This year the BETT show seemed to be stacked full of new producers of interactive LCD screens, with some new models also available from manufacturers you will be more familiar with, such as Smart, Sahara and Promethean, however there was a lot of other interest if you looked hard enough. A short review of some of the things I came across are below. Please bear in mind this is the first time we have come across some of these suppliers and haven’t trialled all products and services yet.
Chargebus – this company supply a universal 5V USB compatible device at the same rate as factory supplied mains chargers. They also offer products which will both sync and charge apple devices (including iOS7). These devices will enable schools to retro fit some existing secure cabinets, offering a much cheaper way of moving towards tablet based learning. Please contact email@example.com for more details, or ask your engineer to source a quote on your behalf.
Lego education – lego have been in the education sector for a long time, with products such as mindstorm and “WeDo” program with a simple drag,drop and rotate programming interface for students. This year we saw the StoryStarter set, which is nice, simple, easy to use story building software, for use both on windows based devices, and tablet iOS version. The starter set seems to offer schools a great introduction to this from under £200 with many optional add-ons, including training.
Gazoob – Gazoob have many e-books available on all platforms, iOS, Windows Store (should be ok for RT as it is in the store, but not checked yet) and the Google Play store. The books available are suitable for many age ranges, and include the ever popular Biff and Chip series. A link to more information can be found here: http://www.gazoob.com/gazoob-products.html
Makerbot – Makerbot have a great range of desktop, affordable, sleek 3D replicators. They also have a new 3D scanner, enabling replication of many different size/shaped objects in a classroom environment. These devices seemed very easy to use, and let you create a wide range of fun shapes and objects with very little learning involved to get used to the software. They are encased but have a fish tank feel to them, with students able to watch the objects being created in front of their eyes! More details can be found here: http://www.makerbot.com/
ComicLife – this has been around for a number of years now, but this year a new version is offered, and is available on iOs mobile devices. Volume purchasing is also available for a larger number of iPads too. There is a free trial available of this storyboarding software, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Aircatch – This software and application offers a way of saving documents and photos from apple mobile devices to the windows server inside your school, without the need for using services such as dropbox etc. This is priced per students in school rather than per devices, and more information can be found here: http://www.aircatch.co.uk/
Replay Education – This Company offers events for students, using technology from the 80’s to illustrate basic coding and integrates with the 2014 computing curriculum. They are based in Brighouse, and can be contact at email@example.com I had great fun playing with an old BBC computer they had setup at their stand!
ClassFlow – This is a new collaborative lesson tool, offered free by Promethean, which was demonstrated at their stand by Ron Clark. This is still in BETA mode, but looks very promising for the future, especially if it remains free!
Surface Tab 2 – These were on the Microsoft stand, and looked very promising for schools, although a tad expensive! For more details on these contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Stone Tab1 – These new windows 8 tablets looked promising, offering a full fat version of windows 8, with the ability to boot from a network adaptor. This may not seem that important to pupils, but will make centralised management of these devices inside your school network, with children able to use conventional software and logon with the same username as in the ICT suite.
There were many other vendors and products there, but to get the best out of the BETT show you really have to come along yourself! Keep your eyes peeled for next year’s trip, and ask your engineer for more details on the above products and the BETT 2015 exhibition!
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