John Galloway previews the BETT 2016 developments that have caught his interest

Bett, the biggest educational technology event on the planet, will once again be at London’s ExCeL exhibition centre (January 10-13) and there are plenty of reasons for those of us interested in inclusion to pay a visit. 

As well as showcasing the latest technological innovations, there are upgrades to well-established products we are already familiar with. 


Inclusive Technology announces an 'eyegaze' world first for SEN 

There may be a lot of hype about 'Big Data', but the first smart software for learners with complex needs has just been created from a UK publicly funded investment.

Insight, described as ‘the world’s first intelligent learning system’, comes from Inclusive Technology. It been developed from the extensive feedback provided by learners who use ‘eyegaze’ technology to control their computers. The project was funded by a grant from Innovate UK.

Sal McKeown meets a dyslexic educator with no time to waste – Sean Douglas

I have just come across a brilliant site for adults with dyslexia. A Google alert flagged up that a site called The Codpast was reviewing and giving away some copies of one of my favourite apps, ClaroSpeak Plus.

"Assistive technology is game changing," says the site's director Sean Douglas. "Speed is of the essence. I am a very fast touch typist and I don't want anything to hold me back." He set up The Codpast (Podcast for the non dyslexic among you), an online resource with videos, podcasts and articles for students and adults with dyslexia.


Evolution has brought true inclusion for 'Wordshark 5' users, writes John Galloway 
Wordshark has long been a perennial of the teacher’s toolbox for literacy. It has an enduring familiarity which sometimes brings pleasant surprises.

While Version 5 appears much the same as previous versions, the developers haven’t stopped building on its firm foundations to continue to create something even more useful. It is one of those programs that started out in quite a specialist SEN niche and has now grown into something much more inclusive.

The eyes have it as eyegaze tech picks up awards. Carol Allen and Ian Bean explain why it's so important
Popred: art by Sarah EzekielPopred'Popred': eyegaze art by Sarah EzekielFrom April 15 in Finchley, London, artist Sarah Ezekiel will hold another in her series of art exhibitions created on a computer controlled by her eyes. Sarah, who has motor neurone disease, uses an eyegaze system developed by Tobii to produce stunning images by controlling the art package by looking at the on-screen tools and menus.

Computers controlled with your eyes? Surely that’s science fiction, alongside hover-packs and teleportation? Yet it is here now and in classrooms, and homes, near you.