Chris Drage introduces a new world with digital dimensions
screen wikimedia geographyThese days most people navigate between A and B using Google Maps or, if the journey is by road, an in-car satellite navigation system. As soon as you step off the beaten path however, you quickly discover the limitations of both, especially if you ‘zoom-in’ anywhere other than one of the main urban centres.

So it begs the question of why bother with digital maps when the paper versions, with their wealth of information on footpaths, bridle paths and the topology of a region, provided by Ordnance Survey, has served us so well for more than a century?

Intel ReaderIntel Reader: raises standardBy John Galloway
I had been looking forward to reviewing the Intel Reader since I saw it at a recent conference in Chicago and was impressed by its capabilities. It has not disappointed.

The technology to convert a photo of a piece of writing into spoken language has been with us for a while – optical character recognition of scanned pages for instance. And applications have been developed for high-specification mobile phones. All have been impressive, but the key to success is accuracy: you do not want problems if you need to rely on such resources, particularly for critical things like emergency notices. That level of reliability has yet to be reached, but the Intel Reader gets tantalisingly close.

John Galloway shares some of the secrets of the BETT Awards judging rooms
Once a year a group of education experts meet in a non-descript, red-brick, office block in the Midlands to deliberate on the myriad entries to the annual BETT Awards – and one of the most fundamental questions: "Is it accessible?"

Screen RafikiShortlisted: RafikiPassing through not one, but two doors marked "Authorised Personnel Only", the team enter a room where the daylight that filters through slits in the blinds is lost among the ranks of shelves and benches that create narrow fissures in the gloom. Only after non-disclosure agreements are signed does briefing begin with a reminder to: "Never talk about products outside of this room. Even within Becta."

Intel Reader UserUsing the Intel Reader: 'wow factor'By John Galloway
One of the pleasures of the BETT educational technology show is finding something that gives you a bit of a "wow". Something innovative and new that pushes the boundaries of how we can work with technology, particularly for pupils with special educational needs. Below are some ideas for where to start looking.

Although some don't carry a specific SEN label, they will all improve learning opportunities for pupils with many needs and of varying abilities - more evidence that good software is designed inclusively. One or two of the following were at Bett last year, others are upgrades or add-ons, but if you haven't seen them before, all are worth tracking down.

Scottish students use MathleticsScottish students using Mathletics: 'fun and engaging'

Chris Drage finds BETT digital delights that harness creativity to engage pupils
With teachers juggling to balance creativity with SATs results and league tables, it’s refreshing to see the software industry continuing to develop stimulating and high-quality resources to help learners acquire mathematical concepts, skills and knowledge.

2Simple’s Maths City 1 and 2Mathletics from 3P Learning, I am Learning and the yet to be launched SMART Notebook Maths Tools are just four of the ‘stars’ from this year’s crop.

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