Innovation Alley sounds like something out of Harry Potter, but it's a special area devoted to almost 40 first-time exhibitors at the Scottish Learning Festival. So if you're looking for something different, they're worth a visit. Some are well-known names such as ActionAid, showing award- winning resources for 5 to 19-year-olds. Others are innovative firms such as Radio Lingua with language-learning materials (CD or online) for primary, secondary and staff development - its latest products are Coffee Break French and Spanish for primary teachers wanting to improve their modern language skills. There's a maths website for 8 to 18-year-olds to improve their results, with bite-size exercises accompanied by instant online marking and assessment at MathScene.co.uk, from Icelandic company Rasmus. And there's ESP Scotland, which specialises in the design, installation and support of the playground, working with the Active Schools network. Other new exhibitors can be found around the exhibition.
If your interests are "arty", you can visit the new Cultural Village at the left of the exhibition hall. Creative Scotland, the arts body which took over from the Scottish Arts Council and Screen Scotland in July, will have an "arts-inspiring" stand where teachers can meet artists, discuss cross-curricular learning opportunities through expressive arts, and take part in informal taster sessions with artists or writers. Representatives from the world of dance, literature, music, theatre and the visual arts will be there to share ideas. Beside it is the Travelling Gallery, a mobile art gallery on a bus, which has been transformed by artists using every available surface and a range of media, from spray paints to film, to explore our "Impossible Nation".
Art Gallery, p27
Foody fun on board
Hop on another bus, and you can find a mobile classroom for practical cooking skills. The Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus, parked beside the Health and Well-being Zone at the back of the hall, will be staffed by qualified food teachers who devise practical lessons for young people and training for teachers. The bus will have visited and run programmes in all 32 Scottish local authorities by the end of 2010. It is, says public health minister Shona Robison, "a fantastic way to teach children some of the basics about where our food comes from and how to cook healthy, tasty meals".
And here is the news
If you feel like something more substantial to eat, you can pop next door to our very own TESS Cafe. In addition to a variety of food, you can sit and digest this week's paper or catch up with some of this year's front- page stories at - even on - your table.