01 Mar BETT Show 2013
Well I made it to BETT this year by staying over in London after Learning Technologies. I had hopes that the new Learning at Work specialist conference thread would be useful but on the day I was there it was poorly attended and both sessions that I went to had little to do with learning technologies. The whole thing felt like a last minute add-on to try and attract some corporate L&D people. It’s a pity I missed Day 1 because both Nick Shackleton-Jones and Steve Wheeler were speaking – I’m guessing they drew a bigger crowd!
The show itself was massive – probably four times the size of learning technologies but of course there are a lot of schools and colleges buying a lot of IT kit in the UK. The big hardware vendors were there including Apple, Dell, Acer and Samsung plus specialist PC education suppliers such as RM and Viglen. Microsoft and Google were also there promoting their education software and services.
As I’ve noted before BETT is about technology in the classroom. It’s main audience are teachers in primary and secondary schools. For this audience online learning is something that isn’t going to happen in their schools anytime soon. Having said that there were a number of VLE vendors but it most cases the VLE simply provides an extension of the classroom experience. Children can access homework tasks, do some research, complete a quiz while parents can monitor their child’s progress.
Moodle was on show by Webanywhere and the good guys at Synergy Learning but it’s used once again to extend the classroom rather than replace it.
There is of course lots of fun stuff at BETT – programmable Lego, cool physics experiments and all sorts of learning games designed to be used in a classroom environment. There are also stacks of interactive whiteboard vendors and people who make charging and security trolleys for iPads that can be rolled from class to class.
Is BETT changing? In the education market is the technology finally breaking out of the classroom? Only very slowly.