|Joe Wilson cc Leon Cych @eyebeams
That the delegates , exhibitors and conference organisers never seem to be quite able to agree on a unifying hashtag probably sums up the UK's biggest Educational Technology gathering . There is at once something for everyone and always that feeling that the really interesting , paradigm shifting piece of the jigsaw is tantalisingly missing , perhaps it is a virtual piece or in some other augmented reality ( no shortage of augmented and virtual reality in the show)
This year for once the meeting app worked well but the wifi I'm told was abysmal as usual.
If there was a unifying theme among the polished rabble of hawkers , vendors , sideshows and keynote speakers this year, it's probably the theme of 'Industry 4.0 ' This sits well with our mission to transform learning at City of Glasgow College through Citylearning4.0
It is a great privilege to get to gatherings like this and with that I think comes an obligation to share!
I wonder what those I spotted from Education Scotland and SQA thought of this year's show.
The usual running order and , as is often the case at BETT, a new Education and Skills Minister. They appear to be upgraded every two years , like phones , but rarely come with new features. The change of guard often comes in a new year reshuffle which can make it a tough gig for the incoming minister . While Anne Milton set out the stall
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/anne-milton-speech-at-bett-show-2018 many folks knew that there was a more ambitious vision that had been prepared for her predecessor. I hope some of these ideas around digital literacy for all arrive later in the year. It does present a more unifying vision than you find in other parts of UK . Also in this sphere it was interesting that a new coding institute was announced not at BETT but at World Economic Forum https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-20-million-institute-of-coding in same week.
I had my usual schedule of meetings with those I think have the tools and ideas to move learning on . Here is a quick summary of what I was having a look at.
Unio by Harness
Already used by growing number of schools across globe, I can see the attraction in schools space.
I think some of this capacity already in side GLOW for schools in Scotland.
When someone says 'these are the training systems used inside the German apprenticeship system', you need to have a look. Highly developed and finished training systems for most kinds of engineering . The sort of kit that many Colleges and Universities need for training learners for both the practical and theoretical elements of industrial learning. Yes, some of this can be virtualised now, but nothing beats setting up and working with real equipment.
From South Africa now a global player. A provider of digital text books along with a layer for note taking , additional support materials and assessment. Pushing into the school space. The College and University sector with virtual learning environments make assumptions around how digital texts are used in their own systems - interesting to see new models to encourage better embedding of digital texts coming from the school sector.
Magic Software Inc
A super Indian company working out at the cutting edge and delivering content and learning solutions for publishers and large global corporations. A great example of the small world we now live in when it comes to accessing and harnessing innovation from anywhere in the world.
Techcamp / Invent Ed
Interesting to see this summer camp model emerging in England . Wasn't there to explore that. They have developed lots of simple robots , circuit boards and bots that they use as part of these technical summer schools and are now marketing these too. There are lots of robots and circuit boards about at BETT this year. At least you know these models have been tried and tested through the techcamps.
This was a select gathering of Scottish Schools folk to have a look at a simple way of comparing learners materials against national standards . Something you might think that primary and secondary schools would have at the heart of their learning infrastructure. I am sure we will be hearing more about this innovative system over next year.
An early evening meeting with the innovative team behind Intcas, who are well on the way to developing a system that will change the face of international student recruitment and worth tuning into. A superb system for verifying and tracking international learners, it will become invaluable to institutions, learners , their parents and sponsors - through the ingenious use of social media and the harnessing of big data.
Starts with a quick dip into a session on Education and Industry4.0 chaired ably as ever by Bob Harrison with input from the new College of High Speed Rail . I think there is now a pretty standard slide deck doing the rounds on what Industry4.0 it is delivered well , but also some invaluable insights around how the new College will be using virtual and augmented reality in teaching and assessment.
We also hear how well funded all of this is . I think I would have preferred to hear that this was being delivered and funded by a set of pre-existing colleges. But all credit to new college for its vision. I think a trip to see it in action will be a must for many Colleges across the UK.
A layer ( this is becoming a recurrent theme) that helps teachers and learners make more effective use of video resources no matter what format they are in. The tool can be embedded into any VLE. Interesting and parallels with some other systems I am aware of . Also captures learners interaction with content for learner and for institutional analysis.
They have a house this year at BETT - maybe they are betting their house on another successful year in Education and learning ? . As always a lot of good things happening, if anything it reminded me I am overdue a sit down with Andy Nagle and the team in Scotland - they have a big part to play in raising learner and teacher digital literacy . I'm glad to see less minecraft this year and a sharper focus on digital literacy for teachers and learners.
Canvas by Instructure
If you have spotted some of my postings over the last year - you know I am a Canvas fan. It is just so learner friendly and now adopted by both Stirling University and Glasgow School of Art . There will be some more conversations with Canvas over the next few months and I expect other Scottish Colleges will join in too.
Blended Learning Consortium
Grabbed some lunch with Peter from the BLC . Is it the best model ? - I'm not sure - but it works for many Colleges across the UK and I know we are going to enjoy the benefits of becoming a member.
I've used the link to the Scottish Google Educators Group. There is lots on the open web about Google for Education - there was one announcement around a paid for enterprise edition which I think some universities and training organisations will probably be interested in.
This was biggest gathering I've seen for a while of Scottish school learning technology folk at BETT for any offering, even free drink . The excitement was palpable and Google Apps for Education are excellent. We will get all of this embedded in our own College's delivery. All learners really need to know their way around microsoft and google products. They should also be shown around a range of open source tools.
A pleasant dinner with the team from Fujitsu and their partners Intel , Netapp and more, who are driving out an ambitious learning programme supporting learners and teachers - we look forward to supporting the programmes roll out in Scotland.
Like to Be
Well any excuse to catch up with Steve Wheeler . But the system is worth a look - linking employers to school learners at every stage and doing the important bits that careers guidance still falls very short on. While English and Welsh systems are different I've promised them an introduction to Skills Development Scotland.
This I think is innovative, a drone that you print using a 3-D printer , build and at same time build and create a controller and comes with all the associated teaching and learning materials. A small inside version and a very large drone for flying outside. Looks great for engaging learners of all ages in STEM
A really nice team and a very welcome cup of tea . I liked what I saw but I do wonder how the authentic voices they use will fair in a world of increasing artificial intelligence and automated voices.
He is so innovative and fast moving he is not keeping his blog up to date - lunch and a quick chat around both the movement and inertia in Scottish Education.
London CLC and Education Development Trust
A quick chat about impact CLC and more broadly how the Education Development Trust has supported school transformation and teacher development in England . There is so much that could be learned here by Scottish system. See comment above about inertia.
A flying visit to say hello to Dhruv and team - and disbelief that Scottish system is still using peripatetic teachers to visit learners who can't make it to school - when the learner could be part of an online class with a teacher and classmates everyday - see inertia ;-)
Free for teachers still a superb tool grabbed a quick refresher course as I headed for the door
Northern Ireland Stand
I'll not rehash arguments I've made in previous years about why Scottish Education needs a stand at BETT . On one stand public education agencies and private companies that support learning in Northern Ireland
Surely one of these years SDS , SQA , SFC , Education Scotland and some of the upcoming learner companies in Scotland might get together ( maybe some Colleges)
Nice to be told I was doing a great job selling Scottish Education by my Northern Irish Colleagues as I ran for the airport.
Someone noted that Department for Education had a large stand - but it did not feature on the BETT Event map ! . The largest stand in the arena this year appeared to be that of CAPITA - shows how much money you can make 'delivering' services to the public education sector in UK.
That's it, quick shout out too to Tony Freedman, Charlie Love, Lee Ballantyne , Malcolm Payton and many others I met as I flew around the exhibition area to meetings and a wave to the NoTosh team who were about too
You've got to move fast at BETT
I headed north just before Teachmeet Bett - looked good - but could not hang around longer.