Anyone interested in primary resources at BETT 2004 should shine up those comfy shoes as there's an awful lot out there. 4Learning has an interesting collection of resources on offer with six Clipbank TV-Roms called Seeing Science (pound;35.25 each), featuring TV clips from 4Learning's science programmes for primary schools complemented by short reference articles.
Special science terms used within the articles are hyperlinked to a glossary and children can enjoy reinforcing their learning using the "check it out" puzzle. Usefully, images that are stored in the photo album can be printed out, complete with a helpful writing frame. The teachers' area contains background information, as well as sets of themed worksheets.
After years of separating the primary curriculum into core subjects, there is now a move from government to encourage teachers to provide a more integrated and interesting curriculum, and software is starting to reflect this. For instance, Young Explorer (pound;99.99), from Harcourt Education, looks at maths, science, geography, design and technology, history, music and art and design with four to seven-year-olds. As well as learning about all these areas, Young Explorer is ideal for building ICT skills. It is designed to teach the use of a mouse, how to navigate through a browser-based product and how to use commands and retrieve information through its navigation and specially written activities.
But don't overlook specific and very useful programs such as eNotesBoard (pound;12.75 - an introductory offer) from Literacy Matters. Note-taking is an essential - but not an easy - skill to learn and this program is designed to act like an electronic "stick-on" notes pad. You can create and edit text in heading and note sections. The drag-and-drop facility enables information to be sorted under different headings. Pupils can print a copy of their notes, so that they can later turn them into reports, instructions, stories or arguments across a range of ages and subject areas.
When it comes to literacy, Express Literacy (pound;49) is a collaboration between Logotron and Widgit and one of its most prominent elements are the pictorial symbols. The program includes a visual wordlist of the 1,000 most frequently used words with their associated pictorial symbols. As words are typed, the symbols are displayed, giving beginners extra visual support as they learn the skills of recognising and decoding important core vocabulary. In addition, a speech function allows children to listen to their own writing, helping them check the sense of what they have written.
Encouraging young children to use non-fiction is the aim of Learner's Library: On The Farm, an easy reference CD-Rom (pound;26) from Neptune. It focuses on farm animals, machinery and produce, combining photographs and video footage to provide a truly original resource for foundation level and key stage 1. Fully narrated, it features a number of fun activities, printable teacher resources and two different levels of text.
There are a lot of new versions of old favourites on show at BETT, but Sherston has breathed new life into a classic maths program for five to seven-year olds. Elf Tales (pound;40) now has eight activities, each with two levels of difficulty, set in the context of two interactive adventures.
Children are guided through them by a friendly bookworm as they sort and deal with time, sequencing, direction, matching, colour, shape and number problems.
Known more for its educational wall charts, Daydream Education has developed these into an interactive whiteboard resource. The first CD-Rom to be released is Science for key stage 2. It features interactive charts covering topics ranging from body organs to the solar system, accompanied by a comprehensive and interactive quiz, which includes 1,000 questions.
More support comes from Letts Whiteboard Activities for Literacy (pound;15) from Granada Learning, which contains ready-to-run lesson ideas for reception to Year 6 classes. The ideas can be used by whiteboard novices, or by more experienced users, and are accompanied by a glossary that demystifies technical vocabulary. While on the Granada Learning stand, look at the Literacy Activity Builder (pound;149 for a site licence). Still under development, this is a promising collection of frameworks that allows you to make literacy activities quickly and effectively thanks to a helpful wizard. But a word of warning - many companies are jumping on the whiteboard bandwagon and not all their cargo is gold.
If you only look at three things...
Kestrel 4000 (pound;335) is a new pocket weather tracker which enables children to record weather data in the playground or on windswept moorland.
It's useful for science experiments, geography fieldwork, microclimate investigations and for showing how ICT can be used to collect and download data for spreadsheet work.
The Advisory Unit for Computers in Education G35 Tel: 01707 266714 www.advisory-unit.org.uk
My Modelling Toolkit (pound;39) offers teachers activities to develop problem-solving skills. Designed to encourage pupils to draw a comparison with the scenarios that are seen on the computer screen and what could happen in real life.
Granada Learning E40Tel: 0161 827 2927 www.granada-learning.com
Kahootz takes a different approach to teaching and learning with a CD-Rom multimedia toolset that contains software enabling pupils and teachers to explore, construct and investigate using three-dimensional worlds and objects. Students can use Kahootz to write stories, develop ideas, simulate experiments, construct inventions, build animation sequences and develop games and puzzles.
Kahootz (pound;70) Stand SW84 Tel: 00 613 9419 8800 www.kahootz.com
Other contacts 4Learning D42 Tel: 08701 246 444 www.channel4.comlearning
Daydream Education V12 Tel: 029 2045 2288 www.daydreameducation.co.uk
Harcourt Education Y10 Tel: 01865 311366 www.harcourteducation.co.uk
Literacy Matters M71 Tel: 08707 569569 www.literacymatters.com
LogotronWidgit Software SN10 Tel: 01223 425558 www.logo.com
Neptune Computer Technology SW3 Tel: 01935 891 892 www.neptunect.co.uk
Sherston Software E60 Tel: 01666 843200 www.sherston.com