As I write this post, I am preparing to attend BETT 2019, the biggest edtech show certainly in the UK, if not the world. Educators and educational companies attend every year to sample the very best that the sector has to offer. In this post, I want to highlight a few things I am looking forward to this year.
1. Revisiting a place of inspiration
I attended BETT last year for the first time as a relatively inexperienced presenter, trainer and edtech enthusiast. Although I had been using lots of tools prior to this event, it was BETT 2018 that really spurred me on to take things to the next level. Last year, I spoke on the Google Teacher Stand with Dan Fitzpatrick about how the GSuite had impacted our work at Accrington Academy, ultimately maximising budgets, reducing workloads and improving outcomes. I can't overemphasise how much impact speaking here and then meeting new people and connections had on me and my career. It was at the Excel Arena that I was inspired to pursue Google Trainer and Innovator status and here that I was inspired to push out with our podcast, which has gone from strength to strength. So to go back is a big deal.
2. Connecting with old friends
BETT is a brilliant place to catch up with friends from around the world who share the same passion for all things education and technology. I am looking forward to re-connecting with some of my #DEN18 Google Innovator buddies and some of the trainers on the UK circuit at Google's Mixer event on the Friday. I know that I always talk about meeting up with people and it's tough to find time. This event and all the stands, workshops and teachmeets provide an amazing setting to talk and check in.
3. Networking with new contacts
The stats of who attends BETT are staggering. With more than 34000 attendees and 136 countries represented, this is truly an opportunity to meet the best of the best from around the world. Those educators and leaders that are at the cutting edge of the profession come to showcase their craft and step up to the mark in terms of presentation. It was at BETT last year that I made contact with Ross McGill from Teacher Toolkit, Elysia Willis from Noble Doughnut and Adam Caplan from eMaths Master, all of whom have been involved in my own development, the success of Edufuturists podcast and the EduTech Summit in July last year. I am excited to think who I will meet this time to interview as future guests on the podcast, connect with for ongoing partnerships and garner ideas from for taking things to the next level.
4. Checking out new tools and services
Without doubt, one of the most important benefits of attending BETT is seeing firsthand the amazing tech that is either out or is on the horizon. Every tech company has BETT as a focus for their marketing and thus they want to launch their key products and updates at BETT. Companies like Touchable Universe who talk about their success at BETT 2018 in the video below really are breaking the mould when it comes to edtech and giving young people the very best experiences that technology can create. A quick Google search for companies that are showcasing new features and modes of their tools at BETT 2019 highlights just how valuable it is as an educator to find out what is happening in this arena.
5. Hearing about innovation and change in the sector
Not only can we see what companies are launching at the event, the 300+ workshops, keynotes and seminars give us insight as to what the future holds for education in terms of how technology is shaping it. More and more presentations are highlighting innovation and professional courage to integrate technology not for the sake of engaging students or worse, entertaining them, but in order to provide the platforms for real learning and progress. This is supported by the brilliant BETT Futures area which is described as,
"the place to celebrate brave and creative thinking, providing a single space to see what's coming next in edtech, it offers an opportunity to help shape the proposition for technology brands working to meet the needs of practitioners and learners. A hotspot, attracting 'best in class' start ups from around the world, it's one of the most visited areas on the show floor. The Futures area provides a space to explore new innovations in an open and informal setting along with an opportunity to get hands-on with new designs and innovations." (BETT Futures)
6. Presenting more than once!
I absolutely loved speaking on the Google Teacher Stand last year and it is an honour to get to do it again this year, focusing on how the GSuite is helping me to deliver industry-standard digital skills to apprentices in Burnley through Project Digital. However, I am also really looking forward to delivering a session for Al Kingsley at NetSupport on Stand D120 on how to convince the gatekeepers in schools to invest in technology. Not only that but I will be working with the amazing team at BENQ on Stand B180 to showcase the Google Jamboard as a device for education and then presenting at The Education Show for Quizlet looking at how this is a great tool for Digital Flashcards and Games to unlock pupil success. Come and see us in Booth 21 before and after the presentation to find out more! I know that lots of people would love to be involved with such a diverse spectrum of tasks and I can't wait to be involved!
7. Learning from the industry's leading lights
With world-renowned presenters like Carmel Bones, Neelam Parmar and Martin Bailey (all of Edufuturists podcast fame!), Abdul Chohan, Minister for Education, Damian Hinds, Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education for Microsoft, Lee Parkinson of ICT with Mr P fame and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, I am sure to hear about cutting-edge and world-changing pedagogy and practice.
Not only that, but with authors such as Cressida Cowell and Anthony Horowitz, BBC's The Voice's Ruti Olajugbagbe and world-leading academics from across the globe delivering keynotes too, BETT has a plethora of brilliant practice to enthuse every mind.
8. Attending The Education Show at the same time
For the first time, The Education Show is on the same site and at the same time as BETT - and one entry ticket gets me into both venues. It is going to be amazing to see how the tech and the education go hand in hand. I am looking forward to seeing how this blends together and brings a more enriched experience.
9. Dreaming for the future
So, as was the case last year, I come to BETT expectant for what I will learn but also how that will shape my thinking and work for the next year. I came away with so much from meeting people to signing up for new tools and getting my name in the sector that I am hopeful to come back inspired and encouraged to push on and take hold of all that the future holds. I am expectant of ways to make my Innovator Project happen and develop Edufuturists into a company that does what it says on the tin!
Here's to hoping.
Let us know what you are excited about in the comments or tell us if you coming to BETT 2019 and we will try and hook up!
#BETT #network #lowtech #technology #FutureTech #FutureEd #inspiration #maximisingbudgets #reducingworkloads #improvingoutcomes #DEN18 #podcast #quizlet #nobledoughnut #eMathsMaster #partnerships #jamboard #NetSupport #BENQ