Today sees the start of the Bett Show in London, and so I thought I'd let you know what has caught my eye in terms of products and talks.
First, to get yourself in the right frame of mind, you might wish to read the ed tech predictions that over 40 organisations provided to me. I asked them what they thought 2018 might bring in terms of ed tech developments, and what they thought the challenges were. You can read them here: EdTech 2018.
If you're going to look for products, I'd highly recommend downloading my free guide, Getting the best out of Bett 2018. It has a section on questions to ask suppliers, and another section on things to consider when looking at products. In fact, I'd recommend it anyway (well I would, wouldn't I?) because it contains lots of other useful tips, the most famous of which is: "bring a stapler!". Next year I may bring out a commemorative literary edition ("It was the best of shows, it was the worst of shows"), but for now it's just plain and simple. Pop along here to download it:
Now for my recommendations/suggestions.
They're over here -- but where?
The people from the Technology and Learning magazine are here again this year, but unlike previous years they are not running a seminar this time. A pity, methinks, because it was always interesting to learn what is exercising the minds of our counterparts from the other side of the pond. In order to do so this year you will have to read the Technology and Learning blog instead. Always a great and varied read, by the way. (Disclosure: I write for them, but I wanted to because I've always liked reading the blog and magazine.)
Microsoft are here as well, of course, and they have some very exciting products to unveil. I had a Skype chat with one of the team leaders there a few weeks ago, but was sworn to secrecy. However, now that they themselves have made announcements, I can too.
First off, if like me you think of Microsoft products as being huge, expensive and clunky, be prepared to think again. They're producing a laptop which sells for under $200, making it a viable rival to the Chromebook.
Another thing I love the sound of is the new dictation (speech to text) functionality in Microsoft Office. That in itself is a good enough incentive for me to (finally) try out Office 365. (The other reasons are (a) that my version of Office is no longer supported and (b) I like the idea of having the latest version all the time without having to do anything.) I'll be doing that straight after Bett.
There's also a big push on education, including a newer version of Minecraft I think, plus tools built in to Office with inclusion in mind.
Microsoft is on stands E300 and C300. To find out their views on ed tech in 2018, go here:
Hot off the press (literally: it was under embargo until 6pm last night), Google have announced a new set of free features designed to strengthen security for all G Suite for Education users, as well as a new edition called G Suite Enterprise for Education. The tools in this new edition offer large educational institutions some of the same capabilities used by enterprises to meet their more complex technology needs.
It sounds pretty good to me. You will find Google on stand C230.
The show is being opened officially by Ann Milton, who is the Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships and Minister for Women, in the Bett Arena. I did have an inkling or at least a suspicion that Justine Greening, the ex-Secretary of State for Education, was going to make some important announcements regarding ed tech, but Damian Hinds already has, as I reported yesterday. Perhaps there will more coming today, from a different perspective. I have long thought that apprenticeships are not given the attention they deserve in terms of options for young people.
After that there is the launch of the Bett Innovation Index, which is concerned with the culture of innovation, as I wrote in Bett 2018, innovation and MATs.
I'll also be attending a talk on GDPR in the Bett Arena at 12:30. The event is hosted by Groupcall.
Other things on my agenda:
- Talk on how to Improve assessment & cut workload using big data & analytics, in the Schools Theatre at 2:15.
- Talk on the Future of Digital Learning, in the Bett Arena at 3:15.
- Visit to the Bett Futures area, which is always refreshing and exciting.
- Visit to The Teach Company on stand H100. They're the ones who publish magazines like Teach Primary, Teach Secondary and Primary School Management, and others. Pick up free sample copies. With any luck, they'll be ones that have an article by me in them, which you will obviously want to cut out and have framed.
Well, that's enough for now. I feel exhausted just thinking about it. Mind you, the worst thing about Bett in my opinion is standing four deep on the platform at Canning Town. I've worked out that it would take an hour to walk from Stratford to Excel. That sounds like a great way to start the day: quiet, not being jostled, and fresh air. If you try it do let me know what it was like.