Not much ICT at the Education Show? Seek and ye shall find, says Sally McKeown
The investments made by ICT companies for their BETT Show apearances tend to lower the profile for technology at the Education Show at the NEC in Birmingham (March 15–17). But you have to know where to look.
And that's where Sal McKeown comes in, sifting through the contenders to come up with her Top 10 'don't miss' exhibitors (freebies too). Snip it into your digital pad or smartphone or simply print it out and fold it up old-style.
Classical Comics Limited
This company makes graphic novel adaptations of classic literature for education. Published with three text levels, and for some titles with animation and full audio, they help with differentiation. Macbeth Interactive Motion Comic has been selected as a finalist in BESA's Education Resources Awards 2012 for the Best Secondary Resource or Equipment – involving ICT
Clicker 6 is the new version of an old favourite (see "Clicker 6 rises to the challenge of the inclusive classroom"). It is easier to use and helps pupils be more independent. It has built-in support tools including speech feedback and word prediction. I saw the launch of this and teachers were very impressed. Well worth a look.
StoryPhones are one of my favourite products. A StoryPhone is an MP3 player in a very robust headset which can be used with children who are very young or who have special needs (see "The ultimate hands-free to get ahead – StoryPhones"). One school used them as part of their Every Child a Talker campaign to embed audio resources throughout the school both inside and outdoors. Now the children have easy access to audio resources everywhere they go.
Many parents of children with dyspraxia and dyslexia have been delighted with the results of this controversial programme which works with balancing exercises to stimulate the cerebellum. Now Bishop Douglass School in London and Springfields School in Calne, Wiltshire, have set up Dore rooms on their premises. Go and see for yourself.
ePace is an online learner profiling tool which checks a child’s strengths in 11 critical areas of learning including emotional control, decision making, focus, hand/eye co-ordination, mental speed, and impulsivity. Devised in conjunction with Professor Rod Nicolson at the University of Sheffield, it takes just 45 minutes to complete.
Frog is a popular, easy-to-use online learning platform can hold videos, photos, text, and school announcements. Now it's available for primary schools too. Blackheath Primary School in the West Midlands, which has been using Frog for six months, has a ‘Top Ten’ section where the top ten spellers and mental maths pupils are posted each week.
I Can Talk To…
This sounds so exciting. EMAS UK supports children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) and promotes the use of home languages too. They have been involved in development of a handheld speaking tablet. The teacher speaks in English and the clever technology will convert it to text, translate it and speak it out in any one of 26 different languages including Arabic, Russian and Czech. This will be so useful especially In schools which do not have access to team of translators.
This offers an online suite of services for children aged 5-13 which can be used at home, school or in the community. At the show they are promising teachers lots of freebies including T-shirts, and stickers. We know you all love freebies!
Oddizzi is a cross-curricular resource for early years foundation stage and key stage 1-2 pupils with an emphasis on geography. It has 500 pages with child-friendly content, an interactive map, a live news feed, thousands of images and videos and a sort of e-penpal service. Any school which signs up at the Education Show can choose an overseas school to receive a free subscription for a year.
Numbergym has resources from foundation to key stage 4. It won the Pirelli Award for the Communication of Mathematics, "for its ability to provide children, by means of interactive tools and games, with an informal and fun approach to the complex world of mathematics". I have been looking at this for children with dyscalculia.
The Big Bang Fair will be taking place alongside the Education Show at the NEC, Birmingham, and your Ed Show ticket should get you in OK. Agent4change.net will be dropping in to check out the science and technology, and to see education supplier Twig-IT and check how they get on at the Education Resources Awards (they are shortlisted).