The Bett Learning Technology event and trade show is the biggest event of its kind in Europe and runs over 4 days (30 January to 2 February 2013), and is attended by around 200,000 delegates. The show hosts over 640 exhibitors and over 600 seminars, workshops and lectures. David Beere and Josie Fraser attended the event this year for Leicester City Council’s BSF Programme, in order to make contact with organisations and individuals who could benefit the work that the BSF ICT team are involved in across the city, and to provide schools with information and highlights from the event.
The increasing impact of cloud-based services, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approaches, and the Government’s proposal to replace ICT with Computing were the big stories in evidence at the event, being addressed by both vendors and speakers. Flipped Classroom approaches are also gaining ground. These are all areas Leicester City Council’s BSF ICT team are currently actively engaged in with schools, with respect to both investment and Continuing Professional Development planning.
Want to know a bit more about any of these key areas?
Cloud-based services: What is Cloud computing? Short definition from the NMC Horizon Report 2013 K12 Edition Wiki
BYOD: Leicester City Schools taking Bring Your Own Device Forward (28 June 2012)
Computer Science: Computer science to become part of the English Baccalaureate (BBC News, 4 February 2013)
Flipped Classroom: How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Learning, April 2012
Approaches, activities and products
Activities, approaches and products that caught our attention.
Digital Leader Network
Many schools across the UK are developing a student Digital Leaders Network to provide opportunities for learners, to support staff members, and to drive innovative and effecting technology adoption forward across their schools. Bradford, for example, currently has a Digital Leader programme in 51 schools.
The school Digital Leader Network community are very active on twitter – you can follow the conversation via the hashtag: #dlchat
There were various presentations from young Digital Leaders at Bett (opens in Google Drive), who talked about the skills they had developed and the contribution they’d made to their school community.
CoderDojo is a movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs and regular sessions for young people.
At a CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. Dojos are set up, run by and taught at by volunteers. Dojos organise tours of technology companies, bring in guest speakers to talk about their career and what they do, and organise events. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, show off what they’ve been working on and so on. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience. CoderDojo also puts a strong emphasis on open source and free software, and has a strong network of members and volunteers globally.
There was a live CoderDoJo event in the Bett arena. Adults and young people with more advanced skills supported less advanced participants and each other – the model is collaborative and peer supported learning focusing on coding.
A large TeachMeet takes place annually at Bett. A TeachMeet is an informal meet up of people working in and passionate about education, supporting grassroots professional development. Events are framed by short talks and demos from people working within education – sharing practice that works. Practitioner talk and demo slots at TMBETT2013 were typical of TeachMeet talk lengths – 7 minute micro presentations and 2 minute nano presentations. These are short to encourage a wide range and diversity of contribution, to make sure as many people attending as possible get the opportunity to share, and to make joining in more accessible.
It’s a great model for practitioner led, peer learning CPD, and works well for small local groups (for example a school TeachMeet session to share practice) or at larger scale, like the Bett TEachmeet, or like the SEN TeachMeet Leicester City Council ran in January 2012.
Videos and links to some of the presentations can be found over at the TeachMeet Bett wiki page.
Kodu Cup launch
Kodu for PC is a (free) visual programming language which was launched earlier this year. In the past it’s been available for Xbox, but now there’s a PC version, and it gives schools another way of developing programming skills with students. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills.
Microsoft launched the Kodu Cup competition for UK students at Bett, open to any child enrolled at a UK school aged between seven to fourteen at date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher and may be entered for the competition as individuals or as part of a team of up to three people. The competition deadline is May 31st – more information here:
More Kodu information and teaching resources here: http://fuse.microsoft.com/projects/kodu#announcing
Microsoft Office 365
Alex Pearce & Alan Richards presented on Microsoft Office 365, the cloud based service many of our schools will shortly be migrating to. Click through to their presentation,Time to upgrade to office 2013 and office 365 for education. The new SharePoint 2013 features – forum based discussions, badges, use of hashtags and tagging to organise and find content – will be of interest to school staff.
Google flip packs
Google Flip Packs – a way of using Google Apps and Google Drive to produce active guided learning presentations, supporting a Flipped Classroom approach. This example could also work with a range of online learning platforms and collaboration tools. The basic premise is that the teacher prepares background research, questions and preparation for the lesson in advance. Learners access the guided presentation before classroom time, which is then used for writing, activities, questions and discussion.
Windows to go
Windows 8 on a USB stick – users are able to access their personalised Windows environment on a certified USB with or without network connectivity. This supports user mobility across services and locations.
Filmclub – an educational charity supporting schools with free resources for state funded schools to run their own film club. If you are using films in your schools, or have student who enjoy film, they are a great organisation to get in touch with. Recommended.
3D passive projections – Bett was lacking in wow factor devices this year, but we were impressed with Epsons 3D projectors (the twin projector demoed is available at around £1,334). Glasses are similar to those used in cinemas so are inexpensive to replace if broken. They demoed a range of content, including a short film of a class in 3D – most parents and carers don’t get to see inside a classroom, and this was a very impressive way of accessing that.
Sony offer 3D camera and production packages and four different levels, with the most expensive (3D filming kit 4: the Absolute Package) priced at £2,785 (ex VAT). While 3D projectors and cameras wouldn’t be on anyone’s critical list of school tech, we were impressed with the cost of the equipment that could add an extra presentation dimension to school open events, and to drama and media work.
The 3D kit would be really exciting if there were also a simple way for learners to produce 3D models of designs in related curriculum areas. 3D modelling packages are currently not simple enough to use. The projector was demoed with 3D Hub interactive player and content. They produce a range of interactive 3D educational resources that work with both 3D and 2D projectors. They cover a range of topic areas including history, science, religion, and space.
The Player licence cost list price is £118.80, and resources are sold individually. Some content is free (for example the ‘teeth and gums’ animation), prices vary depending on the resource, from individual resources to bundles. They also provide a custom content service.
A few of the large manufacturers were offering new smaller sized multi-functional printers. These offer the same functionality, but with a reduced cost and footprint. One example is the Epson Workforce Pro WP-4525DNF.
There were several makes of interactive floor display projectors, for example OmiVista. We weren’t overly impressed with the display size and the impact of shadow in evidence on projections at the show, although we did end up spending a reasonable amount of time squashing digital cockroaches and chasing digital goldfish across the floor.
There were a few interactive projectors on display, as well as the usual suspect interactive whiteboard manufacturers and a slew of lower cost interactive whiteboards. Still no sign of an interactive projector without a pen, which we were hoping for.
The Phoenix – a weekly story comic. We love comics – they’re are a great way of supporting a love of reading for all. The Phoenix is a high quality, advert free comic for young people of all ages. The comic’s themes and style mean that being seem with the comic is acceptable to teenagers, yet still accessible to students with learning difficulties. It’s also available in a digital iPad version. They are also very interested as a company in working with schools and school libraries.