by, 16th January 2012 at 06:54 PM (5599 Views)
Recycling bins filling up, spam folders overflowing. Yes it's that time of year again when you come into work with a bag full of leaflets and find half of them make their way into the bin. BETT 2012 is finished and the dust is settling in the Olympia Exhibition Hall for the last time with BETT 2013 scheduled for the ExCeL Centre instead.
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This year saw the return of the Edugeek stand to provide tech staff with an amusing diversion in the form of a comfy sofa, piles of pizza and enough technical advice to sink a battleship. Hopefully all signed the poster and maybe caught a glimpse of a famous Edugeek celebrity.
Unfortunately I didn't visit enough stands to do a news post so I'll put my highlights here instead.
Serco - Serco were showing off their Progresso MIS this year, having written a completely new system to replace Facility. It's web-based, as can be expected these days, and has parental engagement tools built in to the MIS so you aren't adding a new product to deliver pupil data online to parents. Unfortunately I wasn't too impressed with the sales pitch; asking can I add a quick behaviour incident to a register led to a demo taking me to a whole new page. However, Progresso itself is definately worth a look at when weighing up what MIS to pick.
Capita - The (in)famous developers of the SIMS software package were once again pitched front and centre near their rivals and the main entrance. I was given a very good overview of the Discover tool, though it came after I managed to crash SIMS on their demo unit! Discover is looking to be a very good data analysis tool that if you haven't installed yet, is well worth installing.
Storyphones - Aimed at primary school kids, these all-on-one headphone/MP3 units are a feat of engineering in how to avoid destruction of your prized classroom equipment at the hands of overzealous children in single digits. They twist, they bend, they spring back to shape and are all updated at once with a USB dock.
Google - I didn't dare to try the weird concoctions in test tubes, but I did grab a Google notebook. Seriously, but this "touchscreen" model needs a "stylus." What are you talking about? Of course I mean the paper kind and it's a rather spiffy one to boot. What do you mean I was supposed to be paying attention to their stand? Oh...yeah--
Horizon - "Can I help you?" chirped the lady in the stand. "Umm yeah, what this stand about?" I asked, nodding to the half-assembled train sitting on the stand. It turns out Horizon manufacture Hydrogen Fuel Cells and are using them to power RC cars, train sets and even your mobile phone. This is one of the stands that I love about BETT, it opened up the world of Hydrogen and gave me understanding that it isn't the volatile and dangerous technology I thought it was. It's safer, cleaner and has come far enough to come in battery form and works on solar power.
YouSRC - When Michal Gove made his speech, YouSRC must have been overjoyed as I didn't see many stands offering programming experiences. YouSRC is a web-based tool for developing code in classrooms and I was given a very good demo of the system. The system is free and ad-funded, but they plan on offering a voluntary payment service to remove ads from YouSRC for your school. Worth a look when planning your new ICT Curriculum.
I paid a visit to the Smoothwall and Net-Ctrl stands too and ended the day helping ICT-Direct do a stand takedown. A big thank you to all the exhibitors and Edugeek for making it an enjoyable trade show and I look forwards to seeing them again next year at ExCeL.
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