Saturday, 16 January 2010

BETT 2010

I have just got back from the BETT 2010 and what I have been most impressed with is the 3D projection technology. One of the set ups was a rear projection screen demonstrated by 3Ducation, the start of the demonstration was shocking to at least two of the five people there, but having watched Avatar in the last few weeks I was expecting something similar to happen. I was attacked pretty viciously by a wasp ;-) however after the 3D for effect display we were treated to a virtual field trip to the International Space Station and that was really something to see. One company at least is using this technology to train mechanics and they wear touch sensitive gloves and are able to strip down and rebuild a motorbike. For lots more information and techie stuff visit Arrange a trip to their demonstration room to see what it is all about in far more detail. One of the wonderful things about 3D visualisation is that all pupils see the same image, if I see a brain and travel through it layer by layer, so does every other person in the room. A second demonstration was very similar, just as entertaining and educational. The front projectors I saw last year but the ones I saw this year do seem to have improved making them a viable teaching tool.

I spent a fair amount of time in the “Future Learning Spaces” area developed by RM. They have new resources, extra to what they already show at their REAL Centre the most impressive being the Immersion Room, if that is what they call the finished version. The area has four or more projectors projecting, in this instance, a seascape. We had stingrays, starfish and crabs swimming around in the floor area, and they reacted to touch, as one tried to step on them they swam away rapidly. Sharks, pretty fish and a killer whale swam around the wall, there were many other effects, it was wonderful and I can imagine it working for writing, music or art inspitation, to stimulate pupils with Special Needs and probably lots more motivating ideas but I have not really had time to even think about it yet. If a school buys it apparently the manager is trained to make the scenes so it can be used to the extent of the schools’ collective imagination.

I went to look at new e-safety resources and found a fair few. One that I have already worked through and can recommend, at no cost, is the ICTcpd4free, anyone who is not already a Naace member has to register to do the course but it is well worth doing. It is aimed at UK schools but the lessons learned are for all. Best of all of course is the fact that it is free and that one access it at any time and work through at one’s own speed.
I have more e-safety software to evaluate over the next few weeks.

Anyone who is used to thinking about ICT with the Early Years will already know of talking tins and electronic photo albums. Talking tins, developed initially for use by blind people, are small plastic cylinders that have built in ten second voice recorders and sit in the top of tins of food in the supermarket to tell the buyer what is in the tin. Used by the very young they make lovely, fun tools to record children’s voices to add to displays etc. They have been so successful that the company who make them have done a whole set with all of the sounds recorded in them, they go with a software which is used to develop early speech, reading and spelling. For information visit Making Phonics Fun at where you can also see the new Talking Photograph Album. This now has a 100 minute capacity and the voice recordings are stored on the removable SD Card which allows one to save and transfer recordings from the Album to computer, or visa versa, record sound files from the computer to the Album.

New Software at BETT 2010-01-16
Almost the first thing I spotted was the new version of 2Create a Story which is one of my all time favourites for little ones. Now it is 2Create a SuperStory. It has loads of extra added functionality – each part can be animated instead of one animation per page. There is already a super log about this program
What I like very much is that the pupils' stories can be saved as flash files then uploaded to the Learning Platform to share with parents and each other. Another superb work of art from 2Simple :-)  I usually get the first new software copies as they are posted with my name on but I picked this one up with a colleague who has two young children so lost it immediately!

There is more.... later :-)

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