Sal McKeown uses insights from her new book for an inclusive 'brilliant ICT ideas" tour of BETT
Brilliant Ideas coverNeed a brilliant idea for using technology in 2012? Then come to the "Brilliant Ideas to use ICT in the inclusive classroom" seminar on the first day of BETT 2012. Angie McGlashon and I will be presenting at 1.30pm on January 11 in the SEN Theatre, in the West Hall.

This is the first of a series of events to support our new book, Brilliant Ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom, just published by David Fulton/nasen. And you can download our BETT tour for free.

Angie and I have spent quite a lot of our working lives showing people what you can do with ICT to make learning more fun and more accessible to pupils who need extra help. We have run courses for teachers and teaching assistants, the confident and the beginner, the young and the more mature. But we know that despite all the government interventions over the years there are still too many teacher who don't see the point.

They are the ones who use an interactive whiteboards as a plain old whiteboard or come out with a host of arguments about why they would never use mobiles or iPods in their classroom.

Brilliant Ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom has 50 case studies and 20 "how to" sheets, a foreword by Ray Barker, director at BESA, and an afterword by Lorraine Petersen, CEO of nasen. The purpose of the book is to help teachers and LSAs (learning support assistants) make more creative use of technology in their day-to-day work. We didn't want to write a book which was just based on our experiences so we set out to find good practitioners who were doing interesting things with technology – from iPads to Nintendos and animations to podcasts.

Ever used karaoke for speech therapy? Or comics for deeper understanding?

Karaoke is a great alternative to endless speech therapy exercises while animations and comic-book software help children reach deeper levels of understanding. Teachers such as Dawn Hallybone have made gaming a respectable classroom tool while other pioneers such as Sean O'Sullivan have shown how digital animation and podcasting are more than just a gimmick when they are used with children with profound disabilities.

But none of this would have been possible without the technology and the efforts of software and hardware companies to make good products which work in the classroom and make life easier for both staff and pupils. Many of them try to make their products as attractive and accessible as possible. Think of Kudlian, Crick, Rising Stars and 2Simple – all companies which devote a lot of time to working with teachers to make sure that their software brings an added extra to classroom teaching.

Many of these companies are at BETT this year and we have prepared a Brilliant Ideas trail to help you find out what is going on in the classroom and meet the people who sell the products. You can download it for free here. See you at BETT!

More information

Brilliant Ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom by Sal McKeown and Angie McGlashon, published by David Fulton/nasen, is available from Amazon

BETT logoSal McKeown and Angie McGlashon will be presenting their seminar "Brilliant ideas to use ICT in the inclusive classroom" at 1.30pm on Wednesday  January11 in the SEN Theatre, in the West Hall at Olympia, London.


Sally McKeownSally McKeown is a freelance writer and is an expert in special needs and inclusion

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