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