The world’s leading event for learning technology returned to ExCeL London in January 2016. Bett 2016 offerred a program of inspirational speakers offering best practice advice across a number of theatres, including the School Leaders’ Summit, the Technology in Higher Education (HE) Summit, primary and secondary Learn Live theatres, including a session co-hosted by Tech & Learning, and of course, the Bett Arena. What follows are some of the convention highlights.
Nick Chater presents a session on "Building a Culture of Innovation" at the Bett Arena Bett Futures, a platform designed to nurture innovative education technology start-up companies, returned to Bett, following a successful launch at the show in 2015. The event ran in association with leading education think tank, The Education Foundation. The project aims to showcase budding businesses that promise to have a significant impact on education.
The Bett Arena took center stage, with a program of headliner names taking on the big topics in education, at the heart of the show floor. Getting girls into coding, open access, big data, putting the “arts” into STEM, readying pupils for an increasingly digital future, using technology to get a better work-life balance, and acing assessment, were just some of the topics being discussed.
Amongst the hundreds of lectures, panels, and hands-on workshops, Tech & Learning and its partners did their part with a session titled, “Building a Culture of Innovation.” Participants included three highly respected experts in ICT: Bob Harrison, Chair of the Teaching Schools New Technology Advisory Board; Terry Freedman from the ICT & Computing in Education Web site, and the newsletter “Digital Education”; and longtime edtech leader and consultant Nick Chater. The session investigated how innovative educators are able to integrate edtech in a way that goes beyond the device to truly aid teacher instruction and student learning.
Tech & Learning Content Director Kevin Hogan with speakers Bob Harrison, Terry Freedman, Nick Chater, and MyOn’s Yetis Ozkan . In addition to a great lineup of speakers, more than 600 exhibitors showcased the latest and greatest technologies that are helping transform schools inside and outside of the classroom. Exhibitor highlights included:
■ EXO U released its new platform designed to make the most of BYOD in the classroom: ORMI. Engineered for ease of use and uninterrupted teaching flow, ORMI installs and connects on any device with any operating system in minutes. Its elegant yet simple interface enables teachers to share just about any kind of instructional content to students, groups, or entire classes. Students can also be given permission to share content back to the teacher, to interactive displays, and with each other. To help teachers integrate BYOD into their instructional flow, ORMI extends each device, delivering powerful lesson-building and delivery tools, student response, messaging, and other common teaching tools over its platform.
■ Microsoft announced it is acquiring MinecraftEdu and investing in a new and expanded version of Minecraft for the classroom: Minecraft: Education Edition. In partnership with Teacher Gaming LLC, Minecraft: Education Edition will build on the learning from MinecraftEdu while offering an expanded set of features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom setting. Microsoft also released Learning Tools for OneNote in beta, a downloadable toolbar add-in for OneNote 2013 and 2016 that improves reading and writing experiences for all students—including students with learning disabilities like dyslexia.
■ Fujitsu Services showed four dynamic zones on stand C128. These included: the Robotics Zone, showcasing a robotics and programming demo; the Coding Zone, where its partners, the National Museum of Computing and the Tablet Academy, showed technology through the ages; the Internet of Things (IoT) Zone, which gave audiences a sneak peak of future innovations for education; and the Cyber Security Zone, offering insight on the issue of cyber security.
■ Supporting “Assessing without Levels” in line with the new primary curriculum, EES for Schools was showcasing Target Tracker, a cloud-based system for monitoring pupil progress in primary and early years settings, as well as the recently launched Schools Effectiveness + (SE+).
■ The Lego Group played host to an Innovation Hub, offering visitors the opportunity to hear from a variety of teachers using Lego Education’s products, such as its popular robotics resource, WeDo, which helps bring computing to life in the classroom.
■ Toshiba Information Systems (UK) demonstrated its range of products providing mobile and flexible ICT solutions that enable improved learning at all levels.
■ Educational apps specialist Daydream Education unveiled its newest app, Maths Tutor. The multi-platform app, which features a National Curriculum alignment section, incorporates a huge variety of tutorials, interactive features, real life scenarios, and assessments to facilitate learning and improve pupils’ understanding of key math skills and topics.