Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BETT reflections - while it's still January

...February will mean it's nearly March, which will mean the Naace conference, so I really should sort my life out and get everything down that came from the BETT Show.
I was at BETT for all four days in my capacity as an Adobe Education Leader - I did presentations every day but the advantage of being there for the duration is the ability to have a good look around, not just a mad Supermarket Sweep-esque dash in a few hours.
It may be a case of Stating The Bleeding Obvious but anyone who could was trying to sell learning platforms this year. There are lots of exhibitors at BETT who are termed "box shifters" - just trying to sell as much stuff as possible, with little or no thought to practice, pedagogy, or much else. I came across one company who, in my experience, had always made (second rate) laptops and desktops, and guess what it was selling? You don't need to really, do you?
In previous years at BETT, a measurement of how the show was was always the amount of chaff and disposable promotional rubbish one brought home. This year I managed not to bring back any promotional carrier bags, instead my BETT was measured by the business cards of those who are worth following up. So here's some of my list of cards and why they might be worth contacting:

  • ode - I'd discovered Ode just before BETT and made a beeline for their small stand upstairs. This is the closest I've seen to something I outlined in a post about content a long while ago - the ability to buy just what you need from a content provider, rather than lots of content you don't want in order to get the 10% you do. Plus they're based in Oxford and say they are keen to work with Moodle...
  • 2Simple - I'd been contacted by 2Simple with regards to putting some of their tools in an online form into Moodle - a lot has already been done with other Becta-approved LPs and they want to make their tools available within Moodle. Since their online tools are built in a similar way to Moodle this should be straightforward, what's needed is to find some primary schools in Bucks who would be willing to pilot this. Personally I think 2Simple would do well to bring together their tools in a Foundation / KS1 ePortfolio tool - if they pitch the price right they could clean up.
  • SIFA - the Schools Interoperability Framework Assocation is (apparently) going to change in the UK so that there's a greater representation from schools and Local Authorities. In the past we've not been able to join because - this is so typical - their membership fees are payable in US dollars and as a local authority we can (you guessed it) only pay amounts in pounds. I was walking past one of the LP vendors' stands and saw a name badge which was subtitled Executive Director, SIFA so figured I'd better try and have a chat...
  • Heritage Explorer / Learning Curve / Screenonline - free resources which could easily be contained within our VLE activities - but what's the best way to do it? Services like Teachers TV allow linking directly to their videos (.wmv files) and so when used with Moodle's multimedia plugins filter these become embedded in any text area - such as an introduction to a forum, an assignment or a choice activity.

Beyond all that, TeachMeet was the best thing at BETT by far. Someone said that the creativity in the room far exceeded that beyond the doors in the main exhibition halls - in the main it felt much more real and a measure of it was that two (or three?) people travelled from New Zealand, just for the TeachMeet... I'm thinking of doing a similar unconference for our Bucks E-Learning symposium in June...


  1. It was great to meet you at the teachmeet Ian.

    I am glad that you are planning one in Bucks in June; they really are one of the best ways of sharing practice.

    Tess :-)

  2. Hi Ian, I would be interested in working in a pilot with 2simple; I'm quite a fan and we already have a number of their programs. I was only thinking the other day it would be good to be able to upload to Edoodle work created in these.
    Catherine Hayden