Some of you will remember that I attended the BETT Show in London in late January. It was the second time that I have attended and it was, as last time, interesting, inspiring and exhausting!
A blog post on what I saw down there that I think would be of interest to Edinburgh teachers is long overdue – my apologies. I hope it is worth the wait! There was an awful lot to see and I don’t want to bombard you with information, so I’ll split this post into two parts – one this week and one soon after.
I’m aiming to give just a “taster” of each of the resources/products – if you are interested in anything in particular, please do get in touch. So, in no particular order, here goes!
I was very interested in the FORBRAIN product. It is a bone-conducting headphone with a sound modulator attached, which claims to improve speech articulation, attention and focus and literacy, amongst other things. Grand claims – but a lot of the thinking sounds kosher. I am hoping to be able to purchase some headsets to trial in the new financial year – I will, as ever, keep you posted.
Memrise is a resource that I have personally used to learn Spanish. Basically, you are exposed to flashcards with aide-memoires (“mems”) at staggered intervals designed to help learning stick in your long-term memory. Now, Memrise have launched a teacher resource where you can assign work to a class, track their progress and set up leaderboards for that competitive element. There are over 300,000 decks of flashcards available, or you can make up your own. It can be used on a computer or a tablet. Best of all, it’s FREE! See their website for more info, or check out #MemriseTeachers to see how other teachers have been using the resource.
Word Bucket is a language-learning resource available in 11 languages including English. It combines flashcard revision, personal vocabulary dictionaries and educational games. Currently it’s available as an app on iOS and Android, but they are soon to launch a web interface, too. This will allow teachers to track and monitor pupil progress. If this sounds interesting to you, get in touch, as I hope to organise a free trial for Edinburgh once the resource is ready.
Now>Press>Play is an immersive audio experience for a whole class. Audio content is available on a wide range of curricular topics. It looks great – I did have concerns around EAL and hearing impaired learners being excluded which the developer seemed keen to take on board. They are also keen to link to the Scottish curriculum and develop resources that would be of more interest up here – they hope to be ready to do this later in the year and Edinburgh will hopefully be able to feed into this and possibly run a trial. Interesting, anyway!
The Sparkup book reader is a device that clips onto any storybook and will read it aloud. You record your own voice, or can access professionally-recorded content from the cloud. It reminded me a bit of the “magic pen” resource from MantraLingua but with a couple of key differences – one, there is no need for stickers, so long as the reader has seen that edition of the book before, it will know which page you’re on and two, you can gather information on how long a child spent on each page etc.
Finally for this first installment: a mention for Crick Software, the makers of Clicker (and not just because they gave me a free cake). They were there showcasing Clicker 6 and the Clicker apps (both of which we do training courses on, by the way!) and also their relatively new product SuperKeys – a third-party keyboard for iOS devices. It is great for learners with a physical impairment or fine motor difficulty as it reduces the number of targets on a keyboard from 30+ to just 7. At the time of writing it costs £4.49 – though remember VPP will make it cheaper!
Hope there was something there to interest you – more to come next week!