Several of the TEL team visited BETT 2016 last week. For the uninitiated BETT is the British Educational Training and Technology Show.
With more than 600 learning technology suppliers covering 5 different education sectors we knew it was going to be a busy day. Our game plan was to try and get round as many of the stalls as possible to scout for new and exciting possibilities.
After powering up with large coffees we hit the floor of the Excel Exhibition Centre. It was to be 6 hours until we would next see natural day light.
This was my first time at BETT. It was much more ‘school’ orientated than I’d anticipated. Numerous infrastructure, hardware and content creation solutions for both educators and children in the primary and secondary sector.
Although within Higher Education we need to be aware of trends and developments to ensure we keep up with expectations of our future students this focus made it hard to find what we were looking for.
Through our exploration we found The Gruffalo, a lady sitting on a sheep, neon scaffolding, a lighthouse, humbugs and a selfie booth. But what about the tech? We certainly got to play with some lovely shiny new toys. The main players were out in force and had fantastic stall presentations and big offerings however I came away excited about some of the smaller exhibitors.
- Padcaster a nice bit of hardware that turns an iPad into an all in one production studio. Enabling high quality content production requiring no specialist skills or training. Loved a nifty feature that enabled a smart phone to act as an auto cue.
- Klaxoon an interactive presentation device with quiz, survey, brainstorm and game functions allowing up to 40 participants to connect without any external internet connection. A great interaction tool to providing a two way dialogue to aid learning. They also gave us a real life very loud Klaxon.
- Hubing Scan allows you to create digital documents form pictures you take of whiteboards or any other documents. Not necessarily doing anything new but doing what it does really well…and for free!
- Mathodix an application that helps students practice open-response Mathematics questions. The focus here is on feedback as the system provides detailed analysis for each step of the solution not just focusing on the final answer.
Sharing and collaboration
There were some interesting screen sharing collaboration tools and remote presentation control units my favourites being Bird. A small wearable device which enables interaction with digital content from any location in the classroom. The presentation gave visitors to the stall their very own ‘Minority Report’ moment. Turning pages and annotating with a swipe of the hand from up to 30 meters away releasing educators from the ‘front of the classroom’ position.
It was an exhausting but fun day. I wish one of us had worn a pedometer or wearable fitness app. We certainly put in the miles (thank goodness for my high-vis Nikes).
We didn’t come away with much swag, a few pens and cable tidies although special mention is required for the Canvas tattoo sleeves which were much appreciated by our team back at Sussex. We were able to come back with some ideas but mostly it was an affirming experience that we’ve got a good TEL toolkit here at Sussex, and we know how to use it.
- Being hugged by the Gruffalo
- Exa Education beach stand including Lighthouse and Hawaiian shirts
- Canvas tattoo sleeves
- Playing with Padcaster
- Rubbish burger
- Sometimes hard to understand the offering of each stall
Tips for visiting BETT2017
Wear your trainers
Take snacks and water
Don’t have a burger
Go with a colleague, split up then regroup to share experiences