The BETT arena seats a thousand people and with teachers from over 100 countries you hear a multitude of languages being spoken all at the same time.
The United Kingdom differs from North America in that all of education is controlled at the national level and not at the state level. Because the Ministry of education here decided that all classrooms should have SMART Boards and that they would fund them you see dozens and dozens of different manufacturers all showing their latest technology. And what used to be projected whiteboards are now touch sensitive LCD screens that are as large as 80 inches. That’s a big screen!
An Australian company, Classroom Professor, has a suite of ‘math gadgets’ which are interactive teaching tools designed to show children numbers in new ways and to connect students’ thinking to mathematical reality. The software tools are supported by learning plans and follow-up worksheets, to link classroom discussions and thinking to bookwork. Tackling traditionally tricky subjects such as number fact thinking strategies and converting between different fraction types, the resources are designed to create interest among teachers. Heads of Maths from around the world are looking for better ways to connect students’ thinking and mathematical classwork.
The Canadian originator of the SMART Board (SMART) is showcasing a new interactive flat panel for education offering even more choice for interactivity. This SMART Board combines a high definition, shadow free 55 inch LCD display with the best multitouch capabilities which SMART claims is an unparalleled viewing and writing experience.
A Swedish company, School Font, is demonstrating a new simple writing app. Here, the letters look the same on the screen as the letters that students learn to write by hand, simplifying the learning process. Speech synthesis reads the word aloud when the space bar is pressed and reads out the complete sentence when pressing the final punctuation. The app is suitable for use with early years through to secondary and for those with special education needs and is available in 6 languages: English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch and French.
ShowMyHomework makes homework available to students and parents on any device. It allows students to submit their homework on-line and their parents are then aware that the homework has been done.
On my second day, I still have not been able to get around to all of the booths (or stands as they are referred to here). There are seven very long rows and 370 stands per row. Do that math – that makes this a very large show!!