Bett Daily News Roundup – Thursday January 23rd

Bett attendees play with educational toys
(Image credit: Bett)

The second day at Bett 2020 was off to an incredible start with the insightful Made by Dyslexia panel, discussing how best to integrate dyslexic learning in the classroom and workplace. The main notion of the talk was to remove stigma and instead view dyslexia as a superpower, a neuro-diverse talent that should be recognised and nurtured. Speakers on the panel included the Director General Strategy of GCHQ, who encouraged educators to remove societal barriers to allow dyslexic talent to develop. The Headmaster of Millfield School shared his views on the limitations of standardized testing and the need for educators to be trained in identifying dyslexic traits. The Microsoft Training Platform offers free dyslexic training for all teachers and marks the beginning of how technology can be combined with education to help support different children, each with uniquely individual talents. The Global Head of Human Resources at HSBC focused on the capabilities of dyslexic thinkers, who excel in creativity, problem solving, resilience and empathy. The panel was also joined by a Space Scientist, who shared her experience of being undiagnosed with dyslexia and how she was able to learn new skills and unlock her full potential by focusing on her creative and original thinking. 

Ready for the AI revolution? Esben Staerk, President of LEGO Education, took to the Bett Arena to talk about why confidence in STEAM learning is key to career opportunities in the age of automation. He said there will be a major shift in job categories and a need to build ‘life-long learners’ on a global scale who will have the confidence to adapt and continue to learn new technological skills. 

Laura McInerney, co-founder of app Teacher Tapp, talked about the key trends to watch out for in 2020. She highlighted that recruitment will be a key issue due to the focus on the gender pay gap deepening and a shortage of 19 year olds who are soon starting to enter the job market. Behavioural management and workload will also be a focus, with the vast majority of teachers saying they would prefer to work at a school that had longer working hours but good behaviour in class. 

Dr Ger Graus OBE, Global Director of Education at Kidzania, spoke passionately about social mobility, highlighting the fact that children can only aspire to what they know exists and our duty to widen horizons. He talked about the role the environment plays in education and the need for the world of work to teach children about the possibilities and opportunities available to them. 

The Bett Futures Takeover Shark Tank Panel challenged seven start-up companies to pitch their ideas to the panel. Presiding over the panel was the Former Minister for Schools for the United Kingdom RT Hon Jim Knight, Emerge Education’s Partner Nic Newman, Edulab’s Executive Vice President Norihisa Wada and MindCET EdTech’s Founder and CEO Avi Warshavsky. Each candidate was given two minutes to pitch their start-up company and a further three minutes to answer the complex questions thrown at them by the panel. 

Beginning the panel was Edves, a Nigerian based EdTech company that focuses on automating school processes for teachers, parents and students. They were followed by Sportip in Japan, who aim to use AI to provide sports fitness, rehabilitation and coaching through AI programming and tailor online exercise regimes specific to promote health and prevent injuries. Hong Kong based company MagiCube was next, a cloud-based collaborative programme whose goal is to carry out STEM education in the most economically convenient way. Israel’s company Speak had identified a niche gap in the EdTech market and developed a platform that measured and assessed the quality and ability to speak a language in only seven minutes. Smile + Learn, a Spanish based company, designed a 360 degree adaptive platform that specialised in Content Language Integrated Learning and reinforces key curriculum subjects such as Maths, Science and Robotics. ImBLaze, a powerful platform that enables students to find internships that interests them in the US, highlighted the importance of nurturing students who are beginning to make their way into the workplace. In contrast, Austria’s Robo Wunderkinds target audience was nursery and kindergarten. They give children the opportunity to experiment in the field of robotics using kid-friendly building blocks that encourage them to explore their creative capabilities.

The panel was unanimous in their decision in choosing Israel’s Speak start-up company as the winner.

Broadcaster and author Helen Skelton hosted a debate in the Bett Arena looking at whether the education system is adequately preparing pupils for the job market of the future.

Panelist Richard Henderson, Director of Global Education Solutions, Lenovo, said, “Smart connected devices are changing our lives.  They are in our homes and workplaces and are leading to a digital transformation in schools.  Today’s students need to prepare for jobs that don’t even exist yet; a whole host of new technological jobs.” 

Dan Hawes, Marketing Director, Graduate Recruitment Bureau, said, “The demand for STEM graduates is higher than the supply.  The pace of technological development is now so fast,  that training for the jobs we need no longer end in a degree or university education, students today will need to continue to build their skills over their  lifetimes.  

The panellists also highlighted the need for data that can demonstrate measurable results, encouraging schools to invest in new technologies, and encourage teachers to try out new technologies in their classrooms.