Takeaway Free Tech from BETT
I had heard great things about the BETT show but often things don’t live up to the full expectations however one word that describes BETT is WOW. It is the one of the largest educational technology road shows in the world. Companies spend literally thousands on a stand and then even more on designing and creating some of the amazing stalls the place was aesthetically amazing. Often places can look too good to be true, as a classroom teacher I wasn’t the person with the purse going to spend lots of money at BETT. I was a teacher looking for ideas and ways in which to improve what I already have to support my students more. I was in luck and found out many useful and exciting ideas from discussions with companies and people.
Myself and Jon Tait (@TeamTait) attended BETT16 as #TeamAcklam we both were presenting on several stages and looking for ideas and softwares to bring back to school to help and support teachers and and students learning and progress. For myself it was great to finally meet the faces behind softwares I use day in day out. Such as the lovely Charles from ClassCharts who supports everyone on social media and is backing his two Son's in the creation of an amazing product which we use within school to manage behaviour.
I do have to say my favourite was the EXA Education stand for sheer creativity. Here I managed to catch the amazing David Thomas present on memory skills, it never ceases to amaze me at how he manages to memorise 22,500 decimal places of pi and hold the world record.
I managed to also see @HegartyMaths present his amazing new product he has been developing for the past year to help students learn maths. Along with catching up with many fellow maths teachers I have met from maths conferences and also many teachers I have met from teach meets and other events. It was a lovely to finally be able to put many names to faces.
Throughout most of the event I was based and gave several talks on the @MatificUK stand, which is a free software allowing students to participate in maths games to develop a pictorial understanding of abstract concepts. Matific Tech Review. The staff were kind, knowledgable and welcoming. I even learnt a few more cool features, like the students having the ability to collect, swap and exchange monsters.
I even went for a wander round to the crown house stand where it still shocks and surprises me to find my book 'Forty pence each or two for one pound' advertised! I'm going to be an author!!!!!! I still can't believe that fact much to the amusement of the team at the stand, even though I've already written the book.
There were several software’s I found I was under using or wasn’t even aware of during the bett show and I thought I would share a few of these and my personal thoughts with you.
I met up with the lovely Simon at the kahoots stand where he was presenting on ClassDojo a great rewards system for primary students within the classroom with them collecting credits and making avitars. This stand also hosted Kahoots, which is a MCQ (Multiple choice question) free software which brings gaming into the classroom. With 40+ thousands ready to use resources already made by teachers this is an invaluable source. I blogged about this earlier in the year in my Free Tech Top five. They were kind enough to provide me with lots of goodies to reward my students with as prizes.
Multiplication tables app is quick and simple to use and responsive to the users answers. You can evaluate a student’s response down to the time taken to answer a specific table.
There is a small price of £42 attached to this but that is for the full school. The students compete in the award winning times tables games to increase their quality, speed and accuracy of their times tables. It comes in both paper and app/web format.
Office 365 - Microsoft Mix and Microsoft Sway
The full capabilities of this programme which most schools have for email is ridiculously amazing. I have used one note a little with one class. However, I’ve found out about several new aspects I can use it for such as joint work on a document and you can even have code accounts for supply teachers. This links amazingly with Microsoft Mix.
Instead of having to use other software’s Microsoft Mix allows you to record your lesson through screen cast as you teach it and can then upload to one note for those students who were missing or for students to review later. It records both voice, the movement of the slides and your slide annotations. This is something I’m going to explore a lot more in the coming weeks.
I’ve been wanting to create a virtual environment for my students for a while now and I think this may be the beginnings of the right complete package for me and my students. I’m also looking into using Microsoft Sway to accompany this, which will allow my class and me to upload PowerPoints, Screen casts, photos, text etc… into a blog style page, which we can all add to and interact with. Being able to keep all the resources and documents within systems that talk to each other and are easy to use for students I’m hoping will help my classes progress and independence and also support flipped learning style lessons.
Another company at BETT that caught my eye was the route2educate touch screen table/projector. As a school that is looking to move forward with technology, I’m excited to be getting to trial one of these within the coming months, using when relevant and appropriate to topics. Being able to split the screen into 12 segments and allow several users to interact at the same time opens up to a whole heap of potential uses. Particularly with the specific software’s installed on the devices alongside the windows set up.