'Story Stage' intrigues Chris Drage with its creativity, elan and innovative multi-mouse collaboration
Story Stage 1'Story Stage': a delightful interactive series of nursery talesStory Stage is a series of puppet-based literacy resources encouraging groups or pairs of children to work together around a computer to create their own imaginative retelling of traditional stories.

As a teacher, few software titles from large, established book publishers enthuse me. Most tend to be electronic text books with limited opportunities for any creative interaction by the student other than via assessments, quizzes and interactive demonstrations. However, with Story Stage I have had to eat those words.

Chris Drage finds Android coming of age for schools with the Asus Eee Transformer
Asus Eee TransformerAsus Eee Transformer: threat to PC netbooks?Although the iPad-led tablet revolution has seen unprecedented developments, the problem for schools has been whether to purchase these devices for discrete and specific applications or wait to see what else will emerge as the market develops. Like a device with a detachable keyboard that will extend the tablet to netbook functionality and give better total cost of ownership.

The Asus Eee Transformer does this, and more, and stands out as one of a number of new tablet devices that could ensure that the Windows netbook's days are numbered.

Seeking a substitute for the popular Flip, Dominic Norrish checks out the Samsung HMX-W200
Samsung HMX-W200Samsung HMX-W200Over the last three or four years, in schools up and down the country, the dinky and memorably-named Flip camera has emerged as the de facto approach to providing pupils with a simple video and photography device.

Child’s play to use with its minimal buttons and pop-out USB connector to plug straight into a PC, classrooms saw the benefits of the shift in learning outcomes such a device affords. It was cheap too, with various flavours available for less than £100, putting a half-class set within reach of schools. Sadly, this great little product has been discontinued. Is there a natural successor or will smartphones fill the gap?

Chris Drage Promethean ActivSound ONE
ActivSound mikesLong gone are the days when children were expected to be seen but not heard. In today’s busy classrooms learning is hardly a silent process. But without reasonable classroom acoustics there can be a decline in student attention, behaviour, speech perception and comprehension.

That's why more and more schools are 'miking up' their teachers and using professional amplification systems. Promethean’s ActivSound system narrows the gap between student and teacher by removing barriers caused by ambient sound, noise and distance.

Hugh John gets animated about the capabilities of CrazyTalk Animator Pro
CrazyTalk Animator logoThe successor to one of the most innovative animation programs of the past few years, CrazyTalk Animator Pro enables users to create an altogether more sophisticated animation experience than its predecessor, CrazyTalk.

While education creatives such as Jonathan Boyle (anyone see the talking Scouse Dalmation?) were able to do some great things with the original CrazyTalk program, it was limited to facial animation. Crazy Talk Animator (CTA) extends those capabilities, making it possible to animate both face and body, and a whole lot more. (Give-away complete, winners below.)