For the first time in about four years I won’t be visiting BETT this year in London. For the un-initiated BETT is an enormous educational technology trade show / conference held at Olympia in London each January.
Things I’ll miss:
- Bumping into other educators I know from Twitter etc.
- Attending some of the fringe events e.g. Teachmeets.
- Seeing some of our existing partners who we currently source products from.
- Seeing the personal friends who I stay with when visiting.
Things I won’t miss:
- Being harassed at every turn by a salesman.
- Walking round and round and round and round.
- Queuing to put my coat in.
- Searching for some phone/wifi signal.
- Buying over priced snacks.
- Seeing the latest 3D screen / projector / TV.
- Seeing the latest amazing developments in the world of Interactive Whiteboards.
- Seeing the latest and greatest VLE.
- Seeing the latest….. oh you get the idea!
- Sleeping on a sofa-bed to save money for school (although see point 4 in the positives).
- A bag full of useless freebies – seriously I got some 64Mb USB sticks last year – who knew they even made them so small still?!?
Things I’ll do instead:
- Keep up on anything valuable I’ve missed via Twitter hastags and people’s blogs.
- Ask companies to come and see me personally at school if we think we want to work with them.
- Teach my Year 11s on the run up to their exams.
- Save school a chunk of money.
- Look to visit some schools that are leading on areas that we are planning to develop.
In this day and age, unless you have a bunch of projects on the go and products to buy then it’s hard to justify attending BETT. I’m speaking from the viewpoint of a teacher / school leaders / IT coordinator here, I know if you’re working in the industry it’s useful to have everyone under one roof. But as educators, in this day and age, you should be able to see and hear all about the latest and greatest tools for learning online as and when they appear on the market. And you should be able to hear this from real teachers who are really using the products with real children – that beats sales patter any day of the year!
Will you be attending BETT? What do you hope to get out of the show?