Last week I made the annual pilgrimage to BETT to see what new offerings were out there in the world of EdTech.
It was good to listen to Martin Bailey, (@animate2educate on Twitter) talk about preparing for an OFSTED deep dive into computing on the NetSupport stand. It’s always good to compare notes and Martin’s talk was clear and to the point with helpful, ‘non scary’ advice. Most useful were the questions teachers might be asked which can be seen below. It was also good to catch up with Charlee from NetSupport to find out about their latest products.
Our own documents for deep dive preparation can be found as part of our Computing Policy Scaffold which incorporated Intent, Implementation and Impact and can be found on our web site here.
There were plenty of expensive robots and things beyond the financial reach of schools we work with but there were some interesting finds. The most relevant of these for me were the additions to Chromebooks. As more Chromebooks with touchscreens, forward facing cameras and 360 flip screens become available at prices schools can afford the creative apps offered for the Chromebook become more of a realistic choice.
One of the chief offerings in this field is a creativity app bundle from Google. This gives Chromebook access to Book Creator, Explain Everything, Soundtrap, Infinite Painter, Squid, and We Video. Unfortunately I couldn’t get prices at BETT and I’m chasing this up.
There were other great online offers for schools. Canva are offering free teacher accounts from which you can set up accounts for children. Canva is an online desk top publishing tool that lets you create all kinds of documents that look really slick and professional.
Zu3D has long been one of the best stop motion animation suites out there. For £139 a year schools can have the app and download the Windows software and allow children to use it at home. Now they’ve created Cloud Stop Motion . Schools can create accounts and use this for free with 2GB of free storage or upgrade for more storage and other benefits. More details here.
Other interesting things were the Kano Computer building kit. This used to be based around building a computer around a Raspberry Pi. They’ve now got a model that builds a Windows Computer for £300. Once it’s built there is a range of software challenges built in with a gamified approach. I love Kano and if money was no object I’d love a set of these to use.
Smoothwall have a classroom management tool for Chromebooks which I’ll look further into. This can be bought as part of a bundle along with their filtering, monitoring and safeguarding recording tool.
I really enjoyed talking to Now>Press>Play. They provide schools with sets of wireless headphones from which teachers can select hundreds of immersive experiences for children. It was brilliant to see children (and a teacher) with headphones on crawling along the floor of the BETT Arena oblivious to the world as they recreated an experience. I listened to part of a Roman adventure and loved it.
There were so many more things but these are the highlights that I saw in my short time at the show.