Innovations from DK, Bloomsbury at BETT

Innovations from DK, Bloomsbury at BETT

Several publishers are this week launching digital children’s products at the BETT show, including a new Telling the Time app from Bloomsbury and an interactive website from DK.
 
The digital education show, which is taking place at the Excel centre in London from the 21st-24th January, is expected to host 30,000 visitors over two days. More than 700 companies are exhibiting, including DK, whose www.dkfindout.com website – an encyclopedia for children - went live yesterday (21st January).
 
“We decided to launch the site because children go online to use things like Wikipedia and Google to find information that’s not always suitable,” said marketing manager Claire Morrison. “We saw a gap in the market.”
 
The site, which features quizzes and games, is free to use and DK have no plans to start charging or featuring advertising. “We wanted the information to be accessible to everyone, some schools don’t have access to a lot of technology such as apps,” said Morrison. The site will also boost DK’s profile, she added.
 
Bloomsbury is launching the Telling the Time app in beta at the show, ahead of the market launch in April. Jayne Parsons, publishing director of non-fiction and education, said Bloomsbury created the app in response to demand from teachers. “A lot of kids are so used to digital clocks now that they get to the age of maybe nine or 10 and they still can’t read an analogue clock. They’re used in a lot of maths questions at school, so kids are asked things like ‘What is the time if it’s 1.30pm plus 15 minutes?'”
 
The app will be priced at £2.29 and sold as part of the Andrew Brodie family of apps. Andrew Brodie’s Let’s Do Mental Maths 6-7 won a FutureBook award this year for best children’s non-fiction digital book.
 
Another new development on show is “My Rising Stars”, an online portal for digital and print content from Rising Stars, which was acquired by Hodder Education this month.

Meanwhile Fiction Express is offering Fierce Fiction, an e-fiction venture for schools that allows pupils to choose the direction of the plot. The company releases stories one chapter per week. Pupils read each chapter and then vote on what happens next, and the author writes the winning plotline into the next week’s chapter. The company publishes stories for readers aged 8+ and 10+ and yesterday launched its first book for readers 6+ - Lost in Space by Louise John. It currently has 20 schools signed up and hopes to publish a book for this agerange every half term.