Education Show: The teachers' turn to look and listen

The Education Show gave visitors a chance to pick up tips and see the future of learning.

Thousands of teachers hoping to glimpse the future of nursery, primary and secondary education converged at Birmingham's NEC Arena at the end of last week for the Education Show. The annual three-day event, which attracts around 17,000 visitors, featured more than 600 exhibitors showcasing their newest educational products.

The show also boasted more than 80 seminars and workshops in continuing professional development, as well as a special one-off feature called Learning by Reading, with live demonstrations from children's authors and publishers.

The show's organisers were clearly keen to promote the National Year of Reading – that's 2008, in case you didn't know – dedicating the final day of the event to a series of seminars on how to motivate youngsters to read.

"This year's show reflected the many areas of change we're due to see in 2008," says Briony Mansell-Lewis, director of exhibitions at Emap Public Sector, which organises the Education Show in partnership with the British Educational Suppliers Association. "There was a huge range of products on display; from stuffed toys for early-years teaching to furniture that's going to completely change the way classrooms look."

Denise Cripps is the managing director of education at Scholastic, the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, who were responsible for publishing Philip Pullman's phenomenally successful His Dark Materials trilogy. Scholastic's seminars instructed teachers in the art of storytelling, as a way of persuading their pupils to read in their spare time.

"It's all about learning how to tell a story, and really engage and excite children with it," she says, "and it was lovely that the Education Show created a space for doing that. The event is really important for us, because we get to talk to teachers directly."

Although the show had a largely literary flavour this year, one of the biggest talking points was the launch of the Elonex ONE, the first laptop in Britain to be priced at under £100.

Similar products were showcased at the BETT technology fair in London in January, but Elonex is the first company to seriously match affordability with portability. Their efforts paid off: by noon on the first day of the show, they had already sold more than 26,000 computers.

"Everyone who came to see it loved it," says Sam Goult, marketing manager at Elonex. "The idea is to give every child in the country access to their own laptop, with all the software that they'd need to use on a day-to-day basis. It's extremely light and mobile so it can also be taken on field trips – we're hoping it'll give kids a much more engaging educational experience."

The laptops have a simple user interface, but they are also powerful. Each computer comes with a word processor, spreadsheet creator, PDF reader and MP3 player, and can be used to access the internet.

"Computing and the internet have now completely taken over the modern world, so we thought it was vital to make it accessible to schoolchildren," says Goult. "Now that laptops are a part of the modern world, the chance of every pupil having one has become a distinct possibility."

Another part of the NEC was given over to the less hi-tech but still popular area of educational furnishings. British Thornton is one of the country's leading manufacturers in this area. This was the company's first time at the event in a decade, and they decided to use the opportunity to showcase their new selection of primary school furniture.

The emphasis nowadays is on removing the traditional hierarchy of the classroom, by placing teachers at the centre of the room rather than at the front. Banks of desks are designed to be as mobile as possible, so they can adapt to whatever shape the teacher requires.

Nick Jevons, marketing manager at British Thornton, says: "We're creating fully flexible learning environments, allowing the classroom to change its character depending on what you want to teach. It's about moving away from the old image of teaching and making it much more flexible and interactive, which is very exciting."

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

Supply Teachers Needed in Bungay

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Year 6 Teacher

£111 - £163 per day + £111 - £163 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The posi...

Experienced Creche Assistant - Lambeth - September 2014

£64 - £69 per day + Competitive London rates of pay : Randstad Education Group...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star