BETT Bits


I am here at BETT 2015 – a massive educational show in the UK for all things ICT. That’s despite Gove’s attempts to take us back 50 years ! So what has impressed or given me a surprise. Well the biggest surprise for me is that I chair a session at lunch today on ” Creating better and more diverse schools” along with a panel of experts. Yikes, first time ever. Life is full of surprises and things you never thought you would do. I thought this might be for about 50 people – it could be 400! Anyway here is what I thought was useful or interesting.

Crick Software have launched an app to give a more accessible keyboard to the iPad. Called Super keys it enables parts of the keyboard to be expanded so that it makes it easier for Cerebral Palsy and Visual Impaired pupils in particular to access the iPad. Also, it interfaces with Clicker apps so that the expanded words can be seen. Great! Cost £4.49.

DK have produced an excellent free online visual encyclopedia which will give children access to great images that have been hot spotted to give further information. Similar to an app called ThingLink where you can make your own hot spot materials. Go to http://www.dkfindout.com. And sign up for your free account.

Widgit software have produced a verbal comprehension screening tool which would help parents , speech and language therapists and assistive technologists like myself to test the verbal comprehensive ability of a pupil. Available as an app for the iPadt  it will prove a useful tool for SENCO’s and parents as well as hard pressed support services. Go to http://widgit.com/products/language-assessment for further details

Forbrain is a personal speech to brain feedback device proported to improve attention, concentration and help children hear their own voice. It work by having sensors attached to the side of your face via a headset. Very neat and simple. It bypasses the ear and in particular the inner ear so that the sound you hear is pure and very clear enabling the user to hear their own speech and identify speech difficulties. This is one for the speech therapists.

SENdirect is a one-stop shop for all things special education. Set up by and for parents to give information that is needed. I look forward to talking further with SENdirect and seeing how AccessAbility Solutions could work with them on getting good information to where it is needed.

Gamelab produce kinect style learning makaton and soon to be released signalong version. Called Boris ( no link there to the Mayor of London then!) it provides an interactive way for children to learn sign language and yes it is approved by the Makaton Foundation . But there are also other gamelab products for sen such as SEN animations which produce PSHE short videos as well as “Make a Musical,” or “Wanna be a Rocksar” These last items are more videos rather than Kinect as Boris is.

Symbolkommunikation is a danish product that creates visual timetables for students. Works on all platforms and is cloud-based giving the teacher a tool to give information via photos and images

SensoryScent is a scent delivery system that is for the leisure and entertainment industry but for education it provides which stimulates appetite and also a sensory experience.

YellowDot produce maths activities that go from ages 4-7 to secondary. It’s a graded system that gives feedback on performance with a games-style approach

Interested in tactile learning? Then Junior Learning have an intriguing iPad app and set of tactile letters and numbers that can enhance the tactile learning to build words. They produced a range of printed resources but the item is called Touchtonic Letters so suitable for nursery or pre-reading special needs users.

So that’s it for day 1 of BETT! More tomorrow.

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