My first impressions of BETT

According to the press BETT is the world’s leading learning technology event and has been bringing innovation and inspiration to the education sector for over 30 years. I had heard other Computing teachers raving about this event so as I had a bit of free time I ventured to the exCel centre in London on my own to see what all the fuss was about.

What Went Well

It was a very vibrant & friendly atmosphere and  it was nice when I visited that there were a few school children there too, the real reason for the technology!

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There were some great speakers – obviously Sir Ken Robinson, who was the main draw for the Friday afternoon – but others such as the Google Education speakers, talking about the reasons MOOC’s dont work but Shared Private Courses do. My favourite was watching a cerified Raspberry PI Educator give a talk to just one or two of us on how he used a “box of junk bits” in his after school Raspberry Pi club to get his pupils at the girls’ school  to make their own inventions.

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Plus he kindly gave me some of the bits so that I could have a go at making my own hand-buzzer game at home too! I loved coming away with inspiration to try things like that at home or in class.

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I also liked seeing other aspects of educational technoology – such as the SEN range of equipment and the textiles technology for example, although I’m still not convinced that the time for the 3D printer has really come (everything is so *small*!)

Even Better If

I had someone to go with – although I did meet one of my tutors there. Mostly so I would have someone to discuss the whole crazy circus of it all.

I also felt uncomfortable at the depressing amount of money spent by companies on marketing their products – most of which had come from schools I would guess. I’m sure the cost of putting on a show like that was well into the millions. Which could have been spent on teacher’s salaries perhaps? Or am I just being naive?

Tips for next time

  • Go with someone else but be prepared to split up if different things interest you
  • Scour the program beforehand a know approximately who will be there and things you will want to look for
  • See more talks and demonstrations – thats where the intersting cutting-edge topics are being discussed (I saw a thought provoking one about BYOD to school)
  • And remember – its not all about freebies!
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