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You better, you better, you BETT February 3, 2013

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, Inspiration.
Tags: , , ,

So the BETT Show shifted lock, stock and no smoking barrels from Olympia across to the Excel Exhibition Centre. How was it for you? On balance I have to say I preferred the new venue for a bunch of reasons which can be found here – , but as for the show itself, well it was a bit of a mixed bag. Somewhat unusually I gained more from the exhibitors I visited than from the presentations I attended.

bett presentation

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/8440925016/

As you become a more seasoned BETTer you develop strategies for maximising the most from your day. For me there are four aspects:

  • attending some of the presentations which chime with either personal interests or link with plans we have in school
  • visiting the exhibitors showcasing products which either we need or are considering back in school
  • wandering around and benefitting from those serendipitous moments where you might catch a product you’d not even thought about, but which might offer new possibilities.
  • catching up with friends both old and new.

There were three observations that particularly stuck in my mind as I travelled home. The first was how disappointed I felt having attended the four presentations I did. This wasn’t because they were poor, in fact quite the contrary – they were interesting, well delivered and contained useful pointers to resources and ideas. My disappointment stemmed from the fact that I didn’t actually learn anything new; these were all areas in which I currently have an interest so I’ve already made it my business to find out what the current state of knowledge is and what the issues are. So maybe next year I need to seek out themes with which I’m less familiar (makes note to self). The second thing was just a wonderfully pleasant little moment as I was walking past the ‘Learning Together – heppell.net’ stand and a young chap of about 10 stopped me and boldly asked if I’d like to see the game they’d created. With that he sat me down next to his partner working at a computer, a Year 5 girl who then took me through how she’d created a simple little controllable animation in Scratch. She’d never used it before, hadn’t been shown what to do, but just followed some of the inbuilt help, experimented a little and in an hour produced a ‘game’ with which she was justifiably delighted. She could also tell me that she thought any of my year 5 students back at school would be able to pick it up as easily and year 6’s would find it a doddle.

writeable surface

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/8440923952/

It was whilst I was here the third thing caught my eye; the worksurfaces here were writeable and had been written on using dry-wipe markers. Jottings, notes and ideas of people as they’d be exploring some of the exhibits. Yes you’d have to be brave in certain circumstances to treat the desks or walls with this paint, but what a great idea? Brainstorming, group work and capturing discussions could all be done on work desks or walls and be available for classmates to ponder – learning made visible?

Who’d’ve thought my biggest takeaway from a technology show would be something as low-tech as a new paint?! It just goes to show what a show can show you.


1. Lois Lindemann (@morethanmaths) - February 3, 2013

The paint was great wasn’t it – and so was the furniture it was on. I really liked the way it was used as tiered seating or seated & standing desks.

I seem to have come home from BETT with a surprisingly manageable list of ideas. Part of me thinks that’s a good thing, but it might also be a symptom of the samey-ness of many of the products on offer.

When I was browsing through Twitter, I picked up a mostly negative vibe about the venue but I thought Excel itself was OK. It was more of a pain to get to than Olympia, but not unmanageably so – just a slightly longer journey.

2. debseed - February 10, 2013

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