BETT 2015

It was with great pleasure that I was able to attend the annual BETT educational technology show in London this last week. After initially only planning to be there for a day, I managed to eventually organise to be there for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On the Thursday it was great to be able to accompany Fagley Primary School‘s Deputy Head Teacher Alex Gavin on her first ever visit to the show.

As ever, it was a wonderful event. It was interesting to see some of the new products on offer from some of the big hitters. I didn’t see anything particularly new and revolutionary – and that is no criticism – rather some improved and updated versions of previous ideas: from interactive whiteboards, to screens, projectors and other ‘traditional’ classroom technologies.

On the software front, it was great to see first hand the new Display Boards feature in Purple Mash, which will be a great way for children to publish content to a shared space.

Likewise, DB Primary are soon to be launching a potentially exciting new product – the Hub – to allow children single sign on access to a variety of web sites and services. It could prove to be a great timesaver if it does what it says on the tin.

A small company I was particularly pleased to come across (I’d never heard of them before) was Osmo. I will write another blog post dedicated to what I saw there, because I really think it warrants more space.

However, as has been the case for the last few years, the highlight of the event was engaging with many of the brilliant people that also attended. It was great to catch up with some people who, having originally met on Twitter, have become good friends over the last few years.

The generosity of Dawn Hallybone, Jamie Hallybone and their two lovely children for hosting me for a couple of days was much appreciated, as I know it was by my other fellow occupants of Hotel Hallybone, Dughall McCormick, Bill Lord and Julian Wood, all of whom were on top form as ever.

Additionally, catching up with some old friends and sharing news, anecdotes and the odd bit of tech expertise with (amongst others I’m sure I’ve accidentally missed out) Oliver Quinlan, Paul Hutson, Paul Scott, Tim Bleazard, Ben Chalcraft, Jo Summerfield, Tim Rylands, Sarah Neild, Ian Addison, Charlie Addison, Claire Lotriet, Pete Yeomans, Benji Rogers, Ben Waldram, Matt Moore, Mary Farmer, Dan Roberts, Gareth Ritter, Stuart Ball, Ceri Williams, Mark Rushworth, Bryn Llewellyn, Catherine Steel, Helen Daykin, Susan Banister, Sarah Profit, Tony Parkin, Andrea Carr, Gary Spracklen, Emily Fewtrell, Claire Broomfield, Jon Farley, Tony Sheppard, Theo Kuechel, Stephen Lockyer and Steve Wheeler.

It was also fantastic to be able to meet for the first time this list of great people: Lee Cox, @ThisIsLiamM, Carol Allen, Jo Badge, Mark Anderson, Umesh Patel, Jade Thomas, Dan Axson, Mark Martin and Kevin Sait.

Just look at that list! The overwhelming majority of those listed are connections I’ve made through Twitter and are all people I have a tremendous amount of time for. It’s really quite unbelievable.

The annual Teachmeet BETT (the biggest Teachmeet in the world) also provided a platform for the education celebrity that is Sir Ken Robinson, plus a fitting tribute to the dearly departed Bev Evans, last seen by many (including me) at BETT 2014. Her legacy certainly lives on in the many brilliant resources she created and shared with the world.

So, another wonderful few days. Thank you so much to those of you who helped to make it special. And if you weren’t there or haven’t been before, please do consider being there in 2016. I doubt you’ll regret it.