Computers in Classrooms Post-BETT Special

The promised post-BETT special has now been published, here. It contains contributions from a host of educational ICT writers and bloggers.

Here is the table of contents:

  • Safer Internet Day
  • The Next Generation Quiz
  • The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book
  • Web 2.0 For Rookies
  • The Learning and Technology World Forum
  • Louise McDonough on Her First BETT
  • The Home Access Programme
  • My BETT
  • Educational Technology Taskforce Launched
  • BETT: A True British Export
  • New Computer Basics Course Launched
  • WOW! Moments from BETT 2010
  • Technology Exemplar Network to be Doubled
  • The Minister's Opening Speech at BETT
  • Dawn Hallybone Talks About Teachers Presenting
  • BETT Stats
  • Doug Woods on What Was NOT There
  • The BETT Awards 2010
  • Too Much Emphasis on Technology?
  • National Education Network Reporting...
  • Seminar: Breaking the Bonds of Learning, featuring Stephen Heppell, Angela McFarlane, Max Wainwright and Tim Rylands
  • Steve Beard Discovers A New Game
  • Seminar: Power Up: How ICT is Transforming BSF Schools, featuring Steve Moss
  • A Projector with no Bulb
  • The Unconference
  • Virtual Learning Environments
  • Mirandamod Discussions
  • Gerald Haigh on the Assistive Technology Party
  • Paul Haigh's Views
  • Merlin John Liked...
  • The Politics Game
  • NComputing: Virtual Desktops

It makes for a good selection of views about the BETT Show and what was hot and what not! Apologies to Paul Haigh and Sean Carragher for inadvertently omitting their Twitter details, and to everyone for addressing them, in the subject line, as FNAME SNAME. Had I remembered to include the brackets, they would have seen their names instead! Thanks to Mark Chambers, Chair of Naace, for pointing out my error!

BETT Highlights #3: When Advice Paid Off

#BETT2010 Oscar Wilde once said that good advice is something to be passed on to others, as it is never any good to oneself. Fortunately, the Australian chap I met at BETT recently didn't take Wilde's advice. Here's what happened.

At the end of my 'Amazing Web 2.0 Projects' seminar presentation, several people wanted to talk to me. One of them was an Australian man.

Australian man: Hi, Terry, I'm from Australia.

Me: Really? I'd never have guessed.

AM: I emailed you a couple of months ago.

Me: Oh, and I didn't reply?

AM: Yes, you did. I told you I'd won a bursary, and asked your advice for which international conference I should attend, paid for by that money.

Me: Oh yes, I remember now.

AM: And you advised me to come to BETT.

Me: Ah. And now you want me to give you your money back?

AM: No, on the contrary. I've been walking around with my mouth open. This has been a fantastic experience, so I just wanted to thank you for your excellent advice.

I think that proves several things. Firstly, it shows that although some Brits might have become a bit jaded over the past 26 years of the BETT Show, it's probably a case of familiarity breeding contempt. It's still as vibrant and as important as it always has been, perhaps more so.

Secondly, it shows that when I give advice, I know what I'm talking about. There are are lots of conferences I could have recommended, but (a) I don't know what AM was really interested in and (b) none of the others are on anything like the same scale as the BETT Show. I felt he would be completely bowled over with excitement by it.

But lastly, it shows that I am a lousy businessman: I should have charged him!

BETT Highlights #2: Serendipity Rules OK

#BETT2010 One of the things I love about the BETT Show is meeting people by accident. On the second day (I think) I was standing in an aisle trying to (a) get my bearings and (b) identify which branch of Vedic Mathematics the organisers had used when planning the location of the stands, when I noticed another gentleman standing nearby.

"I recognise that glazed expression," I thought to myself. "You look as geographically-challenged as I am", I said.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (well, it's not that long, but this is meant to be a 'highlight' after all), he turned out to be Gerald Haigh.

Gerald is a journalist whose articles I used to read in the Times Education Supplement, and who still contributes to the website of Merlin John, erstwhile ICT editor of the TES.

BETT is great for meeting people you already know. It's good for making new contacts too. But nothing quite beats the frisson of finding yourself talking to someone you've read, known about and communicated with for a long time.

After BETT, the Deluge

I am surprised. I am really surprised. Despite a gruelling 4 days at the BETT Show (doing 7 am to 1 am days), a terrible journey home, a looming chest infection and a blister, I am feeling incredibly creative. Perhaps it's true that writers give of their best when they are pain- and angst-ridden.

Or it could be that my fitness levels are up (I've been a good boy, working out in the gym; it's supposed to be boring, but I use the time to write articles in my head!), or staying over for the first time ever. I think I will add that to my list of pre-BETT tips. Not having a journey (door-to-door) of about 1.5 hours twice each day really helped. As my wife never seems to tire of pointing out: I'm not getting any younger. (My mum always used to say that too, about herself. It kind of implies that there some people who are getting younger....)

Or it could be that I came away from BETT feeling exhuberant. That happens to me sometimes, although I don't think it did last year. I came away buzzing. I'll be writing about why in the next issue of Computers in Classrooms, which I hope to bring out this week (I'm setting myself the deadline of Wednesday: I like a challenge.)

But for now, as someone in the twitterstream said, 'back to the day job', which for me is encapsulated in a list of 95 things which I must try to get done this week.

Why do I insist on writing these lists?

7 Things To Do After the BETT Show

There is always a danger that no matter how good an event is, it will turn out to have very little impact in the longer term, as you forget what you saw and more pressing concerns vie for your attention. Here are 7 suggestions for preventing that from happening.
  • Arrange a team meeting for as soon as possible after the show. Have each team member say what three things most excited them, and three new ideas they picked up, plus what needs to change in your current practice. OK, “three” is an arbitrary and artificial number, but you get the idea.
  • Draw up an action plan for following up. That may take the form of arranging visits to other schools, or demonstrations from suppliers, or introducing some new ideas into your lesson plans.
  • Arrange a meeting with the Headteacher or other senior manager as soon as possible after your team meeting. The aim is to discuss with them what you learnt at the show that may impact what you are doing, or the school’s plans. If you discover that you are ahead of the game and don’t need to change anything at all for the time being, that is in itself an outcome that needs to be conveyed to your boss.

Make sure that you are well-prepared for the meeting, especially if you will be suggesting changes in what the school does, or you wish to ask for extra funding.

Also take into consideration whether your boss is a shoot-the-messenger type, if you need to report back on a new – and unwelcome – Government direction.
  • Give feedback to the rest of the staff on any key messages you picked up from the show. This is as much for diplomatic reasons as anything else: for some reason, there are people who believe that spending 12 hours travelling and walking around all day along with thousands of other people is the equivalent of a day off.
  • Allow at least a week after the show to hear from any suppliers to whom you gave your business card.
  • Find out what others thought about products and events seen at the show. Use the tags  BETT2010 and #bett2010.
  • Check the ICT in Education website and the Computers in Classrooms newsletter for news and reviews about the show.

What Is The Meaning Of 'Good'?

Transport for London clearly uses a very different sort of dictionary to the rest of us. Take, for example, its use of the word 'planned', as in 'Planned engineering works'. This is the term used to justify and explain the fact that public transport, by tube at least, becomes an endurance, intelligence and orienteering test worthy of the Duke of Edinburgh Award at the weekends.

A photo of a train in serviceTake this weekend, for example. What should have been a simple and straightforward journey home after the BETT Show turned out to be a task akin to one of Hercules' Labours. My plan was to get on the Circle Line at Gloucester Road, sit there and cogitate, meditate or sleep until I arrived at Liverpool Street, and then take the National Express train home.

Unfortunately, TfL had other ideas.

Because of so-called 'planned engineering works', the Circle Line was completely suspended, the District Line was also suspended, no Piccadilly Line trains were stopping at Kings Cross, and even if they had been it would have made no difference because the Hammersmith and City Line was partially suspended.

The result was that, after spending a bit of time deciding which of the possible routes home was the least arduous, I spent the next two hours on a long, circuitous journey, standing virtually all the way.

Before I get on to the bit that relates to the title of this article, let me just say something about this 'planning'. To use an Americanism (which I don't often do but in this case the expression fits), it sucks. Any 15 year old with a rudimentary knowledge of Excel could devise a better plan that this. How come other countries are able to upgrade their metro systems without all the disruption that we Londoners have to suffer, every single weekend?

But this time TfL surpassed itself.

This was the weekend in which the BETT Show finished.

The BETT Show is the biggest show of its kind in Britain.

The BETT Show is the biggest show of its kind in the world.

This year the BETT Show had 700 exhibitors and attracted 30,000 visitors.

Surely someone at TfL might have looked at a calendar of events and thought that perhaps Saturday 16th January 2010 was not a great time to suspend half of the tube?

When I was project managing a major school refurbishment, which at one stage involved closing one of the entrances,  I consulted with all the stakeholders I could think of -- even including local residents who would be affected by all the kids going past their houses because their usual route to school would no longer be any good.

As it happens, I upset the patrons of the local church, because nobody had thought to tell me that they used that school entrance every Sunday in order to park their cars in the playground. But that only goes to illustrate the importance of consulting with as many people as possible before taking major actions.

Anyway, here we have possibly 30,000 people rattling around trying to find their way home or to the airport or to their hotels, and someone announces that, apart from the fact that half the network doesn't work (making it a 'notwork'), there is a good service.

A good service!!

That's like a teacher saying to an inspector: 'Twenty percent of my class will fail the course; a further 30% will get a lower grade that they should. Apart from that, I'm providing a good service.'

If walking for miles from one line to another at one interchange, standing most of the way for two hours, being crowded along with all the people who would have taken other routes, at the end of a very long week is considered a 'good' service, all I can say is let's hope and pray we never have a bad one.

What Was Your 'WOW' Moment

Dr John Cuthell of MIrandanet likes to ask people what was their 'wow' moment, that nanosecond in which they realised that technology had something truly transformative to offer.

That 'wow' moment!For me, that moment came in 1976. Interestingly, I had already been using technology, but at one remove. I was teaching Economics at the time, and in order to familiarise my students with the vagaries of the stock market, I enrolled them in a game called Stockpiler. The idea was that you were 'given' a certain amount of money, and the students' job was to use that to maximise their profit through the buying and selling of shares.

Each week they would pore over the share prices and, having spent their 'spare' time (I didn't believe in such concepts) in the previous week reading periodicals like The Economist and the newspapers (I'd made sure these were amply available) and then make their decisions.

I would then collect in the forms on which they'd detailed their instructions, and send it off to some central processing place. Around a week later we'd find out how we did.

That was interesting, but it's hard to become excited by the technology when the time between input and output is so high.

About a year after I'd joined the school, a student brought in his computer. He had taught himself to program it, so I asked him to knock up a quick program to emulate a concept called 'the multiplier'. He did so, and the rest of us crowded around the screen. When we saw the numbers responding instantly to the suggestions we threw at him ('Make the interest rate 12%'; 'Lower income tax to zero'), I knew things could never be the same. With this technology it would be possible to model the behaviour of systems and show instantly the effect of changes in inputs on the outcomes.

That was my 'wow' moment. What was yours?

BETT Highlights #1: Technology and Reading

I thought I'd reflect on what, for me, were the highlights of the BETT show this year. By 'highlights', I mean things which I found inspiring or interesting. My first highlight concerns digital reading.

Sally McKeown, in her talk called Reading for Pleasure: The Technology and the Future of Literacy, mentioned the appalling statistics (from 2005) that 25% of the adult population in Britain reads litle or nothing. Of course, I don't know what they counted as 'reading': people seem to be reading text all the time, and presumably they read the TV pages to see what's on. Perhaps they also have subtitles on while they're watching TV. I know that's not exactly high literature, but we do need to define what we mean by 'reading' when having such discussions I think.

Indeed, Sally identified 5 different sorts of reading experiences being enjoyed by (young) people these days, these being

  • Distributed narrative, such as by email (which reminds me: I keep meaning to have a proper look at Daily Lit, which allows you to read a book in email messages or by RSS feed).
  • Wikis (eg Wikibooks)
  • Twitter fiction
  • Publishers' Microsites, and
  • Digital fiction

A forthcoming issue of Computers in Classrooms will focus on digital reading, so I hope to explore these topics further then. If you have any views or experience of these or any other aspects of digital reading issues, or ebook readers, please consider contributing to the newsletter.

All set for BETT

BETT looks to be a biggie this, its 26th, year.

Recommendations include:

  • Check out the Future Learning Spaces
  • Newcomers like Google
  • Product launches from the likes of Dell and Toshiba

The government has spent (I think) £5b since 1997 on educational ICT, and BETT is the largest educational technology event in the world, apparently. Last year 25% of visitors were from overseas.

Apparently the Home Access programme is going to be widened, so listen out for that.

Stephen Heppell: we're in the post-appropriation phase. But we can't appropriate any more: we can't reel in what the kids are doing, we have to go where they are!

Also, what kids' play is these days is engaging and seductive: using GPS for example,, so it should be worth checking out Prof Heppell's Google-sponsored Playful Learning.

Some welcome news: according to Ray Barker of BESA, Ministers from around the world are now recognising what we old hands have always known: it's not the technology, but the people, that makes the difference!

Great quotable statement from Heppell: we've been very lucky: we've been able to do 19th century teaching with a bit of 21st century gloss!

Content-driven sessions like the 3-night Teachmeet is the future of BETT, according to Richard Joslin of EMAP: it's almost like Web 2.0 in an offline format.

16 Tips For Getting The Best Out Of BETT

Here are 16 suggestions for getting the most out of the experience.

Wear shoes with cushioned soles: the floor is concrete and therefore very tiring to walk on for a whole day.

Put your phone on vibrate if you can: in my experience, you can't hear your phone ringing above the noise.

As soon as you have passed through the entrance, find somewhere to sit, and look through the bag you will have been given. Get rid of any unwanted paper, and then look to see if there are any last-minute exhibitor entries, in case there are one or two that you ought to visit. Then get your bearings.

Aim to visit the most important exhibitors on your list first, in case you get waylaid or get too tired to continue.

If you attend BETT on the Wednesday, ie on the first day of the show, it may be worth finding the Department for Children, Schools and Families ( DCSF) stand soon after the opening of the show. As a rule, the show is officially opened by a Government minister, who may announce new funding or a new development.The DCSF stand may have an area where you can listen to the announcement live (the hall in which the announcement is made is usually difficult to get into without an official invitation).

Do not collect loads of information: it weighs a ton after a while. That’s where your business cards come in: give them to exhibitors you are interested in, and ask them to send you stuff after the show.

Don’t collect loads of information on behalf of other teachers. I did that for years and as far as I know not one person did anything different as a result. In fact, it was probably counter-productive because it conveys the impression that you are just a glorified mailman.

If you get thirsty, look out for free water which may be provided by some stands.

When you strike up a conversation with someone, or meet up with colleagues, always ask: what have you see today that has excited you? And then follow up on their suggestions.

At some point in the day, forget your careful planning and wander around. You will be surprised at what you come across that hasn’t been listed in any brochure. For example, good prices on some items, new publications, and companies you have never heard of.

Head on over to the Times Education Supplement stand, to pick up a free copy of the periodical.

Pick up free copies of other educational technology magazines – but bear in mind that some are little more than collections of advertisements.

As well as the usual sorts of freebies like mugs and sets of pens, mouse mats and notepads, there are often more useful ones. For example, one year the QDCA was giving away miniature versions of the ICT Programme of Study, which you could keep on you for quick reference. Some stands may have useful documentation on data sticks.

If you are staying to the bitter end, and you have deposited a coat in the cloakroom, collect it about an hour before the end of the show, to avoid a long wait. That means around 5pm Wednesday to Friday, and 3pm on the Saturday.

The next two points are  especially relevant if you are attending for more than one day, or have team members attending on different days to yourself.

Find out what others thought about products and events seen at the show. Use the tag #BETT2010 in Twitter and  BETT2010 in Technorati and elsewhere. (Not sure what a tag is? See this article.)

Check the ICT in Education website for news and reviews about the show.

Driving Your ICT Vision: The Seminar

Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels between ICT planning and driving. The journey can be long, so planning is necessary, but hazards seem to keep appearing that can really throw you off course. But notice that I didn’t use the phrase ‘unexpected hazards’. You don’t have to be a Nostradamus to make educated guesses about possible future scenarios, if you’re managing to keep yourself informed in the right kind of way.

Similarly, a key aspect of advanced driving is to anticipate hazards based on the information to hand, and avoid any trouble before it arises. Interestingly, the most commonly-used expression when a car accident occurs is ‘suddenly’:

I was driving along and all of a sudden this child ran in front of me out of nowhere.

As a matter of fact, things like this tend to happen less suddenly than you might think.

So, with this kind of thing in mind I successfully proposed a seminar at BETT called ‘Driving your ICT vision: what can advanced motoring techniques teach us about achieving our goals?’, which I (partially) described as follows:

The ideas covered include:

  • The limitations of target-based strategic planning.
  • What is the advanced motoring system?
  • Being prepared: how to spot hazards.
  • The system in more detail, with practical examples: using the principles of the System to address short, intermediate, and long-term goals.
  • Using the system flexibly.
  • The value of commentary.


Looking at that, you might wonder if it’s going to be some theoretical, but impractical, exposition of a pet theory. Not so. My intention is to absolutely whizz through the bit about SMART targets, spend slightly more time on describing what the advanced driving system is, but spend the greatest proportion of the time going through the phases of the ‘system’ and identifying some applications that could be used during each one.

I can see clearly now...I’ve identified 90 tools, organisations, and information sources, many of which are free, which I think will be of interest to the ICT leader. Actually, I’ve looked at and tried out several more, but these are the ones which I think are worth exploring. And within that lot, I’ll be pointing out the two or three in each section which I think are the best. I hope it will be especially useful to recently-appointed ICT leaders: you know, the ones who are starting to wonder what possessed them to ever take such a job in the first place!

I’m a bit nervous about doing the presentation, just in case someone complains that they didn’t learn enough about driving! Also, let’s be honest: any analogy can only be taken so far, and this is no exception. I don’t want to stretch it beyond credibility. Nevertheless, the motoring angle does give us some nice conceptual hooks on which to hang the various tools I’ll be recommending. I didn’t want to just come up with a ‘Top 50’ (or whatever) set of tools without providing a context for each. I think that Top 50 lists are fine, by the way; it’s just that I didn’t want to  create one.

As I doubt that I’ll be able to cover all of the tools in detail, or possibly even at all, I will be providing attendees with a URL from which they can download the entire list.

If this sounds interesting to you, you can book for the seminar on the BETT website. Perhaps I will see you there.

Preparing For BETT: 13 Things To Do

Here are 13 things to do before you go to BETT.

Although I've written the following with BETT in mind, most of the points will apply to getting ready to go to any conference.

  • Register online at Doing so will save you time because there are two entrances: one for ticket-holders and one for non-ticket-holders. The latter line moves much more slowly than the former.
  • While you’re on the site, pre-book seminar sessions (where you can). This will cost a bit of money, but will help you avoid disappointment.
  • If you are coming from abroad, go to the International Visitors section of the website in order to find out which exhibitors there are active in your own country, so you can follow up afterwards.
  • Also, try out the planning tool. It’s quite impressive: you tick a number of boxes to say which areas you are interested in, and then it gives you a PDF file containing a floor plan, a list of stands you should visit, and a list of seminars. The only thing is, it does not seem to list the stands in a very efficient order. Therefore…
  • … Plan the most efficient route around the show. The aim is to minimise the amount of unnecessary traipsing around you have to do.
  • Print (or buy) a set of business cards. These are essential for entering competitions and, more importantly, for having information sent to you after the show. Also, of course, for exchanging details with any new acquaintanceships you make at the show. You can create a simple business card in Word (or similar), and you can buy perforated business card printer paper at a very reasonable price.
  • Buy a small stapler. This is useful for stapling your business cards to various forms on stands, such as the ones they provide for entering competitions. For some reason, exhibitors never seem to have a stapler themselves. Completing the same contact information over and over again is tedious and time-consuming.
  • Prepare lists of questions to ask the suppliers of particular products, if you are looking to purchase something. Different members of your team may have different questions, as suggested earlier.
  • With your team, decide on who is going to do what (if others are going as well). It is a good idea to avoid the temptation to fill every waking moment. I have found that you need to allow for serendipity, especially as some exhibitors are not listed until the last minute. I have also found that every so often you need to find a place to have coffee, think about what you have seen, plan ahead, and get rid of any unwanted paper you may have acquired on your travels.
  • Organise cover lessons if necessary.
  • If technicians will be attending as well, try and select a day when the school’s computer facilities tend not to be in high demand, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Prepare a list of phone numbers that the school secretary or someone else can contact for help if something dreadful happens.
  • On the way to the show, buy a bottle of water, because show prices tend to be higher than outside. 

More tomorrow. Look at all the articles about BETT 2010.

All About BETT: What it is, 9 Reasons to Attend,4 Reasons You Should Be Allowed to Attend, and 4 Other Colleagues Who Should Go Too

Next week sees the annual, and ever-expanding, BETT Show in London. It has been going for more than 20 years, and shows no signs of being irrelevant in the near future.  So what exactly is BETT, and should you go?

The BETT Show 2009BETT is a huge exhibition, with seminars and presentations playing a supporting role. That is the theory, anyway. In practice, it would be very easy indeed to visit BETT and see almost nothing of the exhibition stands. All it requires is attendance at two or three seminars, a couple of snack breaks, and a meeting or two, and the time has gone. For that very reason, I tend to visit on at least two of the four days. It’s exhausting, but it’s the only way I can get to see things!

Unlike the case with a normal conference, especially one that is residential, people don’t so much visit one event, BETT, for several days, but several events, BETT, each lasting for one day. It therefore lacks the sense of cohesion of a conference, even a huge one such as the National Educational Computing Conference in the USA.

On the other hand, comparing these single days with other one-day events would also be misleading. A one day conference usually caters for a relatively small number of people (perhaps 100 or so at the most), and has a restricted number of alternative options – if any.

Is any of this relevant? I think it is, because if you have never been before the vastness of it could come as a shock. Planning is, I think, essential, even if it’s a fairly loose plan like “Morning: seminar; afternoon: exhibition”.  I’ll be covering that side of things tomorrow.

Furthermore, the nature of BETT does, as far as I am concerned, provide justification for asking for two or more days out of school (or wherever you happen to work).

Why attend?

There are at least 9 good reasons to attend, these being to:

  • See what’s new or coming soon;
  • See products demonstrated;
  • Attend training sessions, eg on how  use a particular aspect of a program;
  • Attend a seminar, eg on personalised learning, given by experts in their fields;
  • Arrange one-on-one meetings with (potential) suppliers;
  • Have opportunities for networking;
  • Pick up the latest Government or other official publications;
  • Pick up new ideas, using the overview of what’s on to help you decide what to visit. Incidentally, you may wish to check out the three ‘unconference’ events taking place from 6pm on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. These are Tedx, Amplified and  Teachmeet respectively. The first two have been organised by ICT veteran Drew Buddie, whilst Teachmeet has been organised  by Tom Barrett. Ian Usher has written about these and other aspects of BETT so you might like to check that out (after you’ve finished reading this, of course :-p!)
  • Become (re-)energised and stimulated from the “buzz”.

Good reasons to attend: the ones to put to senior management

All of the reasons to attend given in so far are valid, but they are personal, in a sense. That is to say, it is not obvious from looking at the list how your school will benefit from your attendance at BETT. So here are 4 suggested arguments in your favour:

  • Best value. If you are considering major new purchases, such as Learning Platforms or interactive whiteboards, you really ought to look at all the options available.
  • Show prices. Exhibitors at BETT often have special show prices, which are lower than their usual rates. It may be worth attending the show to take advantage of such discounts.
  • Professional development. By attending seminars and talking to people on the stands, you will find out ways of improving what you do, which can only benefit the workplace.
  • News update. If you decide to attend on the first day, you will be first in line to hear whatever new initiative or (with luck) new funding the Education Secretary has up his sleeve, which will put you in a prime position to advise the school in a hot-off-the-press way. I hope to be publishing an article about his talk.

You can bolster your case by ensuring, as far as possible, that any potential inconvenience to others is minimised, eg by attending on a day or days when you have fewer teaching commitments, if possible.

One is a lonely number

If you work in an ICT team, there’s a good case for the school allowing others in your team to attend:

Other teachers. The more who go, the more scope you have for dividing BETT between you. For example, one could look at Learning Platforms, whilst another looks at software. Similarly, more seminars can be covered between you.

It may be better for the school if different people attended on different days. However, an advantage of everyone going on the same day is that people tend to talk on the way home about what they have learnt. In other words, they usually end up doing more work than they might otherwise have done – that should please the Headteacher or Principal!

Technicians and other support staff. If you are to have a shared vision for educational ICT in your school, it is essential for support staff to be included in professional development opportunities, especially BETT.

Take the earlier example, ie let’s assume that you are in the market for a Learning Platform. Technical staff can ask the sorts of questions that affect the underlying robustness of the hardware. For example, is it easy to create resources, is it easy to back them up? What about the transition from your current VLE (if you have one) to the new Learning Platform? Is it easy to give different people different levels of access?

Similarly, classroom assistants can ask the sort of practical questions that you may not think of. For example, is it easy to change the cartridges in this new printer – especially when there is a class full of kids milling around?

Senior teachers. Again, taking the example of looking for a new Learning Platform, they can ask questions which concern them, such as “How easy is it to get reports on individual students’ progress across a range of subjects?”

I hope you found this useful, because there's even more to come!

Tomorrow: Preparing for BETT. I’ll be sharing at least 13 ‘secrets’ about what to do even before you get to BETT.

Friday: Getting the Most Out of BETT. I’ll be suggesting at least 15 things to do while you’re at the show.

Monday: After the Show. Here you’ll find at least 7 ways to capitalise on your attendance.

Why do I keep saying ‘at least’? Because I might think of more!

To find all of these articles (and other relevant ones) once they've been published, use the BETT2010 tag on this website.



My BETT 2010 Seminars

I have been invited to give some talks. Two of them will be at the BETT Show in January 2010. Here are the details of the presentations I will be giving, in case you would like to book for them online at the BETT Show:

Amazing Web 2.0 Projects

What are ordinary teachers doing in ordinary classrooms with ordinary kids to raise their achievement in and with ICT? This presentation will give an overview of projects which have used Web 2.0 tools to bring excitement back into the classroom!

Date: Saturday 16 January 2009

Time: 12:30

Duration (mins): 45

Room: Club

Venue: London Olympia

Session Code: CL43

Click here for details of how to book this seminar.

Driving Your ICT Vision: what can advanced motoring techniques teach us about achieving our goals?

People talk about vision and strategy in relation to ICT, but how do you go about achieving what you want to? Ideas developed in the field of advanced motoring can provide a practical way to lead ICT in today’s schools.

Date: Friday 15 January 2009

Time: 13:15

Duration (mins): 45

Room: Club

Venue: London Olympia

Session Code: CL33


Click here to see how to book this one, and here’s a challenge. A large part of advanced motoring is being able to spot and anticipate hazards. A hazard is defined as anything that is actually or potentially dangerous. Have a look at this photo, and see how many hazards you can spot.


Now check your answers against the annotated version of this photo.


The Online Information Conference and other news

In this video I talk about the Online Information Conference. If you're in London and you see this in time (it finishes on 4th December 2009) you might like to get along, for reasons I describe.

If you can't get there, it's worth checking out the website for information and podcasts.

I've also included a short video I shot with a pocket video recorder called the Kodak Zi8, which I'm quite impressed with.

Other items mentioned include the next issue of Computers in Classrooms, which includes several book reviews, two reviews of the same website, current legislation in the works, elevator speeches and coping with inspection. That will be out very soon.

Plus information about the Web 2.0 Projects Book I'm working on, and my two presentations at BETT, which are:

Driving Your ICT Vision: how might advanced motoring techniques help us achieve our ICT goals?

Amazing Web 2.0 Projects: Real projects in real classrooms with real kids!