Friday, 26 January 2018

Bett 2018 Day 1 (at least for me)

So today as normal there was a lot to look at and after a day I feel like I barely scratched the surface. There is defo more to go back and see tomorrow. 

There where some highlights for me but not oddly not for computing...

If you get a chance you need to check out BirdBrain Technologies Stand, they are behind Micro:bit. They have a board that interfaces with the Micro:Bit and make it very easy to add sensors, servos and motors. The applications for DT amd making are endless. They have a great robot zoo, full of programmed creations... I hope to talk more about this in the future. I spent last Sat working with then all day being inspired.

Continuing on that theme of models that you can build and program I came across this stall called Smart Paper RC. It produces a kit that has come predesigned models, perhaps something for the less confident to start with. It works with a tablet but can also work with a Micro:Bit. The models themselves looked amazing. 

Continuing on the theme on Micro:Bit... There seemed to be an explosion of add on boards this year, that further extend what you can do with the Micro:Bit. The MeArm is something that I have had for ages and wanted to use with a Raspberry Pi, but this new board that uses the Micro:Bit opens up the accessibility for this fun kit. 

Go and check out the Micro:Bit stand to see what else is out. Kitronik is another stop tomorrow. 

The Micro:Bit provides a low cost entry into physical computing and these new low cost add on board help to ensure that there will always be a new project to try out. 

Binary Bots had a new kits that you build and then control using a Micro:Bit.

Last night at A Teachmeet at The Machine Rooms I saw in person the Micro:Bit Racing Unicorns from Helen Leigh (@helenleigh)

Invent! I saw again which is a kit based in the Crumble Controller. It has modules that you can quickly add to a board... This also will soon have a Micro:Bit adaptor. 

Pobble was a bit of a surprise, It is a system where you can quickly share and promote children's writing. On one level it is just a blogging tool with commenting ability. But I think the power is in  that you can search for children's writing on topics and styles. This is a growing archive, this could be very useful to give children and teachers real examples of writing, it would be very useful for modeling and perhaps with time moderation. It also allows for work to be stored, so you can make a digital portfolio of work. I will take back to school to show to my English lead. It is worth a look. It is over in the Bett Futures Area,

Following on the English theme Mrs Wordsmith was an interesting project that used machine learning to search and select the words that were then checked. It is basically a vocabulary building program, but the thing I really like waas this 'dictionary' where all the words are stored in themed sections, such as characters, weather, actions, etc... It is work a look. 

Skype Education is something that anyone who is interested in Video Conferencing should look at, I didn't realise how much it now offers. I really liked the Mystery Skype idea where you have to guess where your caller is from just by asking yes/no questions. 

This small A4 Vac Forming Machine, from Mayku, maybe the best thing I saw at the show. Small and portabile. It can be used to form shapes. So lovely examples with KS1 and creating chocolate moulds. 

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak on the Microsoft Stand about the work I have been doing in school with Minecraft. It was great fun. 

I really like the new Chemistry Update which allows you to craft in different ways, you can make elements. The helium balloons that you can now create, make even make cows fly. :)

VR has a clear presence this year. It was mentioned in a few talks and Lenovo where leading a lot of the conversations. The asked at an earlier talks, is it just a fad? I think that is an important question to ask but based on their, Microsofts' and ClassVR's presence, it looks like many think it will be.

I feel that it is clear that engagement will of course improve, kids are gonna like having the experience. It is a way of giving children experiences that would not be able to get any other way. There was some research discussed, to support some of this, though was funded by Lenovo. They admitted that we are still early days for the technology.

Content is a key issue for all these platfroms and I was pleased to discover that Google has just announced tools to create their own content for . Class VR mentioned and partnership with CoSpaces as well.

A few robots that grabbed my attention was this small guy, who you program by 'feeding' it instruction cards. Very similar to an Ozobot, but does more. Much cuter. Still $120 though.

The Kubo I really like still, I supported it on IndyGoGo. A robot that 'reads' the tiles underneath it. Could be a nice alternative for KS1, also has a spelling game now as well. 

Google where showing their app Science Journal, that basically turns a tablet/phone into a data logger. It can store and record all the data from the many sensors built into devices today. Could be great for science experiments. Look on the various app stores.  

Thats all for today, more tomorrow....

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