Some BETT Show advice

Its been a while since the last face to face BETT show, so I thought I would share what I hope is some useful advice in advance of the event.

Wear comfy shoes

There will be a lot of walking involved, although my understanding is that the event is smaller than it was previously, it still presents a significant bit of floor space.   As such it is important to be prepared and therefore to have comfy shoes on, and also generally comfortable attire.   That said, I suspect I will be in suit as per normal;  I once wore my suit on a trip with year 7 and 8 students to Blackpool zoo, so suspect this is simply a habit when working.

Bring a supply of Bru (or other drink!)

There are places to get a drink and a bite to eat but, in my experience, they can be busy, plus sometimes have limited choice, and tend to be expensive.    As such it’s worth making sure you bring something to drink with you, which in my case has to be “the bru”.   I will also be trying to get my usual Irn-Bru themed selfies as usual, but more on selfies later.

Have a plan

I think this is the most important piece of advice I can give.    With Bett I feel you get what you put in.   If you go without a plan, you are likely to get little from the event, or at least will get less than you could have got.    As such look at the programme of presentations, look at the stands, consider the colleagues who will be there and then consider what you want to achieve.   With this information you can now plan your trip, which stands you will visit, what speakers you will go and listen too, etc.    You can make sure that you get to the speaker sessions relevant to you and your school, avoiding the disappointment of a missed session.   That little bit of effort in planning your visit will pay off when you reflect back on what you have got from the event.

Selfies

The BETT Show is also a great opportunity to get some selfies in;   Now I have never been too good at this so it is something I need to work on.    When do you interrupt a little networking discussion to ask, “Can I get a selfie?”   The key benefit of a couple of selfies, is the ability to use them as a conversation starter online, and to engage with other EdTech people via social media.   Its also nice to keep a record of who you met and bumped into to reflect back later in the year or further into the future.    Am increasing aware of the need to gather photos as a record of my endeavours to help when my memory fails me.  

Enjoy and network

Above all BETT is a technology show, with people there to share their thoughts, to share their products and to generally explore technology in education.    As such take the time to network and meet people, discuss your thoughts and ideas and seek the views of others.   Enjoy the fact that for the duration of the BETT show there are people from all over, all located in the same building because of their shared interest in how technology can be used to support, enhance and redefine the educational experiences of our students.   BETT is the home of the EdTech crowd.

Conclusion

I have in the past been disappointed with BETT but in recent years I have come to realise it isnt about all the stands and the presentations, that which disappointed me, but about the people you meet and interact with while there.    Its about networking, and about a little fun.    So, with that in mind, I have a plan, my comfy shoes are ready, the Bru will be packed, and I will be off once more to network with as many EdTech enthusiasts as possible.

Look forward to meeting some of you on the BETT show floor, do feel free to stop me and say hi if you see me and if we don’t bump into each other, I just hope you have a great visit!

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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