The IPPN conference is coming next week. The conference has seen a change in that the minister for education is going to be at the official opening of the conference rather than the morning after, which seems to be aimed at launching the various political parties’ education election manifestos. We’re also going to have to put up with an appearance from Enda Kenny. Every year I take a look at the exhibits and highlight some of the more interesting ones that may escape our radar. All the familiar faces will be there so I won’t be earmarking them – I’m looking at new companies offering potentially interesting products for the classroom.
Stand B2: Playchimes.ie
Outdoor wall games are becoming popular in schools and this company are offering a free €50 voucher just for coming along to their stand. I’ll be interested in seeing the various wall games to encourage our pupils to collaborate and have fun. There may even be a few problem solving games. I believe they also sell chimes.
Stand B5: Cogs the Brain Shop
Funnily enough, this company is due into my school during the conference so I’ll be interested to learn about their bi-locational abilities! However, the name of the company attracts me and I hope they have some products to get children thinking.
Stand C7: SchoolPlus
This looks like an app that lets schools communicate with each other and parents. I’m not sure if it uses text messaging or a different medium and how parents can sign up and so on. I’m really curious to see if this does anything that Student Management Systems don’t already do.
Stand E9: Primaryschools.ie
It claims in the brochure that it is Ireland’s first online enrolment system for primary schools. Someone obviously didn’t tell them that we’ve been doing online enrolment since 2008 in my school and that POD started doing it last year. Anyhow, a quick look at their web site, I’m still not quite sure why anyone would really use this web site unless they wanted to enroll their kid into loads of schools in the area at the same time. I will visit their stand to find out more as I can’t imagine I’m right about this.
Stand G1 & H1: Qubizm
This company is taking on two stands with a maths programme that I’ve never heard of. I’m always interested in new maths resources and judging from their website, they seem to have pumped a lot of money into their marketing. I’m looking forward to seeing what their showcase product is like.
Stand L3: Recreate
I’m already aware of Recreate, being a signed up member, but I’d urge teachers to have a look themselves. Recreate is basically a small warehouse full of bits and bobs that you can take for free. The warehouse contains bits of plastic, tins, counters and other stuff that work really well for Aistear and Maths in particular. They’re sharing a stand with someone selling air drying clay, which I’m not sure about.
Stand L9: Tip Tap Tap
I met with the guys behind Tip Tap Tap a few months ago. They are possibly about the revolutionise school furniture. Trust me – you have to see this stand.
Stand N6: Emmaus Retreat
The award for the company who didn’t read the manual: They offer retreats for secondary school students. Somebody probably should have told them this is a conference for primary schools. Maybe they’re aiming at primary principals’ own kids?
Stand N9: Get Smart Media
This is a company that appeared last year and had some very cool techie products. I assume they are back with some even cooler products for 2016.
It’s good to see that technology is still on the agenda at the IPPN Expo with over a dozen companies offering technology-based products. The tablet wars are still going on as there must be 6 different companies selling tablets in various flavours. Interactive Whiteboards seem to be back and well represented again after an absence. I was a little disappointed to see that there are less web services supporting the curriculum than I expected. I thought there would be more than the 10 or so that are there. Mindfulness and Well-Being are represented by 2 stands this year, which is less than I thought and there are a couple of stands offering psychological services, which is a stark display of the cuts that have been imposed on children with SEN over the last number of years.
As always, I’m expecting a few surprises along the way and look forward to meeting up with some old friends and seeing some new faces in amongst them.