Reflections on Bett

Last year I had followed the adventures of teacher friends who went to the Bett show through posts they shared on Twitter.  As a class teacher I knew getting time out of school to go to Bett would be highly unlikely so had just thought I wouldn’t be able to go.  Then a friend, working in another school, mentioned she had got very cheap flights and that I should look into going over even after school on the Friday.

Bett is the world’s leading educational technology event, held in London every January.  Their mission is to bring together people, ideas, practices and technologies so that educators and learners can fulfil their potential. You can read more about it on their website here.

After checking out flights and thinking about logistics I booked to go to BETT for just one day – on the the Saturday.  Though I would’ve loved to make it to the Teachmeet on the Friday timings would’ve been impossible.

Bett runs for four days and both the schedule and the floorpan is jam-packed.  There is so much to see and hear about I knew I would have to be selective in what I could fit in.  My wishlist was really just made up of meeting people, people from twitter who I have, chatted to, collaborated with and who inspire me.  For me that really meant some of the Apple Distinguished Educators who were presenting throughout the day. I checked out the schedule for the Apple Solution Village and decided my best plan was to spend most of my time there with some time to walk around the stands at lunchtime.

Saturday at Bett was really quite quiet, overall the atmosphere was a bit flat but it suited me because I didn’t want to have to fight through crowds when my time was so limited.  It also meant that I got a good chat with some or the people I’d really gone over to meet.  There is nothing more surreal than having people recognise you from you your twitter profile picture! Mark Anderson (@ICTevangelist) and Laura Dickinson (@eLearning_Laura) both came over and hugged me right away, which is lovely but strange because I’ve never met them in real life.

At the Apple Village I caught presentations from Abdul Chohan, Greg Hughes, Mark Anderson and Catherine Mangan.  All of which were interesting and useful for the classroom – definitely got some tips to take back to school.

I also found out about a great app helping children deal with anxiety called The Worrinots, caught up with Fintan from the Take Ten App Team (an app which I use in school already)  and had a look at some of the stands around the expedition hall.  One of the things on my list to find was the vending machine with the Google Cardboards, linking in with Google Expeditions as a classroom tool.  I got a cardboard in exchange for a tweet, which was an added bonus.

My top tips for BETT based on my one day visit are:

  • plan ahead, work out your must sees or you may be disappointed.
  • use the app to plan things out/find things/get around
  • don’t carry unnecessary coats/bags – use the cloakroom
  • link in with anyone you want to meet up with in advance- Bett is busy and big, you could easily miss them if you leave it to chance.

For me the highlight of Bett was the networking and the chat.  One of the things that I love about technology is that it makes the world so much smaller and interconnected, my experience is that it brings people together.  It was just great sitting having a chat about how we are using technology to impact learning in school with people from Ireland, England and the Netherlands.

Will I go back to Bett? I’m not sure.  If the opportunity presented itself then yes.

One of the aims of Bett is to bring people and ideas together and that was definitely achieved on my day visit.  I guess I will just wait and see what next year brings.