One of the features of BETT over the last few years has been TeachMeet Takeover. This is where teachers and other people involved in ed tech “take over” a company’s exhibition stand for between 15 and 30 minutes to give a talk, presentation or demonstration to anyone who happens to be interested in what the topic happens to be. I’ve used the term “barefoot ed tech expert” because I think it important to acknowledge that the people using the technology in their classrooms week in and week out have become experts in their own right. Perhaps they would not normally “strut their stuff” on the stage, but there is something equalising about the TeachMeet ethos.
Now, obviously, for TM Takeover to take place, there needs to be companies willing to give up some space for a short amount of time. But if you’re a company, why would you even consider it? Here are 3 reasons I can think of, and I am sure there are even more:
It’s a nice thing to do
The cost of renting space at the BETT show is far beyond the means of teachers, or even groups of teachers. Donating yours for half an hour a day, or even just once, is a really nice gesture that, in the total scheme of things, doesn’t encroach too much into selling time. (The total duration of the BETT show as far as visitors are concerned is 32 hours. Half an hour represents just over 1.5% of that time.)
It shows you’re part of the community
This is an extension to the previous point. Doing a nice thing is, well, nice. But taken out of context it can look like an act of charity. The most loved companies, as far as I can see, are the ones that want to be part of the community, and not just in a selling sense. They run competitions, take part in conferences, and give up space at BETT!
It could be good for the bottom line
I can’t cite statistics to back this up, but it strikes me that if hosting a talk at your stand attracts people who otherwise would not have visited it, you stand to gain a new customer when they look around what you have on offer.
I think TeachMeet Takeover is a nice idea because it forms a thread running through BETT that is both complementary to, and counteractive to, the official talks and seminars that are taking place. And it is organised at a grass roots level. This year, by which I mean, of course, next year, as last year, by which I mean this year (do keep up!) it is being organised by Ian Addison, who asked me if I’d help to put the word out to companies about it.
So, if I have managed to convince you, go to the TM Takeover wiki, scroll down, and enter your company’s name in the time slot(s) you’re prepared to be used for TM Takeover. Companies only, please, for the time being, rather than presenters.