Saturday, 24 January 2015

BETT 2015

Thanks to the exhibitors and speakers at BETT2015.  I really enjoyed my day there on Friday 23rd January.

Here are some notes from my experience.

Practical stuff

Really worthwhile downloading the BETT app onto my phone, scrolling through the schedule and marking favourites.

The Excel London very easy to get to.  Waterloo, Jubilee line, change at Canning Town, then two stops on the DLR to Custom House.  Really helpful tube staff telling you to go to the middle of the platform.
Excel staff all very cheerful and helpful
Not as warm as Olympia.. kept coat on!
Easy to find your way around with reference to the entrances
I queued up before 10am .. noticed lots of people having coffee casually at the tables and realised why.  Doors open, everyone just piles in!!
Met friends at The Fox lower bar... cosier than the centre.

Programs/Stands/People we met

 All subjects:

Kahoot - fantastic free app from Norway .. for mobile apps or fixed PCs. The video was brilliant.. focussed on the reaction of the students of all ages!

E-factor: Story-based computer simulations.  A Polish-based company/.  Looks great!
Fronter - the VLE system we use.  Must follow up the additional hand-in tool which you can add to rooms (instead of making folders hand-in folders)
Pearson - we were looking for advice about content to add to Fronter.  Anthony told us that Pearson is organising 'ready-made' rooms.  Not yet there for ML - we may be able to help.
Schools Serious Games - an eu project to create adventure games for learning e.g. Playing History and Global Conflicts and Materials Future
Sonocent audio note taker - I need to look at the this more to understand fully what it does.  I really liked the stand!


NASEN - a must for SEN.  Join the association.  Good quality regular magazine, High quality conference.
Spelling tutor
Units of sound Online - Seems to be a really good way of getting specialist support for pupils who need help with literacy, especially at a time when schools may have to be reducing staffing. Really nice to meet Maria Mahoney again, and thanks to Clare Effingham who explained it all to me.


Issues online - PSHE support - up-to-date
Zumos - looks like a really good resource to promote 'well being'.  Business model makes it free at delivery.


Exampro - as recommended by Bertram Richter, so I would like to have it even though we do not use AQA for ML.
Eurotalk - we already subscribe to their excellent products. Looking forward to seeing the authoring version which will be out shortly.
Flashsticks - seems very engaging - probably mainly for primary environments.  Nice people on the stand, and thanks that they replied to my tweet!
Lexicum - a new way to learn and reinforce new vocabulary.  Being developed still.  I was really impressed.
Radiolingua - so pleased at the success Mark Pentleton is having with his company.  We go back a long way! (He set up my Facebook and Twitter accounts at a past BETT show!).  Nice to meet Katie!
Talking Products - excellent for straightforward recordings - especially for people without access to mobile phones.  I was really surprised at how cheap they were.
Sorry I didn't make it to see Marta Palomerasi and Cheryl Sanchez of bilingual bookshop but thanks for your tweets!  I will definitely look at your books!


Online Parents' evening booking system - will pass on this idea.
Route2education - engaging digital tables for primary schools.  Makes me wish I worked in a primary school!
Soundfield / Connevans - I always want to buy this product!  Teacher wears a small microphone around their neck, and their voice comes out of a speaker placed at the back of the room. Reduces voice strain, and would be fantastic for teaching languages.   Really nice to meet the Director, Phil Boswell and to know that the company is based very near our school.

Talks and meetings

We attended a very good talk called 'Active literacy - getting words off the page!' by Donald Cumming, Assistant Headteacher, Holmfirth High School.  Description of the session: 'Writing is a high-stakes activity for many young people as well as a difficult-yet-essential skill: the written word is there to be seen and judged by everyone! So what can be done? This session will demonstrate active approaches to literacy ranging from using rugby balls to making the best of IT in order to develop confidence and skills'.  Donald generously offered to share his  PowerPoint.  We loved the active and engaging techniques he suggested .. e.g. two over-sized hands used to accompany 'on the one hand .. on the other hand' ... and over-sized cut-outs of footsteps to accompany 'Point - Explanation - Evidence [and optionally, link]'

It was good to meet Jens Kjaer Olsen and Mr Rasmussen and his son.  I am delighted that they are investigating providing an affordable way of allowing pupils to work in a 3D Virtual environment with other pupils form around the world.  At the moment I am really excited about trying out a similar project with TILA and I would love to be involved with whatever they set up!

I'd like to follow up the talk I saw on using 'Minecraft'.

At last we met, @basbettj !!!!  It was great to see you for real, and I look forward to a webinar from you! Sorry you didn't get to give your presentation Janet.   I agree with you and others tweeting that having lots of so-called 'nano' presentations would be best as a way of sharing a maximum of ideas which people could then follow up they want.

The absolute highlight for the day was listening to 'visionary'  Sir Ken Robinson in the BETT arena.  Chris Panting, Deputy Head at The Ashcombe, was very envious of the chance we had to see Sir Ken Robinson, and I am just so sorry that I could not get a signed copy of his book for him.  They ran out of the stock just before I got to the front of the queue.  Sorry Chris!

The programme notes for this session were as follows: "I am delighted to be part of the international education  community that will gather at Bett 2015 in London. In my  keynote session, Out of our Minds: learning to be creative,  I will  challenge many of the test-based, standardised educational  reforms being pushed globally to 'reform' education. I look  forward especially to learning about how you are working  creatively to transform education where you are."

I do hope that someone was videoing it and that we can see it again.  I did not want to take notes .. the experience of sitting on the floor watching an accomplished orator at work close-up was unmissable .. but I did take time to write a few tweets of things which really struck me: (obviously the bits I really believe in too!)
  • Waiting to hear Sir Ken Robinson talk about a culture of collaboration  growth sitting on the floor 
  • Culture is the sum of your behaviour. It can change in a short space of time e.g. tolerance of smoking
  • You are more important to the pupils than the Secretary of education who is passing through to another job.... you are the school
  • Not against assessment e.g PISA  ('the European song contest of education!') but the way it is used by politicians
  • Definition of creativity..original ideas with a value
  • Schools have a narrow conception of talent. Overlooked because we are looking for something else..
  • Question is not whether to use technology but how
  •  Absolutely inspiring and entertaining talk from Sir is not is cannot plan life
  • Look at video 'going nuts'..fantastic..demonstrations that all we need is already there..we need to be open
  • Very moving advert for mind art..they deserve the publicity..

  • Must buy new edition of out of our minds by Sir sad that they had sold out on the stand :-(
  • Excellent analogy drawn between farming and education..danger of the monoculture..need to concentrate on the soil
  • Tears in my eyes after being shown landfillharmonic video. .a must see for all..

  • Our job is not to teach the national curriculum but to teach children
  • Loving the evangelism of Sir Ken
  • Sir Ken is not saying there are not things we need to learn in common
  • Education is to help children learn what they might not learn on their own..expose them to single definition

It was like being in an evangelical meeting ... Sir Ken speaks in a down-to-earth yet eloquent way, pulling at the heart-strings as he describes what are humane 'common sense' objectives and methods in education.   You felt like standing up and saying 'Hallelujah!'  There is no way that I would have asked any even vaguely critical question following such an experience!

And yet I know that when I have read what he has said in the past, although agreeing absolutely with him about the purpose of education and the problems in the current system, I have wondered how this would work fairly within our publicly accountable system where our aim is  to give equality of opportunity and access.  My question might be: How would he advise government to do the following without tests and standards:  (a) establish the 'common core' (b) define a common understanding of what we should be doing 'beyond the core' (c) ensure accountability in a public service for the common core and 'beyond'.  I am motivated to read more deeply and find out how he would answer.

I am sure I have missed lots of things I saw and did and will add them on this page.  Hope this may be helpful to others as well as a 'reminder' to me about what to pass on to colleagues!

I hope I can be let out to experience BETT again next year!



  1. Hi Helen, the 3D project you are about to be in is not NIFLAR but TILA, the follow up of the first one.
    Great to be working rogether.

  2. Thank you, Karelia, for taking the time to share your insights with those of us who were unable to attend.