Special Needs at BETT

Once in the Special needs area at BETT, a poster of Tintin caught my eye. This was on the DITT (Dyslexia International Tools and Technologies) stand which featured a CD starring Tintin and Snowy on the road to success in The Mystery of the Lost Letters which is aimed at dyslexics aged 8-13. Although I did not see the CD in operation there is a useful website to look at www.tosuccess.org for more useful information.

A demonstration of AssistiveWare products followed (www.assistiveware.com). This is a company which specialises in assistive technology to help people with physical, speech, language and vision impairments and I found the demonstartion most interesting. Their products are developed exclusively for MacOSX.

The final presentation of the day came from the Don Johnston company www.donjohnston.co.uk who launched their new product the ‘Incite! Learning Series’. This product is designed to support a wide range of student ability levels, create interactive lessons and support and encourage active thinking, learning and discussion.

Elizabeth Cowan 

BETT Show

The BETT Show is the world’s leading educational information and communications technologies (ICT) event, attracting around 600 educational suppliers. The show is held at London Olympia every January and it brings together the global teaching and learning community.

Some of the new programs on view at this year’s show were two new products from www.cricksoft.com – ‘Clicker Paint’ which works seamlessly within Clicker 5, enabling pupils to illustrate their writing and engage in a range of new learning activities.  Also coming soon from Crick – ‘Clicker Phonics’, the aim of which is to get pupils working with phonics through using engaging materials at the right level for their needs. The program is designed to be used alongside any other phonics scheme.

At the Swallow Systems stand there was an opportunity to view some of the resources available for Pippin and Pixie Mark 2, both used for the teaching of Control Technology.  The Mark 2 version of Pixie became available in 2005, although Pixie was first introduced as far back as 1995.  At this stand I was given a demonstration of WriteTrack a product which is due for production later in 2007.  WriteTrack aims to help those pupils with difficulties in fine motor control and hand eye coordination develop their handwriting skills.  It is like a pen but the nib contains a sensing system to help the user keep their handwriting on the ‘write track’.  Will watch developments of this product with interest.

Elizabeth Cowan

Exc-el blogs – Flickr widget removed

The Flickr Widget Plugin has been removed. Unfortunately it breaks a blog if it’s activated before Sidebar Widgets are activated. The blog’s address just displays a blank screen, and it’s not possible for the blog’s owner, or a WordPress administrator, to fix it – it’s a system admin job.

Because that’s the last thing we need in a classroom situation, I’ve removed it meantime. Keeping the blog system robust and reliable must take priority. Sorry if you’ve been using it and can’t now.