Skills Factory - creator of Literacy Complete and Numeracy Complete - was one of the surprise winners at last week's BETT awards ceremony. The Scottish-based company, which has only five full-time members of staff, beat off competition from Viglen and RM to pick up the prize for Best School Management Solution. The winning CD-Roms provide teachers with a quick and easy way to draw up lesson plans, assess pupils and produce reports.
It has proved a popular product over the past 18 months, with more than 10,000 teachers now using it. Former teacher Geoff Broadbent, who founded the two-year-old company with his brother Mal, a software developer, says: "It just goes to show that you can compete against big companies and it shows a real grass-roots support for our work."
But there was little time for him to bask in the glory of recognition as he was back on the Skills Factory stand at BETT the next day with updated versions of the packages and the new Literacy and Numeracy Complete Online subscription service. As well as offering the planning tools to deliver the literacy and numeracy hours, Literacy and Numeracy Complete Online features the Online Resource Bank. It contains ready-made lesson plans submitted by the company's customers and links to teaching schemes.
The most nominated company of the evening was Apple, which walked away with two awards - the judges' Award for Innovation, for the Airport and iBook, and the ICT Hardware (secondary) category, again for the Airport.
Airports and iBooks were much in evidence on Apple's stand at BETT this year but the company was also showing off iMovie2, released last year in the United States to general acclaim. It would be no surprise if iMovie2 was among the nominations next year.
Intel Play introduced the QX3 Computer Microscope to the British market towards the en of last year but the product has already made a big impact and picked up the ICT Hardware (primary) award.
No sooner have teachers had time to coo over the QX3's translucent loveliness than Intel introduces the Sound Morpher. This portable digital recorder is easy to use and allows you to record up to four minutes of audio before uploading it to your computer to turn it into something really interesting. (Look out for a full review in coming weeks.) Although its name appeared on none of the trophies, Granada Learning was another of the night's big winners. Two of the companies Granada has purchased over the past few years - Blackcat Educational Software and SEMERC - won three of the 15 awards on offer.
BETT 2001 winners
Online Learning Resource (free) www.mathsyear2000. org (Maths Year 2000)
Online Learning Resource (subscription) www.atschool. co.uk (Pedegog)
Educational Software in Primary Schools ReviseWise Series (BBC Educational
Educational Software in Secondary Schools Force and Motion (Fable
Software Tools in Primary Schools Numbers, Words and Pictures (Blackcat
Software Tools in Secondary Schools Workspace Explorer (CSE)
Interactive Multimedia Content Out and About (SEMERC)
ICT Hardware in Primary Schools Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope (Tag
ICT Hardware in Secondary Schools Airport (Apple)
Support Service Bolton The Learning Network (Bolton Curriculum ICT Centre)
Special Educational Needs - Software Out and About (SEMERC)
Special Educational Needs - Hardware JAMC@M 3.0 and JAMSTUDIO (Tag
Top 20: Crick Software
Innovation: Ibook and Airport (Apple)
School Management Solution Numeracy Complete and Literacy Complete (Skills