So it was that time of year again. The annual trip to London to visit the BETT show. As I do every year I visit the show with a couple of different agendas – to meet up with colleagues on the various stands, to catch up with companies I’ve worked with in the past, and to see what’s new and exciting in the world of educational technology.
And like last year, the overall feeling was that not a lot was really new. More iPads, more big screens, cheap Chinese whiteboards and a lot of learning platforms. I loved the 3D printers, but they’re still a little pricey for me just yet! Quite a few things that had been launched at previous shows, were being relaunched at this one with new features, or were coming out of Beta. Both Smart and Promethean were showing off the updated versions of their cloud offerings – Smart Amp and Class Flow. Both look quite interesting. I’ve written bout them both before, so go read those posts if you want to find out more. I’ll write some update blog posts soon.
As an alternative whiteboard system, do also check out ProWise ProConnect. This is totally in the cloud and allows you to easily incorporate student iPads/tablets into the lesson. Again, read more in this blogpost.
Tute is an interesting learning platform that provides videoconferenced lessons in what they call a social education network. Schools can connect to teachers online who can deliver lessons to classes or small groups of children. This could make it cost-effective to run certain topic areas where it might be difficult or impractical to employ a full-time teacher. Lessons can be recorded for playback and review later.
Osmo is a really interesting add-on for the iPad that blurs the line between real world objects and the screen. Using the iPad camera, children can play three different games – they can move tiles to spell words, create tangrams to match those on the screen, or draw pictures to bounce balls around the screen. It’s definitely a novel way to use an iPad. Find out more at playosmo.com.
Sphero were demonstrating their bluetooth controllable balls for iOS and Android. They’re great fun and I highly recommend getting hold of one! Also of interest was My Romo, a robotic telepresence buggy that is controlled by inserting an iPod Touch/iPhone. Find out more at myromo.co.uk
I had a nice chat and a welcome coffee with the folks at Pearson, who had a much smaller stand this year and were focusing on talking to teachers rather than direct selling. It’s a good approach, often at BETT you feel that the sellers are telling schools what they should be doing rather than engaging in a dialogue. I did get a look at Activ Learn Primary which is Pearson’s online learning platform, as well as their Bug Club reading programme.
Discovery Education (formerly Espresso) were showing their new version of Discovery Secondary which is going to replace the Clipbank service. It has the existing content from Clipbank along with lots taken from the Discovery archive wrapped up in a much more usable interface. More info here.
There were a few other things that caught my eye, and I’ll save those for their own posts.