Last week I attended the BETT Education Show in London, it was my first time at BETT and I was extremely surprised to find that there was no wifi access available at the biggest educational technology show in the UK, after speaking to regular BETT attendees they informed me that the wifi never works at BETT. On the contrary BETT was full of stands selling wifi solutions to schools; maybe they should try and sell their services to the organisers of BETT!
There were a lot of stands aimed at technicians and Heads for MIS and data solutions for schools. The most visible stands were those of the interactive whiteboard companies, which were from all over the world including many from Asia. The interactive whiteboard market seems to have become extremely competitive and there is now a range of boards and complementary products on offer. Some companies are even offering cash back on old whiteboards. The second big market at BETT the VLE, there were so many companies offering a VLE to schools, at a time when some UK schools are giving up on their VLE.
I was a little disappointed in the lack of products on offer to your average teacher or ICT coordinator, I was looking for software for years 5 and 6 to help build their IT skills and challenge them. Maybe a lot of companies are waiting for the new computer science curriculum to be set by the government, however from what I have seen many schools are teaching computer science and have already steered away from the current curriculum.
After two days at BETT my shopping basket consisted of the following ICT software:
•Purplemash: This has gone down well at school especially in the year groups from 2 to 4, but it would be much easier if we could integrate Purplemash with our VLE or our MIS so creating accounts would be simpler.
•2Simple 2Assess: This looks great and 2Simple is always a great solution for KS1 and lower KS2.
•Serif Primary Studio:
A range of products to be used by years 5 and 6 so they are learning new skills in ICT, the SerifDraw and SerifWeb products look like they are going to be extremely useful.
•Boardworks VLE Curriculum Resources:
A wide range of interactive PowerPoints for KS1 and KS2 Science and History and Geography for KS2.