iPods are helping UK children learn, thanks to innovative software solution Studywiz and developer Etech.

The company will share what it has learned so far as it explores ways to apply the media player and Macs in education during a welcome meeting for 150 sector VIPs at the UK's largest education trade show, BETT, on 11 January.

A selection of school children and teachers from across the UK will be on hand to discuss how they have benefited from using the Studywiz learning platform.

The system has also recently been applied at the world's largest Mac-based school districts - the US State of Maine, and Henrico County, Virginia.

Studywiz manages the digital workflow, providing each teacher or class with a portal or home page, where all workflow, information and materials can be easily posted and accessed.

Apple has already published an in-depth feature on the applied use of Studywiz at the Mac-equipped Bryanston School.

Studywiz has also been named as Apple's learning platform of choice.

Children respond to Studywiz because it lets them access their information on the school computers, but also allows them to take learning resources from the system to listen to or watch on their iPod - this works because it marries the 'cool factor' of the media player with the 'must do' needs of teaching.

Gracemount School in Edinburgh has taken to the iPod features, running its own iPodagogy project, which explored how iPods can be used to enhance learning.

The school used the system across multiple disciplines - Art, Craft and Design, English, Computing, Geography, Science, History, Maths, Modern Languages, Music - even Physical Education.

While the school study found that a degree of extra work was required, when the system was most well-applied and children learned as a result of the project, their achievements were "far beyond what is normally possible".

They found that the system extended learning beyond school, promoted cross-curricular collaboration, boosted new teaching approaches and generally boosted the use of other forms if ICT at the school.

The system also offers teachers a selection of collaborative tools to help them get the most out of using it, including calendaring, eBulletins, discussion groups and more - particularly its online project gallery feature.

Etech founder, Geoff Elwood, told Macworld: "We have witnessed first hand what a powerful vehicle for collaboration the Gallery resource is. Students in Beijing, China, Edinburgh, Scotland, Detroit, Michigan, Hobart, Tasmania, and Blandford, England have already made extensive use of this unique environment to collaborate and share work with each other. The feedback and interactions have been fantastic.
"On top of this, we are seeing a real trend towards anytime anywhere learning, with schools around the globe directly driving innovations."

Etech is currently talking to Nokia and Sony to integrate mobile phones and PSPs into Studywiz but for now, the focus is on iPods.

Always well attended, BETT 2007 runs 10-13 January at Olympia, London.