Sunday, 29 January 2012

BETT 2012

BETT 2012, London Olympia

Recently spent a couple of days up at the BETT Show 2012 in London. We had a focus this year of looking for some new foundation phase and KS2 ICT software tools. Our current authority wide managed ICT service is ready for its next upgrade (every 3 years) and we are moving OS up to Windows 7. Unfortunately most of the software currently running on the system will not work on this upgrade. Over the past couple of years we have been looking to move as much software as we can to being web based. Recently 2Simple's PurpleMash was purchased for a year for all our primary schools. We like this product but BETT was also a time to see offerings from other providers. The offerings from Just2Easy caught our eye. JiT for foundation phase seems to be something that might fill a gap in the loss of Numbers Words and Pictures 2 and J2E filling in the Blackcat Supertools gap at KS2. What really interested us though was the ability for pupils to publish their work to the web. When talking to teachers I always talk about publishing children's work. What happens to these wonderful digital resources that children have created? Do they just sit on the network drives in school, or do you celebrate their work, give it value and show the rest of the world? A purpose for doing the work. We also liked the feature of pupils or teachers being able to comment on the piece of work - what they like about it or how it could be improved (peer assessment). Next step is to spend a bit of time trying it out in the office.

Google Stand - First Appearance at BETT?

I've been going to BETT for about the last 10 years or so now and this was the first year that Google was there. Quite a large stand and always swamped with people. Loved the new Google Chromebooks and would really like to get my hands on one. Boots up in 8 seconds, and just runs Chrome web browser.

A Pano of the Microsoft Presentation Area

Spent a little time on the Microsoft stand and we're very interested in looking at the new Learning Suite offering. In fact we have already had the Learning Suite installed on a Windows 7 machine in the office to try out some of the tools included in the suite. Very interested in Kodu, reminds me very much of Magic Forest (remember that software?) but now in a 3D environment. Plug a xBox controller into your PC and build your 3D world and program your characters interactions. Also quite like Songsmith. It's not Apple's Garageband but it's a simple way for both the musically talented and untalented to produce a quality piece of music.

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