Stephen Heppell Awardl-r John Bishop, Stephen Heppell, Dominic SavageProfessor Stephen Heppell was given a standing ovation when he took to the stage to pick up his Outstanding Achievement award at the annual glittering BETT awards dinner held in London’s Park Lane.

Presenting him with his award, Dominic Savage, director general of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), paid tribute to Professor Heppell's enormous contribution to learning and ICT, helping to shape current government policy through his involvement in the Stevenson Report. (Our picture shows, from left to right, comedian John Bishop, Stephen Heppell and Dominic Savage.)

The winners of the prestigious 11th annual BETT Awards 2009 were announced on the second day of BETT 2009 (Thursday January 15), the world’s largest technology in education show, at a gala dinner held at London's Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.

Organised and managed by Emap, Becta and BESA, the awards recognise, reward and celebrate excellence in ICT within the education sector. Entries are judged by more than 50 education professionals

“As BETT has become the international showcase for what the UK can offer the world in educational ICT, it is important to recognise the value of the BETT Awards as a robust, criteria-led, quality mechanism for promoting the best technological solutions that really work in classrooms," said Ray Barker, director of BESA. "The BETT Awards is now the standard by which the UK and international education industry can recognise and reward valuable and innovative resources.”

A number of new categories were introduced for 2009, including E-safety, ICT Company of the Year, ICT Exporter of the Year, ICT Education Partnership and Outstanding Achievement in Education. With nearly 30 years of championing ICT for learning behind him, Stephen Heppell’s Outstanding Achievement award was warmly greeted by the awards audience (full judges' comments below). He sets a daunting benchmark for future years.

Commenting on the new E-safety category, won by Childnet International for Know IT All for Parents, Stephen Lucey, executive director for strategic technologies at Becta said: “Safeguarding children and young people in both the real and virtual world is everyone's responsibility, relying solely on technological solutions is not enough. This category is designed to encourage products and services which help to educate learners, parents and practitioners about e-safety issues and support learning and teaching practice.” However, the wording of the categories clearly needs re-alignment to plain English if they are to avoid ridicule at the hands of BETT awards presenters. Comedian John Bishop's delivery was perfectly pitched for his audience - and extremely funny - but even he could not resist the odd jibe. And who could blame him?

Winners of the 11th annual BETT Awards

Early Years Solutions
Espresso Education for Espresso Early Years Service?
Judges’ comments: "It has good production quality and a vast range of age appropriate resources and activities for Foundation 1 and 2. It is easy to navigate and intuitive for teacher and learner. The judges really liked the fact that the resource is continually developing and has a clear focus on contemporary and global features, for example, the weekly news bulletin and the helpful link to the websites. Judges liked the range of visual stimulus including photos, artwork and video as well as excellent audio quality. It offers good opportunities for both teacher-led and personalised learning. The curricular links to the early learning goals are clear and offer a time-saving feature that is critical in any good classroom resource. The community feature offers good potential for supportive networking."

Primary Digital Content
3P Learning for Mathletics
Judges’ comments: "The live world-wide competition element was viewed as being extremely motivating. There is a huge variety of routes to learning: students can learn, generalise and consolidate in their own way with learning tracked for the teacher to follow. Reinforcement and support was excellent throughout, and judges particularly liked the animated dictionary. Printed awards are very useful for motivation. Games elements in the activities are motivating and engaging, particularly for those who may feel threatened by maths."

Secondary Digital Content
CTVC for TrueTube
Judges’ comments: "It is very engaging with lots of open-ended material. It has a good awareness of its audience. It is easy to navigate. It is recognisable by young people who would readily take ownership. It fills a much needed niche in a controlled environment. It allows schools to provide access to modern collaborative technology to the benefit of their students. Students can develop their own videos and contribute to the debate. It has cross curricular applications, for example, media, English, PSHE and so forth. It is a bold approach to some very challenging topics."

Further Education and Skills Digital Content
Autodesk for Autodesk Student Engineering & Design Community
Judges’ comments: "This is an excellent resource centre for engineers/designers. It allows discussion with peers, learners, industry professionals and so forth. It has a large amount of interactive content, all fit for purpose and incorporated well within overall product design. It offers a clear navigation structure."

Special Educational Needs Solutions
Sensory Software International Ltd for The Grid 2
Judges' comments: "The product is very inclusive. It improves accessibility for a very wide range of needs. It enables communication using a word-processing system, unlike most other communication aids. It provides multiple access routes. Access is easy – the product is user-friendly. It has environmental controls, including mobile phones. It is very powerful, the manual was user-friendly and it comes with a lot of prepared resources."

Content-Free Tools
Softease for Podium
Judges' comments: "It supports planning, structuring, creativity and collaboration. It is easy to use and supports a complex area that some teachers may shy away from. The instructions are good, and it breaks down complex tasks into simple and achievable elements."

Childnet International for Know IT All for Parents
Judges' comments: "It offers comprehensive coverage of the e-safety agenda. The navigation is clear and intuitive. This resource could have a big impact on parents and carers who are essential partners in children’s learning and it does this in a professional and engaging way. It is engaging and informative, meeting a wide range of user expectations – parents’, carers’, teachers’ and so forth.

"Accessibility features are excellent. Diversity is fully catered for – such as the range of languages, different social groups and age ranges. Good use is made of the media. Judges liked the avatars and people who introduced the content. It has a modern style. It hits a gap in the market and supports schools and LAs in educating young people – it meets a need."

Supporting Institutional Leadership and Management Solutions
Centre for Excellence in Leadership for WBL Online Leadership Toolkit
Judges’ comments: "It is easy to keep records of learning, with a notepad and emails being built into the product. There is no need to go elsewhere. It offers high quality learning materials, which are up to date and relevant. It features strong theoretical resources set at the right level for teachers. It allows staff to undertake high quality training at their own pace and that of their school."

ICT Company of the Year
2Simple Software
Judges' comments: "This is a company that responds totally to the needs of schools and children. It is a partnership organisation that supports learning and teaching with staff and management that cares about the children and teachers – both here and overseas – that use their products."

ICT Educational Partnership
SIMS from Capita
Judges' comments: "SIMS meets a real need and addresses a real problem within a partnership approach. The 14-19 partnership can help in influencing other policies at a national level – specifically about making Diplomas work. The participating schools really were enthusiastic about being involved in a commercial, yet educational, development."

ICT Exporter of the Year
Net Support Ltd
Judges' comments: "The winner was chosen because of the range of differing markets that they operate in; their entry into new developing markets - requiring significant commitment; the strategic approach in localising products by working in partnership with local education providers and key decision makers; and in the use of feedback from customers to further enhance their product development. This has ensured that the company's export growth remains impressive and accounts for a large proportion of annual turnover."

Outstanding Achievement in ICT Education
Professor Stephen Heppell
Judges' comments: "Stephen Heppell's contribution goes back to the earliest days of ICT in UK schools (1980 with the national organisation MicroElectronics Education Programme) which is why the judges considered him to be the very best person to receive this inaugural award. Stephen has worked to raise the profile and application of ICT for learning right across education - with learners, teachers, school leaders and even governments. And he has also worked closely with industry to challenge them in their efforts to develop new products and services.

"Stephen has been a critical ally of government agendas for school reform and transformation, and an outspoken opponent of schools as "ghastly factories" of the 1950s. A key architect of the Stevenson report, which formed the ICT in education policy of the incoming Blair Government, he is credited with putting the C in ICT.

"He created the internationally regarded Ultralab research outfit at Anglia Ruskin University and made a unique contribution to bridging the digital learning divide with his NotSchool project which continues today. School leadership also benefited from his contribution to the Talking Heads initiative at the National College for School Leadership - working with and head teachers.

"His dynamism and his influence can be felt today in the Building Schools for the Future and Primary Capital Programme to remodel and rebuild schools, where he is on hand to provide timely reminders that building new schools is primarily about learning - before the buildings are even designed. The fruits of his work can be seen on the website of his consultancy, for example his Learnometer suite of products to produce learning metrics to look at how investment in ICT can get best value for schools."