Welcome to Lingo!

Like everything in life, you get back what you put in. And app development is no different.

Which is why we’re thrilled to be announcing the launch of Lingo – Tangible Translation today. An app to help learn languages, launched by a schoolboy.

Lingo is designed to help language learners by combining the speed of online translation services with the learning experience of dictionaries and a built in notebook. It was created through the hard work of Tom Humphrey, a 17 year-old A-Level student, who has been refining and brutally simplifying his initial app concept for the past 10 months since winning our Appskool competition as part of Eton College’s team.

The competition, in partnership with Golden Gekko, called for schools and students to design a new mobile app with an educational or learning theme. The competition, open to 13-18 year olds, enabled young people to get involved in creating a new digital service and, by doing so, learn the business and digital skills which are essential in the modern economy. So much so, and so impressed have we been by Tom’s progress through the process of app development that he has earned himself an internship at our development partner, Golden Gekko.

Tom , who is still studying Physics, Maths, Latin and History a-Levels, said:
“I created Lingo – Tangible Translation based on my own experience of learning languages. The most powerful tool for a language student used to be the dictionary, the introduction of new digital translation tools meant this was no longer the case. These new translation tools could do a lot more a lot faster than was possible with a dictionary, however they were not built to educate but to translate. Students did not learn as much when using the tools, but because of their speed they were far more attractive than dictionaries, even the digital ones. Lingo – Tangible Translation is an attempt to find a balance between the two, to combine the speed of digital translation tools with the educational value of dictionaries.”

So how does it work?

  • Lingo – Tangible Translation is a simple, one-tap language dictionary that produces easy-to-use personal wordlists for language students
  • Tom’s aim when designing the app was to allow students to copy their text for translation into the app so that it could be a powerful and simple learning tool for each individual
  • Tapping any words they don’t know will mean that a definition will instantly appear and be stored in the app’s Wordlist, just as if they had looked them up in a dictionary – but without having to leaf through page after page of words
  • As a result of using the app, students can more easily spend their time translating the sentence they are struggling with – helping with learning and revision
  • Lingo – Tangible Translation works for on French, Spanish and Italian on the iPad, and is based around the four principles of speed, accuracy, simplicity, and learning

Lingo – Tangible Translation, which runs on iPad devices, and is free to download from Wednesday 27th March. Allowing students everywhere free access to this invaluable learning tool in time for their revision over Easter. Click here to download.

O2 Think Big Appskool was founded in partnership with leading mobile app design agency, Golden Gekko, who have done a brilliant job developing the new app. Caroline van den Bergh, Head of Business Development at Golden Gekko said:

“Helping provide a platform for young people to gain insight into what it’s like to work within mobile has been more of a success that any of could have anticipated. We were honoured to be asked to help support this partnership by O2 and have enjoyed and learnt greatly throughout the experience, working with young minds. We have been bowled over by the level of interest but also the quality of the response, creativity and approach to resolving issues via mobile.”

Tom's input throughout the development process has been a testament to what a fantastically talented individual he is and puts many people double his age to shame. We are thrilled to be able to offer Tom a internship and looking forward to seeing Tom blossom and what type of work he can produce without the pressure of school and exams. We really hope to see more initiatives like this supporting young people and showing them great alternative career paths"

And the good impression spread back to his school too; Tony Little, Head Master, Eton College said:

"It is a great credit to the school that one of our pupils has demonstrated the independence of thought and creativity to design a free and practical educational app.

"I have been impressed by the teamwork between O2, Golden Gekko and Tom to turn Tom’s initial designs for the app into reality.

“As a school, we have learnt a great deal from involvement with this project and hope that others will find the app useful."

We can only echo these sentiments as Tom has been brilliantly professional throughout the process displaying the vision and clarity to develop Lingo – Tangible Translation into the wonderful learning tool, available to all.

The sheer volume and quality of entries into the Appskool competition highlighted the real thirst among young people to learn more digital skills. Which is why we’re supporting young people to develop their skills, understanding and use of digital technologies – creating opportunities to learn about coding and getting young people building, rather than just consuming, the internet of the future. Teach yourself with our learn to code curriculum, sign up for a Think Big School and watch out for Campus Party in September. But why not start with Lingo.

Download your free Lingo app today. Start learning a language and congratulate Tom Humphrey in French, Italian or Spanish.

One year on

A year ago, our Appskool competition was going through the final rounds of selection. Following some brilliant presentations and much deliberation, our talented winners were selected as Tom Humphrey and Fredrick Moross from Eton College.

Since then, a huge amount of work has going on behind the scenes to create a brilliant app that'll be invaluable during the imminent revision period.

But for now, that's all. The app will launch next week when we'll reveal all. Until then, stay tuned.

O2 Learn to Code with Decoded

The need for digital skills in today's workplace is huge, a recent research study by O2 found that companies expected 21% of their growth over the next three years to come through digital channels alone.

However, with the computer science curriculum in flux and only 375 student completing computing A-Level last year we wanted to create some resources to help.

So, we've partnered the brilliant team at Decoded, to create an online coding course to inspire and teach young people to learn to code in HTML and CSS.

The content is rooted in the industry-endorsed Computing at School curriculum and the learning platform is built in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, the very coding languages we are teaching. Students can interact, manipulate and customise the actual teaching content using HTML or CSS. In effect, a hackable text book.

The course has been developed with the belief that the internet is one of the most transformative inventions in the history. Participating in the web, publishing content, is empowering. Making the web work for you does not require years and years of deep-level programming experience. Learn to Code today.

2012 Recap & O2 Learn Awards

2012 was another big year for O2 Learn. Our library of lessons grew three-fold so we now offer over 3,350 lessons and we launched our new iPhone app that allowed teachers and students to easily film and edit video lessons together using the handsets in their pockets.

Importantly, we also delivered over half-a-million lessons in 2012 and empowered students to make choices about their learning resources. This delivery couldn’t have been more timely, as while the nation proudly celebrated sitting near the top of the Olympic medals table the summer of 2012, we were also shamed to be coming top of the table for educational inequality. Appallingly, the UK has the worst educational inequality in the developed world with the most advantaged 20% of young people in the UK still seven times more likely to attend university than the 40% most disadvantaged.

Helping to give everyone access to great teachers has always been the purpose of O2 Learn. And we hope that in 2012 we did a little to not just inspire a generation, but also to educate a generation too.

Importantly we ended the year on a high by celebrating our teachers and announcing our 2012 O2 Learn winners after an intensive three week campaign by the eight finalist schools in their local areas involving community activation, local press, radio and TV, tweets of support from MPs... and even the winner of the Great British Bake off.

The first place award of £45,000 was won by brilliant RS teachers, MrA and MrC, from Sprowston Community College in Norwich, with their video lesson on ‘Heaven’. These talented gents were also last year’s overall runners up. Wonderfully, they have empowered their students to decide how the school should invest its prize money and once they’ve decided, we’ll update you.

The second place award of £22,500 went to John Hudson and Burnham Grammar School, for his inspiring lesson about the night sky called ‘seeing stars’. This inspiring film was shot entirely himself, by hacking his Digital SLR camera. John’s students helped narrate, edit, and perform the soundtrack for his lesson.

Finally, third place award went to Gemma Gulliford and Patrick Johnston from Highgate School for their video explaining how lunch passed through The human digestive system - can you stomach it?

There was as wonderful atmosphere in the room as the finalist meet and celebrated one another. And it only seems right to leave the final words to Mr A:

“Making short educational videos for practical use in the classroom has been a real eye opener. Too often the teaching process is understood as a serious and sobering experience and that the main ingredient is subject knowledge and skill within the subject domain. It's also understood that the students are the target of the learning process. Big mistakes.

We've learnt that teaching, at times, needs to be comic, confrontational and creative. The videos don't work if they aren't a bit dangerous and if they are afraid to laugh at themselves. The making of an educational video has to involve its own learning and has to confront the viewer with more questions than answers. In that way the student has to work. The student has to work out his/her solution to the puzzle presented in the film. The video has to talk directly to the student with a strong creative angle involving elements of contemporary style.

And all this has forced us to think again. How do we use a camera? How do we develop a narrative in an RS video? How can we be funny without being disrespectful? How do you record write and record original music to go with film? How can we keep straight faces? How can we ever be serious with the students again?

The fact is that the films have brought us closer to the students and they are with us rather than against us. And they have ideas too. And they can be critical in a positive way. And it can be fun. We have fun making the films, showing the films, picking up the pieces afterwards and in the competition of getting votes.

It's actually only the beginning in what is clearly a very exciting field. Short, sharp, edgy, confrontational, dangerous and funny videos to start or end the lesson. They don't need to be full of knowledge but they should want the student to look for it. And, thanks to O2 Learn, our little piece of "Heaven" can be shown in any classroom across the land."

And the 2012 O2 Learn award Finalists are...

We are very grateful to everyone for their brilliant contributions in 2012. We have so far received over 2,300 new lessons this year, taking the total number of lessons available to over 3,300 and making O2 Learnthe biggest resource of its kind in the world. Thank you all.

We are also very grateful to our judging panel who have been hard at work throughout the year and last week completed their penultimate task by selecting our 8 finalists for the 2012 02 Learn award.

Most importantly we send our warmest congratulations to our 8 excellent finalists and wish them all the very best of luck in the final. You can discover who they are and enjoy their lessons on the finalists page and make your opinion count by voting for your favourite. You can vote from 1am 5th December until midnight on 19th December.

And if you wondered what it means to the finalists, here are the marvellous thoughts of Mr.A, one of our finalists;

"We have always regarded our O2 video lessons as whole school initiatives and have kept the whole school informed every step of the way. The two RS videos have proved effective as lesson 'starters' but have also served to bring the staff, students and whole school community together. It was a moment of pride to be able to tell the staff that we were in the O2 final this week and it will be two weeks of excitement when we work with the students to maximise our vote with the school community.

The O2 video initiative connects powerfully with the school focus on student voice. Our Student Leaders are discussing 5 possible ways to allocate the £45 000 and, if we win, these choices will be put before the whole student body for democratic election. We are also rehearsing a choir and band who will be performing our song "Heaven" at special events over the 2 weeks of voting. This puts the students in the driving seat and allows them a political and economic challenge as well as a creative voice.

This is a great way to end the calender year. It is very exciting but it is, crucially, a legitimate way for staff and students to enjoy the challenge of independent learning."

So, get watching. Start voting, and we'll announce the winner at a gala awards ceremony on Friday 21st December.

Think Big School | 7th November 2012 | at Proud2 @ The O2.

Firstly, we'd like to invite you and your school (20-30 of your young people aged 14-16 years) to join Think Big School on 7th November at Proud2 @ the O2. Think Big School is all about educating young people on the importance of digital skills. This will be through a range of interactive sessions with some of the coolest names in the digital industry. These sessions will give the opportunity to interact with brand new technology and also enable your young people to create their own digital products.

The day itself runs from 10:00 till around 16:00 and is centred on skills such as creative thinking, paper prototyping, web design, graphic design, problem solving, team work and creative thinking. Young people will be encouraged beforehand to think of an idea, interest or problem and bring it to the event. We will then help turn this into their very own digital product! Pupils will also be interacting with some of the best digital businesses in the UK and will be able to ask questions about digital careers and skills.

The day is free to attend and travel cost assistance is offered. Please let us know if you would like to get involved - by emailing jack.tyler@o2.com

Think Big Tour 2012

To celebrate the passion shown by our young people we have four special gigs booked headlined by Rita Ora, Tinchy Stryder & Mystery Jets.

Over the four dates, we'll recognise all the young people involved in the Think Big programme, and the positive changes they are making to the areas where they live - breaking down social barriers and creating positive change.

The O2 Think Big Tour takes place in:

Liverpool - Friday, 2 November 2012

Top selling indie band Mystery Jets to perform alongside our O2 Think Big Band and five Think Big projects.

Get Tickets

Birmingham - Sunday, 4 November 2012

Top selling artists Rudimental and Noisettes to perform alongside our O2 Think Big Band and five Think Big projects.

Get Tickets

London - Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Worldwide selling artist Rita Ora perform alongside our O2 Think Big Band and five Think Big projects.

Get Tickets

All tickets are a £5* charitable donation back to Think Big (*plus £1.75 booking fee). If all the venues sell out, then we can create over another 100 Think Big projects!

The tour will be staged entirely by young people who have volunteered to take part - from production to performance all roles are filled by someone 25 or under. You can search for these roles here.

We hope to see some of you at these gigs.

- The O2 Learn Team

Be a VIP at Cirque Du Soleil
Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour

Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour - Cirque Du Soleil

To celebrate the start of a new school year and recognise the hardwork of your first half term, we're offering 4 of you the opportunity to be VIPs for the Cirque Du Soleil Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour show on Tuesday 16th October at the O2 Arena, London.

As well as the usual weekly winner awards, we'll award VIP access to 4 lucky people, picked at random, who upload a lesson between the start of term and Midday on Friday 5th October.

The winners will be invited to the show along with 2 friends, as VIP guests of O2 Learn and will enjoy all the perks of the VIP hospitality box, including free food and drink! Winners will also have up to £50 per person available for travel costs to the show. More details are available about the competition on our legal page.

A New App-roach to Learning

To make it even easier for students and teachers alike to get involved in O2learn, we've launched a free iPhone app.

The 'O2 Learn' App makes it easy to film, edit and upload lessons in minutes. You can create title-cards, crop and re-order film footage, and even add a voice over or soundtrack. Upload your film straight to the O2 Learn website or export to your camera roll. No need to waste time searching for the old school video camera and its missing charger!

We want students and teachers to use the app to create many new video lessons and look forward to your entries!

Download 'O2 Learn' from the iTunes store now!

o2 iPhone Appo2 iPhone App

Shortlisted: Nominet Internet Awards

nominet Internet Awards 2012 shortlisted

We've been shortlisted for the Nominet Trust Internet Awards 2012 which basically award best innovation in UK internet initiatives. We are shortlisted in the education category, for initiatives that are doing any of the following:

  • Enabling internet users to benefit from increased access to online materials, knowledge or information
  • Using the internet to provide access to education or information
  • Expressions of culture online, for example using the internet to share cultural artifacts
  • Delivering multilingual content to serve relevant communities

We'll be attending the awards dinner at the Saatchi Gallery on 5th July and hope to leave with one to put on the mantelpiece!

Not quite enough revision. Not quite the right revision mix.

We've recently been conducting some research into revision habits, combining three surveys of 2,400 teachers, students and teachers, along with desk research into revision best practice, memory and learning styles.

Some key findings are that:

  • Students generally are falling short of teachers recommended time spent on revision. The teachers surveyed, suggested starting on average six weeks in advance and studying on average 8 hours per week (7.7) totalling 46.2 hours. This is 7 hours more than is currently being achieved by students. In fact, 20% of students wait until 7 days before their exams to revise, with boys (23%) more likely than girls (17%) to leave it this late.
  • Parents play a far greater role in their children's revision today with well over three quarters of parents (86%) actively involved. This compares with more than half of adults (58%) who had no involvement at all from their parents in their revision. Thankfully this trend is supported by schools, as 64% of teachers said their schools offered revision support to parents.
  • However, you may not be surprised to discover that most teachers (54%) have not received any formal training in relation to how to support students with revision.
  • Young people are developing different learning styles from previous generations due to a greater use of technology (97% students will go online for their revision). Despite this, just one in three (32%) young people use online study guides and only one in ten (12%) are turning to online video to support their study. Although two thirds of students think that videos are a useful tool for revision because of the ability to control (61%) and repeat (56%) viewings, along with being able to see (59%) and hear (56%) things being explained.
  • Video resources, such as O2 Learn, that combine verbal and visual information could be ideally suited to young peoples' learning styles. Research suggests that multisensory learning brings particular advantages for memory.

If you would like to know more, you can download the full think piece here.

Double Award

The talented team at Southend High School for Girls led by Mrs Imbush have scooped the best lesson awards for two consecutive weeks with their lessons 'Wanna' make the graphs dance' and 'Have fun making an icosahedron'. The former being their third lesson upload of the year already. And I'm glad to say that we'll be receiving more as Mrs. Imbush has very generously donated her prize to the school to enable them to buy 15 iPads to be used in lessons to film key plenaries delivered by the students. Congratulations to the whole team at SHSG and a big high-five to the Mrs Imbush for her generosity and commitment.

Have fun making an icosahedron Wanna make the graphs dance?

Piano Prodigy wanted

Do you know a young piano prodigy? Or, are you a junior genius on the keyboard?

If so, we have the chance for you, or them, to shine. Upload a video of your/their keyboard wizardry and if you're / they're one of our best, and get the most votes, you'll / they'll play piano alongside classical maestro superstar, Lang Lang, at the O2 World Berlin. Infront of 10,000.

Our piano prodigy must be aged 7 - 14. Enter and gain as many votes as you can by 29 April 2012. Then, the best will be chosen by classical experts. One lucky British child will join 49 other kids from around the world, playing live with Lang Lang on 15 June.

Enter Now

Terry and his triangle

Terry Green is back, or more importantly Mr Shakespeare from Grace Academy Darlaston, explaining, in his own uniquely charming style, how to find out the area of a right angled triangle. Congratulations to Mr. S.

Finding the area of a right angled triangle

Lego crash test dummies

Congratulations to Mrs Kettle of Ercall Wood Technology College whose brilliantly original lego men lesson explains how crumple zones can reduce the force acting on a driver during collisions. Enjoy.

Crumple Zones and Momentum

Faster than the speed of light. Not quite.

Congratulations to Mr.Thomas of Burhnam Grammar School whose winning video shows how to measure acceleration using Pasco Light gates.

Measuring acceleration using Pasco Light Gates

A winner on wheels

Burnham Grammar School

As the nation prepares for success in the velodrome this summer, Mr Hudson of Burnham Grammar school, won gold in our Best Lesson award for the week commencing 6th February using his knowledge of the science of cycling. With the support from his stellar cast of talented students Mr Hudson produced a great video explaining why Sir Chris Hoy stays up on two wheels. Enjoy the lesson here.

Map reading to victory

We are happy to announce that Mr.Campbell of Lambrook School is the Best Lesson Award winner for the week commencing 13th February for his video explaining the nature of a river basin and the required map skills to navigate one. Mr Campbell has been very dedicated, producing a number video lessons and seizes every moment to capture engaging footage. He tells us that on family holidays, his children have been heard to cry "Daddy, not the camera AGAIN!". You can see the fruits of his labours here.

Life's a picture

After sending out our 'Jobs of a teacher' cartoon lots of you asked if we had anymore. We do. Enjoy them and drop us a line if you'd like a postcard version. How O2 Learn Works Undaunted teachers Wanted The jobs of a teacher. Undaunted teachers Wanted

How to use an apostrophe

It's a lesson that many of us need to a watch again. And again. The entertaining recap by 'Terry' on how to use the apostrophe was our best lesson winner for week commencing 20th February. Enjoy!

Congratulations to our first weekly winner

If you like board games then you're going to love our first Weekly Award winner of 2012. Mrs. Hudson of Dedworth Middle School produced this lovely animated lesson to help you understand probability so that you can enjoy better success with board games. And your exams!

We had a great afternoon at the school presenting the award to Mrs. Hudson and performing a live demonstration of probability incorporating all the pupils from the school during Assembly. Enjoy the lesson here.

Safer Internet Day

In support of Safer Internet Day we have partnered with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to put together some great lesson plans and supporting videos to help bring the subject to life. Check them out here.

It's nice to be recognised

We started the year by hosting a stand at the BETT show and taking part in a panel about mobile learning at the Learning without frontiers conference. It was great to meet up with old friends, make new ones and be inspired for developments to our project for the year ahead.

It was also great to receive a significant mention from the Secretary of State in his keynote speech at BETT where he referred to O2 Learn as a great example of technology disseminating great teaching. Thank you Mr Gove. We couldn't agree more.

New year. New tricks.

So in the dark months of winter we have been tweaking our website and competition in response to your feedback to make it better in 2012.

Some of the changes include:

  • A free mobile broadband starter pack for every teacher who uploads a lesson to O2 Learn to say thank you
  • Increased opportunity to win through a new Weekly Best Lesson Award of £1000 to the teacher and £1000 to their school department
  • 'Related lesson functionality' is now live to help you find the lessons that are most useful to you
  • A new 'recommended tweet' field on the video upload page so we can help promote your lesson through twitter if you wish.
  • An upgrade in performance on the iPad2

As always, we will continue to make improvements so please keep sending us your feedback. And keep your eyes peeled for our new iPhone app later in the year.