Bett20 was huge. So big in fact that it took over both sides of the Excel. There were the usual shiny things everywhere. Robots, screens and stands of tech that costs the mortgage of a small country.
That is only part of the story though. It does seem like someone has been listening because for the first time this year there was SOME zoning going on. All of the ‘corporate’ stands and the hardware was mostly on one side of the hallway and the teacher focussed elements on the other. There was some overlap, which I guess can’t be helped.
The Education show seems to have been swallowed up as part of an aggressive expansion by Bett. So much so that there was barely any signage that I saw for it other than sponsoring an EdufootyAid team.
I still think there needs to be a fringe or breakout event. There were green shoots of this with Raspberry Pi and Code club in the Fox pub next door. I would guess because they couldn’t afford a stand or needed classroom space.
The tech behemoths of Microsoft and Google have both realised this and have tailored their stands around demonstrations and teaching. IF you can get teachers to use your product in the classroom and it works well, you will always sell more then something that is shiny but will be used a handful of times.
Of everything, I saw over the weekend, by biggest hardware take away was a polaroid camera which was owned by Alan O’Donohoe. I instantly knew how I could take it back and use it in school, to create an instant impact. It was simple but it ‘just works’. No bells and whistles. We forget in this ever digitising world that analogue tech can still have a place. I will blog about my plan for it at a later date.
What Bett does well (or rather the people at BETT) is showing why teachers are brilliant. I learned more at the Teachmeet and the networking after than I did all day. Teachers know what works and what doesn’t. Word of mouth is so powerful.
There is a strong community around TMBETT. To hear them speak about educators we have lost with such warmth and care tells me the quality nature of these folk. The fact that they come from all over the globe to meet up at BETT shows the community is one that needs to continue and to grow. If you haven’t been to a TMBETT, make sure you go next year and get involved.