As the dust settles on this year’s BETT Show, bloggers have been frantically sharing their thoughts on the 2010 instalment of the educational technology behemoth.
It was my first time. I had been given many warnings as to the overwhelming nature of an event which brings together 30,000 people amongst more green and purple than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles convention. But none of the warnings could have prepared me for the sheer scale of BETT.
It was really nice to see mycurriculum.com get a lot of visibility and attention on QCDA’s stand. The website is looking really good now and it was great to see the branding up and demos taking place.
Ray Barker, Director of British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the trade association for the educational supply industry, identified two major themes of this year’s BETT in an interview with Teachers TV. Firstly, Mr. Barker said that this year’s show was “very practitioner-led”, with a focus on professional development and training for teachers.
Secondly, he emphasized the importance of “pupil voice, learner voice” and of “the kinds of technologies that young people are using.” Google and YouTube both exhibited for the first time this year, and the Playful Learning area seemed to be a big hit too – at least with the students who were taking part in the gaming. Some bloggers have commented that there may have been too much emphasis on the "playful" and not enough on the "learning" here. The pupils certainly weren’t complaining.
Whatever the value of the games exhibited here, this seems to me to be a worthy shift in attitude (if indeed it is a shift in attitude). The potential for fun on show at BETT – from 3D video to "serious" gaming – is encouraging. Schools have traditionally tended to fear technology, often feeling more inclined to ban new devices than integrate them into the learning experience.
If BETT 2010 does mark, or at least reflect, a greater willingness to blur the boundaries between work and play and to help pupils enjoy learning more, then this can only be a good thing for young people and those children just entering the education system. In fact I rather envy them.