Reminiscing about the 2016 Bett Show

On 20-23 January, the world’s biggest educational technology event returned to the London ExCeL for four days of ideas, innovation and ingenuity. A month on, Education Business looks back at the high quality speakers and ideas that were presented.

Celebrating its 32nd year of success, Bett 2016 once again proved a huge success with those involved in educational technology. With new ideas and innovation shared from the leading thinkers of organisations such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple, Bett showcased an array of new launches for the educational market. With four days of thought provoking seminars, panel debates and exhibitors revealing the latest IT trends in education, specific needs were met and expectations exceeded.

At Bett 2016, over 500 experts speakers offered their insight, with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan providing the Ministerial Keynote and Welcome. Revealing that she was ‘excited by the possibilities for the education profession opened up by technology’, Morgan referred to the ‘creativity and passion’ of the technology sector as ‘irresistible’. Among other speakers, Sugata Mitra stood out for his stance on the importance of connecting educators and learners. A professor at Newcastle University and the brains behind the School in the Cloud, Mitra told the Bett Arena of his belief in the need to ‘make small changes to the assessment system to drive change throughout the entire system’.

Discussing the success of the show, Baroness Martha Lane Fox said: “There is so much exciting innovation at the crossroads of tech and education; ideas to inspire teachers, pupils and parents. Events like Bett are fabulous for bringing this innovation to the UK.”

Assessing assessment
Assessment change became a recurring theme of the show. In his talk on ‘Fresh approaches to assessment’, Miles Berry, principle lecturer at the University of Roehampton, explored some of the alternatives to the traditional essay for assessing the academic side of teacher training courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Approaching new ideas for programming assignments, blogging, video essays and collaborative planning tasks, Berry looked at how expectations of academic rigour and criticality can be balanced with professional relevance and cutting edge technologies.

Elsewhere in the Learn Live: Secondary theatre, OCR’s Alison Pearce and Rob Leeman discussed ‘Tomorrow’s Teaching, Today – teaching a new generation of Computer Science qualifications’. The pair outlined the new generation of Computer Science qualifications at GCSE and A Level as well the newly reformed Cambridge Nationals. Exciting new resources were discussed as well as developments in both general and vocational qualifications highlighting what has changed and how the subject has evolved.

Morgan commented: “We are committed to world-class computer science qualifications to give our students, as well as employers, the confidence they really need. That’s why computer science is at the heart of the new computing curriculum and I’m pleased to say that our reformed Computer Science GCSE and A level are on par with the best in the world.”

Directly addressing the issue of assessment, and more importantly their adaptability, Morgan stressed that: “The instant nature of online and computerised testing has obvious potential to lighten teacher workloads as well as collect data. The analysis of that data can be invaluable to teachers and system leaders in their pursuit of excellent educational outcomes. Informing them which parts of the curriculum they are teaching well and signalling where there is room for improvement. What’s more is that these assessments are becoming more intelligent, allowing the tests to grow with the students.”

As mentioned previously, Sugata Mitra began the discussions on assessment in the opening keynote. Claiming that schools aim to produce pupils that are too alike, too similar and too identical is replicated in our country’s examination and assessment programs. What Mitra discovered through the School in the Cloud was that a self-organised learning environment, where children are grouped and left unsupervised with the internet, encourages pupils to search for the answers to questions that they normally are not faced with.

This then raises the question of what should an assessment or examination system look like in the modern day? Should the internet, the source of daily use in almost all everyday activities, become part of the examination system? It is unlikley to happen soon, but, nonetheless, led to the body of Mitra’s keynote – that the future of learning is dependent upon the future of assessment.

Mitra also openly discussed his interest in open-ended questions and, considering the challenges they pose to students to expand their thinking beyond the norm, asked why the UK doesn’t plan for an assessment system that incorporates them. Regularly, the questions that have more than one correct answer, or an unknown answer, or even no answer encourages pupils to broaden their learning in a way that opposes mechanical teaching.

But who will evaluate open ended questions? Human examiners, whether they intend to or not, carry a degree of bias to their marking. But what if there was a way to incorporate continuous and automatic assessment methods in the UK educational system? While no immediate answers were provided, the Bett Arena audience certainly had a lot to ponder.

Full STEAM ahead
Another major trend in the show’s discussions centred around the growth and need for STEAM. Adding art and design into the educational equation of science, technology, engineering and maths is predicted to take off this year as a movement, and Bett was in on the act. New for 2016, The STEAM Village provided a platform for educators, practitioners, specialists and STEAM enthusiasts to join the STEAM revolution. Through a series of panels, dynamic sessions and live demos the Village presented some of the latest initiatives and projects that are shaping STEAM education for students and teachers.

Discussion sessions included Sir John Holman, Kevin Baughan of Innovate UK and Bryan L Miller heading up an expert panel session on ‘The skills shortage: Resolving a global challenge’. Additionally, Aisling Brown and Alex van Dijk of the Stephen Perse Foundation delved into the difficult matter of revolutionising and redefining education in the 21st century.

Notably, 16 year-old scientist Amy O’Toole encouraged the idea of creativity in STEM subjects, and the need for inspiring young girls into science. In 2010, Amy became one of the worlds youngest published scientists for her work on the Blackawton Bee Project. The paper was downloaded over 30,000 times on the first day and is now the second most read paper of the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters.

Asking: ‘why is science so unappealing to girls?’, Amy claimed that the current teaching methods do not seem to be inspiring or attractive to many girls. The answer, she suggests, lies in the creativity of STEM teaching.

This strand of the show also featured a panel discussion on ‘Rewriting the script for women in STEM – closing the gender gap’. The panellists included Dr Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA; Ann-Marie Imafidon, founder of STEMettes; Dr Sue Black, award winning computer scientist at UCL; Anne Marie Neatham, chief operating office at Ocado; and Johann Siau, principal lecturer in Digital Communication Systems at the University of Hertfordshire.

Highlights of their discussions included Imafidon expressing the creative possibilities that technology STEM subjects can offer, offering memories of when she sat her maths and IT GCSEs at the ages of ten, before sitting her Computing A level a year later.

Understanding that there is likely to be higher demands for jobs in technology fields in the future due to our shifting workplace reliance on computers, Dr Sue Black contended that, when approached in the correct way, technology should be viewed as a positive thing for schools to teach and pupils to learn. There was a real belief in her speech that, with an appropriate passion for technology, the opportunities in the future will be vast.

And talking of vast, Dr Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist, recalled witnessing her first rocket launch at the age of four (her father worked at NASA), and despite the launch being unsuccessful, realising the potential that science had to offer her. Noting the significance that hearing Carl Sagan talk had on her approach to STEM, Stofan was eager to allow the same opportunities to the latest generation of students.

Notable names
Angela Lee Duckworth was one of a number of names to offer her keynote thoughts to a packed Bett audience. Angela, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-founder of the Character Lab, discussed the ‘power of passion and perseverance’. An expert in non-I.Q. competencies like grit and self-control, she was awarded a 2013 ‘Genius’ Grant and has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Her TED talk on grit has garnered nearly seven million views, and her first book, Grit: Passion, Perseverance and the Science of Success, is forthcoming from Scribner.

Jamal Edwards, founder of SBTV, was interviewed on the same Bett Arena stage. Edwards owns a YouTube channel which boasts over 360 million views. He is an MBE, a Buckingham Palace social media advisor, and launch-pad for the musical industry. In this session, Edwards discussed what advice he can give the young digital enthusiasts of today. Recalling how schools can focus too heavily on sport, music or art, and how in his school his passion for recording and video were unusual, Edwards spoke passionately about young digital enthusiasts.

When asked what one element he would change in schools, he emphasised the importance and current struggles between schools and enterprise. A majority of schools in the UK host enterprise days or even a week long enterprise fayre, but there remains a lack of consistency and a lack of commitment to develop or expand upon the ideas and concepts that are taught, leaving students uninformed and uninterested in entrepreneurship. Edwards stands out as an individual who has reaped the awards of such knowledge, and much of what he discussed reflected the wider need for opportunity in that area.

Delivering talks in both the ‘Engaging Kids Today’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’ sessions, Dan Haesler was a character worth listening to. An international keynote speaker, educator, writer and consultant, Haesler works with schools across the Asia-Pacific around issues of engagement and well-being.

Looking into the future of learning, Haesler began discussing why we struggle to see what is sometimes right in front of us – we return to what we know, what we expect, what we are taught and what comes naturally. This opened up the idea of connected learning, which, according to Haesler, has three key points. Firstly, schools and teachers must be able to meet pupils where they are, discovering what they are interested in, what they are not interested in and what essentially gauges their attention. Secondly, schools must be able to tap into the peer‑to‑peer learning to, finally, discover and present the opportunities that points one and two can offer in the wider world. The concept of school connectedness, belonging and community will become a much more challenging problem for schools, and one which they must embrace.

Mindset and mastery
Salman Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, made a video appearance at Bett, discussing ‘Providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere’. Khan Academy is a learning platform which is comprised of practice exercises, instructional videos, dashboard analytics and teacher tools which empower learners in and outside of the classroom to study at their own pace. Khan Academy has over 26 million registered students and covers subjects from math to science, history, economics, computer science and more. Khan Academy is being translated into more than 36 languages and is used in 190 countries globally. Khan holds three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Speaking on the big screen, Khan discussed the concepts of mindset and mastery. Mindset, and in particular, growth mindset, is stressing the importance to learn how to learn, stepping out of comfort zones, and developing a growth mindset, so that when faced with challenges students do not immediately give up, or, hopefully, do not give up at all.

The second concept, mastery, looks at the belief that students should not learn 80 or 90 per cent of a subject before moving onto another one – instead developing a strong foundation and mastering the subject 100 per cent. Using the example that a test result might showcase an 80 per cent grade proves that there remains 20 per cent not properly learnt, Khan questioned whether the class still marches onto the next subject. If that 80 per cent grade is not the lowest mark, how much vacant subject knowledge gets left unattended? Khan suggests that these gaps in knowledge keep accumulating until they become too wide to mend. Instead, schools should change the variables and keep working on a subject, aiming for mastery, before moving on.

The future of learning
Additionally, Anthony Salcito, the brains behind Microsoft’s School of the Future, approached the stage with his session ‘Expect more, Do More, Be More, – The Future of Learning’. In his role leading the worldwide execution of Microsoft’s vision for education, Salcito works to help empower educators and inspire students to achieve more. He aims to transform the way we learn with the support of the best technology to help build critical skills for the modern, global workplace.

Salcito’s presentation coincided with the launch of the Minecraft Education Edition, which aims to bring further technology into the classroom and enable teachers to take Minecraft integration into education. Also showcasing the micro:bit, Salacity explained how the physical sensation of holding a piece of computing in your hand and understanding the dynamics can make it more tangible for students, which makes computing come alive.

Prior to taking this role in 2009, Salcito was general manager of education in the United States, supporting schools and universities across the country. During this time, he helped launch the company’s cornerstone education programs. He was also at the centre of Microsoft’s involvement in the creation of the School of the Future – a pioneering partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and now the first of many Microsoft Showcase Schools around the world.

The BBC micro:bit was paraded on stage by BBC and Samsung. Created as a way of bridging the digital skills gap – a report last year suggested that 1.4 million digital professionals would be needed to keep pace over the next five years – the acclaimed ‘small and mighty’ solution is a pocket size computer that lets students and teachers get creative with digital technology.

As one of the students on the promotional video claimed, the micro:bit allows you to ‘code, control and customise anywhere’. In the session ‘Get Creative, Get Coding, Get Connected’. Adam Johnson of Samsung elaborated on the need for innovations like the micro:bit to stay afloat in an increasingly connected world. Providing a hands-on experience, students who tested the device in one of the 11 trial schools found that what they did on the screen had a direct impact on hardware and that through programming and coding they learnt more about computing and hardware potential.

Samsung showcased their Android app at the Samsung App Zone, informing visitors how to connect the micro:bit with smartphones and tablets. These resources and projects can be used in the classroom or at home for homework. Such innovation was further explored in the IET and Kitronic Zone. The Institute of Engineering and Technology share several teaching resources, as well as previewing their upcoming teacher CPD sessions. Kitronic, like Samsung, demonstrated where the micro:bit can be coded to interact with external sensors and devices.

Additionally, The Future of Making and Coding featured the use of the micro:bit and portrayed how families and young people are embracing the age of digital education with Tech Will Save Us.

Such belief wasn’t naturally shared with Lord Professor Robert Winston. The medical doctor, scientist and television presenter was quick to suggest that technology is not a risk to learning, but remained committed to the understanding that face to face communication was imperative in a pupils’ ability to learn. Arguing that teaching was historical, whereas technology was still relatively new in comparison, Winston suggested that the key to technology advancement was valuation – we must ask the right questions and get the correct answers. We do not know where technology will take us, and while that is exciting, it is also, therefore, important to be hesitant in our approaches.

A taste of Raspberry Pi
With over 60 workshops and talks run over the four days, the team of Raspberry Pi in Education and Code Club experts were on hand to help visitors discover how Raspberry Pi can make computing exciting in the classroom and beyond.

This year, Raspberry Pi offered the opportunity to participate in physical computing and STEAM workshops – jointly led by Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, Picademy Teacher Trainers, community members, Code Club staff and volunteers, as well as the young Creative Technologists – giving you the opportunity to get hands-on with computer science.

At the Raspberry Pi STEAM Village pods, projects included: a robot parade; a 1930s‑era Brownie Junior camera that has been adapted to take and tweet your picture using a Raspberry Pi; a live picture stream from a High Altitude Balloon; and weather station demos.

For the very first time, Raspberry Pi also took over the Technology in HE Summit Space on Saturday 23 January to run a Raspberry Jam. Led by the wonderful Raspberry Pi community, Raspberry Jams proved a way to share ideas, collaborate, and learn about digital making and computer science. They take place all over the world, including, for the first time in January, at the Bett Show.

In the Bett Arena, Dr Sam Aaron, creator of the worldwide phenomenon in live coding, Sonic Pi, performed his own ‘algo-rave’ experience to attendees and discussed the benefits of a creative approach to teaching computer science.

Other talks included: The top five initiatives that are paving the way towards successful STEAM integration; Digital Making: encouraging creativity in the classroom and integrating STEAM project‑based learning; Excitement! Adventure! Making primary computer science more dynamic; Putting the Science into Computer Science; Inspiring girls to pursue careers in STEAM; and Astro Pi: Your Code In Space, engaging students in computer science.

The great disruption debate
Left with the question – ‘do you think that technology is disrupting education?’, Maurice de Hond, founder of Steve Jobs schools, Audrey Watters, author of The Monsters of Education Technology, and Will Richardson, educational expert and author of Why School?, debated what was described to be the great disruption debate.

Will Richardson began the conversation by pointing out that, in his experience, children are learning more on their own with technology than they are with the technology on offer in schools. This is what causes any potential disruption – the fact that the opportunities to learn more and develop technological knowledge are far greater out of school than in it. As technology outside of school continues to change at a great pace, and the way that we interact with it increases, are children being given more agency to learn about the things that they care about by giving them technology?

With disruption being deemed a buzzword, the conversation changed to the difference between personalised learning and personal learning – the difference being what meets individual children’s needs and works towards their goals, rather then working around a specific program.

Richardson continued to address a recent statistic that 70 per cent of people feel that they can learn anything, anywhere, at any moment.

The mathematical revolution
Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University, claimed that there was a real revolution in the science of learning. Looking at ‘Changing students and teachers lives with brain science and connectivity’, Boaler contended that maths is a subject that holds students back.

Aiming to bust open the myth that, in maths, ‘you either can or you can’t’, Boaler maintained that the maths myth is responsible for pupil underachievement. It is viewed as inaccessible, uninteresting and only for some children, but she argues that ‘we urgently need to shift teachers’, parents’, students’ and politicians’ ideas about who can achieve in mathematics’.

Mathematics was quite a prominent time among the seminar discussions. Author and teacher Jon Seal and Lisa Wrenn of Cambridge University Press looked at ‘Digital solutions for GCSE Maths and GCSE English Literature’.

This looked at how digital subscription services can offer schools a complete solution for the teaching and learning of the new GCSE specifications and looked into some of the current resources available, such as lesson notes, interactive walkthroughs, explanatory animations, games, worksheets, quick quizzes, levelled assessments and digital student books.

Fun and interactive methods of incorporating the latest technology, apps and websites within the everyday classroom was a topic worth listening to. Discussing how to build confidence to help turn abstract mathematical concepts into the concrete and support with numeracy across the curriculum and advantaging the teachers and students through the use of self-marking software and flipped learning, this session, ‘Just Add Concrete – Building Confidence in Maths’ was hosted by Danielle Bartram, Mathematics Lead Practitioner and Numeracy Coordinator at Acklam Grange School.

Trusting in the tablet
The Tablet Academy, a leading UK device organisation created to support educational institutions in transforming teaching and learning through the integration of new technologies across the curriculum, teamed up with Bett to create a Hands-On Live Theatre where visitors to the show could participate in short bite-sized workshops that explored new technology and educational solutions.

Hands-On sessions ran from 10:00am until 4:00pm every day and included sessions on: Minecraft in the classroom; Lego in Computing and STEM.

In addition to the Tablet Academy Hands-On Live Theatre, Tablet Academy consultants were present on a number of partner stands to provide independent advice and deliver interactive activities. A Tablet Academy Trail was available via the Bett App to connect the partnering stands. Additionally, all visitors to the Tablet Academy stands were entered into a prize draw to win a range of items including free consultancy and training as well as a variety of hardware.

The stands included: Fujitsu, who held a robot time challenge to win a £700 laptop; Lenovo, who offered short taster sessions focused on Windows 10 and Office 365 in the classroom; HP, who had ‘Teacher of the year’ and Minecraft in Education expert Ray Chambers present to speak to delegates; Misco, discussing the best Microsoft solutions available to schools and colleges; and Stone, who also focused on computing for schools.

Talking Tes
At this year’s Bett, TES presented an engaging series of practical sessions for teachers, held on the TES stand. These talks, workshops and debates were designed to help teachers to plan lessons, find a better job, improve their professional skills or understand some of the topical challenges facing schools.

Speakers included a number of the ‘stars’ of the TES magazine and website, such as behaviour guru Tom Bennett, former schools minister Lord Knight, teacher columnists Sarah Simons and Clare Lotriet, and author Mike Gershon. The TES talks also featured a range of special guests, including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s director of education Jacqui O’Hanlon.

Some of the varied topics covered included: How can schools take a global approach to recruitment?; How to make homework‑setting happier; How to create a digital lesson in five minutes; How can you teach technology to kids who understand it better than you?; How to plan an outstanding lesson; How mainstream schools could provide better support for SEN pupils; How testing questions can help you teach beyond the test; How can teachers avoid the dark side of social media?; and How teachers and support staff are going global.

The International Pavilions
When it comes to education, there’s no one correct way to go about it. Think about how much you can learn from your peers from other establishments. Now think even further, about how much you could learn from your peers from around the world.

Bett showcased the best of education technology on a global scale, all under one roof. In the International Pavilions, experts from France, Spain, Norway, Korea, UAE and Singapore, shared their unique approaches to teaching and learning, through a showcase of the most innovative technological solutions.

For example, on Stand E71, The Singapore Pavilion featured six Singaporean ed-tech companies at the cutting edge of the market who exhibited a wide range of solutions, from digital maths portals to mobile interactive technology. Common Town, Koobits, Kungfu Math, Latize, Money Tree and Vertical Miles, are driving forward innovation and offer a unique perspective on education and learning. Singapore has long been recognised as a dynamic hub of innovation in the Asian education technology sector. With a number of companies providing creative solutions to facilitate learning, it has also established itself as a leader in the global market.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “I hope this convention is a fantastic success, helping to deliver the ed-tech tools and apps that will be used by our young people to ensure London’s success as a global leader for decades to come.”

Global education
This year, Abu Dhabi will play host to the international education community. Over 1,000 influential education leaders, practitioners and industry experts from across the region are set to attend the inaugural ‘Bett Middle East Leadership Forum & Expo’ where the future of education will be debated and discussed. Taking place in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the event is set to be the most senior gathering of Education Leaders in the region.

Bett Middle East will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 6-7 April this year.

Bett will also yet again arrive in Brazil on 18-21 May bringing innovation and technology. After 30 years as the leading education technology event in the UK, Bett arrived in Brazil for the first time in 2014. Co-located with Educar/Educador, the event brings the best solutions in technology applied to education to inspire and improve learning.

The event provides seminar sessions, panel discussions, and access to leading suppliers – giving the opportunity for visitors to experience new technology which will allow them to teach in a way that reflects our ever-changing world.

Bett Latin America Leadership Summit’s mission is to power learning and to promote the discovery of technology and knowledge. The Leadership Summit is the only event in the region that unites the world’s most innovative minds to discuss education and technology with a focus on Latin America.

Bett Latin America Leadership Summit, taking place on 27-28 October, is Latin America’s meeting place for education decision makers. The inaugural Latin America Leadership Summit in 2013 was the first international Bett leadership Summit and welcomed more than 550 attendees over three days, who enjoyed seminars and workshops from over 100 speakers from 25 countries at the World Trade Center São Paulo, Brazil.

Bett Futures
Futures was launched in 2015 as the new, purpose built home for the world’s most inspiring ed-tech start-ups, right in with the action on the Bett show floor. The area has been introduced to celebrate brave thinking, new products and education ‘game changers’.

Designed as a unique, three-year progression programme, Futures allows developing start-up companies to benefit from all that Bett has to offer. It offers heavily subsidised exhibition rates, extensive marketing resources and bespoke social media campaigns, all targeted to the needs of ed-tech start-ups at two significant points in their development: discovery and scale.

The inaugural Bett Futures cohort was made up of 30 start-ups who were selected by a panel of education experts based on the relevance of their solutions to today’s classroom challenges. The cohort showcased the most innovative developments in ed-tech from teacher-parent communication tools to 3D printing to language learning and adaptive maths apps.

For 2016, Bett returned with a bigger and better Futures initiative with the 2016 cohort a combination of both returning Futures start-up exhibitors and new start-up companies that have recently launched.

Key themes for 2016 included: Inspiring the entrepreneurs of tomorrow; From STEM to STEAM; The rise of the ‘teacherpreneur’; Ed-tech for social change; and Coding for all.

Once again, nasen hosted the SEN Information Point, providing visitors with valuable insight into policy changes and the statutory requirements of the new SEND Code of Practice. The education sector’s trade association and the co-founders of Bett, the British Educational Suppliers’ Association (BESA), once again ran the main InformationPoint magnificently, on‑hand to help visitors plan their visit and get the most from the day.

Saturday at Bett
This year, Saturday 23 January at Bett was viewed through the lens of the wider education community, welcoming digital leader student groups, governors, parents and guardians. Recognising education isn’t just about school, but a wider understanding of learning and inspiration, the organisers of the show planned for the chance to hear the student voice loud and clear.

As part of the Bett Next Generation, young and inspirational speakers took to the stage. Some of the highlights included: Sophie Healy‑Thow, Google Science Fair 2014 winner and one of Time magazines most influential teens of 2015, discussing My Journey – Food Security – Everybody’s Business; Jordan Casey, a 15 year‑old entrepreneur from Waterford in Ireland, sharing her passion for programming; Ready Salted Code’s Genevieve Smith‑Nunes running a hands-on coding demo; Raspberry Jams; and Step into STEM Skills Day, a mixture of inspirational talks, presentations and activities to teach you about the skills you need to succeed in this sector.

Tried and trusted suppliers
In addition to a great line-up of speakers, over 600 exhibitors showcased the latest and greatest technologies that are helping transform not only classrooms, but all aspects of schools. Technology is being used to inspire change, to help the education system ‘break the mould’ and raise standards. Innovative technologies have to be at the heart of this journey, and nowhere is this more evident than in the development of AV technology and internet-based learning resources.

Sony understands this and is on the frontline, developing technologies and products to meet the demands of contemporary teaching – such as 4K and laser projection. The Sony team were on hand at the show sharing more about how its range of education solutions gives schools and universities the reliable, long-lasting and cost-efficient tools they need to capture student attention and enhance learning.

Global education company Promethean presented its latest generation ActivPanel to Bett 2016, showcasing front-of-house instruction, whole-class learning and small group collaboration capabilities. With ActivGlide surface technology, the ActivPanel eliminates the risk of finger burn which can be experienced during long periods of use in the classroom. Meanwhile on stand D80, SMART Technologies continued to raise the bar in collaborative learning tools with new additions to its interactive flat panel (IFP) portfolio, including new sizes in both its 6000 and 4000 Series.
SMART also shared new ways for teachers and students to seamlessly incorporate SMART’s latest collaborative tool, SMART kapp, into their daily learning.

Visitors to Stand G88 gathered advice in providing a safe and effective science and technology curriculum from experienced consultancy, CLEAPSS. At this year’s show, CLEAPSS launched its new ‘CLP’ hazards and new safer chemistry procedures website, for use by science teaching staff, and will be featuring a bigger focus on the Design & Technology curriculum.

Fujitsu Services Limited had four dynamic zones on Stand C128, including: the Robotics Zone, showcasing a robotics and programming demo using Fujitsu laptop and tablet devices; the Coding Zone, where its partners, the National Museum of Computing and the Tablet Academy, showed-technology through the ages, highlighting how the principals and logical thinking of coding remain the same; the Internet of Things (IoT) Zone, which provided audiences a sneak peak of future innovations and how they can be applied in education; and the Cyber Security Zone, which offered insight into the very topical issue of cyber security.

On Stand E378, TOPdesk, whose service management software helps organisations manage IT, facilities and HR helpdesks, and improves services with user-friendly standardised solutions, showcased their ideal solution for facilitating collaboration among multiple departments, and is currently working with numerous universities, libraries and schools.

Providing more than just fast, reliable, uncontested broadband, TRUSTnet boasts designed-for-schools ICT services, award‑winning digital education resources, specialist online safety (including counter-extremism and Prevent) guidance and dedicated support. This is delivered cost-effectively, due to being backed by The London Grid for Learning, a not‑for-profit and charitable trust now benefiting over 2,600 schools nationwide. They were on hand to share their success with guests.

Meanwhile, stand D100 saw the latest and most unique approach to ICT procurement and support; giving schools the freedom to choose what they want and how they want it. Think IT’s cloud based computing service for schools and colleges across the UK recognises that each school’s needs are very specific. The Think IT team does not dictate the products that each school must take but gives it the freedom to choose.

WisePay provides a suite of unrivalled, managed services to schools, colleges and universities, including online payment, enrolment, booking and shop services, all automatically integrated with email and text communications. Featured for the first time at Bett on Stand A120 was the latest updated version of the WisePay Sports Bookings, Activity Management and Gym Subscription Service, the Parent Evening Booking Service and the Holiday Activity Booking Service. All services are designed to be easy to navigate by parents and students.

In a stand of their own
Exa Education is a multi-award winning ISP. Now in its 13th year of providing schools with award winning internet connectivity, email, content filtering and multi-award winning customer support, the company were present at Bett to showcase its award winning internet services for primary and secondary schools.

Unlike the majority of ISPs in the UK which cater firstly to the home user market; Exa does not supply to the residential market at all and has used its experience to make sure all of its products, services, network and support are designed in-house from the ground up to meet and surpass the specific requirements of today’s educational organisations.

Smoothwall is looking for 2016 to be the biggest and best year yet. Bett 2016 saw Smoothwall and its e-Safety partners, e-Safe Systems and the IWF, provide expert-led sessions aimed at supporting schools and colleges in strengthening their e-safety strategies. Talks ran daily from the e-Safe Zone on Stand E300 and featured presentations on the Prevent Duty, Ofsted safeguarding policy changes, cyber bullying, mental health and more.

By the Saturday, the company had given away over 1,000 smoothies, plenty of freebies and held plenty of back to back conversations with visitors to their stand.

Co-founded by Sir Bob Geldof, Groupcall is one of the education sector market leaders in communication and data extraction tools since launching in 2002.

At Bett, Groupcall showcased its product portfolio, comprising of Messenger, Emerge and Xporter. Messenger enables schools to send personalised SMS, voice and email messages instantly to parents/staff/students/contacts in multiple languages. It now includes the Xpressons app, allowing push notifications on their child’s activity to the parent’s mobile phone.
Emerge is the app enabling schools to have an up‑to‑the‑minute copy of their MIS data instantly and securely available for access anytime, anywhere. Its automated data solution, Xporter is used in approximately 17,000 schools by over 65 education authorities and academy groups.

Next year’s Bett Show will be taking place at London’s ExCeL on 25-28 January 2017.

Watch highlights of this year show online at:

Further Information