Experience in UK managed ICT services and Building Schools for the Future appears to have helped schools supplier RM to extend its business activities abroad. Computrac, a US company the RM Group acquired in November 2007, has just won a $32 million contract to supply interactive technology in 114 schools in Georgia’s Cobb County School District, the second largest school district in the state.

“It’s great news to be announcing Computrac’s first major win since they became part of the RM Group,” said RM chief executive Terry Sweeney. “Cobb County School District was already a significant customer and we’re delighted that they’ve chosen to continue working with us – it’s a clear endorsement of Computrac’s products and services.”

Digital creativity: when Apple supported BETT
Apple computers are going into UK schools as never before. City Learning Centres and schools have cottoned on to the fact that iMacs can be used for both Mac OSX programs as well as for Windows. The new Leigh Technology Academy in Kent, for example, has 700 of these "dual-boot" iMacs which have cut the furniture bill by £80,000 at a stroke as they don't have to be secured in cabinets like PC processor units.

So you would think that Apple would be at the heart of Bett 2009, the UK's, and probably the world's, biggest educational ICT event. Not so. Apple doesn't "support" conferences any more. It's a corporate decision that applies to all trade shows - Apple wasn't even officially present at Apple Expo Paris for example. The company feels there are better ways to communicate with its customers.

John Quinn and Jon CaseBeatbullying director John Quinn (left) and Birchfield's Jon Case
by Maureen McTaggart

School management systems can handle reports about bullying but until now there hasn’t been one specifically designed to audit students on bullying and related issues – and then initiate support and action. But software publisher Birchfield Interactive worked with the charity Beatbullying to mark National Anti-bullying Week by producing a new secure online service. "Assesswise to beat bullying" links secondary students with their teachers in a systematic attempt to tackle the problem, and the results will be on show at BETT 2009 in Olympia, London.

by Jack Kenny

TAG awardsTAG Learning has always been at the forefront of good ideas. Its decision to run the National Schools Film and Animation Awards is one of its best and a real service to learning. Government ICT agency Becta ran similar awards a few years back but they were abandoned without any convincing explanation. Since then ICT has moved relentlessly onwards towards visual communication. Not that the current curriculum recognises that: the new English GCSE specs turn their backs on video and requiring students to understand one of the most powerful communication tools ever available to them.