Currently Previously exclusive to subscribers to our Digital Education newsletter

Robot at Bett 2017, (c)  Paul Hudson , CCBY2.0

Robot at Bett 2017, (c) Paul Hudson, CCBY2.0

Bett 2017 Themes

I spent three days at the Bett Show this year, and these were the themes that stood out for me. 

  • The single best bit of the show was, in my opinion, the Bett Futures area. The reason is that the people you speak to there are, by and large, the people who have made the product they're showing. They're the ones who can respond to suggestions almost immediately, without having to go through several layers of bureaucracy. I think such layers (change requests and so on) are necessary in large, complex organisations. But boy, are they frustrating when you just want to get something done!
  • Virtual Reality has come to Bett. It is, at least for the moment, a sort of diluted VR. At least, the examples I saw were interesting, but not mind-boggling. Not like, say, the examples of things that are possible with VR.

    Still, I think there are two things at play here. First, I suspect that at the moment a lot of people are focusing on the technical aspects of VR. Well, they are necessary, but not sufficient. We also need to get some artists, poets and other creatives on board, to come up with outlandish ideas!

    Secondly, one has to be practical. A VR experience of bungee jumping is all very well in one's living room, but I'm not sure about the health and safety aspects of having 20 or more kids in a classroom experiencing it. It would have to very carefully planned and managed.
  • There was a lot going on in the STEM area but, unfortunately, I didn't have time to explore it in any depth. I just noticed that there were some very exciting-looking constructions, with many colours and flashing lights. If you happened to have looked into the robotics and maker areas this year, or indeed anything else, do tell the rest of us about it via this form please.
  • Everything seems to have an analytics functionality these days. This can be very good, though you'd need to make use of it strategically I think. What do I mean by that? Check out this article.
  • Finally, I think subscription-based pricing has become the norm. In many cases there is a free app, but to do anything really useful you will need to start paying. But before subscribing to several things, look at the article on strategy, and the one on economics.

Over to you

I should like to compile a report on Bett from other people's observations and thoughts. If you went to Bett and saw anything interesting, or detected a trend not mentioned here, please take a couple of minutes to take part in this very short survey (there are only two 'required' answers).

For instance, I didn't manage to see any of the 'maker' or STEM stands, so if you did I'd love to hear from you.