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Desk Pets - the gadgeteers favourite pet

As a Deputy Head Teacher of a primary school in Essex, I have become renowned for my cupboard of gadgets, electronic toys and gizmos. The collection started from a humble beginning, researching the interaction between young children and toys, looking specifically at the learning that takes place. It was a fun(!) research project and gave me plenty of scope to try lots of different types of toy.

Of course, the electronic gadgets now feature in my teaching, with Control Technology very much at the forefront of the ICT curriculum. With the children playing with iPads, building roller coaster simulations on the Mac, using Hex-bugs, roamers, bee-bots, and the like, there are always plenty of devices to explore.

The latest addition to my "collection" is the DeskPet which is an iPad / iPhone accessory.

The children have responded well to using the DeskPet which is essentially controlled using an iPhone app with a transmitter plugged into the headphone jack. This was a surprise and had anticipated something plugged into the Dock connector. I suppose using the headphone jack makes the DeskPet quite versatile and therefore not limited to iOS devices. Weirdly, I couldn't get DeskPet to function initially, but then realised that both my iPad and iPhone were muted. Control signals to the DeskPet must be in the form of sound waves, which are completely inaudible, so presumably operating at the very high frequencies.

The children have really warmed to the DeskPet and love setting themselves challenges of following courses and routes. This is not only a great addition to my cupboard, but one that is very popular too!

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