Xiaoice: the revolution just happened

7bab4aadae979479720a71bc699b945eIf you had to put one date on the Industrial Revolution, it would probably be 1776. This was the date when James Watt installed his first Atmospheric Steam Engine; an engine that for the first time did more work than the horses required to feed it with coal.

It changed everything. Industrialisation led to huge increases in personal wealth and opened new possibilities for ordinary people that even kings could not previously have aspired to.

James Watt’s engine came the better part of a century after the first steam engine patent had been issued (to Thomas Savery, in 1698), but looking back, we see this was the inflection point.

In the same vein, I nominate 2014 as the date of the computer revolution. Yes, 2014, just two years ago. Why? Because Continue reading

January 2016 authoring online CPD


  • Starts Monday 25th January
  • Completely online
  • 15 minutes per day, every day for 2 weeks
  • Choose your own time of day
  • CPD certificates will be issued on successful completion
  • To apply, take the pre-test, which is open now.

The course runs through a student account on Yacapaca, which you can sign up for at the end of this post. It uses some features you will be familiar with, and some that are not available to general users.


Unsurprisingly, I teach using the same philosophy I embedded into Yacapaca. Learning is your responsibility; my job is to provide the structure. In this case that includes pointers to useful content, collaborative activities and Continue reading

Measure confidence, reward improvement

Confidence and improvement

Results sorted by improvement. The top row shows the average.

I am really excited about these two new metrics added to the Results page. They give you a view of each student you have not had before, and which you can use today to improve the quality of their Continue reading

The Results page is now 10x more fascinating

Results 3.png

I’m really stoked about these two new features of the Results page. They turn it from a page that merely reports results into one that provides immediate (and fascinating) insights into students’ behaviour.

Sort on any column

The default sort remains surname, but you can now use the arrows to the right of each column header to sort (ascending or descending) on that particular column. The example above is sorted by score.


The class average score is useful; the time spent is absolutely fascinating. In the example above you will notice that the slowest and fastest students are achieving the lowest scores. This may suggest some useful interventions with those particular students, especially if the results are consistent across many quizzes.