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Bright sparks

We got a sneak peek into just a few of the new edtech tools you'll find at Bett 2016

Posted by Stephanie Broad | December 10, 2015 | Technology

Bett show, edtech, technology, Penstripe, BlueSky Education, WisePay, 3P Learning, Lapsafe

Last year, the education sector was wondering how much of an impact wearable technology might have on teaching. The development signaled the need for better acceptable use policies and we saw a hot debate on whether mobiles and tablets should be banned from classrooms.

Looking ahead, it seems that cloud-based tools for organisation, collaboration and learning are top of the agenda for 2016. Charlotte Johnston, Deputy Head at Edge Grove School, says: “Apps such as Google Docs, Kahoot and Socrative allow work to be interactive, shared, commented on and created individually, in pairs or in groups in real time whether in the same room or sitting down for homework. Just recently our Head of English, at home with her sick child was able to comment on the writing on Google Docs in her Year 8 English class in real time as it was happening.”

So can the future be found in the cloud? We spoke to a few of the edtech experts who’ll be showcasing their innovations at Bett show in January.

Planning ahead

Penstripe will be launching their new educational planning app, PenstripeEdu.

The new app for students and teachers provides:

  • Individual timetables taken directly from the school’s MIS
  • A diary function, putting users in control of their daily lives (both educational and social)
  • The ability for students to add homework & set tasks independently of teachers
  • The option for teachers to set bespoke homework for individuals or groups
  • Manageable to-do lists with different time slots and completion dates
  • Push notifications to alert students when homework is due or has been changed
  • Full synchronisation across devices so users are always up-to-date whether on a mobile or tablet

Chris Anderson, Penstripe Director, said: “PenstripeEdu is a fresh, engaging way for students to schedule and breakdown homework tasks as well as plan and structure revision. What’s really innovative is its ability to synchronise this with social events, extra-curricular activities and other commitments. 

“For teachers, PenstripeEdu offers complete control to set and track homework, and for parents, it’s a simple and easy-to-navigate facility which gives a real-time picture of their child’s homework load as well as a handy week-at-a-glance view of educational and out-of-school activities. And, because it doesn’t need internet connection, users can access it whenever and wherever - on any mobile device.”

As well as being the lead sponsor of the official Bett2016 app, Penstripe’s exhibition stand will feature a fully ‘Penstriped’ VW campervan plus breakout area for relaxation and refreshments. The team will be showcasing all that’s unique about PenstripeEdu as well as offering exclusive demos. 

The Penstripe team

Chris concludes: “We’re very excited about the official launch of PenstripeEdu at Bett. We’ve provided a sneak peek of what we have planned, but there are a lot more exciting announcements still to come about our partnerships and on-stand activity. We can’t wait to see what everyone attending Bett has to say.” 

Find the Penstripe team at stand F90

Keeping track

With so many things to remember, organisation is one of a teacher’s most important tools. BlueSky will be showcasing its online staff development tool BlueSky Education, which helps staff keep track of performance, progress and team projects.

Using tools such as these, groups of teachers from one or more schools can collaborate in a secure and private environment. This could be to share best practice or action research, keep up-to-date with a working party across the country or to focus on school or self-improvement priorities.

Teachers can collaborate with the staff development tool

A Projects module includes a function that allows heads to send out requests to join projects of interest and a function that allows project groups to invite members of staff with pertinent skill sets to join their project. By capitalising on in-house skills, schools can save money on external training whilst improving performance

Ed Brodhurst, Deputy Headteacher at Carterton Community College, said: “Bluesky is helping ensure that our efforts can be focused on improving teaching to improve outcomes; this has enabled us to increase and maintain our progress 8 figures to a very pleasing level.” 

You’ll find BlueSky at stand B219.

On the books

WisePay are launching the latest versions of their sport booking, activity management and gym subscription services – which are handy digital tools if you’ve got lots of extra-curricular programmes to organise. The service can be used to manage internal bookings as well as to advertise facilities for use by the local community out of school hours. 

WisePay's booking services help to manage sports and other extra-curricular activity

Their new Parent Evening Booking Service is fully integrated with WisePay’s existing services, including the communications hub, allowing schools to create timetables and specify the length and location of appointments, before making bookings available to parents. Schools can then monitor the progress of online bookings in real-time, saving valuable administrative and lesson time previously spent allocating bookings. The software is fully integrated with WisePay’s Communications Hub, for emailing and texting parents. All parental contact information is readily available, organised by class, so an email or text can easily be sent to notify parents if a teacher is sick or if an appointment needs to be cancelled.

All WisePay applications run from a single platform making it easy for schools and parents to access all services via a single login and eliminating the need for paper payments.

WisePay are exhibiting at stand A120

Science resources in 3D

3P Learning have launched interactive digital resource IntoScience, which brings the theory of science to life through an immersive, interactive 3D environment, where pupils aged 12-16 (key stage three to four) can discover, learn, play and recall scientific knowledge. 

Covering all fields of science, the resource promotes pupil engagement and enquiry-based learning – allowing children to enter a 3D HD world packed with virtual experiments and deep contextual examples where they can expand their learning through inquiry, knowledge, application and reasoning.

It’s not just science – literacy gets the digital treatment too. Video-game style programme Spellodrome designed to develop spelling, grammar, writing and communication skills in pupils aged 7-14 (key stage two and three) with a ‘gaming-style’ challenge and reward system to instil a sense of achievement and a love of learning.

3P Learning can be found at stand C80

With all this technology on our hands, it’s never been more important to stay connected. Lapsafe’s new charging locker range, Diplomat PIN, comes with an iPad mini on each bay to offer a completely keyless and cable-free access using a clever standalone battery PIN controlled lock. The lockers charge devices such as laptops, Chromebooks and tablets, keeping your digital classroom up and running 24/7.

Lapsafe will be exhibiting at stand F160

Read more about Bett 2016 in our event preview    

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