Some legwork is essential for comprehensive advice. A good starting point is the Fischer Family Trust, set up by Mike Fischer, co-founder of RM. For the past three years, the trust has asked 3,500 secondary teachers to rate the software they use. Its latest findings, which include a software top 10, have just been published. Go to the Fischer Trust site to read the report online, or call RM for a printed copy.
Primary teachers have taken part for the first time this year. The research shows that the most frequently used software in schools is not always the highest rated when it comes to impact on learning. The Education Show (March 7-9 at NEC Birmingham) is also worth a visit. There are small and large publishers, including the BBC, Channel 4 and Granada, broadcasters with major interests in educational software. Most subject associations have nominated advisers on software and these are worth contacting. Becta, the government agency, also gives advice.