It’s the BETT conference this week. Last time I was there was 2020, as the last couple of years have been without it, without the biggest EdTech event in the UK calendar, so this one will be a little special. As such I thought I would share some thoughts in advance of the event.
Let’s start out with the inevitable for me; getting lost on the tube, missing a train, etc. Will this year be the year I manage to get to and from BETT without any drama, or will it simply be another year, another transit related mishap?
One of the things I am looking forward to is the inclusion of esports in this years event. I see great potential for esports within education so it is nice to see that esports will have a visible presence at BETT. Am particularly looking forward to catching up with Tom Dore and seeing his presentation on “Esports: What educators need to know that your students know already!”. The potential is there, it is now just for schools and colleges to get on board.
Meeting and networking
For me this is the big reason for going to BETT. It is the opportunity to meet up with colleagues from schools and colleges across the UK and discuss the possibilities and the challenges in relation to the use of technology in schools. It is this sharing of thoughts and ideas, along with the common goal of BETT, that of supporting the effective use of technology in education, that brings me to the event most years.
I have spoken and wrote a reasonable amount on cyber security in schools over the last couple of years so it was with interest I noted a number of presentations on the very subject at BETT. I will be eagerly attending a few of these to get an insight into others approaches and thoughts, to see how these align with my own and where there might be areas for me to build on and improve. Cyber security is a growing concern for schools and I think the presence of a number of presentations on the subject just highlights this, but also that this fact has been recognised.
I mention interactive panels, as my ongoing dislike for them continues although the reducing price point of them makes them a little more palatable. The issue I have had with BETT over the last few years has been the number of companies showing off their interactive panels or interactive projectors or the new software they have for use alongside interactive display devices. My issue with this is that SMART started selling interactive whiteboards around 25yrs ago, so in a tech conference I wouldn’t expect 25yr old tech, which in tech terms is an age, to be taking up such a significant part of the event arena. Now I hope this year this won’t be quite as big an issue, and especially given I believe the BETT event has a lesser floor space than in previous years, however only time will tell.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI and ML have been buzz words of the last couple of BETT shows however the reality is that the solutions reportedly using AI often weren’t. It is my hope therefore this year to maybe see some interesting ideas or applications of AI and ML, beyond the speculative future gazing as to possible uses, or the mis-marketing of use, where it isnt. I will however be honest that I suspect this hope will likely be dashed.
The BETT Show 2022 will once again bring EdTech enthusiasts together in a single building to share thoughts, ideas and solutions. I will be there, and am looking forward to catching up with colleagues from other schools and colleges. I will also be trying to take in as many of the speaker sessions as I can.
I am once again looking forward to BETT. Here’s hoping I won’t be disappointed (and that I don’t get too lost on the way there or the way back)