BETT 2013: Four Conclusions and a Thought
We have been in London visiting Bett 2013 and have come back with our heads full of fresh ideas. That´s the way shows are like: as an explosive concentrated drink: stimulating and exhausting at the same time.
For those who do not know yet, Bett is the largest education technology exhibition in the world: 42,000 visitors this year, 30,000 last year. A dramatic increase which goes up every year, showing the growing interest of educators by new technologies and the large market which is opening up for innovative companies.
This is clearly an #EdTech #Edutech (depending on the language) exhibition. The industry that comes here does clearly focus on technology and education.
There is no room for publishers who do not believe in technology integration or for non-technological educational product manufacturers.
Unlike previous years, this year the show has moved to the new ExCel premises, a more spacious and organized place, and well served by light rail (Docklands Light Railway). Another sign yet of how much the sector's growing.
Also the increasing number of foreign exhibitors is remarkable, young technologic companies that focus on education and with an interesting projection for the coming years.
One thing is for sure: if this is your first visit to BETT, you will feel excited about the movement, the number of digital products out there, the speakers, presentations, conferences and the smell of change everywhere.
One of the things we liked most was the area of the start-ups, where we found a nicely prepared, funny show, almost like a contest, in which the founders of these young companies jumped on a stage to present their project, product or service, and responded to questions from the audience. Good ideas in search of founding and ... succinct. Five minutes exactly. Any speaker who exceeded a few seconds from the time allowed, was abruptly pushed off the stage by the presenter. And all this show spiced with this very dry British humor. Enjoyable.
- Our first conclusion is implicit in the first paragraphs. The technology applied to education is a growing sector, where there is a lot to do and where more and more companies show up every day offering a wide range of products and services.
- The show keeps growing but there is nothing new to be found. It is not our first Bett and that has an influence, for sure. Every year there is a larger presence of big and small companies, both hardware and software ones, but the products are mostly just a continuation of what we do already know.
- The show is full of teachers asking questions and attending presentations ... there is definitely a growing interest in educators to adopt and implement technology solutions in their schools and in their work. There are questions everywhere about what is best for my school. Given the increased number of suppliers and products, we can foresee an important need of training or advice to enable the centers to make the best decisions.
- Little institutional and governmental presence. Teachers want to apply new methods and enjoy new tools to work with, but who will train these teachers wanting to change the system? Perhaps this is a clear signal of who really is the engine of change.
And finally, a thought:
There is a considerable range of online platforms, devices, interactive content, games, robots, but then… what? How can we actually integrate all this into an educational system that does actually work? This is what seems to be missing at this time: an orderly integration, with reflection and analysis. Let us not become mad with technology.