Will Casio render projector bulbs obsolete? Chris Drage is impressed by progress
Casio XJ-A135Casio XJ-A135 bulbless projectorEarly LED-based projectors were disappointing. Most were small and portable but, with low luminosity (around 10 lumens), they were only useful in darkened rooms. Even the best struggled to achieve 50 to 160 lumens, suffered from poor image quality and were not easily portable due to external power supplies. Enter a new generation of Casio projectors.

The new Casio XJ-A135 is light and portable, can run presentations and movies from a USB stick and delivers sufficient brightness (2,000 lumens) for classrooms. And it dispenses with the need for bulbs, the single biggest maintenance cost of projectors. And its LED projector chip has a claimed working life of some 20,000 hours – that's equivalent to 15 years!

Chris Drage gets tactile with new software for the SMART Table
ReacTicklesReacTickles: on its way for SMART TableFor many children with severe learning difficulties, opportunities to feel immersed in the flow of interaction can be few and far between: the need to develop skills and improve performance has been given more priority in teaching and learning in recent years over simple, creative and playful activities.

In 2005 a project called Reactive Colours, led by Wendy Keay-Bright, reader in inclusive design at Cardiff School of Art and Design, conducted two years of research which led to ReacTickles, software that has proved equally engaging for early learners as for the original research group, children with autistic spectrum conditions. Now it has been taken a stage further and is being made available for the SMART Table.

Chris Drage welcomes a harmonious approach to multimedia lesson planning

The Learning ScoreThe Learning Score: easy-to-use timelineAbout five years ago, an ICT-fluent teaching assistant I worked with came up with an innovative 'scheme of work come planning document' for science – digital rather than on paper, with hyperlinks to the resources. So teachers could share objectives with learners and link straight to resources and activities – ideal for introductory lessons and whole-class activities via her whiteboard.

Lauded as a brilliant and forward-looking, it was never pursued due to the pressures of time, conservatism (small ‘c’) and school resources. A shame. In fact I'd never seen another interactive planning tool with such potential until I came across John Davitt's The Learning Score, which brings the whole concept bang up to date.

Chris Drage finds his way around with the Satmap Active 10 Plus GPS Receiver

Satmap Active 10 Plus GPS ReceiverWhen deciding on which GPS receiver to purchase for education use I looked at a range of products which, although seemingly offering price advantages and esoteric features, did not represent the best practical features overall. Then I discovered the Satmap Active 10 Plus (£310 from www.outdoorworld.co.uk).

This is a complete GPS bundle that gives you the hardware, software and route-planning facilities, purpose-built for the great outdoors. What’s more it’s made by a small British company who work with search-and-rescue groups around the country and have a keen understanding of what is required to successfully navigate off-road in British weather conditions!

By Hugh John
Yamaha M7CL digital mixing consoleFurther education colleges offering courses that cover the technical aspects of live music and theatre sound production want their students to gain experience of 'real world' gear – the sort of industry-standard studio equipment which they will encounter once they complete their studies and, hopefully, find work in commercial studios and theatres. That's why Kendal College has recently invested in a Yamaha M7CL digital mixing console (left).

Kendal College has gained an enviable reputation for fostering performing arts. The college's Music, Technical Theatre and Performing Arts programmes work closely together to provide resources for students wanting to pursue careers either on stage or in technical support roles. Music and drama theory is combined with production work in real venues.