7th January 2005 at 00:00
When you get unsolicited emails like this, you have to take note: "I would like to nominate Steve Bacon for ICT person of the year - the geezer is a legend and I do not know the competition but reckon he has to win." We don't know the competition either so we can make him Offline's ICT person of the year. Steve retires at the end of March after five years as general secretary of the ICT advisers' organisation Naace, which he helped set up in 1984 when he was ICT adviser for Derbyshire. He set up the Mamelodi Trust with his wife, Mary, to support education in one of the South African townships in 1997, and plans to spend more time on this during his retirement - and more time with his grandchildren. "The ICT community has been an exciting and rewarding environment in which to work for the last 35 years," says Steve, "and I wish all my friends well in developing this aspect of education in the coming years."

While academics salivate over the possibilities of firing up young learners with the sort of motivation they get from computer games, guru Marc Prensky is out there to prove it's possible right now. His games company, games2train, is already working with companies like IBM and Nokia and he has written more than 50 software games for learning.

Marc will be bringing his visionary zeal to the UK next year when he delivers the keynote speech at the SETT 2005 learning festival (September 21-22) at SECC, Glasgow. In the mean time you can get a measure of the breadth of his interests, which include releasing the potential of mobile phones, at his website:

Offline will don a tin hat at the glittering BETT awards next week.

Excluding half the nominees without explaining why does nothing for their blood pressure. An award scheme aiming to celebrate innovation and creativity has some explaining to do to justify the absence of some of the best software seen this year from the likes of Espresso and 2Simple, who immediately qualify for Offline's Software of the Year awards. Not as glittering, but heartfelt nonetheless.

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