When it comes to educational hardware, RM Education’s Mike Beech knows what works…
Technology promises to deliver so much in the classroom – greater engagement, improved attainment and best of all – it can make learning fun! All of that may be true but with so much on offer, how do you cut through the noise and work out what is more than just a gizmo or gadget? What might actually make a difference to teaching and learning? What are the things that really will enable the delivery of a lesson to remember? The following ten pieces of kit (in no particular order) are all things that teachers and learners tell us they love. Some are new, some are not, but all of them have the capability to add serious wow factor to lessons.
1. The new iPad from £332.50
So many ways to learn, all in a single device – that’s why iPad is becoming so popular in schools. Combine the functionality of still and video cameras, voice recording, drawing, animation and millions of apps, and every learner can deliver a task in his or her own way. Ten hours’ battery life, ultra-fast wireless and the new 9.7 inch LED-backlit multi-touch retina display… it’s no wonder so many pupils and teachers wish their school could be using these hand-held computers across the curriculum.
2. MovieBox Green Screen Kit from £3,295
Instead of writing an essay, why not deliver a news report, make a film or put on a show? Write the script, develop the narrative (make sure it’s got a beginning, middle and end) then film it to show to the class. Green screen technology has been used by television and film production for years (it’s how Harry Potter can fly on his broom, for a start) and now it’s available in mobile kits that are easy to set up and use. From storyboarding and planning, to recording and editing – this is a collaborative tool that students universally adore.
The original USB microscrope from TTS. It’s super-easy to use – just plug it into a PC and the integrated lighting system enables you to view objects at an impressive 43x magnification on your computer screen. Simply twist focus and press to take video or still images for further analysis or incorporation into projects and presentations. And at under £40, it’s a bargain.
4. Hue Animation Studio from £55
Create stop motion animation videos with this easy to use kit that has been specially designed for educational use. Featuring the flexible Hue HD USB plug and play webcam, budding animators can be up and running in minutes – it’s one of our most popular kits.
5. Isis VerTable with Epson Ultra-Short Throw Projector EB475Wi from £2,599
The surface works horizontally, vertically or tilted and the projector has all its interactivity built in so the stylus acts like a mouse. You can project anything from your laptop on to the table’s surface, then wheel it to where you want it to be, and students can gather round to collaborate.
6. AVervision F30 Visualiser
With its highly flexible arm, one-touch recording, built-in memory and USB ports, 30 frames-per-second playback and an A3 shooting area this portable visualiser is top of the class when it comes to creating and sharing images and content.
7. 3M Shoot and Share from £245.00
To see one is to want one; the Shoot and Share is a combined camera and projector so you can immediately review what you’ve just filmed by flashing it on to the nearest wall. We’ve had customers use this for everything from sports coaching, music and drama to sharing best practice and evidence for reporting and assessment. It’s a brilliant bit of kit.
8. Sifteo Cubes from £230
Celebrate interactive, games based learning with these tactile cubes that deliver ‘intelligent play’. There are lots of Sifteo games to choose from to support numeracy, literacy and problem solving, but be warned, they are addictive!
9. Promethean ActivExpression £1,490 for a 32 handset kit
When a, b or c isn’t enough to express what students mean, this learner response system from Promethean has the answer. The full text capability means learners can respond exactly how they want to, and the software floats over Word and Excel documents making lesson prep a breeze.
10. New RM MiniTablet from £325
With a touch screen interface, over eight hours’ battery life and a carry handle to prevent drops when students are carrying it around school, the new RM MiniTablet with its twistable screen has the appeal of a tablet with the practicality of a laptop.
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