Impressions of BETT 2013

What a week this has been! The Education World Forum kicked it off, where I had the pleasure of discussing matters of consequence with some very interesting people, followed by a gruelling but fun BETT. More about the EWF soon; for now, I'd like to focus on BETT.

In case you’re not aware of what BETT is, it’s the biggest education technology show in the world, so I’m told. This year 42,000 people have pre-registered, compared with around 30,000 last year. Back in 2012, around a third of visitors were from overseas, and this year there was, again, very much an international feel to the event. There were plenty of exhibitors from abroad, and I overheard foreign tongues being spoken all the time. And in the seminar I chaired on the topic of The new realities of mobile learning: what school leaders need to know, the Danish Minister of Education was in the audience. And, I ought to say, that seminar was itself supported, instigated actually, by Technology and Learning.

I always enjoy BETT, but I think the experience is very much a subjective one. If you know what you are going to look for, and you find it, then it’s great. If not, or if you find nothing to ‘wow’ you, then  it can easily be merely tiring. My impression of the first few hours of the first day was that not many people were around, but I may have been the victim of an optical illusion caused by being in a vast cavern of a place compared with the much more cramped venue of previous years.

On the Friday afternoon it was definitely emptier than in previous years, and the exhibitors more tired. I have my views on that, which I will share in a forthcoming post.

The show was opened by Dr Vince Cable, who is in charge of Business, innovation and skills. Given the location of the BETT show this year, in the up and coming east side of London (think ‘Digital Shoreditch’) and the expansion of the show to include Learning at Work, and this was perhaps rather apposite. He talked about the importance of technology in education, not least as part of the means of meeting the demand for education and training. There is a pretty good article about his speech on the V3 website.

I met some interesting people, saw some interesting products, and interviewed half a dozen or so colleagues. I will be reporting on all this in due course.

To end this brief article, watch the even briefer interview with Kevin Hogan, Editorial Director of the Technology and Learning Group, and a visitor to, and friend of, BETT, from the USA.

Kevin Hogan talks about BETT, and Bring Your Own Device

If you have been to BETT, why not give your opinion of the most noteworthy products and services, advice to
colleagues from your perspective, and what trends you spotted? If you would like to do so, please complete this
incredibly short questionnaire:

BETT 2013 Review