What's new at BETT

21st January 2000 at 00:00
Computer manufacturers descended on London's Olympia last week to push their products at the BETT show (below), where the Computers for Teachers scheme, supported by The TES, was launched. One of the government-approved laptops, for which teachers committed to training can receive a rebate of up to pound;500, is the Centerprise 520i Notebook. This light (2.3kg), portable computer has a powerful processor and built-in modem. The removable hard drive means you can hold on to your saved work while someone else uses the notebook, and switch between the CD-Rom and floppy disk drives. It comes with Windows 98 and Microsoft Office 2000 pre-installed. Centreprise will also throw in its "time travel" software GoBack, which allows you to retrieve deleted or modified files, and also helps the system recover from crashes and viruses. The NB520i costs pound;1,029 (excl VAT) including a one-year warranty.

Centreprise: 01256 378000

From mobile computers to mobile teachers. Do you fancy seeing yourself as a hologram? At BETT, a live teleportation conferencing system superimposed the image of a remote tutor (David Parker, right) into the classroom of Graveney school, Wandsworth. The life-size digital image travels via the Internet and is projected onto a transparent background so that the figure appears to be floating in front of you. This allows pupils to engage in a two-way discussion and make eye contact with the virtual teacher. "It's really just an old stage trick of illusion from Victorian times with modern technology," explains multimeda developer Benji Merrison. The teleportation conferencing runs on the Edex broadband network.

EDEX: 0181 239 5000

Still on the Victorian theme, key stage 2 and 3 history will seem much sweeter with Cadbury's new chocolate-flavoured, curriculum-linked website. The site, www.cadburylearningzone.co.uk, uses company archives and census data to provide an insight into Britain in the late 19th century. Pupils can explore the lives of real people in the Bournville village, factory and school through a virtual tour, accompanied genuine documents, photographs and a resident's diary. The content was written specifically for key stages 2 and 3 history and ICT. The downloadable activities are also suitable for the literacy hour, while the family tree section calls for numeracy skills.

Cadbury 0121 4514444

TV-Rom could be the next of many new buzz words to memorise for, oh, a week. Used like a CD-Rom, but able to store more information, Channel 4 Learning's TV-Rom can also run full-screen video and television footage. It uses high-quality excerpts from Channel 4 educational programmes linked to varied activities, maps, statistics and relevant websites. The user can pause, rewind and forward the narrated presentation and change between topics for full interaction and control. The first two titles, aimed at students aged 13 and over, are Rainforest Development: The Amazonian Experience, for geography lessons, and Material Witness, for science lessons.

Channel 4 Learning: 01926 436444

Louise Goldsbury


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