Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! shortlisted for BETT Awards 2012

Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! has been shortlisted for the final of the BETT Awards 2012 in the Early Years Digital Content category... and we’re very excited about it!

The BETT Show is the British Educational Training and Technology Show, the annual showcase for the use of information technology in education in the UK. It takes place at Olympia in London and has been running, in one form or another, since 1985.

I think I first went there as a teacher back in 1998 or thereabouts. Since then I’ve been to BETT most years and I’ve seen it from both sides of the fence; in various incarnations as a teacher and ICT coordinator; and as an exhibitor speaking to teachers and demonstrating software. The show is an amazing collection of all the best in ICT educational resources and every year I’ve come away inspired to do something new.

However, one of the overwhelming memories of my visits to BETT is ‘Exhibition Leg’, a variant of ‘Museum Leg’, often accompanied by ‘Exhibition Back’ and ‘Tradeshow Neck’; the aches and pains that quickly set in from the slow-wandering around a hall and the long periods of standing still, enthralled by some magic new gadget. Add to that the arm ache from carrying a hundredweight of free pens, badges, catalogues, sweets and promotional knick-knacks, pilfered from every stand, and you certainly feel like you’ve earned that sit down on the train back home... if you can get a seat!

The BETT Awards winners are announced each year at the BETT Show. They reward the best creative and innovative ICT products and services in the world of education. I’ve followed them closely over the years and I’ve used many of the winning packages in my own teaching. That’s why I’m so excited about Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! having been shortlisted for this year’s final. Lugo Learning has only been around for just over a year now, so it’s a great honour to be in such good company in the Early Years Digital Content category. Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! is up against the best in the business and we’re really proud to be there.

We’d like to thank all our users who continue to provide us with feedback and help us to develop our software and make a difference to children’s learning in the Early Years. We’re working on some exciting new projects at the moment... but more of that later. For now, we’re very much looking forward to joining all the other finalists at the BETT Awards on 11th January 2012.

It’s black tie. I’ll be the nervous one wrestling with a bow tie and nursing my Exhibition Leg.

See Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! at

Friday, 14 October 2011

Developing children's independence

Garretts Green Children's Centre have been using Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! for a year now.

Garretts Green, in Birmingham, purchased Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! in October 2010. They were looking for some software to develop children’s independence in the area of ICT.

Over the year of our study into the work done at Garretts Green, we found that children became much more independent and made more choices for themselves in their ICT work. Children began incorporating the software into their daily routine. Staff found children being more creative than they had been with other ICT resources and it was often a focus for speaking opportunities for children reluctant to communicate.
Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! also aided observations and assessment of children throughout the setting, sometimes in unexpected ways. For example staff found the software was a great way of engaging family members in children’s education.

Throughout the setting the experience of the staff was an overwhelmingly positive one and the software is used every day as part of the daily routine. When using Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! staff no longer have to tackle the disrupting technical issues they experienced when using other software.

The children of this new year’s intake have taken to Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! quickly and samples of their experiences with the software are already being added to their individual ‘learning journey’ documents. Staff are now planning to collect together image banks for the coming year to import images to the software for their themes and topics throughout the year.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

"You've thought of everything!"

Children are naturals when it comes to technology. They’re brilliant at using it. Some of them are better than many adults. I’m sure we’ve all marvelled at how the children we teach know exactly how to exit the software we’ve set up for them, open up Internet Explorer, find the CBeebies website and start blaring out the Bob the Builder theme tune. In my experience it’s either that, Ben 10 or Hannah Montana.

They’re more than happy to show off these skills, usually when they shouldn’t. All this independence is very commendable, of course, but not so good if you need them to practise their matching skills or to identify phonemes. My colleagues and I must have spent hours over the years restarting software and redirecting children to tasks when they’ve ‘accidentally’ closed down the software.

I set out to find a solution to this, and to so many other, obvious problems when teaching using ICT in the Early Years. And so Lugo Learning was born. We needed a way of locking the software so the children couldn’t quit it, by mistake or on purpose! Also we wanted to direct them to a particular activity, so they couldn’t move on to another one that was either too easy for them or far beyond their capabilities. And that’s what we did.

It’s why, whenever we demonstrate Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! in schools, teachers say to us “You’ve thought of everything!” and “It’s obvious it’s been designed by an Early Years teacher”. Teachers quickly see it’s ideal for 0-5s, because that’s exactly who it’s been designed for. Children are our fiercest critics, we always listen to what they have to say and we’re constantly trying to keep up with them!

Please get in touch to let us know what you’re doing with ICT in the Early Years.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Whiteboard Setups

We present the first in an occasional series called 'Whiteboard Setups' - a snappy little title for a slightly nerdy focus on classroom setups that have caught our eye.

Maybe like me you have a love/hate relationship with the interactive whiteboard (more on that in another post to come) but some setups are better than others.

The first one is a neat little setup with some steps, to compensate for the board being fixed a little too high on the wall for the children.

Setup number 2 is a whiteboard in an ICT suite. Very nice but sadly not working when I needed to use it because the bulb had blown! The replacement bulb had been promised to arrive 'today' after being promised to arrive yesterday after being promised to arrive the day before...etc etc. Ho hum...

Finally setup number 3. Plasma screens are good aren't they? No shadows and clear, backlit images. However, sadly this one hadn't been used for a little while, as can be seen. Not everyone loves their whiteboard.

What's your setup like? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it working? Post a comment or drop us a line here.

Coming soon...
I Love Whiteboards / I Hate Whiteboards


Monday, 5 July 2010

Beyond the PC and away from the whiteboard

There are extra resources included in our Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! software so that you can take the learning beyond the PC.

You won't always want to work at the whiteboard or PC so we've included printable pdf resources for use away from the computer. Print the resources onto card and cut them out to play your own matching games. You could also laminate the cards to make them last longer.

What we find really useful is combining these practical matching resources with the interactive elements of Bim! Bam! Boogaloo!

For example, here's a very simple activity we've used in a special school but which works just as nicely in the Nursery too.
  • One child is at the computer or whiteboard using the 'Sensory' activity.
  • Another child sits nearby with the object cards, printed out and laminated.
  • The child at the computer presses on the board or clicks on the screen and the child with the cards has to match the object they see by holding up the correct card.
  • Continue until all the objects/letters/numbers have been matched.

To make it trickier, you can ask the children to match the letter cards to the alphabet objects on the screen, or vice versa.

Visit our Extra Resources page for some free downloadable high frequency words and 1-100 number cards and try out Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! for free here.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

VIDEO - Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! - Matching Pairs

Continuing this week's focus on that old quiz show classic 'Pelmanism' aka 'Concentration' or Matching Pairs, here's a video demonstrating some of the ways the Matching Pairs activity can be used in the classroom.

This card game seems to have only a tenuous link to 'Pelmanism - the memory system', devised by William Joseph Ennever in the 1890s, at least partly based on the work of Christopher Louis Pelman. Pelmanism was a memory training system which, according to the advertising of the time, could banish 'forgetfulness', 'depression', 'weakness of will', 'moodiness', 'unnecessary fears and phobias' and 'mental stagnation', whilst developing positive qualities such as 'optimism', 'decisiveness', 'cheerfulness', 'moral courage', 'social charm and tact' and 'personal magnetism'.

We can't make any such promises concerning Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! and the Matching Pairs activity, but we can promise that it's fun and, as you'll see in the video, can be used in a variety of ways to develop children's memory skills and cognitive skills.

Click here to try the Matching Pairs activity.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Lugo... Learning all the time

Pelmanism. It's a great educational card game, also known as 'Matching Pairs'. A simple game but great for challenging children's memory and cognitive skills. It's the game with a set of cards placed face down on a table with players taking it in turns to turn over 2 cards to find matches.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

VIDEO - Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! - 3 handy tips

Here's our first video showing you some of the ways we've been using Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! in the classroom.

3 handy tips for:
  1. Pre-writing skills,
  2. Children who just want to 'slap' the whiteboard and
  3. Making flashcards fun! (High frequency words.)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Lugo-a-Go-Go! - Bim! Bam! Boogaloo!

Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! has been launched!

(And we make no apologies for all the exclamation marks!)

We're very excited here at Lugo Learning. At the risk of sounding like talent show contestants, it's been an emotional rollercoaster.

We've learned so much about ourselves and we've grown in the process too. We gave it everything we've got and...well, enough of that for now because I'm sure you get the idea.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Welcome to the first post of our new Lugo Learning blog.