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See how key literacy skills can be nurtured at home, with My Jolly Phonics.
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Claire, one of our newest recruits, attends The BETT Show for the first time this year…
There were more reasons than usual to attend the British Educational Training and Technology Show this January, with six new products being released by our team since Bett 2014!
This was my first year at Bett, and I was excited. For those unfamiliar with the exhibition, the Bett show is to education what Paris fashion week is to seasonal trends: industry experts displaying their latest products in a truly cavernous hall playing (slightly questionable) chart music. When I arrived, I found a steady supply of decent coffee, free stationary at every turn, and an IT company masquerading as a cocktail bar. It was an educator’s paradise.
With exhibition stands that looked more like post-modernist sculptures, the theme for this year was definitely ‘innovative’. Several products were about multi-functional immersive education: a kind of wiki-vision, if you will. Next door to our stand (F421, if you missed us) was an interactive floor and three walls: an Imax-style environment for children with different scenes controlled by apps on an iPad. You could have an oral french class ‘outside’ l’Arc de Triomphe. My shaky translation of ‘mushrooms’ into ‘champignons’ was apprehended by the voice recognition software. You could also play in a ‘snowstorm’, where your feet made ‘footprints’ in the floor and when you held your hand against the screen you could ‘collect’ virtual snowflakes, confirming a lot of recent blog chatter: ‘edutainment’ is officially a thing. Other futuristic gems included a literal ‘desktop’, by which I mean a virtual classroom desk for group work, thumbprint recognition software for buying your school dinner, and I definitely spotted at least one 3D printer.
With interactive education clearly the tone for 2015, it is no surprise that our Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds app was our star-player during the week. A recent finalist of the Early Years category in the BETT 2015 awards, as well as a finalist in UX UK User Experience Awards 2014, ‘Bee’ introduces you to the 42 letter sounds through various games on letter formation, sound recognition, blending and simple segmentation/spelling. This made it very popular amongst Reception and Pre-School teachers, as did the 50% volume discount purchase from the Apple Store!
It was very reassuring how well our whole digital software range was well-received; the Interactive Whiteboard Software was as popular as ever for its abundance of teaching content, whilst the Grammar Games also made a popular debut.
Our expanded range of grammar, spelling and punctuation content now going up to The Grammar 5 Handbook was also a pleasant revelation for those familiar to Jolly Phonics. The richness of its content, going above and beyond the national curriculum standard, was well-noted, with one teacher telling me he’d be astounded if his Year 10’s could grasp the more complex grammar concepts! Accompanying resources, such as Grammar Songs and the Blends Wheels, were subsequently popular. The Jolly Extra (plus one illustrious talking pen) maintained its popularity with specialist educationalists, from home-schoolers, SEN teachers, or those teaching ESL.
All in all, my first ‘Bettperience’ was a positive start to a busy year, with The Grammar 6 Handbook being released and allowing us to cover all of the primary school years. We are finally producing the Android-friendly Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App in early spring, as well as annual phonics, grammar, spelling and punctuation training is also set to run during back to school season in Autumn.
If you would like more information about the expanded Jolly Phonics programme, finding a Jolly Phonics trainer or attending one of our national workshops in London, Cardiff, Aberdeen and Glasgow, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Come along on 12th – 13th March 2015 at the Barbican in London and learn all about Jolly Music (stand K7)!