Chris Drage discovers a wealth of data-logging options from Texas Instruments
TI InspireData-logging to explore real-world conceptsData-logging introduces learners to many fascinating real-world concepts in mathematics, providing interactive ways to visualise relationships and patterns, and express critical thinking. If a school has invested in Texas Instruments graphic calculators it makes good sense to extend their usage to include data-logging, thus providing real world connections relevant to both science and mathematics.

TI offers several ways to collect data with its graphing calculators. One popular option utilises the CBL 2 data-collection interface (approx £110). In this option, sensors connect to the interface, and the interface connects to the calculator.

Voice-recognition software has Hugh John wondering about the future of his keyboard
Dragon Naturally Speaking 11Nuance's innovative technology and astute dealings in the marketplace have established it as the principal speech recognition software provider. A licensing agreement with speech pioneer IBM (Via Voice, anybody?) and the recent acquisition of MacSpeech, means that the company's Dragon Naturally Speaking will become the software of choice for most Windows and Macintosh users.

Version 11, released recently, should consolidate that position. Nuance claims that the new Dragon, whose engine has been redesigned to take advantage of developments in processing technology – principally multi-core tasking and 64 bit – is faster, smarter and more accurate. And the Dragon is spreading its wings. Not only is it available to Windows and Mac computer users, from netbook to server, but iPad and iPod Touch owners have taken enthusiastically to the new, free Dragon apps.

By Chris Drage
JIT Turtle screenFinding any software for early years children to help develop ICT skills is challenging. Most falls into the ‘edutainment’ camp which tends to disguise any real development of creativity and skills. Or it demands too much from the learner. However, Just2easy Infant Tools (JIT) addresses the balance and gets it just right.

JIT is a set of seven online software tools – Write, Paint, Turtle (right), Chart, Pictogram, Animate, and Mix – specifically designed for younger learners. It has a colourful and friendly feel which appeals to nursery through to lower primary pupils and it encourages children to create on the web in an enjoyable and stimulating way, progressing at their own pace.

Digital photo management comes of age with Photoshop Lightroom 3, writes Hugh John
Photoshop Lightroom 3'Lightroom 3' can reduce 'noise' in digital photosYou've bought the new digital cameras, taken the students on a field trip and come back with more than 100 images. No problem. With hard drive storage so capacious and such good value it’s plain sailing... Isn't it?

No. Once a photo collection gets into the thousands – it doesn’t take long – you need digital asset management (DAM) software. Better yet if this software allows you to edit your image collection, either individually or in batch format. Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom is such an application.

WorkSpace makes a successful writing tool even better, writes Chris Drage

WriteOnline WorkspaceThe benefits of being able to express ideas visually have long been understood, and mind maps are tools that help achieve this. Crick Software’s writing support software, WriteOnline, now includes WorkSpace (right), a visual mind-mapping tool that enables pupils to organise their thoughts and ideas into mind maps before they even begin to write.

WriteOnline, Crick Software’s award winning-writing tool for learners of all abilities, from upper primary school to adults, offers more support than any other word processor for those who find writing difficult. The software can be used online and on CD too, giving users the option to install it on their computers, while enjoying the freedom to use the program anywhere else simply by logging in.