BETT Show 2010
Just last week I had the pleasure of attending the annual BETT Show in London for the first time. Initially I was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this exhibition but once I got my bearings I quickly started to understand why BETT is so popular with educators worldwide and why it really is a must-go event for any teacher interested in embedding technology in teaching and learning.
BETT (The British Education and Training Technology) exhibition has been promoting ICTs in schools since 1985 and it now encompasses a vast array of technologies ranging from what you might expect, computers and software, to diverse and emergent technologies like interactive whiteboards, eportfolios, electronic money, surveillance systems, biometric entry systems , virtual learning environments and more…
Needless to say that Interactive Whiteboards got blanket coverage at BETT 2010 and I counted over 20 different manufacturers promoting their solutions. Whilst the various IWBs in themselves were extremely impressive particularly, the exhibits of Smart, Promethean and Mimeo, however it was some of of the addons /associated technologies were what really caught my eye. Granted, IWBs key feature is the interactivity they afford in the classroom but factor in wireless slates and feedback systems and you get real whole class interactivity. Another interesting addition to an IWB setup is a visualiser (document camera) to digitise printed content and more. Up until last week I had been a tad dubious of visualisers, thinking of them as glorified overhead projectors but after seeing the latest models available from Smart, Elmo and AverVision, it’s clear their possibilities go way beyond this particularly for science experiments and classroom demonstrations (more here).
Other interesting things that caught my eye were the Intel Classmate tablet pc specifically designed for education (video demo here), Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab and RM’s Learning Spaces exhibit. Of course I could go on and on! Technology in education on this evidence has a very bright future in the UK, lets hope on this side of the water we have the policy vision and funding to keep up.