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My day at BETT

on Fri, 02/15/2013 - 15:59

 

Recently attended the BETT conference, my first time ever, and was impressed at the sheer size and the variety of presentations and products on show. Main reason for going was to support Margret Oberhofer, the coordinator of the EU project iTILT,  presenting results at the SMARTboard reception and workshop room. For more info and pics see the bloglpost at the iTILT site. Our presentation was also blogged about by Angela Higgins, one of my SMARTVET partners.

I used the rest of the day to get an impression of the state of the art in educational technology land. Considering the huge number of stands and workshops that was quite a challenge, both mentally and physically. Here's a small selection of items that caught my attention, most related to ICT and language education (CALL).

Audio Notetaker
'Audio Notetaker recording software allows users to edit and navigate audio like a text document making it the perfect tool for note taking, speaking and listening skills, training and SEN'. I had a personal demo and was impressed by the user friendliness of the interface, in particular of the editor.  More info on their website

Moodle-based VLEs
Also picked up flyers form parties that developed proprietary VLEs built on Moodle including WebAnywere and ToTara

Some interesting Apps
IntoWords provides support for reading and writing by providing vocab, audio support and word prediction. Another computer software tool for bimodal content presentation of websites and documents is ReadSpeaker. The product is Dutch and its rationale is is well documented by research, I found out later in the brochure. Text-to-Speech technology is als applied in WordQ+SpeakQ, claiming to promote writing skills. 
Appsheds provides tutorials and 
intuitive and flexible tools for building content based web apps yourself.

Further observations:
It was a bit of a surprise to find that  touchscreens have not taken over the attention for IWB technology yet. Also I was not aware that there are so many brands still competing for a share of the market.
On the other hand - to further enhance options to stimulate interactivity- an increasing number of parties are offering integral systems connecting (user) tablets  or classroom desk computer stations to a central screen, e.g. AviTice School Integral .
Finally, g
ood to see the Skype in the classroom initiative has grown into an established community.