BETT 2022 (including day 2)

After my Bett day 1 post (read more here) I was intending to post at the conclusion of day 2 however having travelled home, feeling a little bit under the weather (but not covid thankfully), and suffering from Bett fatigue this just didn’t happen.   As such I thought I would combined my Bett day 2, and overall Bett post into a single post;  this one.

Day 2

So, day 2 for me didn’t get off to a great start as I woke feeling a bit under the weather, however thankfully the lateral flow tests indicated negative.    As such I decided to cancel a planned breakfast meeting in order to get a couple of extra hours in bed in the hope of feeling better.   I was also concious of having to travel home at the end of the day, having only been able to justify attendance at 2 of the 3 days of Bett, as such I thought the extra bed hours were wise.

I spent a bit of time of day 2 supporting the Association of Network Managers in Education (ANME) on the stand area they had on the NetSupport stand.   This was good as it allowed me to have discussions with IT staff from a couple of schools which I wouldn’t otherwise have talked with, discussing issues and possible solutions.   Again, this highlights the key benefit of the Bett show in the opportunity to network with colleagues.

It was while on the stand that Bukky stopped by for a chat.   I always come away from chats with Bukky feeling positive and upbeat and this time was no different.   We discussed a number of different areas including assessment and how there is a need to explore how technology can be better used to change the examinations and assessment systems which currently still rely on paper based exams.    Mark Anderson also popped by, and I was introduced to Esam from Microsoft leading to a nice group selfie.   I note on reflection, I may have briefly met Esam at a Microsoft FE event some years back however at the time and in the busy day and number of people met, I didn’t associate the face or name.  And this is a problem I often have at Bett, recognising who I have or havent met in the past, including those I have only met via social media;   It is however great when Bett provides you an opportunity to meet someone you have previously only corresponded with online.

During day 2 I also had the opportunity to meet up with an ex-colleague who is now working for a college.  He was at the event with a new apprentice, so it was nice to see them both exploring Bett and was a good opportunity to introduce them to the ANME, which I am not sure FE colleges are as aware of as schools.

Before I knew it, it was time to jump on the train and head home.

Bett 2022

I suspect on reflection that 2 days at Bett is likely to be about the most I could reasonably allocate to the show.   I will admit there were a few people I had wanted to meet, who due to time, etc I didn’t manage to catch up with, plus there were a few presentations I missed which may have been good to attend.   That said, I think this year, although the need for planning your time at Bett was clear, I also realised the importance of allowing some time to support those unintended catchups and meetings which could never be planned.

For me, sadly not feeling so great towards the end of the first day, and into the second day impacted on what I was able to achieve;  Sadly there is little I could have done about this.   It had been a busy couple of weeks leading up to Bett and I think this simply caught up with me.

Again, looking back, the key benefit of Bett is the networking opportunities.   During the two days I caught up with a variety of other educational professionals in different roles and in different educational contexts, and was able to chat and discuss the opportunities and challenges, including how technology is being, or could be used.    Without Bett, and similar other shows, these opportunities wouldn’t exist.     It was at this point I also thought about the ANME trail, which sees visitors to the show encouraged to visit a set of stands to try and win prizes;  I love the way this encourages visitors to follow a path around the venue, and in doing so hopefully encourages opportunities for networking and discussion.   

I didn’t manage to attend as many presentations as I intended during the two days, however I think this is partly due to some incidental meetings, which resulted in me not going to some of the presentations I planned to go to.  On reflection, I think this was a fair exchange.   The presentations I did manage to attend were all useful and informative, so it is definitely worth reviewing the programme of events ahead of Bett and planning which sessions to see, even if you don’t eventually get to them.

Conclusion

Bett continues to be a big event in the UK EdTech calendar.    I am not sure I go for the stands anymore, instead going for the presentations and the mainly for the networking side of things.   And the networking side of things never fails to deliver, especially following a 2 year absence from face to face meetings at Bett.

Looking forward to Bett 2023, I think I will be in attendance once again.   I suspect one area I need to work on is planning to visit more of the stands, and particularly those stands which represent new start-ups and solutions, as opposed to the established brands and products.  

Bett 2022 was another useful, memorable and fun event.   Here’s looking forward to Bett 2023.

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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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