The BETT Show in London has been on the go for over 30 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how many people make the journey to see what is new in the world of ICT and education. This year there seemed to be an increased Irish presence with the announcement of funding for ICT in schools. This year’s show was notable in that it had some very interesting speakers, such as Sir Ken Robinson among others, and it had a wide variety of exhibitions for educators to engage in.
So here are a few things that caught my imagination
Coding was huge at the show and there was an amazing selection of resources and tools to help young people to code. The one that caught my attention was a small Polish company who have created Scottie Go to help children, as young as 6, to code. There are over a hundred challenging tasks for children and adults to solve.
So children create a jigsaw using the tiles provided, then using the App on their phone or tablet, they take a picture of their solution and then they see if Scottie has moved. It is very tactile and easy but from speaking to those on the stand it can become quite complex.
What is interesting is how they combine the tactile approach of using jigsaw pieces and the App to bring it to live on screen. It would be good to see it being used in a classroom to learn how teachers and students find it.
There were many companies showcasing how they are customising Office 365 for education and one in particular stood out, LP+365.
They have developed an App for students in Wales who have now can access Office 365 in a very easy way and integrated way on all their devices. Imagine if something like this was available for your school?
The new Chrome Books were very popular at BETT this year. They now have access to Android Apps and this makes them very appealing to schools. They also have touch screen functionality and they have a very nice stylus, so this is a real option for schools going forward.
Virtual reality was everywhere at BETT and the Avantis stand in particular was very popular. They launched a set of 8 headsets for around two and half thousand pounds at BETT – very nice but still early days. They allow learners to engage with digital content that is streamed to the headsets via your browser. At the opposite end of the scale was VR Math from Hungary, who are still developing their free 3D app. The App will be free, when it is available, so go to the Web and register and try it out as it works with any phone and 3D headsets.
For more BETT highlights see The best of Bett 2017