On Friday the 24th of January, I attended the Bett Show conference. Bett is one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, with over 800 leading companies, 103 EdTech startups and 34,000 attendees . Not only is there a large exhibition of many eLearning technology providers, you can also attend useful seminars hosted by leaders in the field.
Marieke had attended the Bett show as well on Wednesday the 22nd of January; have a read of her blog post here.
Upon arrival to the Bett show, I had a quick orientation walk around of the conference, where I came upon Clevertouch (the provider of the touchscreens RAU is currently rolling out) hosting a session on how to use their touchscreens in creative ways in the classroom and how to use the connectivity options to get students to play an active role in learning.
After the Clevertouch session, I made my way to the HE/FE theatre for a talk by Simon Kay from South Gloucestershire and Stroud Colleges, who spoke about how they have successfully rolled out MS Teams across their campuses and the creative ways in which they are using MS Teams for teaching & learning, as well as communication.
As RAU is currently in the process of rolling out MS Office (which Teams is a part of), it was very useful to see how they went about designing their platform and providing support and training for their students and staff.
Straight after the session by Simon Kay, I remained in the HE/FE theatre for a talk on Smart campuses and how Universities in the USA are using technology to improve:
- student learning, for example being able to check from anywhere on the campus which study spaces have computers available
- student on campus living, for example being able to check on your phone whether there’s equipment available in the gym or what’s available for lunch
- sustainability and cost reduction, for example lighting that turns on and off automatically
- security, for example unlocking doors with your badge, CCTV and even an AI system that can identify the sound and location of gunfire and trigger a response plan accordingly
The next seminar I attended was by Abi James of AbilityNet, who explained what accessibility means and what public bodies (including Universities) need to do to adhere to new accessibility regulations. Part of this is ensuring that your websites and VLE’s are easy to use by people with a range of SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities). Abi went on to explain how you can test and improve your webpages for this purpose and spoke about what writing a mandatory accessibility statement entails.
After a little break, I had a walk around the exhibition. It was very interesting to see the diverse range of eLearning tools that are available and what they are used for. Some of the tools on display included:
- Software, such as VLE’s, e-learning tools, apps, communication platforms, student registration tools, learning management solutions etc.
- Learning materials, such as e-books, publishers and learning programmes
- Hardware, such as learning robots, virtual reality kits, touch screens, interactive projectors and other devices
- Furniture for creating smart classrooms and huddle spaces, as well as laptop/tablet safes
There was also a large section of the exhibition dedicated to a “Global Showcase” where people from different countries such as Norway, Korea, Saudi Arabia and France showed how they use technology for teaching and learning. In addition, there was a strong focus on SEND and student wellbeing, with Friday being dubbed “SEND Friday”.
As my last seminar of the day, I attended “Unified communication via the Cloud”, where Scott Somenthal spoke about how Universities can use “the Cloud” to connect different communication tools, after which it was time to make the trek back to Cirencester.
During the Bett show, I have gained many new insights and ideas, which are now to be digested and used in the RAU LT team’s work.