Derek RobertsonCharismatic: Derek Robertson

"Video games are now more popular than film, television or music. How will this affect the way people use media and expect to learn?” That’s the challenge that event organiser Graham Brown-Martin has placed at the heart of the inaugural Game Based Learning 2009 conference taking place at The Brewery, EC1 on March 19-20.

“We are just a few years from cinema-quality, thinking and speaking characters,” he adds. “And they will inhabit gaming devices less expensive than the current slew of netbooks that can barely run Windows Vista."

Sex education is always difficult to teach but it can be even more difficult when young adult learners are reliant on sign language, writes Sally McKeown. Shown for the first time at the BETT 2009 Fringe, at the Olympia Hilton Hotel, London, this year was the Signalong Sexual Awareness Resource Pack which contains cards with pictures for discussion and a signing handbook with diagrams and descriptions.

It also features British Sign Language signs and Widgit symbols to help learners to understand the text and concepts. It is a very brave attempt to address the issue in a straightforward way and the company warns that the materials contain sexually explicit drawings.

More information

Signalong Sexual Awareness Resource Pack
Price £180
www.signalong.org.uk

Steve ParrySteve Parry interviewed by R2SOlympic bronze swimmer Steve Parry's impression of Queen Elizabeth II's own impression of swimming the butterfly was an hilarious highlight of the BETT 2009 launch of Supporter2Reporter.

The perfect host, Steve Parry was joined by other Olympic athletes to lead learner activities at this innovative celebration of the achievements of this ambitious pilot project, staged at the FA offices in Soho, London. And the real stars of course were the students and their work.

The S2R pilot has already supported 140 students to create and broadcast multimedia coverage of sports events to broadcast on the internet with the Radiowaves online service. All kinds of athletes have been interviewed - from Rio Ferdinand to racing dogs! S2R will now be rolled out to more schools.

2Do It YourselfEvery year, educational software suppliers 2Simple surprise and delight classroom teachers and advisers at the BETT educational technology show with classic programs for the classroom and beyond. BETT 2009 is no exception as teachers welcome the newest hit from the 2Simple creative hothouse - 2D It Yourself.

It does what it says on the tin - supports teachers and pupils in creating engaging classroom materials at the simple click of a mouse. Anything from simple "dress Teddy" activities to animated computer games. The 2Simple team has worked hard to migrate all its products to the web. So whether a teacher needs software stored on a hard disc or the network, or that works in a browser, 2Simple can provide. As schools start to adopt vitural learning environments (VLEs), which favour software that works through a browser, this is a major achievement.

When teachers connect a visualiser to a projector they can share virtually any document or artefact with their learners - even across a video-conference, explains Dave Smith

Four years ago, while working as an ICT consultant at Engayne Primary School in Havering, I visited a Barking and Dagenham ICT test bed (enrichment) school with Engayne's headteacher, Suzanne Ship, to look at visualisers in action. The transformation in teaching and learning we witnessed resulted in a decision to install visualisers in every classroom at Engayne.