the school, the Head-teacher called me into his room to show me something new. It was an iPad, “the future of education” he told me, and not only had I never seen one before, but I knew absolutely nothing about it. For the next twenty minutes he showed me what it was capable of. It was based on “apps” -” whatever they were, it could be used to make movies, make images constructed entirely from words, make still photographs come alive like in a Monty Python cartoon sketch, produce music, and about 101 other things. My head was in a whirl, as frankly, I didn't know what on earth he was talking about, and probably more importantly, had absolutely no clue how to use the thing. Then he delivered the sentence that left me cold, “and I want you to use it for your next sports literacy project at the school!” I was terrified. I had never seen technology like this before, I had an old mobile phone that was just that -” an old phone that was mobile -” it didn't contain apps or cartoons or movies and in terms of my “techie” skills, well, frankly, I didn't have any. I went home worried, disillusioned and dispirited, realising that I was never going to have the skills to use this machine, and -” as a result -” my wonderful, but very short, journey in education was over. There was only one way to describe my state of mind -” Freaked Out!

    The next few months were torture. I delivered another sports project at the school -” this time using the iPad -” but if I'm being honest, it was delivered in a fog of fear and trepidation, as despite lots of advice from many people, what I really needed was a guidance book of some description, explaining both the functions of an iPad, but also, more importantly, its relevance in education in general and literacy in particular. My stress levels were as high as they'd ever been in my career, and the main reason for that was this lack of practical guidance to assist me and allay my fears. My experience was not unique, and over the past four years, I have spoken to many educators, who like me, just learned on the job, often in fear of failure, but just trying to do their best. That need not happen to any future educators embarking on their own iPad journeys, mainly thanks to -˜Freaked Out -” The bewildered teacher's guide to digital learning', by Simon Pridham.

    This book has everything an educational practitioner, who is starting out on their own iPad journey, needs to help them on their way, told in an easy and informative manner. But also -” and this is the book's stand out feature -” it delivers it's advice using the very technology it is instructing you to use, as uniquely, it is a completely interactive book.

    The book starts with an excellent and helpful introduction which outlines the scene for the novice iPad educator, and mentions many of the problems you will no doubt already be facing, which in itself helps you realise that the author has clearly faced a similar journey to you. Then, helpfully, it gives an in depth, pictorial guide to all the buttons and functions of an iPad, which will be of enormous help to a new user. But then the fun in the book really begins. For the rest of the book, using QR codes (explained in the book) and augmented reality (also explained) we are taken on a practical digital journey by the author, using links to films, instructional videos, audio clips and many other visual techniques that really bring the book alive. This is a book that really does talk to you! Cleverly, the author has used footage of practical examples of students using the technology in the classroom, allied to master classes delivered by himself. This in itself gives confidence that the technology works, but another strength of the author is to provide a byline on how the specific piece of technology he is referring to can actually be used. For example, most people now know what QR codes do, even if we don't know how they do it. But not only does the book explain how they work and what they do, it also gives practical uses for them, from Head-teacher's creating weekly blog posts, to children using them to explain displays they may have created in class. What I would have given for such detailed guidance as that when I was trying work out how to switch an iPad on all those years ago!

    Nothing relating to modern, digital technology used in education is really left out in the book. In addition to all mentioned above, there are tips on how to use the iPad to inspire, engage and enthuse students, reviews and instructions of the best apps to choose out of the increasingly saturated market of apps, practical advice on displaying and storing the work of an iPad, especially when controlling its use in, say, a class of 30 children, or even more if your school has embarked on a complete 1:1 programme. It even shares the author's best strategy for integrating iPads within the classroom by giving ownership of their use to the pupils, and by creating a structure using the pupils themselves as digital leaders. Importantly, there is also a chapter on security and control of the iPads, an issue sometimes overlooked in other publications. Frankly, there is not much that this book doesn't cover. Clearly -” and I speak from experience here -” the apps available for iPads in education can change and be updated on a regular basis, so it's almost impossible to create the “foolproof” guide, but “Freaked Out” certainly gets as close as you can to that, and covers most bases, there is even a Q&A chapter at the end in which many frequently asked questions by educators are answered with clarity.

    As I mentioned, this book would have been such a welcome purchase to me when that Head-teacher first showed me around that iPad that terrified me so, in his office four years ago. But he clearly understood the pitfalls myself and many other educators have faced over the time we slowly began to get used to our learning device, and he then decided to take that on board and make things easier for educators in the future. In fact, he wanted to make it so much easier, he chose to put it all in a book. His name? Simon Pridham.

    I was extremely Freaked Out back then, but not any more! Even though I like to think I made a success of my iPad journey in education, I still learned a great amount from this book, and it is one I heartily recommend for anyone thinking of using an iPad in an educational setting.
  18. This week we came across Simon Pridham's new educational book, -˜Freaked Out: The Bewildered Teacher's Guide To Digital Learning'. To say we were intrigued is an understatement, as this seems to be the first book of it's kind which addresses an often lonely and difficult problem that many teachers face.

    Technology is constantly evolving -” sometimes at an overwhelming pace. A perfect example of this lies with the traditional blackboard which in the space of 20 years has evolved from a basic writing surface, to a dry erase whiteboard and finally to what we see in the vast majority of schools today: a projector screen with an interactive display and stylus pen.

    The great thing about Simon's book is how he manages to voice the concerns that many teachers are bound to have, but in a way that does not create a sense of panic. He uses a calm, conversational tone in his introduction and conveys the idea that technology is not something to be feared, but rather something to embrace as a challenge which can be greatly rewarding.

    This book really does start with the basics. And to the tech savvy, this could seem unnecessary and obvious -” but that is exactly why this book isn't designed for those people. There seems to be an assumption amongst the tech savvy that using a piece of technology such as an iPad is straightforward. What Simon does brilliantly is he answers the questions that many teachers would be afraid to ask. Because let's face it, who really wants to have to ask how to turn on an iPad? Especially when you've watched 3 years olds do it without batting an eyelid! But that's the key thing to remember here -” not all teachers are part of this technological generation. Yet they are now faced with the age of digital learning which must be embraced in order to keep their classroom dynamic, up-to-date and engaging.

    The Bewildered Teacher's Guide to Digital Learning takes the reader through everything from downloading an app to benefits of Apple TV to safeguarding and much more. At the back of the book there is a handy FAQ section as well as a glossary which contains all of those words which we're expected to understand but really have no clue about.

    To summarise, the book is a great starting point for any overwhelmed teacher. Of course it doesn't explain everything but it's got enough information to get you on your feet. And why stop at teachers? I might just have to pass my copy onto my Mum who's recently been struggling to get to grips with her new iPad mini-¦

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