I had the chance to attend BETT 2015 here in London.
Bett is the world’s leading learning technology event and has been bringing innovation and inspiration to the education sector for over 30 years. Join us, along with over 35,000 of your peers, at ExCeL London in January.
The premises presented online are more promising, than what actually is BETT in reality. This is the 2nd year in a row I attend this event, but so far it seems that the technologies presented are more or less the same.
The BETT exhibition is definitely huge, but while walking down the booths you have the impression to live a deja-vu… Similar to what happens with cartoons when the designers try to save time using recurring backgrounds.
A lot of VLEs (more or less the same of last year): Canvas and Firefly above all. A lot of interactive projectors, pointed on the floor, on the walls, on the ceiling. A lot of touch tables, small, medium, big size… And so on.
However the focus of the year was definitely addressed to some “STEM” tools, such as 3D printers and circuitry, and code clubs, because of the requirements of the National Curriculum in the UK. I guess that for an event like this one, incredibly ICT oriented, the switch to “Computational Thinking” is everything, but simple.
The presence of companies like:
is definitely a sign of the times that are changing, and maybe we can hope for a better future.
I think it’s important to consider digital literacy skills as necessary (how to create a document or how to use an app to create a more engaging lesson plan), but the “computational thinking” approach is mandatory for future generation of learners… That’s why maybe the BETT exhibition is a good starting point for innovation, but it’s almost obsolete, it’s not reacting promptly to the changes that are going on out there, in the real world.
Actually, I think the Place for Innovation in STEM and STEAM are Maker Faires and online communities. Teachers can learn and understand more attending a Maker Faire – that, apparently, is planned this summer in London or you can choose the established one in October in Rome – than going to BETT. The impact of Maker Faires is outstanding compared to places like BETT, because there the revolution come from the bottom, from real people that experiment every day and try to make the difference…