Upon trawling through the hundreds of gadgets, gizmos and so called ‘educationalists’ promoting the holy grail to ‘life after levels’ (also known as a ‘missed opportunity’), there were a few ideas at BETT 2015 worth a mention. Most notable of all was the brilliant Elsium’s iPad band who opened the Saturday with some Guns N’ Roses and Killers all played through iPads – surely a great way to adapt already existing musical skills or inspire those to learn to play an instrument for real!
Firstly, DK’s ‘Find out’ online encyclopaedia. Designed for teachers, children and parents, it has a very user friendly interface, which includes a search engine, quizzes, galleries, videos, fun facts and, soon, a my stuff area for storing favourite sections of the website. Content is currently organised into traditional subjects or themes. Although, still quite limited in its content, it is sure to expand and is free to sign up! Definitely worth a look if designing web based research lessons.
Google’s vision for education presentation was worth attending. The short video below gives an overview of what it means for a classroom or school to ‘go Google’. Although maybe not for everyone, it’s worth knowing what and how companies such as Google are supporting education. The second video outlines some of the specific apps that schools may benefit from.
The Lego Education presentation also made for welcome viewing, however, currently the pricing of the hardware is unfortunately a discouraging factor.
Finally, the most inspiring moment of the day…encountering the Steve Jobs Schools stand! According to their website their goal is ‘to prepare children for tomorrow’s world with today’s tools while focusing on developing their own talents. We encourage children, by means of an innovative new teaching approach and the most up-to-date learning tools, to develop their individual talents and teach them the skills that are crucial for success in the world of tomorrow.’ These are a series of schools based in the Netherlands, but are currently branching out further afield. The gentleman at BETT highlighted how the children have truly personalised timetables created for them based on their previous learning. Needless to say this is all produced on an individualised iPad. When the children need to learn a new skill they can attend a session with a teacher and no more than seven other students. They then practise the skill in the comfort of the school and at their own pace. It certainly looks impressive – check out the videos below explaining the rationale, ethos and values of the schools and take a look at the ‘How to build a Steve Jobs School’ manual…you never know!