Despite phones, tablets and other forms of digital technology becoming more prominent in daily life and education, handwriting remains a crucial skill for primary age children.
The much anticipated four-day event, now in its 32nd year, will once again present education professionals with an opportunity to see and test the latest and most ground‑breaking technologies, giving them a taste of how those technologies can be used to revolutionise learning.
Announced for 2016, Bett has agreed a global collaboration with Microsoft Worldwide Education. This will see the two brands collaborate with their global network of educators to deliver inspiring content of next generation ideas and innovative, technology-led classroom practices in the UK and around the world.
The educator-led sessions will showcase the ideas, practices and technologies that have the largest impact on educational outcomes, along with inspiring concepts to help develop 21st century skills and find solutions to global challenges.
This year will also see the launch of completely new zone, Trade@Bett – an event to help education suppliers meet, network and develop business opportunities with resellers and distributors from around the world. The zone will provide an exhibition area centered around a networking lounge.
Considered by many as the most esteemed accolade in the ed-tech industry, the Bett Awards showcase companies and resources that seek to provide educators with the information, ideas and inspiration to enhance the learning process.
The Awards form an integral part of the show each year and celebrate the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found in technology for education. This year the awards will take place following the opening day of the show at The Brewery, located in Chiswell Street, London. Award categories range from Early years Digital Content, to ICT Special Educational Needs Solutions and ICT Exporter of the Year.
A notable winner from 2015 was Frog Education, who picked up the award for ICT Company of the Year – between £1m and £10m turnover, for its Frog Progress tool, which enables teachers to assess the progress of every pupil.
Commenting on the win, Gareth Davies, managing director, said: “We’re delighted to receive this prestigious award as a recognition of Frog’s continued commitment to providing world-class technology to improve both teaching and learning in the classroom.”
Other winners included: Toshiba, for ICT Services and Support; J2Code, for Free Digital Content/Open Educational Resources; Airhead Education, for Innovation in ICT; and Charles Clarke, for Outstanding Achievement in ICT Education.
Accepting his award, Charles Clarke said: “We all know the world is changing in difficult and problematic ways. The only way to challenge that is through education so that our younger generation and our institutions can work out what’s happening. Technology is an immensely powerful way of doing that, both in helping learning, but also in bringing parents, teachers and local communities together in powerful ways.
“It’s an immense honour to get this award. I’ve tried through my political life to promote education, and the recognition of this award is a tremendous endorsement of that. Bett is an assembly of all the people who are working in this industry trying to improve the quality of education for our young people. That is such a powerful, motive force when you see children who feel they can understand things, command things and get on top of things because education, and particularly technology in education, has helped them do that, so its a massive social achievement.”
Bett Futures made its debut at the 2015 show as a purpose built home for inspiring new ed-tech start-ups. The area aims to provide a platform and help to nurture brave thinking, new products and possible ‘game changers’ in education technology.
The inaugural Bett Futures cohort consisted of 30 start-ups specially selected by a panel of teachers, entrepreneurs and industry experts. The panelists are searching for the most innovative and relevant ideas that meet the challenges facing today’s educational institutions. Companies are judged against a set criteria, including: Relevance of idea in today’s classroom; Variety of ideas represented; Years in existence; Market status; Turnover; and Number of staff.
The companies showcased a wide variety of innovative developments, from teacher‑parent communication tools, to 3D printing, to language learning and adaptive maths apps.Due to the success of the area at last year’s show, Bett is returning in 2016 with a bigger and better Futures initiative. This year will see a combination of returning companies as well as a number of new start ups joining the Bett show floor for the first time.
Richard Canning, CEO of GroupU, was one of the start ups selected for Futures in 2015. He said: “Our experience at BETT Futures this year was both invaluable and highly enjoyable. As a fledgling ed-tech company with only a core team of three people, we do not have the resources or the reach to meet a high volume of teachers and educators and discuss our ideas. BETT Futures gave us this opportunity and we came away from four days of exhibiting with a confirmed list of 52 teachers, across five different countries, who wanted to be among the first to test our product.”
The morning Keynote on Wednesday 20 January, ‘Connecting Global Educators and Learners’, is being provided by Professor Sugata Mitra in the Bett Arena. Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. Mitra was given the $1m TED Prize in 2013 in recognition of his work and to help build a School in the Cloud, a creative online space where children from all over the world can gather to answer ‘big questions’, share knowledge and benefit from help and guidance from online educators.
Sue Watling, of the University of Lincoln, will be providing a session on ‘E-teaching: from digitally shy to digitally confident with virtual learning environments’ in the Learn Live: Higher Education Theatre. This presentation explores findings from a three‑year action research study which has proven successful in encouraging academics to engage with a range of VLE tools and reflect on potential usage within their own teaching practice. The session should be of interest to all those in higher education who promote the use of virtual learning for both on and off campus access, and who are involved in the institutional adoption of technology to enhance the quality of the student experience.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, will be speaking in the School leaders Summit on ‘The business challenges of running an independent school’. This will be the Opening Keynote on 22 January. Elsewhere, Dan Haesler, international keynote speaker, educator, writer and consultant, addresses ‘Engaging Kids Today – It’s about pedagogy not just technology’. Educators have never been better informed of the complexities and interactions between pedagogy, technology, neuroscience and engagement. And yet, across the western world in particular, studies suggest that student engagement levels continue to drop. Why is this? Haeslar will aim to answer this question.
‘Digitalisation of basic education: Case Kaarina – no pain, no gain?’ will be demonstrated by Keijo Sipilä, head of Educational Technology, City of Kaarina, Finland. The city of Kaarina has deployed the largest educational 1:1 implementation of tablet computers in Finland. All of the students from 4th to 9th grade have iPads as well as all of the teaching personnel of basic education. Sipilä uses this case study to present his session.
Another case study will be held by Jose Picardo, assistant principal of Surbiton High School. Ricardo looks at the strategies implemented at this forward looking school, and addresses how certain platforms have been integral to achieving an outstanding status.
Strong Stem presence
The 2016 Bett Conference list contains many sessions STEM subjects, once more highlighting the vital role that the subjects play in primary and secondary education. There will be a Keynote Address in the School Leaders Summit Theatre by Adam Webster, Director of Digital Learning at Caterham School, on ‘Innovative integration of technology in teaching the arts’. ‘Rewriting the Script for Women in STEM – Closing the Gender Gap’ will be hosted by Ann-Marie Imafidon, founder of STEMettes, award-winning computer scientist Dr Sue Black, Chris Monk of the National Museum of Computing, and Anne Marie Neatham of Ocado Technologies.
Other STEM themed sessions include: Tony Prescott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield, discussing ‘A glimpse of robotics future’; ‘Creating the next generation of female programmers’ in the Bett Arena and hosted by Anne Marie Neatham and Phil Bagge; and ‘How can Creativity Enhance Learning – Inspiring Girls into Science’. In this session, student scientist Amy O’Toole will share her passion to inspire girls to take an interest in Science.
Who will be exhibiting?
As always, the most innovative and trusted names in learning technology have already begun preparations for Bett 2016 and are gearing up to showcase their newest and most impressive products and services. Here is just a small selection from over 600 exhibitors you can expect to see this year: Robots in Schools is launching a world first: a humanoid robot that can be programmed using the popular language of Scratch. Designed for KS1 and KS2, the EDBOTTM can perform over 40 motions, allowing students to experience first-hand the thrill and fun of making a robot act according to their instructions. Visit Robots in Schools on stand F42 to learn about its integrated packages of hardware (robots), control software, lesson plans, training and support, designed to help schools of all sizes join the ‘robot revolution’.
Whizz Education, on stand TB50, will showcase its virtual online tutor, Maths‑Whizz, at this year’s show. Maths-Whizz supports whole class, small group and one-to-one teaching by responding to each student’s individual learning needs, raising their confidence and ability. Combined with whole‑class teaching tools, the comprehensive reports empower educators to make informed decisions and respond to them with ease. On average, students that use Maths-Whizz for an hour a week improve their Maths Age™ by more than 18 months in their first year of use.
Making stem accessible
This year’s show will play host to Learning Resources’®, official international launch of its exciting new range of hands-on kits dedicated to making STEM subjects accessible and enjoyable, stimulating excitement and supporting achievement, STEM in Action®. As a leader in the primary STEM movement, Learning Resources will be championing the dedicated STEM area at the show and will also be supporting the event by providing a speaker on the subject of STEM in primary education. There will be a number of on‑stand events and activities for visitors, product demonstrations and promotions, and not‑to‑be-missed competitions, making a visit to stand B78 very worthwhile.
Motivating and encouraging children on their reading path, from having their first reading experience up to the teenage years, Knowl’ge ApS, on stand G82, will present its ground breaking app for reading. Using the app, children will enjoy a stronger interest in reading due to an innovative combination of gamification and modern reading strategies. Children, their parents and teachers will also be offered the ability to gain insight in unique and trustworthy data on the child’s reading progression.
Scientific & Chemical Supplies Ltd. (SciChem), on stand B158, is the exclusive distributor in the UK of PASCO data-logging sensors and equipment. The PASCO brand focuses on delivering cutting-edge solutions for 21st Century science education. As the leading provider of science equipment in the UK, SciChem are well placed to help schools integrate data-logging into their science teaching. This year’s show will provide an opportunity to explore the range of sensors, together with a new science-only tablet, the Spark Element. The Spark Element has been introduced to be compatible with all PASCO data-logging sensors, while removing all other apps not directly required in the lesson, thus enabling students and teachers to focus on science.
On stand F41, EZ Education Ltd will showcase DoodleMaths, the best-selling primary maths app, with over 500,000 App Store downloads in the last two years. Created by maths teachers, its unique personalisation identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each child, creating a learning programme which continuously adapts. A few minutes’ daily use significantly raises students’ confidence and standards in maths. Also available is a secondary version and soon to be released DoodleTables, an adaptive times table app.
Televic Education, a world leader in the development of digital, wireless and virtualised language labs, interpreter training labs and classroom control management software, can be found on stand H80. Its popular and innovative solutions are used daily in schools, colleges and universities, worldwide.
Visitors are invited check out now>press>play, a cross-curricular resource for KS1 and 2 that brings an innovative approach to today’s classroom, on stand BFG12. Using sound, story and movement, it immerses children in curriculum topics, and through a series of active lessons, captures children’s interest and accelerates their learning.
Learning Labs Ltd., on stand D440, are inviting visitors to learn more about FlashSticks®, its language learning and teaching support system, that uses pre‑printed foreign language Post-it® notes and a free-to-download app. The FlashSticks App® allows you to scan and translate objects, learn on-the-go with digital notes and play challenges to test your vocabulary. They are currently offering free interactive language lessons to schools nationwide to demonstrate the resources, and will be running an ‘Object Scan Challenge’ at Bett, where attendees can compete to win great prizes.
EducationCity, on stand D300, provides a range of teaching resources and engaging, educational content for students aged 3-12 covering maths, English, science, computing, French and Spanish. As well as engaging students in their learning, it has a number of features designed to help teachers save time in planning, marking and assessment. They can use EducationCity to pre-plan differentiated learning for individuals or groups, and any student activity is automatically marked and stored so that teachers can filter and export the results for assessment and reporting purposes.
Renaissance Learning UK is a leading provider of cloud-based assessments for primary and secondary schools. Its STAR Assessments for reading, maths and early learning have been developed for the new national curriculum. They incorporate learning progressions built by experts at NFER, so they identify not only the skills students know but also the skills they are ready to learn next. Its Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Maths programmes provide teachers with immediate feedback for progress monitoring. Visit stand B50 to find out more about its learning progressions and STAR Assessments.
Cornelsen Experimenta GmbH, a subsidiary of the Cornelsen education group domiciled in Berlin and a leading supplier of teaching materials for natural scientific education, can be found on stand TB79. They produce and distribute sustainable teaching materials for elementary, primary and secondary schools, and offer both turn-key and tailor‑made solutions.
On stand D458, Kaasa Health, will showcase its learning game, Meister Cody – Talasia. Accompanied by Meister Cody, Princess Namea and Prince Fandales travel the world of Talasia and experience many challenging mathematical adventures. With Meister Cody children can learn wherever and whenever they like, and training will always continue on the latest save-game position. With training, pupils playfully improve maths capabilities based on results of scientific research. The team will also give an overview into dyscalculia and maths weakness, combined with a demonstration of the learning game.
Vernier Software & Technology, on stand B210, will be highlighting its Connected Science System, which allows students to engage in science experiments wirelessly using mobile devices. It will also be showcasing its Go Wireless family of rugged, general‑purpose wireless sensors that allow students to remotely monitor, collect, and analyse data with iPad devices, Android tablets, and LabQuest 2 data-collection interfaces. The Go Wireless Link, which provides a cost-effective way to wirelessly collect data from more than 40 of Vernier’s existing sensors on tablets and mobile devices, will also be on display.
IP Performance Ltd., a leading supplier of customised network infrastructure and security solutions, can be found on stand C394. The company supplies and supports organisations across the UK with wireless LAN and network security, IP address management and DNS/DHCP solutions, broadband and bandwidth management solutions, URL filtering, virus management, server and application load‑balancing, anti-spam and event management solutions and cost-effective, high–performance routers. Visitors are invited to visit the stand where the team can talk through any specific requirements or questions you might have.
Once again, nasen will host the SEN Information Point, providing visitors with a valuable insight into policy changes and statutory requirements including the new SEND Code of Practice. The education sector’s trade association and the co-founders of Bett, the British Educational Suppliers’ Association (BESA), will once again run the main Information Point, and the team will be on‑hand to help visitors plan their visit and get the most from the day. L
The show will run from 10am to 6pm Wednesday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday 23.