In the same way as most music sequencing software is for people who can already play music, most word processors are for those who can already read and write.
And while UK education has already produced a generation of worthy word processors, Write Online (£500 for a primary school first-year subscription), from Crick Software, has emerged as a world class word processor for learning. As the title suggests, you can use it online, like Google Docs, or even offline too. And the range of tools, for those learning to write for example, or who have difficulty with writing - like word prediction, Wordbar and speech - are simply unrivalled.
What also sets Write Online apart is that while it has fantastic facilities for learners and SEN, it also looks and feels like a modern, professional word processor. And that's exactly what it is - it has been used to produce copy for this website for example. What this means is that it can be used for all a school's writing needs, from those with learning difficulties to teachers.
Because it looks so professional there is no 'stigma' that it's 'special'. Users just turn on or off the facilities according to their needs. And because of Crick's incredibly clever technology it can be used anywhere - on any computer (Windows, Mac or Linux), at school or home, online or offline. These are the reasons why schools and colleges are now working with Crick to make it their word processor of choice for everyone in their community.
Another online word processor worth considering is j2e (just too easy - starting from £50 each for schools of less than 100 students) from the people who created Softease. It was the first one for education and now does a lot more, including creating web pages.
Creative work in English will also lead you to animation, where Kudlian's I Can Animate (now for Windows too, from £44.95) excels. Podcasting is great for language work for an audience and schools are gradually getting used to the technology. Podcaster from Kudlian and Podium from Softease (now subsumed into Lightbox) have definitely made this kind of digital broadcasting more accessible for teachers and learners. For primary there are also bespoke online serivices, very much like learning platforms, that support creative writing and creativity of all other sorts too. Honeycomb from Softease/Lightbox is particularly school friendly as is the delightful Edujam service (not at BETT).
Supporter2Reporter accommodates youngsters' love of sport to great effect
Leeds-based Radiowaves has a track record for innovation in schools broadcasting and is popular for that very reason. It has run a highly successful pilot for its S2R (Supporter2Reporter) national online sports channel where young people, working alongside professional journalists, file reports from local and national sporting events. While sharing and enjoying their passion for sports, learners gain literacy and journalism skills.
Ollie Bray, depute head teacher of Musselburgh High School in Scotland is an innovative teacher who is quick to pull students' interests into his teaching for better engagement and pleasure. He taps into their love of graphic novels and manga culture to enliven learning, and he is finding plenty of sources of help. See his Manga meets the bard in a comic life elsewhere on this site with its full contact list of suppliers, two of whom are at BETT (and check him out at the TeachMeet at BETT on Friday).
Both TAG and RM stock Comic Life (Tag Learning £11.99), the excellent software for creating your own comics and graphic novels. And RM also stocks Manga Shakespeare titles in a clever computerised graphic novel format that teachers and students can use Comic Life software to add speech balloons to (£99 per text). Elsewhere, Promethean also has a tie-up with Manga Shakespeare to produce free, downloadable material in its flipchart format. The combination of these materials and open-minded teachers makes for powerful learning.
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