family anecdotes Life Technology


I’ve been amazed by my son’s mind ever since he could communicate. He’d show me things and I’d marvel at how he viewed the world; so differently from me. And then once he could talk – which was later than most children due to his autism – I could admire his creativity still more.

He’s always had an affinity for technology. I remember him setting up the playstation, every plug into its correct place, without any hesitation. He was two years old. Which shouldn’t have surprised me, seeing as his seventh word (after ‘Daddy’, ‘Mummy’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’) was ‘iPad’.

But I’m still surprised by the creations he makes. Like on Minecraft: check this out.

I took the photo for this blogpost, then he asked, “Would you like to see it in the daylight? It looks different there.”

Oh! Love him!

Anyway, I just thought I’d share this with you. Have a creative day yourself, dear Reader!


family anecdotes Life teaching

On devices and syllables

I assembled Mr6’s desk the other weekend. It came as a flatpack, so I spent quite some time in his bedroom, with an Allen key, bruising my thumbs and pointer fingers. Mr6 visited me from time to time, to watch. I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling when one of his comments was that his desk was ‘loading’. If anything was indicative that devices (and the terminology associated with them) are colouring his world, that was it!

Something else of note during Mr 6’s last week. As his school music teacher, I get to see him with his classmates, and teach them all, the fundamentals of music 😀 😀 😀

Last week, we were discussing various pictures, and whether they were one syllable words (eg. sun) or two syllable words (rabbit) in preparation for the differences between crotchets and quavers.

My Mr6 was the only student in the whole of his grade (three classes worth) who worked out that ‘owl’ was a two syllable word, instead of just looking at it and assuming that it was just one, because of its length. Cool, hey!


Random thoughts Technology

Kids and creativity

I think I’ve blogged before about the great iPad App “Playschool Artmaker”. Well, I discovered recently that you can use your own backgrounds. Photos that you’ve taken, can now be added to with the Playschool toys and other bits and pieces. So my kids have had a field day! Here’s one of Miss 7 and Mr 3 on the playstation, being cheered on by the PlaySchool toys…

And Mr 3 has decided that he likes ‘hiding’ the people in the photo by covering them with al foil. You just gotta love his creativity!

We also found out that you can make a whole “story”, using the photos and videos that you’ve previously made using the App. But I’d better not add one here; it’d be far too huge! You’ll just have to take my word for it that the stories my kids make are just so darn cute…!
(Oh, and in case you were wondering… No, this is not a paid ad. LOL!)


Tech-savvy kids

I love the fact that my children are digital natives. The screen of my MacBook Pro is covered with little fingerprints from when they’ve been using my iPad / iPodTouch, and have forgotten that they’re not on them anymore. When it comes to technology, their brains don’t ask “can I?”,  but instead “how do I?” – they automatically assume that anything is possible. Whereas I, and others of my (and surrounding!) generations ask “IS that possible?”
Mr 3, in particular, amazes me with what he works out. (And I find it funny when Miss 7 and Miss 4 also ask, “How did you do that?’!) Case in point: the app Vid Rhythm. It’s a cute little app, making cute little video clips from various sounds that you copy. Mr 3 figured it out by himself – and then kindly saved me a copy of his creation. I had no idea that he was even playing with this! He was on the iPod Touch in the lounge room, while I was making dinner one night. I only discovered it after he was in bed that night:




Favourite “Speech” Apps

I was asked in a tweet the other day about the Apps I have. And I realized that I couldn’t reply in a tweet, as I have far too many! So I’ve decided to dedicate a few blog posts to the topic. The question related specifically to apps that help with speech development, so I have categorized this first list into ‘word recognition’ and ‘encouraging speech through interaction’. Hope it might be helpful!

Word / Sound recognition (simplest to most complex)

1. I Hear Ewe – three pages of common sounds with very clear, short explanations

2. My Preschool Word – my kids love unlocking jewels by listening to the song of the word they just met – and then putting the image onto crazy photos!

3. Dot to Dot Numbers & Letters – simple dot to dot, with clear number pronunciation

4. Baby Cloud Apps First Words Free – clear pictures with spoken object names

5. Melvin’s Marvellous Words – a memory game using words

6. Little Speller… Three letter words – learn to spell with large pictures and clear word / letter pronunication

7. My First Words; Flashcards – categories with large pictures and clearly spoken words

8. A1 Spelling App – eight categories, with the words spoken by a child instead of an adult.

9. Phonics Genius – clearly spoken words in word families. No pictures, though.

10. Articulation Station – divided into sounds, and the sound placement within the word. Examples are given in words, sentences, and stories. A very thorough app!


Encouraging speech through interaction

  1. VidRhythm (pictured) – this app really encouraged my youngest to copy the sounds and words, to make the music video. Of this entire list today, this App would be my favourite.
  2. Puppet Pals HD – make your own puppet show using up to 8 characters and 3 backgrounds
  3. Play School Art Maker – theme-based, choose which characters and objects you want to play, and record videos of your play.
  4. Talking Gina the Giraffe / Talking Tom Cat and similar ‘Talking” apps.
Bloxham Marketing Random thoughts Technology Work

Working differently, working smarter…

I was working on my iPad early this morning, then I was called away to attend to my children. Upon returning to the iPad, my first thought was that for some strange reason, it hadn’t put itself to sleep. Then I got closer and realized that it wasn’t that I could still see the keyboard on the screen, but that the screen was black and I could see the reflection of my fingerprint smudges. LOL!
So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my iPad this morning. I use it a lot, and couldn’t live without it’s calendar – and I absolutely adore the iPad version of HootSuite, but I want to use it more. Currently, I’m using my MacBook for around 90% of my workload, I’d say, and I’m still using it in meetings / presentations etc etc. but it’s cumbersome, and I now have an iPad, so I want to do things differently. Work smarter, not harder (Well, I can’t fit any more into my life, so I need to work smarter anyway!) and this change might work for me.
So, I’ll keep on thinking about it… And let you know what I come up with!
(and yes, I’m guessing that for this move, from Mac to iPad, to be more successful, I will also need to figure out the problem with my Pages not syncing between the two, so that I can transfer my word processing over to the cloud rather than relying so heavily on my Word for Mac…)


Bloxham Marketing family anecdotes Life More about me Random thoughts Technology Work

Been busy…

So I’ve found the time to blog for Bloxham Marketing today – which has meant that I’ve had less time to write a post here, on my personal blog. Because I’m trying, in-between helping Miss 4 make a rocket ship (see left)

and supervising Mr 2 on my iPad (see right), to organise Mr 2’s entry into  the Early Childhood Developmental entree at Tullawong Primary College. So I’m going to cheat a little, and paste that entry below.

* * *

Image-based promotion

Posted on March 12, 2012 | Leave a comment | Edit

Over the past two weeks, St Paul’s has had a poster campaign running at Morayfield Shopping Centre. We used the same posters that we had up over the Christmas period last year – and I’d like to credit the record number of enrolments the school received, to these posters. Well… it may not have been to these exclusively, but nevertheless…!

And last week, I was inspired by @connectyou‘s post on the new Covers for the Facebook Page Timelines – to be rolled out on the 30 March, but which are able to be ‘published’ beforehand. So yesterday, I got busy. Evidenced by three cover photos. Check them out!

Caloundra Christian College:

St James Lutheran College:

And last but not least… St Paul’s Lutheran Primary School:

So – what do you think?

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And now all I need to do is create Cover photos for the Bloxham Marketing page – and for my personal one too, of course!

family anecdotes More about me Technology

Starting young

I love that my kids are starting engage with technology at a young age. I honestly believe that it will set them up for an easier life.

Source: via Denise on Pinterest

Miss 7 loves photography. Since I came home from #iPadexplore last week and showed her the ‘Water my Photo’ app, she’s been busy manipulating her photos – I especially love the fact that she put her “Ariel” barbie doll in the water (sparking the ‘wet shirt’ comment that I found hilarious enough to tweet and add to fb yesterday). At the moment, Miss 4 is playing with VidRhythm on my iPhone, and Mr 2 is on my iPod, busy getting a radioactive mouse to eat some un-caged cats in Mouse Maze. Yes, these are games, which in a way makes what they are doing no different to sitting in front of the PS2, or the TV. But what I like is the way they are regulating their own play. And more often than not, they’ll choose to challenge themselves with literacy games or mathematical quizzes. Just this morning, my daughters were on my iPad, taking it in turns to spell the words on ‘Word Wizard’, so that at the end of the quiz, all three of them could play with the interactive game at the end. And I just love that.

L: Three cherubs interacting with the post-spelling game on Word Wizard.

R: A photo taken by Miss 7, of Dave the 3D dragon and Proto the little 3D monster, from the String AR App, superimposed on the carpet of their (messy!) bedroom.

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Toys for toys?

Today was Day 2 of LEQ’s Mini-conference, exploring iPads in education, on the Sunshine Coast. Again, another very cool day of exploring what iPads can do; how Apps, App chains, and even the tool itself, can be leveraged for better outcomes for our kids. Very very very cool stuff.

Amongst the myriad of sessions and workshops were two standouts for me. Firstly, the very tactile ‘app-cesseries’ – extra bits and pieces that accessorise the iPad (or iPhone, iPod, etc) to give it added functionality. My favourite – in the photo – would have to be the mini-Mater (from Disney’s Cars movie) that you could move on the iPad to explore the world of the movie.


And the other standout would have to be my extreme surprise at one of Greg O’Connor’s slides. Still can’t believe it, but there was a screenshot of hmmm… up there. Yes, you read right – he had my last night’s blog entry “The Good Stuff” up there on the screen, and was talking about this ‘cool blog he had found last night’. Absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! I was just so surprised, so grateful, so humbled! (If you ever read this, Greg – thank you SO much!) Absolutely stunned to think that everyone at this conference had, in a way, “visited” my blog. How COOL!!!

So yes, these were my highlights of the day. And if, by any chance, any of my readers also happened to attend the LEQ conference, please feel free to add below what your highlights were. And if you weren’t – then I’d love to hear what you think of the Mater truck!

(Oh, and I’ll be writing a blog post on the other great Apps / links, on the other page – “The Good Stuff”. Hope they’re helpful!)

Random thoughts Technology

Any views on Android out there?

I had a long conversation today with someone I respect. Owns a computer shop, but doesn’t sell Macs. And when I mentioned the iPad, I could almost see him recoil. When I pressed him for his opinion, he then offered ‘They’re too easy. They don’t make you think.” A better alternative, in his opinion? An Android.

So, dear readers, what do you think? Used one before? Got one? What’s YOUR opinion on them? I’d love to get your thoughts…