5th January 2001 at 00:00
The time is approaching when a lack of information and communication technology skills will be seen in the same light as not being able to read or write. These skills can be taught as a specialist lesson or as part of a cross curricular programme, and, at BETT, there will be many products and services designed to develop them in both ways.

It is becoming vital that pupils learn to use the Internet to find information, but it can take time and cost money if they spend too long searching. Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS - formerly known as Scet) will be showing its popular ScetNet titles, a series of CD-Roms that contain downloaded Web resources (pound;25 each). They enable children to acquire knowledge and learn how to use the Web without running up expensive phone charges. LTS will also be showing ICT - A Resource For All. This is a CD-Rom pack for teachers that supports learning and inclusion. LTS says that, although the pack is of particular interest to special needs teachers, it is also useful for mainstream teaching.

Summerfield Publishing will be displaying Keybytes 3.2 and Keybytes 3.2 Plus (aimed at more able students), which cover many ICT skills, from word processing to email and simple programming.

Tag Learning says its package, Site Central, will do for the creation of websites what the popular HyperStudio did for multimedia. Users can create Web pages simply by dragging and dropping text, images, sounds and links from a folder into the page.

Softease's series of Textease software packages has won many admirers and several awards. Textease Studio (pound;149) offers a range of ICT tools, including DTP and spreadsheet, and Textease 200 (pound;85) is a multimedia authoring package.

Granada Learning is showcasing its Ten Minute software at BETT. This is a series of short, focused activities designed for primary teachers wanting to introduce ICT into the curriculum. Granada Toolkit (pound;149) offers the main ICT tools (word processor, spreadsheet etc), as well as clip art and Internet Odyssey, a multimedia tool which lets you put text, graphics etc together from the Net.

There will be plenty of data-logging and sensing products available at BETT. Lego Dacta has added new features, including Speed Computer, which measures speed and distance, to its Robolab logger. Sherston Software's Mission: Control CD-Rom (pound;44.95) introduces key stage 1 ppils to sensors, control and modelling. And Pico Technology's Dr Daq (pound;60) is a data-logger designed for science experiments that plugs into a laptop or desktop PC.

AverMedia Technologies aims to show that there is life after obsolescence. It will be showing how computers can be linked to a variety of equipment, from ageing VGA monitors to VHS recorders, for presentation purposes. The company will also demonstrate how TV programmes can be recorded on to a computer hard disk.

CALSC, the Communication and Learning Skills Centre, says its two packages, Time to Revise and Timely Reminders will transform revision among secondary school students, enabling them to retain more information for longer.

Not surprisingly, there will be many online services at BETT, including one from Computer Kids. It has created topic banks, which consist of information, files and Web links covering a range of subjects. Teachers can use a simple search engine to find the topic files they want and download them. The files (which include word processor templates) come in a variety of formats.

Viglen will be promoting its @School service, which is designed for homework, projects and tests, and Schoolsnet.com has details of more than 11,000 educational websites, which should save a fair amount of time for many teachers and pupils.

George Cole is a freelance journalist and a former teacher


AverMedia Technologies: Stand G60


Tel: 01908 218800

CALSC: Stand SW83


Tel: 0208 642 4663

Computer Kids: Stand SN49


Tel: 0151 638 1296

Granada Learning: Stand F40


Tel: 0161 827 2927

Lego Dacta: Stand E66


Tel: 0800 731 2928

LTS: Stand F54


Tel: 0141 337 5000

Pico Technology: Stand C164


Tel: 01480 396395

Schoolsnet.com: Stand C156


Tel: 0207 799 9997

Sherston: Stand E60


Tel: 01666 843224

Softease: Stand C56


Tel: 01335 343421

Summerfield: Stand G50


Tel: 01386 854972

Tag Learning: Stand F50


Tel: 01474 537887

Viglen: Stand F60


Tel: 0208 758 7027

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