BETT Show Report – 25.1.18

This must be at least my 12th BETT show . There have been a lot of changes over the years but this is the first time I have felt that there is less for SEN than ever before to see. Stalwarts in previous years like Crick Software and Widgit are not there. The other trend is that it is becoming more and more international teachers and less and less UK teachers which is fine for those companies with an international operation. Even the seminars tracked as SEN are thin on the ground. BETT is expensive for companies to attend now costing tens of thousands for a stand.

Despite the above and the lack of SEN focus I can talk about a few things I found useful to know. Educate  provide a research service for app makers to validate their Edtech product. ” We provide educators, researchers and technology developers with the best and most up-to-date research evidence and expertise , so they can design and manufacture EdTech products and services that will make a difference in schools.”

Scanninpens are an established company making a useful contribution for those with dyslexia to overcome difficulties with reading by providing a handheld scanner that can be used in examination settings. This saves money and pays for itself in terms on amanuensis readers. One comment I had on a degree level teaching training on dyslexia course was ” I wished I had one of these when I was taking my degree!”

Noble Doughnut is a digital magazine about Ideas, People and Wonder. It provides health and wellbeing tools such as relaxation techniques as Mindfulness. Their a few examples on the website but to access the whole site you need subscribe to the magazine. It is hoped it will challenge , encourage and inspire young people. It is very well designed and laid out that would be accessible for pupils with special needs.

Emoji-Go are a music learning scheme based on stickers and tactile velcro stickers. It provides a framework on how to remember cord sequences using visual means (stickers) and tactile feed back to imprint chords and musical patterns in a fun and story – like way. They are looking for schools to trial this product. If you are interested drop them a line at me@kevinmthomson.uk  

More tomorrow……

Information from the librarian!

I’m putting together a list of special needs resources for an upcoming library newsletter, and thought they might be of interest to you:

Low Vision Internet Gateway
Managing Sensory Processing Issues At Home
Cleaner Indoor Air & Chemical Sensitivities
Disabled Home Modification Checklists and Funding
Home Modifications and Selling Your Home
Special Needs Safety Around Construction Sites
Renters’ Rights for People with Disabilities
Moving for Seniors and People with Disabilities
Guide to Finding Credible Medical Advice

BETT 2018

So it’s the beginning of the year it must be BETT! The largest education show in the UK and Europe. Recent trends as the large amounts of foreign visitors to the show. It is an international show.

In the pre-show publicity there is the usual expression of high impact tools, adminstration and hardware companies. There will be the usual round of seminars from Microsoft and Google. The reason I go is to seek out new and exciting new companies in the future zone.

I am also there for networking opportunities. To meet up with friends and  companies such as Crick Software. I will report back here what I saw that was interesting from an SEN point of view.

Screen curtain on iPads & iPhones

Here is a thing I didn’t know about until today . In using voice over in the accessibility settings there is a feature which isn’t well known and can cause a significant problem for the user. Its called “Screen curtain” and it blanks the screen to black. Which means you cannot access the device other than via your voice. Designed for blind users and to conserve battery life this feature can be switched off but I have to say it didn’t work first time for me. To toggle the feature off you press the home button quickly three times!

If you can’t get this to work you may have to connect to itunes with a capable and do a reset using a backup of the device. This is what i did and it was difficult to achieve without updating the device as you have to switch off ” Find my device” which because your screen is blank you can’t see!! Aarrgh!

Apple , please can you make this feature more difficult to access accidentally as my client did by hitting the home button three times to switch the feature on whilst using voice over!