Saturday, 17 January 2009

BETT day 4 - Steven's Perspective

I may not be at BETT physically today, but my head is definitely still there. I am trying to assimilate all of the information picked up and networking contacts made. It was a very full on three days. More feedback will be given when I have had time to process my thoughts and re-read the information packs picked up and notes made over the week. I will however mention yesterday's main event;

Last night Katy and I attended an event called 'Teachmeet'. This was a gathering of over 200 people with an interest in technology in education, which took place after the main BETT exhibition had closed for the day.
Teachmeets operate under the 'unconference' principle. Those people who have something to share sign up to give a 7-minute 'micro-presentation' or 2 minute 'nano-presentation'. The order of speakers is selected live on the night at random and not everybody will get picked. Timings are very strict and the rules state that presentations need to be directly related to what is going on in classrooms, with no sales pitches or PowerPoint presentations allowed. Those running over time or breaking the rules are unceremoniously removed from the stage - in last night's case by the throwing of a toy camel...
There was a real buzz in the room during the 2 hour event with huge amounts of networking taking place. Not to mention extensive use of 'twitter' (at one point during the evening the event tag was the 4th most 'tweeted' word worldwide). The presentations varied from inspiring to dry - but this is all part of the uniqueness of the event and luckily not many fell in to the latter category. A number of people attended the event virtually, via flashmeeting, with one of the presentations delivered via this system live from the Isle of Islay in the Hebrides (who have their own unconference in June if you fancy a trip).

Highlights included:

Random name picker - as used for selecting teachmeet speakers, a fun way of selecting participants in your class for answering questions, doing jobs, sharing their work etc. A great feature is that you can choose to remove names from the list once they have been picked so that you don't get repetition.

Learning Event Generator
- An innovative way of setting learning challenges.

Zoomit - a free tool from Microsoft that lets you quickly and easily zoom into any area of your screen - great for highlighting or focusing on a particular area - for example a web address that you want people to navigate too. You can annotate on top too.

If you are interested in attending a Teachmeet, there will be one held in North-East London in a couple of months time, hosted by the Havering ICT team. More details to follow when we have them.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Friday - Day 3 of BETT 2009

Hello from Miss Potts and apologies for only blogging on day 3 of BETT. (Defeats the object of blogging but I really haven’t stopped ….learning!)
I spent Wednesday supporting the World Learning Forum at the show ( and I guided the Ministers for Education from Bahrain around the show. Interestingly their key focus was on Web2 and we spent a lot of time looking at the London MLE (Fronter). Jim Knight opened the show and spoke extensively about the government’s commitment to addressing the Digital Divide and building parental confidence.

On Thursday Steve and I visited the RM’s Future Learning space, a separate exhibition in Olympia 2 next door to the main hall. Steve as already written about the touchless motion-sensing technology, there was also exciting multi-sensory technology from the same supplier SpaceKraft

Also of interest was furniture from ISIS including a pod to create a big brother diary room in school and there was alos extensive 3D world technology.
The evening brought the BETT awards and we were delighted that 2Simple won ICT Company of the year.

Today (Friday) I met with several headteachers and ICT co-ordiantors as well as spending time with Liz Entwhistle from the eary years team. We worked through all the EY technologies and applications to bring you the essentials, which we think are:

Q and D multi-media software If you’ve not got BEEP BEEP from this award winner from 2008, then we highly recommend you do.

Espresso won BETT Award 2009 for Early years solution

Mantra lingua A high quality multimedia resource, which combines a real book and a record able pen. .

Story phones

BETT 2009 Day 2 - Steven's Perspective

Another full day at BETT. Morning was sepend looking into netbooks (currently trialling a few and will pos findings here soon) and laptop trolleys (a dull job but I think I now have my recommendations for schools in this area sorted in my head - again, more to follow).

Interactive whiteboards? What about interactive tables, floors...

Microsoft Surface in action

The thing that seems to be getting people's juices flowing this year is interactive surfaces. Many exhibitors are showcasing surfaces that can be interacted with - be it in the form of touchable tables or projections that you walk in front of or underneath to trigger the effects.
The tables create fantastic opportunities for collaborative work and interactive activities. It's all a bit blue-sky aspirational at the moment; this was the first public outing for most of these products and you are looking at upwards of £5000 to get your hands on one. But I don't think it will be long before this sort of technology tumbles in price and you start to find them in use in many schools, shops, doctor's waiting rooms, hotels, bars...

A floor projection - move over it to control the game. I even played football on it!

Our new LGfL consultant, Helen, trying outher fingerpainting on Smart's new interactive table.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

BETT 2009 Day one - Steven's Perspective

Yesterday was the the first day of BETT ( - the world'g biggest education technology tradeshow. Katy and I am here to find out about all the latest developments in ICT and share that information with you. This post would have come yesterday but for an unfortunate incident involving an overexcited ICT consultant, a cup of tea and a laptop...

Trying to be methodical on the first day at BETT, I stuck mainly to the first floor. I was particularly looking at datalogging, as I have had a number of recent requests for advice in this area. As you will see from the first post below, I have come to a recommendation.

TTS Logbox

Lots of you have been asking for advice on which dataloggers to purchase for your school. Having looked at what is on offer here at BETT and others that schools have been working with, as well as discussing the issue with consultants from other LAs, I would recommend particularly the TTS Logbox ( The main reason for this is the pricing - at £79.99 they are about half the price of the most popular competitors' products on the market. Despite the price, they have all the functionality and of the others and very good build quality. With rubberised edges they should stand up to classroom use and even a few knocks. The logbox has built in sound, light and temperature sensors, and an external temperature probe. It also comes with easy to use and very Primary-friendly software. Additional sensors such as heart rate are available separately.

TEEM software evaluations

Teem is an independent organisation whose mission it is to evaluate educational software to help you be more informed in your purchases and make the right choices. Software is evaluated by teachers for teachers with useful comments about how easy it is to use, the quality of the content, ways that in can be used in the classroom and how well children engaged with it. As well as software packages an increasing number of web-based resouces (both paid and free) are evaluated. If you are considering a software purchase it's well worth having a look at this site (and of course consulting with your ICT HOS consultant!) before you splash the cash.

2Do It Yourself

"Create your own interactive Flash resources, activities, games, puzzles, quizzes. With this software teachers and primary school children can create cross-curricular, personalised resources and use them on whiteboards, websites and even on Learning Platforms. There are plenty of opportunities for meaningful learning as children plan, design, create, publish and play."

I can't enthuse enough about this latest piece of sotware from 2simple. In fact, I won't write about it in detail today or I will not stop and there's a lot more I need to look at here at BETT. I will post more about it soon when I have time to collect my thoughts and will publish some activities I have created with it.

If you are at BETT this week, go and see 2simple on stand F59, ask for a demonstration and tell them that I sent you...

I'll leave you with a quote from my counterpart in Hackney, Carole Newton, who I sat next to when we were first introduced to this program and is much more coherent than I...
"I believe this software will revolutionize teaching and learning. It puts the focus back on the learners generating andself differentiating their learning and allows teachers to rediscover their creative juices."

Anyway, that's some of the highlights from day one - do look out for them if you visit. Today I will be attempting to takle some of the ground floor of the exhibition! Don't forget to give us a call if you visit and we can meet up to share what we have seen. Just don't come near me with a cup of tea if I have my laptop out...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Welcome to our new blog.

Welcome to the new blog from the Islington Primary ICT hands-on support team.
We will be using the blog to let you know about all the exciting developments in ICT and things that we find useful and would like to share. This will be tested to the full next week when we blog live from the BETT Show - the world's biggest education technology tradeshow, 14th-17th Jan. If you haven't booked your place yet then do so free here: