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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

@BETT_Show 2013 - Day 1

This is the first of three posts in which I will share my thoughts from BETT 2013. BETT is the world's largest educational technology show and attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world each year. This year BETT was held for the first time at the Excel Arena in London.

I must start by saying that I have been suffering with tonsillitis for the past four days and my first experience of BETT this year has been overshadowed by a continuous cough (apologise if you have sat or been anywhere near me today). Withstanding this, I have still had a brilliant day and take away some great points to move forward with.

To keep my blog posts concise over the next couple of days (I like being concise), I am going to share two key highlights from my day and one question...

Key Highlight 1: Chris Mayoh (@ChrisMayoh)

My first highlight came towards the end of my first day here at BETT 2013. By chance, I stumbled across a presentation that I had already favourited in the BETT App - 'Embedding pupil voice and pupil participation in developing strategies for whole school improvement'. This saw the brilliant Chris Mayoh from Bradford present to us about his excellent Digital Leader project. This project has seen 50+ schools across Bradford come together to engage pupil voice in moving forward new technologies that support learning.

Obviously, many of you will know that I am a strong advocate of the Digital Leader programme having had a successful group in my last school ( You may also know that I am starting to embed this practice at IPACA (see Digital Leader trip to Mozilla Blog - It is always good therefore to hear from others running similar projects. 

What really impresses me about Chris' work is the sheer scale in which he has taken Digital Leaders to become a success across 50+ schools in Bradford.  Equally impressive is that Chris has retained the key principal that makes Digital Leaders have such an impact in schools. Namely that there are no limits of what pupils can achieve... anything is possible! See below:

Key Highlight 2: Learning Together (@StephenHeppell)

My second highlight has to be my first port of call for the day. Stephen Heppell's 'Learning Together' area really embraced it's title and saw mixed age students - from PhD to primary - encapsulate the joy of 'learning together'. The messages from Stephen's stand link heavily with those from Chris Mayoh's presentation.

More information about the stand is best summed up in Stephen's post:

'Our 2013 theme is Learning Together. A mass of activity will include some Raspberry Pi and makeymakey programming / building, some binary maths (all our children will be wearing 0s or 1s!), and some student-led explanations of the Internet. We are very pleased to be joined this year by partners Netgear to help us narrate the topography of the Internet. Netgear are following on from previous years' partners like Google and Panasonic. 
In particular you will see children of all ages working together - NEETs students helping primary programmers, grandparents helping yougsters and youngsters helping grandparents to know where learning is in this millennium.

Many of the students from Spain and England have in common that they have been engaged in projects to "make their learning better". Indeed a lot of the stand is painted with a surface developed by the SEK schools' Spanish students to make every surface writable (and cheaply!).
In addition, we will be Skyping to students building huge and ambitious robots in Michigan, listening in as students in other countries partner and support each other through live link ups, looking at projects near to home and abroad, hearing from experts on the stand.
We have found a host of old maths technology devices, from pre-historic Sinclair calculators without equals = keys through pre-decimal comptometers and slide rules, to abacuses and even circular slide rules! Our students will be dragging you onto the stand to see if you can remember how to use this old technology, and to reflect on your own school days.

And all this fun & learning will be captured as we work. There is a student led podcasting feature to do all this, using iPads and a simple USB mixer deck. Last year at BETT 2012 we had the wonderful Russell Prue from Anderton Tiger on our central feature stand, with his very pro schools' radio kit. This year, in keeping with our Learning Together theme, the children will be running the whole broadcast schedule and asking you for everything you can remember about learning with old and new (and very old!) technologies'.

Original source:

I have to say that my interview for BETT_Radio today on the 'Learning Together' stand by Lampton School pupils was another personal highlight. As well as having a great discussion about learning, it was the only time today I could hear myself clearly as I listened through my headphones (due to my blocked sinuses)

One Question: Why? Why? Why?

As promised, I will end this blog post with my question of the day which has to be -

Why are so many companies at BETT 2013 still pushing old projection based technology?

Answers on a postcard or alternatively use the comments section below to discuss.