Birmingham – you were wonderful!

What a delightful show the Education Show 2014 at the NEC Birmingham was!

Working with a Guide Dog
Working with a Guide Dog

From the moment we walked in we could tell this was going to be different from the others we have done. For a start everything was so bright and colourful! I’m not sure if it was targeted more at primary schools but it seemed like a big playground!

Secondly – there were animals! Real ones and lots of them. We saw the wonderful placid and patient guide dogs at the RNIB stand. They were allowing people to try out working with one – by putting on glasses to restrict the view and showing them how a dog helps and guides you. It was lovely to see. Then there was the PDSA stand who had a lovely sleek whippet sitting on their stand. He seemed to be enjoying the attention. Just round the corner from our stand was one staffed by ladies from a children’s holiday farm who had rabbits and guinea pigs.

Then there was the Animal Man who was sitting on his stand quite calmly with a snake round his neck! Also, he had a tarantula in a glass case and if anyone asked he would let them hold it. I didn’t ask!! One brave lady did though and she had it on her hand for a second before begging him to take it off her!

Want to pet a snake?
Want to pet a snake?

I did meet Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age films – he was much cuddlier than the spider and snake! There were some inspirational speakers too. In fact Professor Brian Cox walked right past our stand. I asked him if he’d like a leaflet – but he politely declined. To be fair – he was on his way to the arena to give his speech about making science more exciting in schools. We also caught a glimpse of Dara Ó Briain – who was doing a question and answer session about the importance of maths and science – though sadly he didn’t come past our stand, so missed out on the offer of a leaflet.

Nice exhibits opposite us!
Nice exhibits opposite us!

Our neighbours were great fun too. The stand opposite ours was all about Health Education. They had some very interesting exhibits and we had quite a laugh watching people try on the beer glasses that simulated intoxication. They then had them trying to walk in a straight line down the edge of the carpet. We did wonder what kind of risk assessment they’d had to do for that – as so many nearly wobbled over or walked into the table!

There were also lots of stands with theatre group dressed up – we saw a gladiator walking around as well as some characters from the army and also Victorian times.  The Harry Potter Experience had a stand too – and they were photographing people sitting on a broom in front of a green screen and then giving them a glossy photo with a background of a Quiddich field in a very nice cardboard frame. All for free. Needless to say one or two of the Jigsaw School Apps team had a go!

Fun with Quidditch
Fun with Quidditch

It was a great position for a stand – we were very close to the café. This meant that we could offer visitors some biscuits to go with their coffee or tea as they walked past. it was a great conversation starter! We met a lot of great people – all full of ideas and keen to improve their school – or pre-school nursery or after-school clubs. We can make apps for anyone who has a group of people they need to keep in touch with.

Sid and Berni :-)
Sid and Berni :-)

We are going to be very busy over the next few weeks – we will contact all those who asked us to and let you know how to get started with your own branded apps. We have hundreds in the stores now and look forward to helping even more institutions improve their school to home communication and parental engagement. It was so much fun to see the look of amazement on visitors’ faces when we showed them the instant translation feature or the survey  function for quick and easy parent feedback. They were a picture!

Please do check out our website if you’d like more information and get in touch if you’d like to set up a free trial for yourself.


Next stop – Birmingham

It feels like we are doing a nationwide tour!

First London, then Manchester, and next on to the NEC Birmingham. We’d love it if you want to come and see us and watch what the school apps can do for your school! We’ll be at the Education Show from 20th-22nd March – come to Stand H83 – we’ll ply you with biscuits while we show you what we can do!

Feeling peckish? Help yourself!

In the meantime we have been busy building the apps for our new customers and getting them into the app stores. That means their parents will soon be able to download them and get immediate access to the news and events from their children’s school. We are particularly proud of our categorisation system which means that parents can decide which news sections they want to receive. If they don’t have a child in the football team – they can switch off that news section! That means that parents aren’t swamped with messages from school. They are in control of what they receive and what language they receive it in.

Don’t forget we make apps for iPhones, Android phones as well as Windows Phones. We had lots of interest in Manchester and people especially loved the translation feature. If you have placed an order – do get your artwork into us and approved as soon as you can so that your apps can be submitted with the next batch.

In other news – we have been featured in the local press! We were very happy that The Sentinel put us in their business section – highlighting our latest translation feature and our appearance at the Education Show 2014. We’d love to see you there! We’ll be in good company – we hear that Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain will be there too!

Thank-You Manchester!

Jigsaw School Apps at the EICE 2014

JSA had a great time at the Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition in Manchester. It was a very well organised, friendly event. Darren and Nathan gave lots of demonstrations to a variety of interesting and inspiring educators. Lots of leaflets and biscuits were handed out to the many visitors. Also, we enjoyed looking at the other products on display and meeting the other exhibitors. We were all fascinated by the blow-up classroom – it was wonderful!

Live demos at the show.

It is great to see people’s reactions when we show them the apps that we create. Some are amazed when they see how quickly the messages we type in the live demos pop up in the app. Others love how quickly they translate the content when they choose a different language. It is fun to watch! Thank-you to all of you who asked for more details – we will be in touch very soon.

Help yourself!

Talking of translations – we were asked if we had Punjabi and we realised that we didn’t. So, Nathan, our developer, has already had a look at that and it is now among the over 70 languages we offer.

We are always open to new ideas – please get in touch if there is a feature you’d like to see. We have quite a few things in the pipeline as we are continually looking to stay ahead. Keep checking back with us to find out more.

If you would like to meet the team and have a live demo –  we will be at the Early Years Annual Conference at Yarnfield Conference Centre, Stone, ST15 0NL on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th March. We will also be at the NEC in Birmingham at the Education Show on 20-22 March. We are looking forward to meeting new customers!