A visit to Expo 2010 was a fascinating experience with the most beautiful wooden classroom furniture, learning aids and relaxation activities jostling for space amongst the very latest in cameras, scanners, visualisers, printers and software. The amount of pamphlets, shiny brochures and papers also made one realise the challenge for Japan to develop digital text books for schools let alone developing text to speech that will read across the page, down the page, find the gaps for meaning and work out the differences that occur between over 6,000 characters, some which represent concepts and others that represent sounds.
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing Co Ltd had on show the most beautifully illustrated reading book that provided the student with not only the text version but a CD with real speech tracking the text, individual character support, dictionary and worksheets. It was an example of the student being able to work independently through the book whereas many of the other digital books on show were for the teachers to work from whilst the children had the original paper based textbook.
There were many cameras and visualisers on show for use with white boards of all descriptions. The one that caught my eye was a small inexpensive iPevo that could be used with zoom and various levels of colour contrast. Automatic focus and extremely portable and only requiring a USB computer connection.
The white or smart boards all tended to be of the fixed variety or on large stands but one system called the eBeam (available in UK) is very portable and could be fixed to most surfaces, linked to a laptop and provide many of the interactive opportunities offered by the larger boards.
Where schools have very large televisions there is the chance to turn them into blackboards – a little retro for some but it provides another opportunity for a hands on experience! Izumi were offering this protective cover for very large screens.
There were little memo pads like the Boogie Board mentioned in the last post – the one that I would have liked was called the Mamemo TM1 and some amazing 3D camera technology. I tried to capture a flavour of the 2D experience changing into a 3D. The skeleton literally leapt out from the screen at all angles and it was hard to capture the result! (well that is my excuse for my poor technololgy skills – the movie that resulted was 31MB so sorry only a picture of a static skeleton! )