10 of the most exciting game-changers at Bett 2018

Tim Head

Tim Head is an assistant head in a large Nottinghamshire Primary School, with 17 years of teaching experience working in large Primary schools across the East Midlands. One of the organisers of the Primary Rocks Live conference, he loves to share his passion for all things teaching and edtech through the #PrimaryRocks Twitter chat, as well as presenting at educational conferences. Tim is a keen blogger, and has written for the TES, Teach Primary and Innovate My School.

Follow @MrHeadPrimary

Website: www.nominativedeterminism.wordpress.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Images below courtesy of author // Image banner credit: www.bettshow.com. Images below courtesy of author // Image banner credit: www.bettshow.com.

As I write this, making my way back from this year’s Bett Show, my train journey is the perfect time to take stock, relax, and think about all of the things I’ve seen this weekend.


Bett is a behemoth. Each year it gets bigger and bigger. As ever, if you scratch the surface of the event, there are always some fantastic innovative companies really aiming to show things up and bring something new to the party.


1. Hacking STEM


As ever, the big and established companies dominate. This said, it was really encouraging to see both Google and Microsoft embracing STEM education. Microsoft has released some free resources called Hacking STEM. They are really detailed, and look at combining the established Microsoft tools with models made from scrap. Probably more aimed at Secondary, they could also be applied to upper Key Stage 2.


2. Fable



One of the first things that caught my eye on entering Bett was the Fable robot by Shape Robotics. This cute robot can be built from passive (fixed) units and active (articulated) units, that can be programmed via a computer using Blockly and Python. The units are interchangeable, with all kinds of hooks and connectors (including a well-known Danish brick). It will be expensive, but you can have it on a 30 day trial for free, giving you plenty of time to decide on value for money.


3. nowpressplay



nowpressplay have been around for a couple of years now, but really deserve to reach a much wider audience. The idea behind the product is to use a class set of wireless headphones to immerse the children in stories, soundscapes and drama activities. The kit is high-quality and superb in terms of content. They have moved away from a single purchase price to a more modest subscription service, where the kit is rented. This is a much better option, and hopefully will put it in reach of more schools.


4. Prosocial Learn



Prosocial Learn aim to use gamification of learning to encourage and assess children’s social skills. For example, there are multiplayer computer games where the only way to win is to play together. They also have offline card-based resources which have the same end-goal in mind.


5. Scored



Anyone who has ever made a film with children in school will know the pitfalls of using copyrighted music. YouTube and other video platforms will not allow videos featuring commercial music to be uploaded. This is quite right, as the artist needs to receive royalties for their work. This is where Scored comes in. Providing access to a bank of royalty-free melodies and sound effects, audio can be added to a film using a very professional-looking editing suite. This resource is still in beta testing, but they hope to release a full version soon.


6. Pobble



Pobble are another company who have been around a few years, but they don’t like to stand still. Pobble are forever shaking things up, bringing new innovations into schools to help teachers “unleash their superpowers”. They have a range of free and paid resources, including their blogging and 365 elements. The thing that particularly sticks in my mind is their current push to build an effective assessment and moderation tool for teachers. Eventually, there will be a bank of moderated work viable to all teachers, being used as exemplars to help moderate their own children’s work.


7. Fablab



Another highlight: Fablab. STEM and makerspaces are hard for many schools to provide because of the costs, space and training needed. So, what if you could be visited by a truck complete with trained staff who can arrive at your school and create a makerspace, design technology and STEM classroom? Inside are woodworking tools, electronics, Makey Makey, and lots of other cool things. And if that wasn’t cool enough, the whole outside of the truck is interactive, including the world’s biggest Game Boy - with Tetris!


8. Unio By Harness



Have you ever been teaching a lesson where the purpose was for children to edit a piece of text or to underline all the adjectives? Unio, combined with 1:1 devices, allows children to be guided through a Powerpoint-style slideshow. The key difference, however, is that all the children can then edit the slides individually, with the teacher being able to assess this and give feedback in real time. The slides can also be shared with children, so they can continue to learn at home.


9. Code Club



I LOVE Code Club. It is a free resource created in conjunction with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. They have exceptionally high-quality resources that can be used to teach Scratch, Python, html and other aspects of Computing. Code Club are another example of a product that is always shaking things up. The resources are designed to be used in an after-school coding club, but I think they could easily be adapted to be used in whole-class teaching, especially for those staff who are not as confident in Computing.


10. Pi Top



One of the big winners of the Bett awards this year - and deservedly so - was Pi Top. Pi Top aims to take the Raspberry Pi and put it into a far more classroom-friendly package. They have two options: the pi-topCEED (desktop version on the right, above) with a separate mouse and keyboard, and the laptop-style version. These devices still give access to the important parts of the Pi (eg the pins), but at the same time keep the other spaghetti of wires hidden away.


Shake it up


It’s always worth searching out the game-changers. They are the ones that keep education interesting. I hope there is at least one thing on this list that will help you to shake things up in your classroom.


Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

  • What it’s like to be a teacher with an anxiety disorder
    What it’s like to be a teacher with an anxiety disorder

    We all feel anxious sometimes. Maybe it is going into a new situation such as starting a new job, or having to have a difficult conversation. The feeling of nervousness and anxiousness is completely normal, and an evolutionary necessity. However, for some people, like me, that feeling of anxiousness never goes away. You live with it day in, day out, and it can have quite a detrimental effect on your life and mental health.

  • How Tassomai transformed our school
    How Tassomai transformed our school

    An online learning programme called Tassomai is playing its part in the rapid transformation of Torquay Academy. Reece Broome, who is leading the project at the school, explains.

  • Take your class on a virtual trip to Colchester Castle
    Take your class on a virtual trip to Colchester Castle

    Colchester Castle’s new digital learning programme enables your class to take part in a trip to Colchester Castle without ever leaving the classroom! Whether you are a local school in Essex, or in another part of the country, your students can immerse themselves in Colchester’s story and learn all about the mighty Romans.

  • Artistic literacy app praised for 'feel good' factor
    Artistic literacy app praised for 'feel good' factor

    If you want to use music, sound effects and visual adventures to help young pupils learn their letters, then you need to know about globetrotting Swiss musician / novelist Roland Zoss and his app ABC Dino - a resource which has already seen huge popularity in continental Europe. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"