At the cutting edge

3rd January 2003 at 00:00
Jonathan Boyle finds plenty of quality products for Damp;T teachers to chew over at this year's BETT show

Unimatic Engineers will demonstrate its Educam range of CAM (computer aided manufacturing) solutions at the BETT show next week. It presents schools with an opportunity to purchase reliable industrial machinery at a sensible cost. The Educam range is the ideal purchase for schools wishing to enhance their existing provision, or to take their first steps, in CAM. Schools purchasing equipment will get a free copy of the acclaimed CAD CAM in the Classroom CD-Rom. Unimatic also provides whole-school solutions in ICT including projectors, laptops and electronic interactive whiteboards.

Don't forget to visit Techsoft UK Ltd. The Roland EGX range will be on display and from past experience of the Roland CAM range, these new machines should be excellent performers. Of particular interest will be the Metaza engraving machine (pound;1,295 + VAT). This CAM equipment has a diamond-tipped tool that vibrates on the surface of a material such as acrylic to create a design pattern.

Denford will be hosting the F1 Team in Schools final at the show. Using a range of CAD CAM equipment, students have designed and made small model cars. They are propelled by tiny gas cylinders and shot down a track at great speed. It's always a crowd puller and schools from around the country enjoy including the theme in their design and technology curriculum.

Laptops are fast replacing the traditional PC with a performance to match. NEC will be showing its highly acclaimed Versa range, ideal for even the most demanding tasks such as video editing and CAD.

Cairo is a reporting application from Software Development Services and has been developed as a whole-school solution to reporting (pound;2,995 + VAT). A very interesting software development called courseGenie from Connected Learning (pound;199 + VAT single user license, pound;999 + VAT for a campus) allows teachers to convert their existing Word documentation into an online learning package. The courseGenie application includes navigation and interactive features such as pop-up windows, hyperlinks, self-test questions, audio and video. Anyone who has tried to convert Word documents containing images of tools and processes will appreciate the benefits that courseGenie will bring to design and technology teachers.

A product called Aspen from Aspen Technology Ltd particularly impressed me and could be of great interest to Damp;T teachers. It is an electronic barcode reader in a quality pen, which can even be used as a conventional writing instrument too (pound;110.60 + VAT for the pen and assessment software).

Visit the EDICTS stand to see Didactics Lasy Control (pound;399 + VAT). This could be the solution for teachers wishing to introduce simple computer control at key stage 3. The package consists of modular building blocks that could be arranged into traffic lights or a motor control system. The control hardware is supported by a simple logic control application on the PC and could make a valued contribution to enhancing a differentiated control lesson.

Jonathan Boyle is a teacher of technology at Thomas Telford School and is a Gatsby Fellow of Technology

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