My personal BETT–Day 1

It’s coming up to that time of year, when companies unveil their new ed tech goodies, old friends and colleagues meet up, people give and attend talks and demonstrations, and we all go away either inspired or cynical, and completely shattered, in equal measure. Yes, it’s the BETT show, a 4 day conference-stroke-exhibition-stroke-meet-fest which attracts people from all over the world. This year it starts on the 12th January, ie next week, and I thought it might be useful to make my own suggestions about what you might like to see. These suggestions are all based on my knowledge of the people involved or past personal experience, so I don’t pretend to cover all possibilities: check out the BETT website for the full programme, and register for free in advance. Today, I’m looking at Day 1, Wednesday 12th January.

BETT is a key event for ed tech peopleThe show opens at 10 am, but if you want to see as much as possible, get there a bit early because the queue is always a mile long. I always find the Wednesday morning a good time to go because it’s relatively uncrowded. But the first programmed event to attend should be the BESA keynote. BESA is the British Educational Suppliers Association and is an excellent source of original resource about ICT spending and usage in the UK. I don’t know who will be giving the talk, but the last time I attended a BESA talk it was given by Ray Barker at the Guardian conference entitled “Running a school ICT department on a tight budget”. It was full of interesting insights and research-based conjectures about the future of ICT in the UK. (Bear in mind that, like the other seminars in the programme, you have to book for this in advance and it will COST YOU £15 + VAT.) The BESA keynote takes place from 12 till 1.

Once you’ve left the BESA keynote, hotfoot it to Gallery 2 in time for my seminar, which starts at 1:15. Called “20 must-have tools in 45 minutes”, it should prove useful to anyone who is, or is aspiring to be, an ed tech/ICT leader in a school or local authority (or similar), or a freelance consultant. And, as a bonus, I shall be covering a further 10 tools because it turns out I’ve been given an hour rather than just 45 minutes! I will be writing about that separately, but if you can’t wait, there’s a description here with  a link to where you can book.

In the afternoon, after lunch, networking and generally wandering around, go to the Mirandanet seminar, called a “Mirandamod” at 15:30 on Stand S97. This is free, and promises to be a great discussion on the subject of “Which Web 2.0 tools develop teaching and learning effectively?”. Please note: it’s a round table discussion, so please be prepared to contribute (though you don’t have to if you really don’t want to!). Please sign up on the wiki if you would like to attend. There are other Mirandamods on the Thursday and Friday, which I will write about separately, and which I am chairing. In my experience, these are great: they attract a range of people, such as teachers, academics and industry folk, so the discussion is very rich indeed.

That finishes at 17:00, which gives you ample time to have a coffee, look through all the leaflets etc you’ve accumulated, and go to the evening event. This is Tedx Orenda, an educational offshoot of TED, organised by Drew Buddie.  Last year’s event was very interesting, and I think this year’s will be worth attending as well. The thing is, as you can see from the list of speakers below, you get to hear and meet people who you wouldn’t usually come across in educational circles.

Marc Lewis – Dean of the School of Communication Arts
Naomi Jane – Director of the 4WD Foundation
Vinay Gupta – developer of the Hexayurt
Alex Fleetwood – Director of Hide and Seek
Sydney Padua – Cartoonist and animator
Tom Watson – MP
David McQueen – Youth Advocate and Leadership Junkie’
Jack Schofield – Technology journalist
Rhys Morgan – critical thinker
Simon Raymonde – musician, producer and record label owner

To book a free ticket, go to TEDxOrenda 2011.

Attending BETT on Thursday 13th January? Then why not attend a free leadership event? Look here for details.