OK sorry for the headline. I was just curious what a bit of Upworthy-style hyperbole would do. The original title for this piece is :

BETT 2014 Roundup pt 5: Other Things that Caught My Eye

Less catchy eh?

So this was the second BETT Show after the move to Excel from Olympia. There’s a lot to like about the new venue. Selfishly for me it’s a great deal easier to get to from where I live. I also like the large central space with all the coffee shops and seats – it provides a nice area to escape the crush of the hall and a better focal point to meet up with friends and colleagues. But I still found I got lost easier than I did at Olympia – I missed the upper level gallery that gave me a lookout spot to find stands I’d previously missed.

I was also surprised by the huge area devoted to the Department of Trade and Industry. I know selling is a major part of the show, but it was a massive area that seemed to be quite empty. I wonder if it was partly so big to mask the fact that a lot of companies  were no longer appearing at the BETT show – there was no Serif, Apple, Collins, Uniservity for example. I’m guessing for some the cost of appearing at BETT is just too high, and the money can be better spent in more direct contact with their customers.

The show itself was full of the usual; lots of interactive screens, tablet computers and visualisers. None of these had moved on much in the last year – all were bigger, brighter, shinier. I was rather pleased to see the almost total absence of 3D projectors – a technology that I think is unnecessary and unwieldy in a regular classroom. I thought they had gone completely but then I found one stall near the back of the hall that was still trying to sell theirs.

There were a few stands with 3D printers, which look great. I would seriously love to get my hands on a MakerBot, for example. Price-wise they’re still a little high but I have no doubt the price will drop over the next 18 months

Maker Bot

So here are a few things from BETT 2014 that caught my eye, and are worth checking out:

DisplayNote

DisplayNote allows teachers to present wirelessly with an iPad or Android and mirror their screen to every student’s device, whether that’s an iPad, chromebook or laptop. Students can view and capture slides on their device and collaborate with each other in real-time.

It looks quite interesting, and I’ll try and write more for the blog about it in the future. Find out more at displaynote.com

LearnPad

While the iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, there are other players out there. LearnPad is an android-powered set of tablets which would definitely be worth a look as a cheaper iPad alternative.

LearnPad has been designed with schools in mind and as such comes complete with access to the LearnPad management portal, a cloud based solution for managing devices and deploying content and applications. Find out more at www.edresources.com

Happy Numbers

HappyNumbers is an interesting suite of tools that helps teach mathematics to KS1/2 children. The games are designed to work on an iPad as well as on the class IWB. You can sign up for a free trial of the beta version at happynumbers.com

Bett 2014

Little Bridge

Little Bridge is a fun virtual world for learning English where kids of all ages can play games and join a safe, moderated global community of young learners of English. Graphically, it looks great. it does use Flash, so won’t work on iPads without using special apps. See more at www.littlebridge.com

Word Wall

WordWall is an activity maker which makes teacher-led activities for use on large classroom screens. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple projector or a big touch screen, just so long as your audience can all see the screen. It’s not designed to be presentation software – you’d still need something like PowerPoint to do the “presentation” part of a lesson, then fire up a WordWall activity for the children to use.

Students can interact via the WordWall clickers and also on any other classroom devices using the RespondAnywhere software. RespondAnywhere allows schools to run the Wordwall audience response app on any HTML5 compatible device, includes Windows, Macs, Linux, iOS and Android. Find out more at getwordwall.com

GCSE Pod

Written by teachers, GCSEPod has over 400 podcasts expertly created for effective GCSE learning and revision. GCSEPod is an accessible and affordable learning product, written by teachers, for use by Years 9, 10 and 11 on computers, iPods and Mobile Phones, anytime, anywhere, all year round.

It’s an interesting approach to revision. Find out more at www.gcsepod.co.uk

MySchoolApp

MySchoolApp aims to supplement some of the features provided by the old school website by creating schools with their very own App. The app removes the need for parents to have to visit the school website to get information, it delivers content directly to their phones instead. It’s an interesting idea, which reflects the shift in how all of us are using our phones and the internet these days.

You can find out more at myschoolapp.co.uk

And that’s it. Don’t forget to also check out my write ups of Smart Amp, Promethean ClassFlow and Coding/Computing support from earlier this week.

So that’s BETT done for another year. Let’s see what’s new in 2015!