What to expect at the IPPN Expo

Before the Irish Primary Principal’s Conference, I like to browse through the exhibition list and see what catches my eye.  Every year there’s a few exhibits that warrant a visit or look interesting.  This year, it looks like it’s the year of the MIS, the Management Information System.  Thanks to the success of companies such as Aladdin, lots of companies are offering their version of reducing the administrative burden for principals.
There are a number of big players at the exhibition this year and one that’s caught my eye is the subtly named Compu-B who are Ireland’s Apple resellers.  With lots of talk about Apple devices such as iPods and iPads in the classroom, I’d imagine this will be a popular stand.  Apple’s iTextbook service is coming online soon so this might be mentioned as a selling point.  Microsoft also have a stand and although there is no explanation of what they are doing there, (do they need one?), I wonder if we’ll get a glance of Kodu?
The green agenda also makes an appearance at the conference and it’s great to see a number of companies offering refurbished computers.  Both GreenIT and Camara offer good value PCs and laptops for very affordable prices.  I was interested in EnergyWatchIT, who are claiming to save schools up to €40 per computer per year through their software.
In many ways it’s sad to see how few Interactive Whiteboard companies are at the IPPN this year.  Perhaps it’s not surprising as most schools already own one.  One big absence is SMART Technologies, the biggest IWB company in the world.  While they are being represented by Toomey AV, their huge displays from last year are no more. However, Promethean, IMEX, Resources4Learning and a couple of others are there.  It’s a bit disappointing that there’s very few companies offering software for the IWBs. The only one I can find is Edware.ie, (feature image).  Perhaps some of the more general educational supply companies will have something.
Anyone looking for software is going to be bowled over with MIS systems as mentioned before.  All in all, there are 7 companies offering some form of administration system.  If you’re in the market for one of those, you’re going to be a busy principal at the Expo!

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