This year was the first time I’ve ever attended BETT. I’d heard a lot about it last year and really wanted to attend so it was brilliant when my new HT mentioned about going. Through twitter I heard a lot about the various fringe events happening so decided to go down on Thursday evening to attend Collabor8 4 Change, stay Friday to look at the show and attend TeachMeet Bett and then finish off on Saturday by catching some teachmeet takeovers.
My Initial Response
Walking in the door to Olympia was more than a little overwhelming! I arrived at about 5pm and was met by a sea of people and stalls and decided to do a little aimless wandering to try and get my bearings. I wandered for a good half hour and was still none the wiser and then I bumped into @ebd35! It was great to finally meet someone I ‘knew’ if only in the virtual sense, and it made the show feel slightly less distant and daunting.
Collabor8 4 Change
I didn’t really know a lot about this event when I signed up, I knew there were tables and presentations but couldn’t really work out much more than that but it turned out to be a fantastic event (and actually very similar to the way we’d discussed running our own teachmeet coming up in Feb all the way back last August). The keynote speech from Baron Jim Knight was really thought-provoking; it’s such a shame he’s not still in charge of everything as he can really see the importance of technology in education. This was followed by 4 x 20 minute table sessions of which there were about 15 to choose from each time. The only problem I had was that I wanted to go to more of them and it was hard to narrow it down to just 4. In the end I went to Rising Stars table about their new ICT scheme (which does look really interesting), @edintheclouds talk on Google Apps as I am trying to set this up for my school and have got a bit stuck, @ZoeRoss19 ‘s table about budgeting where we had a fantastic discussion about free vs paid for software and then @nstone‘s talk about encouraging risk-taking, a discussion that never seems to have any answers rather frustratingly! I really enjoyed the chance to discuss things which is something that you don’t get with regular teachmeets.
Teachmeet BETT took place on Friday night and was another excellent event. I really enjoyed it, it’s just a shame we didn’t get to see all of the presenters show off their fantastic ideas. The problem now is when and how to implement all of the new ideas! The teacheat following teachmeet was also really good and great for networking, chatting and sharing ideas.
I didn’t seem to be very good at getting myself to the right place at the right time for these but the ones I did see were brilliant. @kvnmcl‘s music presentation was awesome and I’ve no idea how I can incorporate any of it yet but I really want to – I really don’t use music enough in my classroom which is strange as I’m a really musical person myself. @bevevans22 did a great presentation of google maps, reminding me of the potential it has in so many different subject areas and is definitely something I’d like to use more.
On Saturday, Scholastic had the children’s laureate Anthony Browne talk on their stand. He was absolutely phenomenal and talked with such passion about story-telling and using your imagination. He told us the story of Gorilla and then explained all the detail he puts into each of the pictures and how he crafts and creates each one to mean something. It’s funny, it’s that thing when in Literacy you are asked to analyse a text and images for the author’s intentions and you never know if they we’re really thinking what you’re told it all means when they wrote it – well, Anthony Browne actually does think all those thoughts. He was brilliant and I really enjoyed listening to him talk.
At about 3.45pm on Saturday some of us mad twitter lot that were still mad enough to be around went on a freebie hunt. To be honest, most of the stalls were not very willing to give away free stuff, even though we offered for them not to take it home with them. We did however manage to fight education city for some free mugs and SMART for some very cool hand pointers. I have no idea what to do with my squidgy light bulbs though!
For me, by far the best thing about BETT had to be meeting up with people I ‘know’ on twitter. It was fantastic to be able to chat to so many people face to face, find out that they were just as fantastic in real life and it certainly made the show a lot more friendly. Without that, I don’t think I’d want to go again. Thank you to everyone I met for an amazing time, and I think plans are afoot for taking over the education show in March next 🙂