“Education has a deep and fundamental role of getting people to identify and connect with their talents.” Sir Ken Robinson, BETT Show 2017.
For me, the absolute highlight of London’s Bett 2017 Show last week was Sir Ken Robinson’s keynote speech: The Learning Revolution. His expertise, humanity, wisdom and humour have been inspiring teachers across the globe for decades now and his pure passion for learning was a joy to witness. The audience was truly global, with shout-outs from Sir Ken to all corners of the world. I myself was sitting next to two Spanish teachers (and their luggage) who were so very disappointed to have to leave halfway through the speech to fly back to Spain.
I came away feeling excited about the very real prospect of teachers all over the world increasing creativity within their schools, encouraging inquiry-based learning and helping children to discover what they’re good at. The Learning Revolution is about positive change, “from the bottom up”, to promote well-being, creativity and learning in our students across the globe
Coming in a close second, was the Lego Education workshop, during which I had the pleasure of teaming up with a local Headteacher to build a robot and then program it to navigate a simple race track. And no, we didn’t win, but we did come in a close second, so not too shabby! The software was simple and fairly intuitive to use - as a teacher I would have loved to have used this in my classroom. Such an enjoyable way to promote collaborative learning, problem-solving and a keen interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Not to mention coding.
This brings me to another great stand: The micro:bit stand. Here, people were shown how to use micro:bits for a variety of purposes and then given the opportunity for hands-on learning. I saw some great little creations on display, including the robots with moving parts pictured in the image below.
Aside from the above highlights, there was a truly mind-boggling array of edtech innovations on display for schools, teachers, students and parents alike. For schools and teachers, I saw software systems such as iboss cybersecurity, designed to address the growing need for strong internet security within schools, and Firefly, a great online system designed to improve home-school communication. One initiative I hadn’t heard about before but was particularly impressed with, was Codimg, a video analysis system allowing teachers and educational leaders to record lessons, watch them back and receive digital analysis based on chosen parameters specified in advance of the lesson.
For parents, there were apps like COO, designed to help them keep on top of their children’s activities and communicate more easily with each other, and for students (and teachers, of course), the list of exciting new innovations was practically endless - there’s no way I could mention them all! Some of my favourites were: Google Expeditions, KUBO, A Tale Unfolds, Parrot Education and Kudlian Creative Software.
In 2016, Bett was attended by 34,530 educators and decision-makers from 138 different countries. As an educationalist, I am already excited about next year’s Bett Show and heartily recommend a visit to all of our member schools!
By Carolyn Savage - Head of International Education