Chris Drage
Screen AnithingsI suspect that many teachers steer clear of animation software because it appears complicated and time consuming, with little relevance to the SATS, targets and league tables that tend to drive primary and secondary education in England. Let’s face it, if a teacher won’t use a particular software resource then it’s doubtful that the pupils ever will.

However, Anithings could be set to change all that. Anithings actively encourages children's creativity, has huge cross-curricular potential, is simple to use and is suitable for all primary age ranges including SEN and EAL children. This delightful animation software encourages character creation and storyboarding and uses motion recording and tweening to create smooth animation.

Over 20 years, Photoshop has attracted creative third-party plug-ins. Hugh John welcomes some updates

Alien Skin has a well deserved reputation as one of the most creative software houses supplying third-party filters and effects for Adobe Photoshop.

That creativity is clearly evident with Eye Candy 6, a drastic re-ordering and overhauling of the Eye Candy 5 collection. The 30 filters which were previously sold in three separate packages – 'Impact', 'Nature' and 'Textures' – are now organised and divided into 'Text and Selection' and 'Texture'. Both colections are included in Eye Candy 6, making it excellent value for money.

Chris Drage finds school-friendly traits to an otherwise ordinary camcorder
Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1On the face of it the Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 is a pretty run-of-the-mill camcorder which education users might hardly give a second glance except for two important attributes: its price (from £209 online) and its watertight credentials, both of which potentially place it high on a school’s list of required resources.

Expose your average electronic device to rain or sand and you're lucky if it still works after you've dried and cleaned it out. Sanyo claims its Xacti VPC-WH1 is completely sealed against the elements – not just shower-proof but completely watertight to a depth of three metres.

By Hugh John

Freedom Pro KeyboardThe Freedom Pro KeyboardWhy get out your laptop or notebook to send an email when it’s so much easier to fire one off from your mobile phone? But there is something primitive, painful almost, about confident technophiles reduced to two fingered ‘hunt and peck’ typing by the size of their mobile keypads. Even the slenderest of fingers can struggle with this level of miniaturisation.

There is a solution. The Freedom Pro Keyboard is a dinky, foldable device that fits snugly into a leather case measuring 163 by 103mm and just over 19 mm thick, small enough to stow away in a coat or even trouser pocket. Opened out and ready for action it’s 319.2 by 102.9 by 9.6 mm, comparable in size to a laptop keyboard.

By Chris Drage
2CaSS'2CaSS': plotting route for animated dogSince the pre-BETT taster at the advisers' day organised by 2Simple Software, many education ICT advisors have been eager for the release of 2Create a Superstory, or 2CaSS as it is rapidly becoming known. Was it worth waiting for?

It is described as "a complete tool for personalised multimedia story creation", but if you know any of 2Simple's previous titles you guess that this a massive understatement. Offering easy-to-achieve animation, simple storyboarding and augmented reality among a plethora of other features, 2CaSS is an amalgam of 2Create a Story and 2DIY and will inspire children’s writing through the use of tools and templates incorporating text, drawings, imported images, sound and object animation. It's simply dazzling.