6th January 2006 at 00:00
While some publishers like to release products that are compatible with the aging Microsoft Windows 95 or 98 operating systems, Kudlian Soft, with Weather Reporting Geography - for iLife (from pound;29.95 for a single user to pound;299 for a whole site), has taken a bold step. This only works on Apple Macintosh computers using OSX - pretty much the latest operating system. The reason? The program blends with Apple's iMovie and iDVD software.

The aim is to allow students to create animated weather reports, with themselves starring as TV forecasters. Kudlian claims the product has relevance from ages 5 to 18, though it feels more apt for the lower age range. There is no question that the product will enhance learning of the subject matter - and much more besides. Kudlian promises a companion history product later in the year.

If you don't use a Mac, it is worth looking at the Apple stalls at BETT.

Some of the company's magnificent kit (with Mac Minis starting at around Pounds 300 with educational discount) will set you thinking about what might be in your home or class. It's worth noting that Apple's educational discounts are significant.

In geography and history for the youngest pupils, Sherston and BBC Worldwide Children's Learning launch five CD-Roms with Barnaby Bear and Magic Grandad as guides. The bear tours the UK and goes on local walkabouts, while the old man appears in Great Fire of London, Homes and Toys (all pound;59.95 for a single user with a range of multi-user licence prices). The popularity of the characters should draw children in; the structure - easy-to-use and direct - will enhance self-paced learning.

These are ideal for whiteboards or individual study.

The publishers of the BETT-relaunched Proquest Learning: History (annual subscriptions from pound;300 to pound;700, depending on school size) claim it is now much more than a homework aid. The site, a portal to a wealth of tailored and general resources, is ideal for curricular history in the secondary school. The extras comprise, in particular, class kits that are meant to provide ready-made lessons for busy teachers. Proquest quality is renowned, so expect these to be excellent resources.

History and geography are normally well catered for; less so religious education. Channel 4 will be showing BETT visitors its new Worlds of Faith CD-Rom (pound;50 for the first CD, additional copies pound;10, and licences at pound;75 and pound;100). It is divided into two sections: world religions (for 9 to 11-year-olds) and questions of faith (for 11 to 14-year-olds). The former provides information on the world's major religions, with video clips showing practice and customs. The latter explores personal, moral and ethical issues in faiths. Right children, right situation and these could be great.

Caspian Learning is not new to educational software but this January's BETT exhibition will be the first where its product list is promoted and distributed by Heinemann. This may well mean greater exposure for the company. Teachers may find particular value in the recently-published KS3 citizenship materials, National Government and Local Government (annual site licences at pound;225 and one-off purchase pound;499). Being issue based, these should have a long life, providing neither syllabus nor government structure change.

Many publishers at BETT will be keen to stress that their presence is part of a blended learning approach; it's not just about technology. Well placed to offer the complete package is Hodder Murray, which, apart from a strong list of books for A-level geography, has a partner in Phillips' atlases.

Hodder Murray has announced the 2006 publication round for Geocases 2 (Pounds 100 for access to one series), the subscription website that claims to take users beyond some of the static sites on offer. The January launch includes, among eight topical topics, The 2004 Hurricane Season in the Caribbean and the USA, Human Impact on the Hydrological Cycle and Global Fertility Decline.

It's good to be in at the start of something. US outfit BrainPOP may be looking for a way into the UK market (and may be looking for UK adaptations). Its web-based animations, quizzes, puzzles and information (subscriptions start at $150) are targeted at the US market but many under the social sciences umbrella appear ideal for the UK at KS2 and KS3 in particular. Have a look at the site and try the samples (Civil Rights is excellent) for a good idea of what's on offer; it provides a whole new kind of pop quiz.

(Unless otherwise stated, all prices exclude VAT.)

Don't miss

Harcourt Education Stand Y10

For a fantastic range of resources including Caspian Learning's recently-published KS3 citizenship materials, National Government and Local Government. Being issue based, these should have a long life, providing neither syllabus nor government structure change.

Tel: 01865 311 366

Channel4.Learning Stand D42

Welcome materials for religious education with its World of Faith CD-Rom.

The CD-Roms provide information on the world's major religions, with video clips showing practice and customs, as well as exploring personal, moral and ethical issues in faiths.

Tel: 08701 246 444

Apple Stand E34F34

Whether or not you use a Mac already, check out what's new on the Apple stand - it will be exciting. Educational discounts on the kit can make a serious difference, with Mac Minis starting at around pound;300. Bundled with Apple's iMove and iDVD software, it'll have you thinking how you can get one into your classroom.

Tel: 0800 039 1010

Other contacts

BrainPOP Stand Z124 Tel: +1 212 689 9923.

BBc Worlwide Learning Stand F30

Caspian Learning Stand C100 Tel: 01865 888080 Hodder Murray Stand X28 Tel: 020 7873 6272

Kudlian Soft Stand M100 Tel: 07000 583542

Proquest Information and Learning Stand H44 Tel: 01223 215 512

Sherston Stand E60 Tel: 01666 843 200.

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