For us, the Bett Show means meeting people who share a passion for education, teaching and learning. The technology is great, but it is just another tool in our toolbox. It is the passion, the knowledge and the experience of the people in the room that change education, the technology just gives us the means to do it.
Whilst most people accept technology is an asset to education, not everyone agrees on how technology should be used and when. This years keynotes at Bett gave two different views on how the internet could be used in education.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan asserted that search engines could never be a substitute for learning, and that whilst her government were excited by the possibilities that the technology could offer, “a rigorous curriculum, putting the right foundation in place, alongside high-quality assessments” were the key to excellent education outcomes.
Her speech followed the speech given by Sugata Mitra calling for an end to the three Rs. He went on to say “Teachers see the internet as just a tool. It isn’t. It’s the biggest network we’ve ever had and is the collective knowledge and understanding of 7.5 billion people. If we make it available to a learner we change the whole game of what it is to know.”
Ed-Tech start-ups was a key theme at Bett this year. The Bett Futures area gave aspiring ed-tech start-ups a chance to shine, with some innovative ideas, although some were perhaps less original than others.
We quite liked Educake. We’re all for reducing the amount of work involved in marking.
We really like Explain Everything. It’s on our blog of our favourite recommended apps.
The speakers at Bett Futures were interesting too. There was the usual zealotry with not much substance from one or two familiar faces, but on the whole the speakers were passionate and had some interesting things to say.
Our highlight seminar of Bett, was John Hurst’s talk in the Apple village on breaking down the walls of the classroom in his school as he showed how they encourage their children to improve, whatever the level of ability, with questions and formative feedback, encouraging the children to always think “can I do this better?” He gave a great example, asking what would you say if your child came second in a gymnastics competition? His answer initially had a few people looking a bit bemused, but the evidence of the work produced couldn’t be argued with, and the message of aspiration was clear. The videos of the children in school also showed that these kids really know what they want to get from their time at school, and what their aspirations are.
Overall the Bett Futures bodes well for education, and we’re looking forward to seeing what next year will bring. See you there!