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Roamer guides to award victory;Information technology

Hi-tech news by Chris Johnston

A word-processor and a floor turtle were voted teachers' favourite items of software and equipment at the BETT education technology exhibition in London last month.

Some 250 schools voted for their favourite product from a shortlist of five in the primary equipment and software categories.

The software award went to Textease Multimedia, made by Derby-based firm Softease Ltd. This is a word-processor with desktop-publishing features. Users treat the screen as a piece of paper on which they can place and move text, graphics, sound and video clips. It allows pupils to link separate files together easily in multimedia projects. Documents can also be converted for posting on to a Website.

BECTA, the government's education technology agency, says Textease meets a wide range of national curriculum requirements and that it is accessible for key stage 1 and 2 and beyond. The Parents Information Network has awarded Textease its Quality Mark for its user-friendliness and creative potential. It costs pound;85 (ex-VAT) for a single user.

The primary equipment award was won by Valiant Technology's Roamer, a control technology robot. Pupils can program Roamer to move forwards, backwards, sideways and at an angle. It can turn through 360 degrees and draw patterns on paper. It is used to introduce young pupils to geometry, maths and data inputting, but is also useful for music, art and design. It can help children with sensory impairments to develop communication skills.

Helen Logan, an educational IT consultant in Bradford, says teachers like Roamer because it helps with difficult curriculum areas while pupils think it is fun to use.

The programming experience that pupils gain by using it gives a foundation for work with computers in later years. Programs can be stored in a computer and downloaded. Roamer costs pound;95 and a range of activities and other information about using it can be found on Valiant's Website.

Softease: 01322 204911 Valiant Technology: 0181 673 2233

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