And what a show it proved to be. Sir Ken Robinson spoke to a packed out audience of several hundred people on the importance of creativity and outdoor learning in our schools. It was inspirational. To hear the full talk go to:-
Sorry about the sound quality!
So what was seen and what is of worth pursuing for special needs teachers?
VR was a big thing at BETT this year with lots of companies promoting VR headsets. Tablet Academy put on a live workshop and gave experiences to users in the use of these tools. For more information click on the links below:-
Information was given to by ClaroSpeakk on the use of screen readers in exams. It’s very useful and promotes the use of technology over the use of amenuensis methods. It gives background and advice on those seeking to make their pupils more independent and therefore more able in the exam setting.
Clarity – Sound, lighting and audio visual systems for Education. They are a small company working with a range of specialist settings producing easy to operate sensory rooms. They work in a bespoke manner so if you are thinking of incorporating this equipment or even re-vamping you old room do give them a thought. Lovely friendly people to approach!
Something that I thought was really good for ESL and for SEN was an app called “chatta” but its more than that. I spoke with the makers at length and they see this as part of an ongoing support relationship. They want to ensure that the methods both IT and paper-based really work in your setting. Go to: http://www.chatta.co.uk.for more details. There free iOS app allows you to place a spoken message under an image. This can then be levelled to a pre-set standard or your own which makes it very flexible for the classroom and in meeting a range of language needs. I needed no manual to learn and individual users can be easily set up in a class to have that individualised approach needed for meeting the language needs of those from other countries
sensory guru – mobile floor projection
Another example of bringing interaction to floor level but in a mobile unit. Very easy to setup and use. You need to angle your use correctly as incorrect use will produce an unwanted shadow on your display.
tootoot – all aspects of safeguarding into one easy platform
I liked the integrated approach of tootoot as it empowers the pupils themselves to report instances of bullying, cyber bullying, racism, extremism, radicalisation, sexism, mental health and self harm. You can have a free 6 months to try it out after which you are placed in a lucky draw for a free license. Great for Safer Internet Day on the 7th Feb!
hopspots – http://www.hopspots.dk/en
Another interactive tool which I thought would be useful it works on using discs that light up in different ways to perform all sorts of tasks and games. Very engaging and flexible and can be programmed to do what you want it to. It works off an iPad app and the discs come with a charger unit. Unfortunately, it is not cheep and I did tell them to consider their price structure for the current situation in the UK!
gcsepod –gcsepod.com – mainstream secondary apps. Lastly, but not least a system that may not be a trailblazer in the cool looks stakes but is incredibly useful in setting and completing homework using both computers and mobiles as this is cloud-based. Worth a look as it was one of the apps pupils at a secondary school said they used often. Because it just does what it says on the packet and does it well and quickly.