After a fantastic time at BETT 2012 and having arrived back in the West Country with pockets brimming with freebies, I feel it’s time for a brief reflection.
Last year I visited BETT as a trainee teacher and had a great time but this year I went with a clear learning context in mind, which enabled me to more closely evaluate the potential of what was on offer (for me in my setting). There are a few things I briefly want to reflect on. There are lots of things I’d like to mention in this post, but I really need to sleep so more posts will follow.
One thing that struck me as I entered the Olympia was the amount of people in the grand halls. It was amazing to see the ‘mad teacher lot’ who had given up what was a beautiful Saturday to actively engage in fantastic professional development and ultimately, in the future of learning technology.
Pie Corbett is a man who radiates passion. Luckily, I stumbled upon the Nelson Thornes stand where Pie Corbett was about to present on using images to develop writing. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain some great advice on how to develop my teaching of writing. In just 30 minutes, I was inspired and crammed full of ideas and practical tips that I will be taking back to the classroom tomorrow! I look forward to hearing more from Pie at the South West Digital Educators Conference later on this year.
Pie Corbett began his presentation with a nod towards the ‘idea paint‘ stand, which will turn any suitable surface into a white board. This is such a simple ‘idea’ with such great potential in any classroom. I could have watched the artist at that stand for ages and I really wish I had taken a picture of his whiteboard masterpiece!
The IWB leaders Promethean and Smart both took a prime place in the grand hall again this year. I’m not that interested in IWB technology as I feel the more mobile, ‘hands on’, handheld devices more effectively reflect an empowerment of learning when in the hands of children. It strikes me that Smart and Promethean have not invested more in handheld devices, but perhaps I am just not looking in the right places. Another thing that I find incredible is the cost of IWBs. But perhaps that is better left for another post.
One thing that I woudl like to aim to do for next year is to actively engage in some of the fantastic discussions that were going on. #DoMoreEdu looked fascinating and following the twitter feed proved very insightful. This sort of dialogue of/for learning and forward-thinking is what really excites me and what I do not spend enough time engaged in as I used to as a student.
What is really interesting is that it was not really the sparkly, new, ‘look at me’ technology on display that excited me the most at BETT. Rather, it was the ideas behind the products and their learning potential that I found most exciting. I mean, ultimately I got ridiculously excited about a tin of paint. But I think this is the most important thing to remember about using technology in schools; it’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it. That 1 tin of idea paint (which is still technology), could inspire and empower a child just as much as a brand-spanking new computer.