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Ed-Tech Bett Digital Guide 2020 Brought to you by the editors of TechRadarPro, Tech & Learning, and AV Technology, Europe Get a sneak peek at the new tech being premiered at the world’s largest edtech trade show!

n Exclusive interviews with keynote speakers and select exhibitors n Insight into the latest trends in education technology n The best new laptops and Chromebooks n New edtech being shown for the first time at Bett n and MUCH MORE!

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02 01 Tech & Learning - Tools & Ideas n BETT voices n News

02 Tech Radar Pro - The best of BETT n What is a Virtual Learning Environment? n What is STEM? n Best Chromebooks n Best School Laptops n Best Coding Platforms n Best Tablets


03 AV Technology Europe - AV Focus n AV in Education n AV News

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ett is built around the real needs of the education community, and our 36th edition of the show is undoubtedly bigger and better than ever. For the very first time, The Education Show will take place inside Bett, bringing over 34,000 visitors and 800 companies to ExCeL London from 22-25 January. We have introduced six global themes that shape our conference to ensure that every visitor will be inspired by the event’s seminar programme. Our newly introduced themes are innovation; wellbeing; empowering teaching & learning; inclusion, social mobility and SEND; future tech & trends and skills. We have also invested in two Professional Development theatres which offer free CPD workshops to educators at all levels and will address the ‘how to’ to ensure you get maximum impact from technology. After listening to your feedback from 2019, we’ve been busily

implementing changes to the floorplan which will revolutionise Bett visitor experiences forever. In 2020, visitors will discover six different solution zones inside our event. This means you will be able to navigate around with ease and find the services or products you’re after, leading to better conversations and higher quality outcomes when taking the technology and learnings back to your institution. Bett 2020 will have more networking opportunities onsite, with a Staff Room for educators to have space to discuss the content sessions you’ve experienced and reflect upon what’s inspired you. On top of this, we have the Connect@Bett networking app, which will enable you to set up meetings with relevant exhibitors and fellow educators to help you maximise your time. We look forward to seeing you at Bett!

Eve Harper Event Director – Bett UK

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All New!

TechLearning.com Tech & Learning has expanded the scope and breadth of edtech news. The new site helps you smartly navigate the most important developments in Edtech and innovation.

Visit techlearning.com for: • The latest K-12 Edtech news • How-to guides on implementing K-12 tech solutions • Edtech product reviews and recommendations • The best products to improve teaching and learning • Enterprise solutions to meet district goals

Learn more at

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By the numbers Bett is the first industry show of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together over 800 leading companies, 103 exciting new EdTech startups and over 34,000 attendees. People from over 146 countries in the global education community come together to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the future of education, as well as seeing how technology and innovation enables educators and learners to thrive. Where and when: ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL, United Kingdom. Wednesday 22nd January: 10:00 - 18:00 Thursday 23rd January: 10:00 - 18:00 Friday 24th January: 10:00 - 18:00 Saturday 25th January: 10:00 - 15:00

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Introducing the Global Education Council (GEC) A driving force of visionaries from some of the world’s biggest global brands and educational institutions, the GEC will take part in a live debate at Bett on Friday 24 January in The Arena at ExCeL London where council members will share their thoughts about the perils and opportunities for the class of 2030. The Global Education Council aims to set the tone of education globally. Together with Bett Chairman, Jose Papa (former MD, Cannes Lions), the Council will lead global education innovation transformation while shaping the world’s education ecosystem. The Global Education Council members are: Jose Papa, Chairman, Bett Global Education Council & Co-founder of Trace Academia Ilse Howling, Chairman, Education Development Trust

Mary Apea Ashun, Principal, Ghana International School; Board Member, Association of International Schools in Africa Rt Hon Jim Knight, Former Minister for Schools for the United Kingdom, Chair of Whole Education and Chief Education Officer, TES Eric C Ambras, Chief Inclusion Officer, Stanford University Graduate School of Education Julia Moffat, Founder, Future Learning Fund

The Bett subsidiary group held their first virtual meeting in 2019, hosted by Bett, and shared and compared their experiences of education in their own region and setting. They agreed that, globally, we are only just beginning to unlock the transformative potential of technology in education. The Council agreed that their aim will be to drive challenging and progressive conversation and spread proprietary information to help drive continued progress. Jose Papa commented: “As the Bett Global Education Chairman, I am delighted to be continuing the debate about the future of education at Bett 2020. Though it is still a fairly young organisation, the Global Education Council has in its short life span brought together thought leaders and pioneers from across the education sector to kick-start crucial, global debates about education and where it is headed. My fellow councillors boast a wealth of knowledge and expertise and I am excited to see where these fruitful discussions will take us this year.” Ilse Howling, Chairman of Education Development Trust, added: “It is a true honour to sit on the Global Education Council. As Chairman of Education Development Trust I’ve seen how education can transform lives and an informed, creative global dialogue on education is integral to that. I’m confident that bringing together thought leaders in this way will progress forward thinking and revolutionary work in education. I look forward to being part of the discussion at Bett 2020.” Dr Mary Ashun, Principal of Ghana International School, said: “It is initiatives like the Global Education Council that truly elevate Bett to a status above that of just events. It has never been more important to carry out global discussions on education as we stand on the cusp of what could be a generational transformation for education. At the heart of everything the Council does is our focus on learners, and making sure we are having these debates for their futures.”

Raya Bidshari, Serial Entrepreneur, Writer, Educator, Futurist, Awecademy Vikas Pota, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Varkey Foundation Claudia Costin, Centre for Excellence and Innovation in Educational Policies and former Secretary of Education, Rio de Janeiro Mark Sparvell, Education Thought Leader, Microsoft

Dr Ger Graus, Global Director of Education, KidZania

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2020’s top 5 education trends Education is in constant flux, especially in this new tech-led era. Pupils are more tech-savvy than ever before, and education leaders have been enjoying the power of edtech to engage with them for a number of years now. With that in mind, it’s important to keep abreast of the trends and topics shaping primary and secondary education in the UK. Technology’s pace is relentless, so the onus is on educators to keep up with current developments in order to create better learning environments for their students, and better working practices for themselves. From pedagogy practices to edtech evolutions, BETT advisors lift the lid on the top trends to watch out for in education throughout 2020 .


Integration of new technology to complement current infrastructure

While teachers may require a smarter approach to using their existing technology, it is also important not to overlook fresh developments. Integration of new systems into existing infrastructure is a vital consideration in the modern classroom. So, how can this be achieved? When purchasing and embedding contemporary EdTech products into schools, both practically and strategically, there are some key considerations to take into account. These Include n What is the tech’s main purpose and how will it mutually benefit leaders and learners? n Is there budget enough for new technology? What is the cost in time and money? n What is the state of the school’s present IT and digital infrastructure? Will it require a major system overhaul? n Are teachers happy with integrating new technology? What are their concerns? Helpfully, there are a number of ways the integration process can be smoothed out:

Smartly using current technology

Not every school, college, or place of learning will be able to update its edtech in line with technology’s unstoppable rate of progress. Budget and time constraints, or a potential fear or lack of understanding of new edtech, play their role in ensuring upgrades to existing technology aren’t always forth coming. n Even so, many schools will be equipped with legacy or contemporary EdTech, which teachers are already familiar with. Instead of focusing on new, exciting products and solutions if time or cash starved, schools should be focussing on how best to use classroom tech in smarter, more intuitive ways. n It is recommended that educators find time to tackle technology in their CPD. There is a myriad of resources available to teachers online to help them keep abreast of updates to existing tech, new trends and products to watch out for, and how-to guides on getting the most from legacy systems. n One such database is Twitter. The hashtags #edtechchat and #BettChat are worth following for tips and practical advice from actual education leaders around the UK for instance. n Elsewhere on the web, resources like the BBC’s Click programme and websites such as Click Online and EdTechnology provide further insights into finding new ways of employing their tech during learning hours.

Take a gradual approach – Don’t completely overhaul EdTech in one massive go. Trial and error is key to technology implementation. Listen to teachers’ feedback on what is and isn’t working. Testing is vitally important to ensure technology is working properly and worth integrating fully. Consult IT departments – Headteachers and school infrastructure planners need to be consulting their IT departments before ploughing ahead with installing new systems and technologies. Does your school’s current infrastructure support easy installation? Will there be major system work? How fast is your internet speed? IT staff should be able to advise on the above for a more consolidated EdTech integration approach. Familiarise teachers with tech before integration – If time permits, hold training and CPD sessions for teachers to get to grips with new tech before it enters the classroom. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of ways for learning leaders to engage with technology prior to its integration. One avenue to explore is collaboration and demonstrations via the tech supplier itself, as well as utilising online resources.

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4 Student wellbeing

intelligence in he/fe and the impact on student retention 3 Artificial

Student wellbeing and health is in sharp focus in the 21st century. Indeed, rates of anxiety, stress, depression and other mental conditions in primary and secondary-age pupils are rising. n A recent study from bbc schools finds that 73% of teachers worry about their students’ wellbeing inside their freetime n Now, schools responsibility to monitor their pupils mental health. We’ve seen earlier in this article how AI and machine learning is aiding university students’ wellness. Now, it will be interesting to see how EdTech can aid primary and secondary educators in meeting the same goals. n Data from nasuwt reveals that a shocking 41% of primary school teachers have spotted mental health difficulties in children aged 4-11 n Apps are already available for learners at both levels for aid in this area, often pioneered or developed by former or current education staff. Mind Moose, for example, is an app designed by Sarah Ross, a former Head of Year. Using colourful animations, it explains to primary-level children how to cope with their emotions, selfesteem issues and teaches problem solving. n 70% the number of teenagers experiencing depression has grown in recent years too n For secondary students, apps like ForMe give them confidential access to Childline support, whereas others, such as MeTwo, lets users anonymously chat with one another to engage with any issues they’re having and work through them together.

Ai is being used across the world in a wide variety of sectors. Now, higher learning is the latest of these to start embracing smart machines to improve student retention. n Keeping retention rates high is a top priority for colleges and universities across the UK. With more and more students experiencing stress, mental illness or other issues affecting their education, spotting problems before they arise is very important. n With routine data collection from numerous touch points, such as student swipe cards in use at lecture halls and seminar rooms, library access, and assessment hand ins, machine learning can spot patterns and trends in student behaviour. Then, after this data has been analysed, at risk students can be brought to staff attention, and support given. n Some institutions have been early adopters of this tech. Nottingham Trent University (NTU)’s Student Dashboard has been in use since 2014, measuring a variety of engagement statistics. n This allows tutors and support staff to forge stronger relationships with students, as they can identify and spot at-risk students prior to issues getting out of hand and communicate with them directly at any time.Via its dashboard, the university noticed an increase in both student engagement and retention rates. n There are other aspects of student wellness that AI can help with. Chatbots, as an example, give 24-hour access to students for academic and non-academic support. n Multiculturalism can be embraced and enhanced via machine learning, as international students can use chat systems or dashboards in their preferred languages, letting them communicate more comfortably. Higher learning centres that do this will have a competitive edge when it comes to attracting foreign students.

5 Teacher workload and retention

The new department for education edtech strategy places reducing teacher workload at the top of its list of priorities. A recent survey of teacher working hours conducted by the varkey foundation found that, out of 35 countries, uk teachers have the fourth longest at 51 hours per week. n Because of this, teacher retention rates are reaching critical levels. Studies by the NUT and Leeds Beckett are painting a damning picture of the UK’s teaching staff situation. n 90% of study participants said they were on the verge of leaving the profession, and 86% said they knew someone who had left, due to high workloads. n A further 81% of teachers surveyed said current issues are negatively impact their relationship with their students. n How can EdTech help? An EPI report from 2016 suggests that teachers whose pupils use ICT for class projects work up to 4.6

hours less per week. However, it is worth pointing out that, while EdTech can be a time saving device, not all EdTech does so all the time. n Even so, planning and marking are two areas that take up a lot of teachers’ time outside of the classroom. This is where education technology can come into play in a big way. Platforms such as Twinkl present multiple lesson planning and activity options for teachers to engage with According to the app’s designers, over 500,000 lesson plans have been created using the app so far. n As for marking, this is where AI can play a big role, being able to efficiently mark work in a faster fashion than a human could. n In the same way as approaching any potentially unfamiliar technology, utilising EdTech to aid teachers and improve their wellbeing still requires careful consideration. Think of the time- tobenefit ratio, because EdTech is not a one-size-fits-all solution to every problem.

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A road map to a more democratic future—A call to action for education professionals and EdTech companies What: Sign the Contract for the Web An open seminar at Bett 2020 in the ExCeL London, Friday 24 January at 15:00. We are inviting all the major educational organisations in the UK representing teacher educators and subject associations as well as relevant government departments and companies working in the field to sign up. Who: Professors Marilyn Leask, Christina Preston, Mike Sharples and Sarah Younie. Please register here if you want to join us tpea_launch.eventbrite.co.uk Why: Tim Berners-Lee, a modest man, plays down his genius when he talks about inventing the World Wide Web. Now the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the continued development of the Web and the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, he explained how his invention had come about, “I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and—ta-da!—the World Wide Web….I took a step into generalising, going to a higher level of abstraction, thinking about all the documentation systems out there as being possibly part of a larger imaginary documentation system.” And what an imagination! How simple was his thought and yet, how inspired to see this path through the complex muddle of systems.

It’s not all good But we all have fears over increasing online threats such as electoral interference by foreign powers, hate speech, invasion of privacy and disinformation as well as multinational power. In this context in November, Berners Lee, acknowledged that the WWW has grown into a monster that he had not expected. Now he has launched an appeal for companies, organisations and governments to sign up to a Contract for the Web, ‘global plan of action to make our online world safe and empowering for everyone’. Learned societies concerns This blog is authored by the representatives of three professional organisations representing more than 2,000 members. We are signing up to this call for action that we passionately believe is needed. As Diane Owen, the new Director General of the Royal Overseas League, says, “The chaos of Brexit has brwought into sharp focus the need for those qualities of friendship, respect and service to humanity at large to be reinforced at every opportunity to enable all to prosper in the future.” To make this viable, our members believe we need new powerful tools, based around conversation for learning, creative thinking and consensus forming. In addition, as learned societies, we have another WWW issue to fight. There is significant risk in terms of the long-term availability of free online resources for educators especially in government funded research. In the early days of the development of internet hosted resources for teachers, a number of governments invested heavily in online resources for professional development for Educators: Education Names and Address (EdNA) in Australia and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development (QCDA), Teacher Development Agency, BECTA- the government agency for education technology and the Department for Education (DfE) resources in England. Teachers then found changes of government meant resources were removed, often out of political spite. Colleagues in Sweden and Scotland have reported similar actions. Not only is this a significant waste of government funds, but curricula were built around the resources, and not just in the originating countries. South African colleagues reported that UK government-funded National Curriculum resources which they had been using vanished overnight with no warning. A lesson for the education sector is that government funded research and resources needs a neutral host. We are seeking international funding to ensure an independent repository. Sign the Contract for the Web In this context, we are holding an open seminar at Bett 2020 in the ExCeL London, Friday 24 January at 15:00. We are inviting all the major educational organisations in the UK representing teacher educators and subject associations as well as relevant government departments and companies working in the field to sign up. Make sure you are there!

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How to help support inclusion and SEND in schools. By John Galloway, a specialist in the use of technology to support inclusion, particularly pupils who have special educational needs and disabilities. He is a member of Bett UK’s Advisory Board and works part-time for Tower Hamlets, but also freelances as a consultant, trainer and writer.

Including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in classrooms can be a challenge. One that many teachers in the UK are facing. Statistics vary across the home nations for the number of pupils who have additional learning needs: in England, it is thought it is around 15%, whereas in Scotland it is 28%, Wales 23% and Northern Ireland 22%. Across the country most of these will be in mainstream schools – in England less than 2.5% are in special schools, meaning around 1.2m pupils are in classrooms alongside their peers. Meeting the breadth of these learning needs might seem daunting, particularly at a time of shrinking budgets and shifting priorities. The term SEND encompasses many challenges, from sensory impairments, such as restricted hearing or vision, to cognitive issues like autism and dyslexia, through speech and language development, to social and emotional concerns, including mental health. So what can we do to meet such a diverse range of challenges? Despite the squeeze on funding, there are still many ways in which schools can develop their inclusive practice, plenty of which will be evident at Bett 2020, both on the stands of exhibitors and on the several stages around the place offering free CPD seminars and talks. Among the exhibitors, you might want to go and seek out Microsoft to see what they have been up to. Despite a common perception of them as a mega-corporation, unconcerned with individual needs, they have been developing inclusive resources that are readily available for teaching and learning. For instance, Microsoft’s Edge browser has a text to speech facility built in that means any online content can be immediately read aloud. Then there is Immersive Reader, a very helpful tool for teaching and learning that is now an integral part of both the online Office 365 and the installed version of the same. It provides text to speech – with words highlighted as they are read - along with options for changing the appearance of the text to make it easier to read, perhaps by increasing the letter spacing, or varying the font and background colours, and to analyse it by picking out parts of speech, or breaking words down phonetically. There’s even an on-screen ruler to isolate a line at a time. These are tools that are very helpful for whole-class teaching, as well as for dyslexic students as individual support. Just the sort of resources that might get a mention on Friday afternoon in the Schools Theatre when journalist Sal McKeown will be talking with three experts in this field. This is just one of the many sessions across the Bett stages that are

bringing a focus onto SEND and inclusion. Indeed, if you are planning to come along to Bett then Friday might be the day to aim for. While there are helpful seminars on technology, inclusion and SEND throughout the show, there is a particular focus on the field that day, with talks on inclusive practice and inclusive classrooms, and an Arena presentation from myself and Carol Allen about recent developments in technology and how we can see them making an impact in classrooms and providing a challenge to teachers to go further. While there are many barriers to the successful inclusion of pupils with SEND, we now have a better appreciation of effective classroom practice and a broad range of EdTech resources to support this. These range from the perennial Clicker from Crick Software to the cutting edge Brainco. The first of these is now in its eighth iteration as a resource to support the development of writing, along with myriad activities for many aspects of early learning. This version comes with additional tools for analysing pupils writing, as well as significant growth in the number of online resources available, and a new cloze creation tool for supporting assessment. The latter, Brainco, employs neuro-science in real-time to monitor brain activity and thereby to help understand how learners are learning, and what can be done to make this more effective. Along with these, some resources will support just about any aspect of SEND. You might want to seek out Osborne Technologies sensory pods – ready-to-go multi-sensory spaces that can be craned-in to your playground to provide spaces that are both calming and stimulating, depending upon how you use them – or Texthelp’s Chrome extensions. While these latter are free and help to improve internet accessibility, the company also provide very complete, sophisticated, tools to help all learners, whether struggling readers or high achievers, to work with text. There are also suppliers providing support for very specific needs, along with those with more generic offers. In the first category are Jelly James with their Dynamo Maths, a product designed to specifically address dyscalculia, both its identification and its remediation through targeted intervention. Then there is TTS who have an Aladdin’s cave of a catalogue offering toys and devices to enrich any classroom. While they have products designated as SEND their broad offer is one of engagement and fun throughout the curriculum. The breadth of curriculum teaching and learning is found across the show throughout the four days, including seminars on mental health and wellbeing. It is widely recognised that to achieve to the best of their abilities the majority of children and young people need to feel safe, secure and settled. Seminars such as that chaired by Dawn Hallybone on Thursday help to both bring a focus onto to this important area of school provision, and to offer practical ways in which to bring it about. The need for a strategic approach to overall provision for technology and SEND will be evident at the Wednesday afternoon discussion on Whole School Strategy and Planning. This session approaches the topic from several perspectives: school, local authority, academy trust, and nationally. So whether you have a very particular interest in a specific area of SEND, or you want to understand what priorities you need to address to move your school forward, there will doubtless be something for you at Bett 2020. Along with the opportunity to get right up to date with the technologies that could transform learning, and improve inclusive practices, for your children and young people.

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NEW YEAR, NEW GEAR AT BETT2020 GENETEC INC., a technology provider of unified solutions for enhanced security, operations and intelligence, announces its first ever attendance at BETT. At the show Genetec will be exhibiting its technologies on an interactive stand that ensures visitors can get a true feel for the solutions and their capabilities. Representatives from Genetec will be on hand to explain the solution capabilities, and how the best-of-breed cameras, readers, sensors and analytics can meet each user’s specific requirements. Recognized by IHS Markit as the world’s leading Video Management System (VMS) vendor, Genetec already works with educational institutions around the globe including the University of Hull, Cornell University and the Hilton Central school district in New York. The company is able to solve some of the most pertinent issues schools and universities face as facilities grow in size and complexity and they become responsible for more students. “BETT is the leading trade show for those working in the education sector,” said Nick Smith, Regional Sales Manager for Genetec UK&I. “It’s a chance to connect directly with end-users, and we’re keen to show those attendees the scope and flexibility of our solutions. We’ve never attended before but as education is such a key market for us, this was an opportunity we could not pass up.” “Education is changing all the time, and the complexity of managing campuses is only growing. Combining a plethora of technologies and integrating them effectively is a challenge many face, and our comprehensive solutions can add real value – over and above simply providing security products. Our analytics can help users identify trends and implement courses of action to better manage campus operations – from traffic flow through to students accessing their dormitories, cutting through the complexity and driving return on investment.”

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WITH educators increasingly looking at tools to enhance the learning process, NEO LMS Attendees can visit NEO LMS at Booth NK31 and get refreshing insights on how to design a great learning experience using the platform as well as take part in interactive activities in order to win prizes. Visitors will be able to explore NEO’s newest features such as drag and drop widgets, assignment annotations, tagging, mentor accounts, and more. Attendees will also get a first glimpse at some of the cutting-edge functionalities that will come in 2020, such as the Personal AI assistant that helps measure current competencies and develop new competencies based on existing skills or skills that need to be developed. NEO is an LMS known for its indispensable set of features for schools and universities, including content authoring, competencybased learning, gamification, and automation; all creating an innovative way to teach and learn that boosts student engagement and makes teaching easier.

A new version of NetSupport DNA, the award-winning IT Asset Management solution, will be showcased– providing even more benefits to schools to help them manage their technology effectively. Version 4.8 adds further support to help make budgets go further, while supporting data handling best practice. Schools are under increasing pressure to do more while spending less – and greater insight can help them make more informed decisions. NetSupport DNA’s new Efficiency View can support leaders and managers in gaining a complete overview of their technology and how it is being used via its unique dashboard. It also highlights, at a glance, the areas where efficiency can be improved to create cost- and time-saving benefits, e.g. highlighting which PCs are least effectively used (and therefore can be redeployed) or which apps are the least used (and therefore may not need renewing). Compiling this data into one simple-to-read dashboard makes it easy to quickly see the whole picture. What’s more, the information can be saved and exported as a report and the data can be displayed for customised dates – making it easy to evidence improvements. In addition, the new Data Retention Policy helps organisations to reduce the amount of data they store. Scheduled to automatically delete data (such as internet/ application metering, login sessions and more) over 365 days old (default mode), it helps organisations to keep up to date with the data they hold. Extra performance enhancements have also been added to the thumbnail view in Explorer mode, making it even quicker and easier to view multiple PCs at once. Meanwhile, the Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) feature now allows policies to be applied to users (in addition to specific devices) for display each time any user logs on (or for one-time display and acknowledgement) – making it easier for staff (and students) to receive different AUPs where needed.

CRICK Software’s child-friendly word processor, Clicker, is being used in thousands of schools around the world to boost literacy attainment and enjoyment. Now, Crick is poised to launch not one, but two, major Clicker updates at Bett 2020! Clicker 8 is the complete literacy solution for the primary classroom, providing every pupil with just the right level of support and challenge. In addition to enhancing the core Clicker features that teachers know and love, Crick has added exciting new tools including Clicker Cloze (create topic-specific Cloze activities in seconds) Clicker Analytics (access rich data about each child’s writing journey) and a range of professionallymade resources for developing readers and EAL pupils. Using iPads or Chromebooks with your learners? Crick’s new Clicker Writer app provides step-by-step support throughout the writing process and includes access to a growing bank of sentence building activities, word banks and writing frames aligned to the primary curriculum. What’s more, with Crick’s new universal licensing model, schools can ‘mix and match’ Clicker 8 licenses for their Windows/Mac machines with Clicker Writer licenses for their iPads and Chromebooks, choosing whichever combination works best for their set-up. “Clicker 8 and Clicker Writer are the most powerful and easy-to-use versions of Clicker yet, and our new universal licensing is already proving a big hit with schools, whether they’re using PCs, iPads, Chromebooks or a mixture of all three” says Crick Software CEO, John Crick. “We look forward to showcasing these exciting and transformational new products at Bett 2020.” For further information, please visit Crick Software on stand NE45 in the Learning Tech Zone at Bett 2020, where you can also find out about exclusive upgrade discounts for Clicker 7 users.

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14 OSBORNE Technologies will be revealing the latest in product development exclusively at the BETT Show: n SenEgg - our new self-contained sensory haven provides mobile, individual immersive experiences. Designed with maximum versatility in mind, SenEgg can be used in public spaces, education, health care and even the home, offering a safe, controlled sanctuary within any existing space. n Divoom - smart, stylish and easy to use, our new range of pixel art products are both fun and functional, allowing users to create colourful, still and animated artwork with ease. Featuring vibrant LED pixel displays and smart connectivity they are not only enjoyable to use, but also allow learners to understand the makeup of modern graphical displays. n Funtronic - an interactive projection system, which can be used on various surfaces including floors, tables and even walls. Funtronic projects collaborative multimedia content and allows participants to interact with the surface using their hands, feet and other objects, such as toys and gym equipment. They will also be showcasing our flagship products, including: n EntrySign - signing in/out is made quick and easy using one or more digital touchscreens, kiosks or terminals, which can be located wherever you need them around the school, college or university campus. EntrySign has been chosen by thousands of education establishments throughout the world as their preferred signing in system to safeguard their students, staff and visitors. n Tango - tango interactive solutions put you in complete control of your lesson, meeting or presentation. Tango touchscreens are equipped with the very latest ultra-slim multi-touch technology allowing many users to interact simultaneously using their fingers or the high precision stylus. n Aurora - leads in innovative sensory and immersive technology solutions such as bespoke rooms, cabin pods or even in a mobile vehicle to be shared across multi-academy trusts or other partnerships. n WizeFloor - an award-winning interactive floor for education. It is designed to promote learning through play and physical activity. WizeFloor projects a vast collection of games and activities on to the floor and makes them interactive using camera tracking technology.

IROBOT CORPORATION will be presenting the Root Coding Robot at BETT 2020 in London, between January 23rd to 25th. Root is a fun and easy-to-use educational robot that uniquely teaches coding and 21st century problem-solving skills to children as young as four years old. The Root coding robot is a two-wheeled, mobile platform. The robot operates on flat surfaces at home, like tables, floors, and countertops, and vertical surfaces in a classroom, like a magnetic whiteboard. When paired with the companion mobile application, users can instruct Root to draw artwork, scan colors, play music, respond to touch and sound, climb whiteboard walls, and explore the fundamentals of robotics. Root uses three levels of coding language, from simple graphical blocks for young children to full text coding for more advanced users. “The Root coding robot is an incredibly powerful tool for learning to code because it intuitively scales to users’ abilities,” said Zee Dubrovsky, general manager of Educational Robots at iRobot. “A four-year-old can begin coding Root using simple pictures and symbols that translate to robot actions. Once a child has mastered graphical coding, they can seamlessly toggle to the next two levels, which introduce hybrid coding, followed by full text coding. This scalable approach is what has been missing from other educational coding robots.” Please visit https://root.irobot.com for more information.

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TURNITIN is set to exhibit even more solutions that make a discernible difference in education. In just 18 months, Turnitin has launched Authorship, the first product to help institutions investigate contract cheating, and Gradescope, which has revolutionised instructor grading using machine learning. At Bett 2019, Turnitin announced its new partnership with Microsoft. One year later, Turnitin will announce general availability of its Microsoft Teams integration at Bett 2020. With Turnitin in Microsoft Teams, teachers can seamlessly access the most comprehensive plagiarism detection solution alongside their favourite Microsoft apps. At 2pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and 11am on Friday of Bett 2020, Turnitin will welcome two special guests from Barnsley College to its stand. Rob Whitehead and Rob Lea will share their experience of Turnitin in Microsoft Teams; they will also discuss Barnsley’s five-fold increase in student engagement, as well as improvements in helping teachers save time. Barnsley College will share tips and insights about how using Turnitin and Microsoft Teams together has helped educators prepare students to succeed in university and the workplace -- from instilling a culture of academic integrity to encouraging critical thinking skills and strengthening digital literacy.

PAROTEC AND STUDIO PROPER will be displaying a new powered range of POS solutions for the new iPad 10.2” (7th Gen). Parotec will be showcasing at BETT 2020 the new Studio PROPER powered range consisting of swivel stand / fixed desk stand and wall mount. Versatile and ergonomic — The Proper iPad swivel stand is designed to seamlessly and securely mount and display your iPad. Combining 180° of swivel rotation for convenient customer interaction, and an ergonomically friendly 80° of angle adjustment; the swivel stand optimises the user experience of your iPad, and looks beautiful in every environment. With the included MFi certified lightning cable, the swivel stand conceals your cables, and keeps your iPad locked securely into place, while remaining powered at all times. Please come and view these and other models from the PROPER range at our stand SG42.

KONICA MINOLTA will be demonstrating how its augmented reality, all-in-one IT solutions, intelligent video and sustainability solutions are unlocking the potential of staff, pupils, students and operations at schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK. The company will be on stand NH45 from 22nd-25th January 2020, at ExCeL London to provide hands-on demonstrations of its ground-breaking and class-leading technologies that are having a meaningful impact in classrooms and back-offices of education establishments today. The solutions on display at BETT 2020 will include its GenARate Augmented Reality for print, which brings a new dimension to learning and student engagement; the Workplace Hub all-in-one IT management solution, the powerful Mobotix Intelligent Video Solutions for the safeguarding of people and property, and a Virtual Reality Sustainability experience. Jonathan Smith, Public Sector Business Unit Leader at Konica Minolta states: “Our technology is about unlocking potential. We enable educators to employ the very latest innovations to create more engaging and immersive teaching and learning experiences, delivered in a safer and more secure environment.” He adds: “What is more, our wealth of experience managing IT systems for schools, colleges and universities means we are able to provide the expertise and infrastructure to embrace the technology of today, plan for tomorrow, and do so whilst optimising operational efficiency and delivering peace of mind.” Konica Minolta will also take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of raising awareness of mental health in education, through supporting Mind, the mental health charity. This will include the creation of a unique mosaic artwork during the event that every visitor to the stand can participate in. Jonathan adds: “Our partnership stems from the need for employers and educators to better understand mental health issues and how to provide the right support to those who need it in order to help them achieve their potential.”

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WHAT IS A VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT? Find out what makes a VLE tick and how it could help you THE Invention of the internet changed learning forever, but for anybody looking to acquire knowledge on a particular subject, being able to access a vast amount of information at a click can prove both a blessing and a curse. Favoured by educational institutions and businesses alike, a Virtual Learning Environment (or VLE) can enhance the learning experience by offering controlled access to resources that have been curated by educators and shared with specific groups of learners. In business, VLEs are sometimes integrated with another tool – such as an LMS (Learning Management System) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. An extension of the physical classroom, VLEs have been associated with improved retention of information and faster learning in users. Additionally, their automation capabilities have freed up educators’ time, allowing them to focus on different tasks. Why a Virtual Learning Environment? There are several reasons why an educational establishment or business would want to use a virtual learning environment. A key benefit is being able to oversee the delivery of information – such as training courses in business or the dissemination of curriculum resources in education. A VLE can also facilitate the tracking of progression in learners and encourage communication between information providers and participants, who can provide feedback and engage with other users (in the form of forums, discussion threads, surveys and polls) to get support when needed. ther enefits incl de Resource management: A VLE acts as a central repository for sharing resources and information in an accessible manner from internetconnected desktop and mobile devices. Educators can easily control what resources are shared and encourage users to supplement what is available with external research that can be easily imported into the VLE either on-premise or remotely. Learners can quickly and easily submit online coursework set to deadlines. Engaging learning: Efficient use of a VLE can reduce monotony and increase engagement in learners. This can be done by providing access to quizzes and tests submitted by both educators and other users, alongside professional certification courses; videos and audio lectures;

ebooks; podcasts; webinars and other instructional videos. Social communication: Modern VLEs are inherently social and offer communication features that have been inspired by from social networking platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Reddit. This reduces the reliance on educators to keep users engaged and facilitates the growth of organic content – especially when combined with gamification elements. Reducing educator workload: VLEs save teachers time by allowing them to organise information using templates that can be tweaked and repurposed as necessary. They also automate communication by automatically messaging users who haven’t logged in for a certain amount of time, or completed a course within a timeframe (for example). Grading of work: A VLE Makes it easier for an educator or user to grade (or self-grade) work over time, storing progress in a database. Some virtual learning environments have inbuilt analytics capabilities which allow students to view their own progress, download and manipulate their data and better understand their learning patterns. Editing resources on the fly: VLEs offer the advantage of being able to edit documents – everything from Microsoft Office to Google Docs – on-the-fly and in real-time while allowing learners to track changes over time. This lets users see the most up-to-date versions of resources and documents without having to constantly refresh them, which is crucial in a fast-paced learning environment. Remote Desktop access: Some VLEs can be configured to allow access to a Virtual Desktop Service (or VDS), which provide users with remote access to a desktop devices for accessing files and programmes over a local or remote network connection. isad antages of a There are multiple factors that can lead to the successful deployment of a virtual learning environment – and similarly failure will strike if they are not achieved. A VLE can pose the risk of discouraging students from taking control of their own learning processes, particularly if educators are too prescriptive and do not allow flexibility in overcoming work and tasks that are set. Additionally, there is a need for educators to upload engaging learning materials to their virtual learning environment and continually develop resources to meet the needs of its users. To understand their needs, educators must themselves be digitally proficient in the use of their VLE and research new features in order to prevent learners from becoming disengaged. As with the procurement of any new technology, there is a potential risk that a VLE could be procured as a solution to a problem that does not exist. Businesses are encouraged to evaluate their business problem and decide whether a future-proofed virtual learning environment is the best solution. Often, a VLE will succeed when it is tailored to overcoming a specific problem rather than being all things to all people. Educational providers, meanwhile, should pay less attention to a VLE’s features and more on how it will allow them to achieve their desired outcomes.

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WHAT IS STEM? Plugging the tech skills gap – and much more besides STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are core subject areas in the education arena in the modern world, and obviously especially relevant when it comes to careers in tech and related fields – although when people talk about STEM, generally speaking there tends to be a particular focus on technology. The term STEM came about just after the turn of the millennium (although previously it was around as a concept, and had been dubbed SMET by the National Science Foundation over in the US). The concept came into being because of the realization of the importance of these subjects, in terms of developing youngsters to be interested in, and ready for, careers in technology, engineering (mechanical or electrical) and of course branches of science of all kinds (note that the ‘science’ in STEM does not encompass social sciences). Skills gap As the world goes increasingly digital, you’ve doubtless heard talk of the tech skills gap. This refers to the fact that there are more and more tech jobs opening up, to the extent that there’s a difficulty in filling those positions – particularly as some roles may require some pretty sophisticated and specialist knowledge. One of the major thrusts of STEM is to help equip tomorrow’s workforce with the skills needed to meet those demands. And indeed to give students a robust grounding in fundamental critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are invaluable not just for any career, but more broadly in life itself. So it’s not surprising, then, that governments across the world are getting wise to the need of strongly promoting STEM education (from school through to university). It can be seen as a critical part of the puzzle of keeping the economy ticking over and suitably healthy, as more jobs go digital, and a workforce unprepared for the progress of technology could be a drag factor in that respect. As a result, broadly speaking there are a good number of government initiatives which have been fired up around the globe to promote STEM subjects. For example, in the UK, STEM Learning – which is supported by the government and charitable trusts, as well as businesses – offers a program of education and careers support for youngsters across the country. It also comprises of elements like STEM Clubs which allow for extracurricular activities to explore these subjects in what are designed to be fun ways, to further drive engagement. There are similar organizations worldwide, as you might expect, such as The STEM Academy over in the US, a non-profit (also known as STEM 101) which provides similar education programs and instructor training, and was described by a Cisco exec as a “high impact academic model for workforce development of the 21st century”. Career considerations What are the sort of typical career paths that a good STEM

education might lead a person down? Certainly there are plenty of possibilities in the tech world, including some crucial roles such as tomorrow’s cybersecurity personnel. The likes of white hat (ethical) hackers, for example, have never been in more demand as we face a future where online security equates with national security – given that wars may be fought with malware and hacking, and state-sponsored actors are already becoming increasingly prevalent. Next-gen software and hardware will also need developers, as ever, and roles such as data scientists are becoming more and more important. Naturally there are STEM jobs outside of tech, too, including the likes of actuaries, statisticians, and various types of engineers and healthcare personnel among others. But when people talk about STEM, as we mentioned at the outset, it is generally tech-related jobs which are the main focus. Of course, STEM jobs don’t just benefit governments or employers, but also the employee, at least going by statistics which compare wages against non-STEM workers. One report published in 2018 from Pew Research used US Census Bureau data to come to the conclusion that a non-STEM worker earns 26% less. Another study in the UK indicated an almost 20% difference in favor of STEM employees. Importance of STEM If there’s one takeaway to have about STEM, it should be that a thorough educational grounding in these core subjects isn’t merely about filling jobs and keeping any given country’s economy on track, or personally earning more money. More to the point, STEM is hugely relevant to ushering in a new generation of citizens with the skills to solve what will doubtless be some of the biggest problems we face in the future – whether that’s climate change, or a global cyber-war. We should always remember that a balanced, well-rounded education is important, and that includes the arts, of course, and fundamental writing and language skills – but it would be foolish to underestimate the importance of STEM subjects, and the career paths they can lead down. Not to mention the clear need every nation has to make sure that the tech skills gap doesn’t become a chasm.

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A Chromebook for school doesn’t have to be a powerful machine, but it needs to be properly functional. It also needs to be practical, with a decent battery life, and not so heavy as to be tiring to carry about the school campus all day. The market for Chromebooks is pretty competitive, which means there are some simple but capable machines out there that will work well in a school environment. Additionally, there are some strong budget entries that should provide for more than enough, rising up to more expensive Chromebooks that are suited for more heavy-duty tasks. These days Chromebooks also compare very well against traditional laptops, so don’t think you’re necessarily getting any less of a machine. Additionally, the fact that they tend to have smaller hard drives and a focus on online content makes them potentially more ideal for education, as there’s less likelihood of installing unnecessary games, movies, and similar distracting media. Here therefore we’ll look at the best in Chromebooks for school.

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As s


Powerful entry-level school Chromebook ros: Large screen, Decent memory ons Simple processor

You might expect an entry-level Chromebook to be quite limited, with a small screen and limited memory, but the Asus C523 bucks the trend quite significantly and offers the most for your money without any obvious compromises. It comes with a 15.6 inch screen, which is more than the 11.6 or even 14 inch sizes that are normal at this price range. Additionally, the Asus C523 comes with 64 GB hard drive, which although not huge is double what most Chromebooks at this price range offer. The Celeron processor itself isn’t a particularly powerful one, but it’s more than enough for routine computing tasks and general schoolwork. There’s also a good 4 GB or RAM. This Chromebook is also reasonably lightweight at 1.4 kg and has a battery life of around 10 hours. In terms of connectivity is comes with 2 x USB 3 and 2 x USB C ports, along with built-in Bluetooth, WiFi, a basic webcam, and an audio system. Overall, so far as entry-level budget models goes this is a very decent machine for the price, and offers a lot more than most competitors at a higher price range.



Powerful entry-level school Chromebook ros

Improved processor, Improved graphics card ons Heavier

The Acer 315 comes in a little more expensive than the Asus C532 above, and while many of the specifications are the same or similar, the Acer 315 has the advantage of a more powerful processor and graphics card to handle more demanding apps. It also has a 15.6 inch screen and a 64 GB hard drive, along with 4 GB of RAM. At 1.8 kg it is slightly heavier than the Asus C523, even though it delivers a similar 10-hour battery life. Connectivity is the standard Chromebook 2 x USB 3, plus 2 x USB C, with built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, though the webcam and audio system are a better quality than above. It’s the AMD 4 dual-core processor along with the Radeon A4 graphics card that give the Acer 315 the edge, allowing it to do more without breaking the bank. Overall, as an entry-level Chromebook the Acer 315 is a step-up from previous, and should be able to handle most routine school work tasks with ease.

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hro e oo

A strong workhorse for school and more ros HD touchscreen, Good processord, 128 GB memory


hro e oo

HD touchscreen school Chromebook ros

HD screen, Touchscreen, 12 hour battery ons Smaller screen

The Acer Chromebook 14 comes in a variety of forms, usually varying in small ways with regards to tech specs such as hard drive size. What they all have in common is a 14 inch HD touchscreen. While having the smaller 14 inch screen may seem something like a trade-off, being able to view graphics in HD, as well as being able to use the touchscreen for apps, makes it a potentially more practical machine than the others above. Expect the Acer Chromebook 14 to come with a relatively modest processor that should be able to handle routine tasks with ease, and aim for a model with 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB SSD hard drive is possible - this will cost more, but make the Chromebook more versatile for use. Connectivity includes the standard 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB C, as well as built in Bluetooth and WiFi. However, another advantage of the Acer Chromebook 14 is the battery life, which can last as much as 12 hours. Overall, this is another step up in terms of functionality but also price than the previous models, and makes for a good mid-range school Chromebook.

The Dell Chromebook 14 takes things to a higher level still, offering a good solid machine with decent technical specifications to create a strong Chromebook for school. Again, the screen size is only 14 inches, but it’s a full 1080p HD touchscreen, making images and graphics clearer, as well. The processor is also a good Intel Core with an Intel Graphics card so that the Chromebook can handle many demanding applications as well as more routine ones. In terms of memory, expect a good 128 GB SSD drive for fast and reliable storage, along with a standard set of connectors such as USB 3 and USB C for plugging in a smartphone, as well as built in Bluetooth and WiFi, of course. As for weight, the Dell Chromebook 14 comes in at around 1.6 kg, so relatively mid-range for that, as is the battery life at around 10 hours. All in all, the Dell Chromebook 14 is a solid allround workhorse of a machine that is going to easily cope with a wide range of tasks, from school work to college and more, and the price reflects that.


oogle i el oo


The best Chromebook available ros Best tech specs, 2-in-1, HD webcam ons Expensive

The Google Pixelbook Go is a 2-in-1 device, allowing you to use this Chromebook as either a laptop or like a tablet with a slot-in keyboard. It’s stylish, sleek, and powerful - and is the best Chromebook currently on the market. It is also the most expensive, with the price range starting from around $650 (£625) rising to $1399 (£1,300), depending on how powerful you want the internal processor to be. The low-end specs are very strong as it is, with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, making it a very capable machine when it comes to more intensive tasks, as well as a 64GB SSD hard drive. However, these are variously upgraded through different price ranges to the high-end model, which can offer an Intel i7 processor with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage. There are, of course, the standard connections, as well as an industry leading HD webcam built-in. However, while the lower-end Google Pixelbook Go offers value for money compared to rivals, the higher-spec models might not be so effective if the Chromebook is only required for schoolwork. Overall, though, the Google Pixelbook Go remains the best Chromebook on the market, let alone for school or any other use. Check out our review of the Google Pixelbook Go here

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LAPTOPS When looking to buy a school laptop, you don’t normally have to worry about getting a powerful machine with the latest processor and huge amount of RAM as you might for a gaming laptop. However, you will still need to ensure it has good enough specifications to run smoothly (ie, at least 4GB RAM), and additionally have enough media connections to cater for a range of study needs, such as USB ports and perhaps a CDR drive. As schools often use online services, such as subscriptions to Office 365 and Google Classroom, hard drive size isn’t actually a big issue unless you want the laptop to be used for more than just school work. On top of this, you also need to ensure that the laptop is practical not just in ability but also in terms of size, as large and heavy laptops are not going to be good for any school child to be carrying all day. That also means that big screen laptops are probably out of the running. Therefore competent hardware, accessibility, and ease of portability are going to be key deciding factors when it comes to choosing a laptop for school. Additionally, it’s good to have a range of budget options to consider, as premium laptops won’t suit everyone, and budget laptops may be a better investment when it comes to surviving knocks in the classroom. Bearing all of that in mind, here we’ll look at what we think are the best laptops for school in terms of practicalities and functionality.

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Acer Aspire

The budget entry school laptop ros: Solid design, Simple workhorse, Good connectivity ons Low memory

The Acer Aspire 1 is a great entry-level laptop, offering a solid AMD Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM, meaning you should be able to run Windows 10 along with a few applications with relative ease and little lag. At 1.65 kg it weighs in at the slightly heavier side of small laptops, but not by much, and the 14” screen should be practical, even though it offers high resolution rather than HD - making it fine for schoolwork rather than watching the latest movies. Connectivity is good with lots of options, including 3 USB ports (2 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3), plus an SD media card reader, an HDMI and Ethernet port, as well as built in Bluetooth and Wifi connection. There’s also a built-in basic webcam, mic, and audio system. The big limitation with this machine is the memory, with two main editions offering either a 32GB or 64GB hard drive - which isn’t a lot, especially when Windows 10 will take a few gigs out of that. Then again, it’s likely to be easily enough memory for saving schoolwork to, and perhaps even a few simple games. Overall, as a budget entry laptop for school it does exactly what it needs to do, but it’s going to be limited when it comes to general use - which may or may not be an added benefit.


lo d oo

A stylish budget school laptop ros Stylish, Improved specs, Light ons Limited memory

The HP Stream is another budget entry 14” screen laptop, but has the advantage of being especially stylish-looking in the white edition, so it can look more expensive than it actually is. Additionally, the base model has a more powerful Celeron processor than the Acer Aspire 1 above, with additional variations offering improvements for only a little more money. At 1.47 kg it also comes in a little lighter. Memory is still a limitation, though, with no more than 64GB on the hard drive for Windows 10 to install as well as for saving files. Again, this makes the HP Stream good for school work, home work, and maybe a little more, but again this is not a hardcore gaming or media machine. In terms of connectivity and other features, it’s a standard set of 2 x USB 2.0 ports plus one USB 3.0 port, as well as a media card reader, HDMI port, plus Ethernet port for connectivity, as well as builtin Bluetooth and WiFi. Again, there’s also a simple webcam and audio system with a mic. Overall, better specifications and a better design make this a small step up from the Acer Inspire 1, while still working to a very low budget. Also, do watch for bundles that some retailers throw in with this, which can sometimes include a limited subscription for Office 365 and OneDrive storage.

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As s i o oo


Good overall workhorse laptop ros HD screen, Good specs Powerful processor SSD hard drivery

Acer Aspire

Good specs at a cheap price ros

Good specs, Bigger screen Large hard drive, General use laptop

The Acer Aspire 3 is a big step up from its smaller cousin in every way. It has a HD 15.6 inch screen, more powerful processor, and a 1TB hard drive so there’s plenty of storage memory for all ordinary activities. Additionally, while there are 4GB and 8GB RAM versions, we strongly recommend the 8GB RAM version as it’ll ensure that this machine runs like a breeze. And that’s what really makes this laptop such a good choice, because not only does it come in relatively cheap at around $350/£350, it is a completely competent machine for almost any ordinary work load. In terms of connectivity, it offers the usual standard of 2 x USB 2.0 ports plus a USB 3.0 port, as well as multi-media card reader, HDMI and Ethernet ports, on top of built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Overall, while there are bigger and stronger laptops on the market, the Acer Aspire 3 is actually a really good general use machine, with enough memory to run smoothly with plenty of storage capacity. Although recommended here for school use, it would also be perfectly useful for college or university, as well as general personal and business usage.

The Asus Vivobook range offers good solid workhorses for general use, and the S15 is no exception. It also comes with a HD 15.6 inch screen, but it also houses a powerful I-7 Intel processor alongside 8GB of DDR4 RAM. Even better, it’s only a little more expensive than the Acer Aspire 3, making it something of a costeffective upgrade if needed. One thing it does less is hard drive storage capacity, coming in at 512 GB - plenty enough for most general use, let alone school work - but with the added advantage that it’s a solid state drive (SSD) making it potentially more reliable and faster than any drive above. It offers the standard range of connections (2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI) but with the addition of a USB-C connector, as well as Bluetooth 5 and WiFi 6 also built in, offering a little more possibility than the other machines featured above. Overall, the Asus Vivobook S15 is another solid laptop with decent specs that should satisfy most anyone with general computing needs, and easily do most ordinary tasks without any problems. As a laptop it’s more than enough to cope with most any school curriculum.



The best Windows 10 laptop ros Totally stylish, Lightweight Touchscreen, Power specs Long lifetimee

If budget is no object, then the best overall Windows 10 laptop you can buy right now is the Dell XPs 13. It’s been a Techradar fave for years because of its stylish design, solid build, specs, and reliability, and each new iteration simply adds to the range without compromising any previous advantage or aspect of its functionality. The screen is only 13.3 inches, but it’s Ultra HD meaning that the images you have will be sharp and clear. It’s also a touchscreen for easier use with apps. The smaller screen also has the plus of being reducing the laptop’s weight to just 1.2 kgs, making it the lightest on this list. Under the hood can vary according to which model you get, but at its best the XPS 13 has a powerful quadcore I-7 Intel processor and a generous 16 GB of RAM, making it idea for graphical applications that would otherwise strain less powerful laptops. Additionally, it can come with a 1TB SSD hard drive for extra speed and reliability. It also has great connectivity, including 2 x USB 3.0 ports as well as 1 x USB C, plus 2 x HDMI ports, on top of already integrated Bluetooth and Wifi. Also installed is a widescreen webcam and an array of four digital microphones. Overall, the Dell XPS 13 is the most expensive laptop on this list, but it’s a top of the range machine and is likely to be useful to anyone for years. Also note that due to the carefully selected materials used, it’s the most environmentally friendly option on the list as well.

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When it comes to computer coding, it can be hard to motivate kids and older students to want to learn. After all, most apps and other software platforms already do everything for them, so there’s little incentive to learn. However, coding and programming are key skills now and demand is expected to increase in the future, especially when it comes to managing cybersecurity and cloud services and SaaS platforms, let alone direct application development. Therefore students who can be engaged in coding now can have better potential prospects once they do leave school, either for additional education or directly for the workplace. Luckily, there are coding and programming platforms out there that aim to make learning fun, which can be often achieved through easy to follow video tutorials and simple exercises, such as animations, which can become progressively more challenging to match student development levels. Here then are what we think are the best in school coding platforms.


han Acade

The big free educational platform for schools ros: Free to use Range of courses ons Limited coding

Khan Academy is a free online learning platform for schools and interested learners, that aims to provide teaching resources for a range of subjects from coding & programming, maths & science, to art & history. The platform aims to teach from Kindergarten using adaptive technology to identify strengths and gaps in a user’s learning and suggest courses to proceed with accordingly. As well as having big aims it also has big supporters, from partnerships with NASA and MIT, to funding from the Bank of America and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There are a lot of maths courses, many of which are provided by grade level, and of the computer science courses there are a limited number covering everything from programming to animation. Overall, a worthwhile and enabling platform, and definitely worth considering adding it to your educational resources.


ode Acade

Dedicated platform for beginner coding ros

Aimed at teenagers+ Extensive resources, Range of coding languages, Free tier

Code Academy is a dedicated learning resource platform for teaching many different coding and programming skills. While not specifically tailored to schools, it is aimed at beginners and could especially help teenage students as well as adult learners. This also means it gets to a cover a wider range of programming languages than more basic platforms, and can include Python, Javascript, SQL, C++, C#, Ruby, PHP, as well as a few others on top of HTML & CSS. There’s quite an extensive catalogue, and it’s not all just about coding, but about structured approaches to data science, which can include different approaches to analyzing data or creating code, depending on your preference. Even better is that there is a free tier that allows for access to all basic courses. However, you can pay around $20 a month for accept to memberonly content, real-world projects, while also receiving guidance and peer support.

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ode A engers

A dedicated coding platform for schools ros

For all school ages Teaching resources ons No free tier

Code Avengers is a platform developed in New Zealand/Aotearoa which aims to provide learning resources for schools across a number of areas of coding, programming, and development. Main courses focus on Python, HTML & CSS, Javascript, web development, as well as web design. The resources are split across three main areas: learning resources for beginners between 5-14 years of age, help for teachers to deliver the courses, and more creative projects for 15 years and above. As a learning resource it keeps things tightly organised and simple to work with, but unlike the Khan Academy it’s not free to use. However, the pricing is relatively cheap and affordable, costing just $20 per month when paid annually, or $29 per month when paid for on a rolling month to month basis. Whichever plan you choose gives you unlimited access to over 500 lessons, as well as 100+ guided projects and 100+ quizzes. There’s also an option to create projects using their cloud platform, and there are certificates avaialbel upon completion. There’s also an exclusive Slack channel for support.




The British school coding resource ros For elementary learners Learn through play ons Some limitations Think Big Coding is a British initiative to help teach coding and programming in schools, providing resources for teaching online as well as in the classroom. The aim is to provide fun and interactive coding sessions for primary/elementary school children, allowing them to create their own animations, websites, and games, using any number of coding resources which can include Scratch and Python, as well as HTML & CSS. These can be used in class lessons or for after school activities. The first lessons are based on using Scratch and gradually develop into using aspects of Python, then Wordpress. Although originally developed to support local schools in partnership with Kent University, there will soon be an Virtual Learning Environment to provide wider online access, through the provision of modular courses through the online web portal. Although the general Coding Club is currently only for local schools, you can sign up for the Online Learning Portal including CodeCombat for a 3 monthly subscription of £23.97 (just under $10 per month).

l ralsight

The world’s biggest online training library ros Huge library, Many courses Skills testing ons No free tier, Aimed at older students

Pluralsight is probably the biggest online training library when it comes to IT skills, not least due to a series of acquisitions over the years. The result is an absolutely massive number of online training courses in all aspects of IT, from managing servers to direct programming skills. The one caveat is that the platform is more orientated at older students, so rather than providing the basics for the youngest minds, it’s more of a place to teach those who are looking to differentiate into different areas. Aside from a vast array of courses, Pluralsight make it easy for you to develop your own path using a series of features that include channels for easy organizing, paths for determining which skills you can follow with, as well as skill assessments that will show both your strengths and the gaps in your knowledge. Altogether, Pluralsight is an excellent resource just waiting to be mined by the enquiring mind. There’s a ten-day free trial to explore and use the service, with monthly fees coming in from around $30 per month.

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TABLETS Tablets may not be the first thing you think of in terms of helping with the school work, but they can actually make for a great and practical alternative to school laptops or even Chromebooks for school. An immediate selling point is their portability, as tablets are generally smaller, more lightweight, and easier to carry than laptops/notebooks/ Chromebooks, especially the smaller 7 and 8 inch models that we’ll look at here. Additionally, a lot of educational software now runs as Software as a Service, such as Google Classroom and BBC Bitesize, meaning you only need to a browser to access the learning resources. Other essential software for school will also probably be the same, such as an Office 365 subscription provided by the school, college, or university. The result is that you don’t really need a computing device with much of a hard drive because most work will be saved to an online storage service in the cloud anyway. Here then are the tablets we think will be best suited for school use.



The little big tablet for school work ros: Incredibly cheap, Very versatile Amazon services ons Limited apps

The Amazon Fire is a very affordable range of tablets that are always worth considering buying into. While some people might prefer the larger or HD versions, here we’ll simply recommend the simplest Fire 7 tablet as it’s just so cheap it’s hard to pass it by. Even better is that it’s reliable and will easily be able to cope with online course work. Although it only comes with 1 GB of RAM, the quadcore processor makes short work of any tasks it needs to handle, so you’re unlikely to see much in the way of lag with even this cheapest of models. And while it also only comes with limited storage as standard, with 16 GB and 32 GB versions, there is an SD card slot to expand this as required. Of course, a great selling point of the Fire tablets is the way they are fully integrated into the Amazon ecosystem, so whether it’s the Alexa assistant or the Kindle ebooks - many available for free or at discount - this tablet can offer cheap and easy access to so many useful services. And the 7 inch screen makes it easy to use everywhere. While the Fire tablets are great in almost every way, they do come with a limited range of apps, even though the FireOS is based on Android. This may not be so much of an issue for school use, though. What is disappointing is that parents with an Amazon Prime membership can only share this with their children on the parent’s own tab, meaning children can’t easily access free books on their own Fire that would otherwise be available with Prime. Overall, the Fire 7 is a great all round tablet, and at this price it’s hard to ignore, especially for use in schools.


ragon o ch

Another budget tablet for school ros Google Play Store, Cheap ons No Bluetooth

The Dragon Touch is another budget tab 7 inch tab, this time running on Android. Another big difference between it and the Fire tablet is that the Dragon Touch has a more powerful processor and twice as much RAM, making it potentially a faster and more useful machine. The fact that it is running on Android means users can access the Google Store, which while contains games also contains a wider range of apps that could prove useful, especially for organizing documents and images. Whether students will use them is another matter, but the option is there if required. The Dragon Touch doesn’t have Bluetooth or GPS built in, which makes wider use options a little limited, but it’s cheap price means that if you’d prefer to have access to Android apps then the Dragon Touch makes for a potentially suitable alternative to Amazon’s Fire tablets.

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5 a ei


A more powerful tablet option for school ros

Decent tech specs Affordable 8 inch screen

The Huawei Mediapad T3 is an 8” tab that allows for a little more working screen room, without too much of a price hike over the Dragon Touch, making it another accessible and cheap Android tablet for use with school work. Although it only comes with a standard 16GB of internal memory, like most of the other tablets listed here this can be extended via an SD memory card. And if you’re concerned about what your children can access, there are smart parental controls for accessing apps and other content. Overall, in terms of functionality and technical specs, the Huawei Mediapad T3 is similar to the Dragon Touch is most ways, with the exception of having a larger screen and therefore a larger price tag to go with it. Otherwise it’s affordable and competent device.

a s ng


a A

A solid tablet for all uses


ros Solid and reliable Relatively cheap Decent tech specs

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inch is, as the product title suggests, another 8” android tablet, and a step up from the Huawei Mediatab. While this Samsung Galaxy Tab has slightly improved technical specifications, not least with a faster processor, it also comes with Samsung’s reputation for solid builds. Although this is an older model, it’s still a robust and reliable tablet that should be great for all kinds of school work. As with other Android tablets there is access to the Google Play Store and the apps there, some of which may prove additionally useful on top of any existing web apps provided by the school. What’s especially good about the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inch is that the size still keeps it manageably portable for children, but the price is also very reasonable, making this a great choice as a useful tablet for use not just in school but also for general usage.

i ad


The most powerful tablet for school ros Very powerful, Apple Appstore ons Expensive

The iPad Mini is probably the most expensive of the tablets listed here, but it’s also the best overall. And while it has larger and more famous cousins, we think the iPad Mini is probably going to be the most practical for school use, with its small size making it easy to carry around while still containing a powerhouse of a machine inside. Aside from its powerful processor and strong RAM that will handle most anything you can use it for, it also has an excellent camera and recording facilities which could make it easily useful for recording lessons/lectures as well as snapping up notes from the whiteboard or projector display. There’s also its very high resolution True Tone screen so that all images are crisp and sharp, plus various storage options from 64 GB to 256 GB, as well as online storage options using iCloud, which is free for the first 5 GB. Of course, there are also a ton of apps available, including a range of education and graphics apps which could also be useful, and of course its compatible with the Apple Pencil for drawing. Overall, a very powerful tablet whose hardware is well complemented by its range of software options.

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AV IN EDUCATION: FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL AV Technology Europe is the leading information resource for professional users of AV equipment and systems in the UK and Europe. A significant portion of its content coverage revolves around AV in education and here, former editor and AV specialist Michael Garwood provides an overview of AV’s growing influence on modern learning spaces ahead of the 2020 Bett show in London

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ack in the early 80s when I was at school, the extent of AV was little more than an old wooden-looking TV on wheels, a VHS player and a light switch. If you were lucky, maybe a slightly intimidating overhead projector and a set of special felt pens. Today, things have evolved to almost unprecedented levels. AV technologies, whether audio, visual or control, have brought and continue to bring true transformational change to the way teaching is taught and learning is learnt to the point where technology has become one of the most vital components in the modern classroom, both on-site or even those off-site. Technology investment in primary, secondary and particularly higher education is now staggering, bringing new opportunities across the entire spectrum; from manufacturers, integrators, the education facility itself, right down to the most (morally) important people of all, the students. In 2019, the total professional AV (pro AV) market was valued at a whopping $247 billion. By 2024, that figure will surpass $325 billion. Revenues for pro AV products and solutions within education (including primary) are expected to top nearly $20 billion worldwide in 2019 and grow six per cent annually through 2024 – making it the fastest growing AV market. The opportunities have never been clearer or greater, but equally it has never been more important for education facilities and organisations to evolve to ensure expectations are met. A unique market opportunity In addition to the figures, the noises coming out from these facilities are positive. Research from AVIXA’s latest Market Opportunity Analysis Report (MOAR) shows that 36 per cent of

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29 decision makers in education indicated that budgets for classroom improvements were poised to increase significantly. When it comes to implementing AV in classrooms, 82 per cent said they believe AV can help teachers teach, whilst 73 per cent said it increases student engagement. Sixty-one per cent said AV in learning spaces boosts collaboration among students. Speaking to various universities across the UK, it has become increasingly apparent that AV is playing an increasingly important role in helping people to decide where they wish to study or indeed teach. Continued investment is therefore vital; particularly when you consider university students in England now pay upwards of £9,200 per year for the privilege of studying for a degree. How does that look? The beauty of what makes the ‘AV in education’ market one of, if not the most unique and interesting markets of all, is the sheer variation of how AV technology is used and deployed. When it comes to education, there simply isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach - particularly at the higher education, college/ university levels - and students can make a choice on what best suits their needs and preferences. Isn’t that great? Perhaps equally as unique is the lack of secrecy among AV professionals operating in the education space, openly sharing their ideas and best practices with one another thanks to groups like the LTSMG (Learning and Teaching Spaces Managers Group). This is all the more remarkable considering the level of competition at college/university level, with more 106 recognised in the UK alone, 4,000 across Europe and 4,300 in the US. In the past 12 to 18 months, I’ve visited numerous universities across England; some old, and some - like Northampton - so new, the paint hadn’t even dried.

The level of differentiation is quite striking. Some continue with a more traditional approach of using large, rising theatres with ceiling projectors and a lectern at the front. Some have abolished theatres entirely, instead preferring to use smaller rooms surrounded by digital displays whilst the tutor roams around with a connected laptop or tablet. Others have adopted a method where rooms, in some instances, have been abolished entirely, instead using open ‘learning spaces’ comprising little more than a few seats and a single display. One trend in particular, which is expected to continue to rise significantly in 2020 and beyond, is collaboration. Indeed, a number of major AV manufacturers attending ISE 2020 next month will be dedicating large parts of the show to announcing new interactive collaboration displays specifically for use in education. Instead of tutors simply dictating proceedings from the front, students are able to actively participate with the lesson and each other by connecting their own device (laptop/tablet) directly to the display, providing them the perfect view at all times and the ability to manipulate and save documents from their seat. Equally, they’re able to physically and collectively participate, using their own hands or touchscreen pens thanks to advancements in multitouch technology. Doesn’t that sound more fun than being lectured to? Thanks to secure connectivity, you don’t necessarily even need to be in the room to participate, opening the door for long distance remote learning and accessibility. Add in the opportunities around VR and… well, perhaps that’s a subject for another day. I almost wish I was back at school.

Above: Michael Garwood

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those that prepare for today” Malcolm X

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Business school chooses Shure Microflex for lectures and content OTTO BENSHEIM School of Management is a business school of international standing, with campuses in Vallendar/Koblenz and Düsseldorf serving over 1,500 students. In recent years, this privately funded university began investing in networked learning with a goal to record lectures using the latest and highest quality AV and remote camera technology for the benefit of all its students. A comprehensive Panopto system plus a Creston signal management and media control system were installed in the university’s lecture halls to provide first-rate quality video. Having planned and installed the video recording systems for the lecture halls, the AV integrator specialists at SIGMA realised that voice transmission confronted them with a very challenging scenario. “The client required a microphone solution across several lecture halls and seminar rooms. Students should be able to participate without needing to interact with a microphone, yet still follow the lecture without distractions,” explained Christian Backes, CEO at SIGMA System Audio-Visuell GmbH. System integrator SIGMA System Audio-Visuell GmbH has begun the process of upgrading the audio components, with several lecture halls and seminar rooms now equipped with Shure Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphones, allowing the university to create high quality educational content and lectures available to students anytime and anywhere. While the lecture halls feature partially fixed seating, the flexible seminar rooms at WHU are used differently, as required. To cover all rooms without any variations in pickup quality, SIGMA incorporated several Shure Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphones. Each provides eight lobes for precise and automatic focus of the pickup area to the speaker or speakers. Each lecture hall was covered using three or four MXA910 units while one MXA910 was installed in each of the multi-use seminar rooms. The audio signals captured effortlessly by Shure’s MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphones are streamed to and from WHU’s Vallendar and Düsseldrof campuses and are delivered to students via an e-learning and streaming platform. In addition to the white ceiling array microphones, which enable discreet ceiling integration, the lecturer is able to switch, while speaking, to a more traditional QLXD14E system with a lavalier mic and body pack. “Thanks to the MXA910 systems, recording and streaming is accomplished barrier-free, which is especially important for lectures involving active discussions. This allows lecturers and students to be heard from any position in the room with no loss in quality or volume level,” added Backes.

The beginning of the calendar year is a busy time for manufacturers and service providers of AV equipment designed for use in education facilities, as they prepare product launches and upgrades for trade shows such as Bett and ISE 2020. Here, AV Technology Europe offers a showcase of the latest news from the AV in education market

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Vivitek unveils NovoTouch EK Series for Education VIVITEK has introduced the NovoTouch EK Series for Education, an all-in-one collaborative touch panel, designed to make lessons and lectures more immersive and memorable. The new NovoTouch EK Series interactive flat panels combine wireless collaboration, a digital whiteboard and active digital signage into one display. Developed to deliver value to educational institutions both in and out of class or lesson time, the NovoTouch EK Series for Education is available immediately, in sizes ranging from 65, 75 to 86in. To ensure that students are engaged in interactive learning and that lessons and lectures are delivered with a lasting impact, NovoTouch for Education includes a 4K-UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution. Making it easier for them to show their devices on the larger NovoTouch’s screen, is the wireless mirroring function, which offers cross-platform compatibility with Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS platforms. This enables teachers and students alike to easily embrace the popular BYOD practice, and facilitates the use of their own teaching material or software from their laptop, without limitation. User flexibility comes from its Digital White Board functionality, as NovoTouch enables users to write on the screen, and to easily make on-screen annotations, while a moderator preview function ensures that the teacher or lecturer remains in control of the displayed content at all times. Further enhancing support for all new teaching and learning experiences, is the handy Screen Recording feature, NT Minute, which captures everything on the NovoTouch screen as a video clip. This function enables teachers and lecturers to write on the screen and create their own teaching materials that can be saved for use later. Students can also review the lesson at a later stage, which means absent students can catch up quickly and easily. Also set to be of value, is its wireless screen-out function, NT Live, which allows real-time

screen duplication to multiple NovoTouch screens in the virtual Hub, which is ideal for classes or groups that need to be split across two classrooms. To ensure that the NovoTouch offers value on their investment to educational institutions outside of lessons and lectures, it also doubles up as an Announcement Board, thanks to its built-in NovoDS, an intuitive digital signage solution which is easy to use without any programming skills. With NovoDS included, the NovoTouch EK Series can be used to communicate important or useful information in between lessons, ranging from school notices, sport activities updates or results, club event information or information about class room or lesson changes. Messages can be created using a flexible playlist and with dynamic content ranging from text, audio, photos and videos to webpages, Twitter, RSS feeds, Google Calendar, weather updates and more. An education institution’s IT department will welcome NovoTouch for Education, too. There are no hidden costs, and the software and firmware upgrades are free whether you have a small or large deployment. Furthermore, from a day-to-day convenience perspective, the device can be managed over the network remotely. On the launch of the NovoTouch EK Series for Education, Holger Graeff, general manager, Vivitek EMEA, stated: “Vivitek strives to deliver solutions that offer the ideal performance, specification and price ratio. We believe that we have achieved this with NovoTouch for Education, through a combination of exceptional features, ease of use and maintenance the fact that it can add value outside of the classroom environment. Factor in its value for money, and we believe that Vivitek offers an all-in-one collaborative touch panel that can add a new level of excitement and learning to all students of all ages and abilities.”

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32 AVer Europe launches high-spec visualiser for educators AVER Europe has introduced the M17-13M, a new mechanical arm visualiser, to the UK market, offering a 13-megapixel camera, 35.2X total zoom and full HD quality. Operating as a document camera, the M17-13M visualiser enables users to capture high image clarity and detail. The onboard annotation capability provides users with the opportunity to add notes, highlight important information or add captions to presentation material easily, making explaining a tricky concept or a key point to a classroom simple. Designed with a fully adjustable neck and head, the M17-13M can rotate, swivel, expand and collapse to display presentation materials, including paper or 3D models. Its compact design means it can be neatly folded away for quick storage or sharing between classrooms and practitioners. The product is bundled with AVER’s A+ Suite classroom software for visualisers and comes with a five-year warranty. The M17-13M offers live video at 60fps and its one-touch recording function means that users can record entire lessons to review with the class or provide to absent students or substitute teachers. Additionally, users can live stream the video to enable classes to be held remotely, increasing engagement and ensuring all learners are up to date on the lesson at hand. “The M17-13M has the capability to transform the learning experience, providing new opportunities for teachers to increase collaboration, creativity and engagement in teaching,” said Rene Buhay, AVer Europe Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “The specification for this visualiser is unparalleled and offers a fantastic combination of quality, versatility and functionality.”

Helsinki University opts for Christie laser projectors HELSINKI University of the Arts recently upgraded its audiovisual facilities with the aim of improving the student experience. Electro Waves, a local integrator, carried out the work which includes new Christie APS and the GS series laser projectors in a number of lecture theatres and music performance halls. With its combination of disciplines including fine art, music and theatre studies, the new university offers a unique education opportunity to students in Finland and overseas. And, with increasing numbers of students attracted to the university through its growing reputation, the in-house AV team were keen to add first-class projection to enhance the teaching and presentation facilities. Kai Tuovinen of Electro Waves organised a trial period to test which projectors would be suited to the university’s requirements. “In partnership with the in-house AV team we decided to put various projectors through their paces before we made our final choice. Christie came out on top overall and we were happy to settle on the one brand for the two separate requirements – classrooms and music performance areas,” said Tuovinen. “The APS Series are perfect for the teaching environment and the versatility and performance of the GS Series made it a natural fit for the performance areas.” The GS series have been installed in four of the main music theatres which are for acoustic and electric music, opera and organ music. “The projectors stood out for the almost silent operation, the uniformity of the image, flexible lens choices and the general costeffectiveness for such a high-performing unit,” added Tuovinen. The APS Series are installed in eight of the classrooms across the university campus. A value for money solution, the Series proves that low-cost doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. “We chose the APS Series as it combines affordable 3LCD technology with the reliability, performance and operational life of laser illumination,” adds Kai Tuovinen. “It’s also lightweight and has a low-profile design and whisper-quiet operation which all adds up to the perfect affordable classroom projector.”

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London Metropolitan University deploys new interpreting suite CONFERENCE Interpreting students at the London Metropolitan University are enjoying a new interpreting suite thanks to the expertise of buk Solutions, Reflex and the University’s Information and Technology Services (ITS) team. The University, which runs a portfolio of interpreting courses (MA Conference Interpreting/MA Interpreting and short courses), named the Suite after Michalina Ageros, in honour of the influential London Met interpreting lecturer. The University invited her to officially open the Suite, along with its Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Donna Whitehead, at its new Holloway site. It used to operate out of Moorgate. Plans for the new suite were 18 months in the making and buk Solutions, Reflex and London Met’s ITS team worked throughout the summer to make the project a reality. They worked closely with Course Leader Associate Professor Danielle D’Hayer. “I was quite specific about what I wanted but it was the collaborative approach between our in-house team, buk Solutions and Reflex that turned this project into a reality,” said D’Hayer. “I am proud of what we have achieved. It was an ambitious project. Technology is an ally. It supports the work interpreters do. This is why it needs to be fully integrated to interpreting education. The Interpreting Suite is digital and allows live streaming. Associate Professor D’Hayer added: “The quality of the sound provided by

Brahler system and the HD quality of the cameras offer the perfect opportunity to train interpreters in a professional setting.” The technology installed by buk Solutions includes the Brahler DCen 32 Channel Digital Interpretation System with fully integrated multi-camera tracking and web streaming. Paul Ward, international sales and marketing manager at buk Solutions, said: “As specialists in installing interpretation suites in universities, we have been fortunate to have enjoyed a long relationship working with London Met, so it was especially pleasing to be invited back to work with Associate Professor D’Hayer.” Yag Depala, sales director at Reflex, commented: “It was important that we engaged with a partner that understood the requirements of the University and complimented our central AV design. buk Solutions with the Brahler DCen 32 met these to the full and the results are there to be seen.” Oliver Holmes, director of information and technology services at London Met, said: “We have created a conference interpreting suite that meets the highest industry standards and provides our students with an excellent learning and teaching facility. “London Met’s selection of innovative equipment, coupled with buk Solutions’ conference technology expertise was skilfully integrated by Reflex to meet the demands of our sector-leading educators and practitioners.”

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Sony research reveals power of video in higher ed HIGHER education now faces a cohort of Gen-Z students, ‘digital natives’ who have grown up online in a globally connected world. In particular, the use of video in education is becoming an integral support tool for many pedagogical strategies. Sony recently conducted a survey looking at the use of video in education with universities across Europe. It found that over 87% of teachers, professors and lecturers use video content as part of their lectures or seminars. In preparing for their future, this demographic of students now expects to utilise technology in all aspects of their lives, including education. The trend is only set to grow, with 43% of education professionals surveyed already allowing students to submit work in video format. Universities are recognising the value in moving away from the traditional ‘one way’ lecture theatres and instead investing in video technology to ‘future proof education’. 29% of educational professionals already provide video-based revision tools and a further 30% are looking to include them in the near future. The use of video in education not only diversifies course materials, it also supports flexible distance learning. 53.% of education professionals use video to record and share lessons with their students. This not only provides flexible remote learning for students but allows universities to grow student numbers within their own region or across the world. Current market stage Over the past several years, the rise of internet has changed our viewing and learning habits with the growth of popular platforms such as YouTube, which sees 3 billion searches per month. Digital convergence

and the arrival of 5G will only increase demand for video in the future. Today, more and more universities are seeing the importance of creating collaborative learning spaces and 93.5% of educational professionals believe that interactive video can improve engagement among students. Swansea University and Bolton University are examples of institutions who have chosen Vision Exchange to provide active learning solutions and ensure today’s generation of students are receiving a ‘future-proof ’ education. “The new technology has brought a lot of positivity to the staff, which has been reflected in enhancing the student teaching experience and student satisfaction, maintaining good recruitment, especially at a time when the sector is under many pressures,” says Ian Moth, IT Desktop Support Team Leader at University of Bolton. Alex Parlour, Corporate and Education Marcomms Manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe explains: “The transition that is happening from traditional learning to video-based learning is having an undeniably positive impact on students’ educational experiences”. Alex Parlour adds: “Here at Sony Professional Solutions Europe we are committed to providing top-of-the-range edtech solutions for Universities to aid them in keeping up with the current generation of tech-savvy students”. Times are changing and the future of education is evolving. Higher Education institutions must take on board the transformative way video and edtech solutions can impact learning, giving students and staff a whole host of ‘future-proof ’ options to learn and educate. Sony conducted a survey on video in education with 123 participants across Europe. Those surveyed included Tutors, Lecturers and IT/AV Managers and Directors.

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Harvard Business School reveals the future of auditorium displays HARVARD Business School has opened a multipurpose auditorium at its campus in Allston, Massachusetts, which includes an 18.8m-wide curved display from SiliconCore Technology. Klarman Hall, designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. and made possible by a gift from Beth and Seth Klarman (MBA 1982), seats up to 1,000 people across three tiers, providing an inspiring space for large scale events. The venue has been designed to emphasise sustainability and technological innovation and the floor plan allows it to be set up for smaller scale events as well. The focal point of the auditorium is a 116sqm digital canvas from fine pixel pitch display innovators SiliconCore Technology. Specifying a 1.9mm pixel pitch, the 18.8m-wide by 6.2m-high (61.8 by 20.2 feet) LED display is built onto a custom frame from mounting specialists RP Visual Solutions. In order to accommodate viewing distances ranging from 5 to 40 metres, the display has been designed with a subtle curve to optimise viewing angles. AVI-SPL, who oversaw the project alongside Idibri (AV design engineer), installed an audio system of ultra-sensitive microphones and more than 100 speakers to create a uniform sound across the auditorium. A complex wireless network includes 80 wireless Ethernet access points, 32 antennas in the auditorium ceiling, and multi-gigabit Ethernet uplinks throughout the building. The second story and lower-level concourse feature studios to support podcasts, webinars, online learning and a black box room for videotaping the HBS digital learning platform, HBX. Eric Li, CEO of SiliconCore Technology commented: “This is a very prestigious application of our technology, in a higher education facility which is highly regarded across the globe. We pride ourselves on creating products that push the technology to perform at its peak, while also ensuring a long life for the display. The brightness and viewing angles of the LED display work particularly well for this multi-use auditorium setting, for content to be viewed from the closest to the furthest viewer.” In a drive to create a sustainable environment for all who use the space, Klarman Hall follows the University’s guidelines for sustainable building products and materials. The building serves as both a living lab and model for large corporations, helping to transform the marketplace by proving that greener products can be manufactured and sourced with little to no effect on project delivery, cost, or operational performance. The digital display also had to meet stringent audible noise emission and sustainability requirements set by Harvard Business School. Advanced testing conducted by SiliconCore engineers ensured no audible noise generated by the LED screen would be detected by the ultra-sensitive microphones located close to the screen. SiliconCore’s proprietary Common Cathode technology,


which has a significant effect on the operating temperatures and power consumption of the display was pivotal in meeting this requirement. Along with the audible noise reduction, this proprietary technology prolongs the display’s lifespan, increases brightness and reduces the power requirements by up to 40%, leading to lower operating costs. University Lecturers can easily connect devices to the screen via HDMI, while the display can be fed with SDI sources, such as cameras operated from the auditorium’s control room. For ease of displaying multiple windows of mixed media at once, the system includes a Christie Spyder X80 windowing processor. The system can handle the 32-million-pixel resolution of the display, enabling multiple 4K sources to be displayed on the screen simultaneously. High resolution content is specifically created for landmark shows and presentations. The display also features SiliconCore’s Z.A.C.H. technology to enhance HDR capability and achieve unmatched low grayscale performance even at very low brightness levels. The LED screen brightness can be adjusted via a Crestron controller, making it easy for staff to operate the screen at the optimum brightness.

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Contact Duncan Wilde duncan.wilde@futurenet.com

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Telephone + 44 (0)7767873080

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Profile for Future PLC

Ed-Tech Bett Digital Guide 2020  

Brought to you by the editors of TechRadarPro, Tech & Learning, and AV Technology, Europe Get a sneak peek at the new tech being premiered a...

Ed-Tech Bett Digital Guide 2020  

Brought to you by the editors of TechRadarPro, Tech & Learning, and AV Technology, Europe Get a sneak peek at the new tech being premiered a...