Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BBC to withdraw from BETT 2009

Vaguely ironic BBC purpose imageI'm told from reliable sources that due to [insert your own reasons here as I don't know myself] the BBC won't be at the BETT Show in 2009. This is (to my mind) fairly significant as it became apparent over the course of this year's show that the demise of eLCs will have a significant effect on the software industry. This must be because the main thrust of funding is now on Learning Platforms, with ePortfolios and MIS developments hot on their tail - and the end of eLCs accentuates this (you don't need to ask why Espresso bought NetMedia, since only one of those products will be able to have ring-fenced funding from next year). The net effect is that funding, development, stagnation, etc. clusters around whichever area is currently funded and, in lean times, everything else might atrophy. It's also likely that many smaller companies will start to reconsider whether it's worth spending a fair amount of money on this. There is no real return on investment for many companies (salespeople have told me that pound for pound the Naace conference is potentially much more valuable than something like BETT due to who attends) and I'm pretty sure that many go there just to be seen to be there - and because everyone else is.
Oranges, but was Jam a lemon?So, why might the BBC choose not to go to BETT? It's clear that BBC Jam will almost certainly never appear, even if some of its elements are assimilated into BBC Blast and Bitesize. The BBC stand at BETT 2008 was almost exclusively focused on Blast, with little else other than leftovers from other projects filling in the gaps around the stand. The embossed BBC oranges were a hit though...
I'm happy to be corrected, so if you know that the BBC will be at BETT 2009, please comment here and it'll be added to this post. In the meantime, so where did close on 100 million pounds go? In twenty words or less (and I'm going to be strict on that), what would you have spent it on? Would you like the BBC to be at BETT next year - if so, why? Comment below...

1 comment:

  1. Having seen how the BBC dealt with the objections from industry to what they were doing it doesn't surprise me that they are pulling out of BETT 2009. The BBC now have a flawed educational policy and can no longer fulfil their charter to "formal education". If they were to try and resurrect any BBC jam content then the commercial sector would have them back in the European courts faster than Noel Edmunds can say "Gotcha!".

    Dark days lie ahead for the BBC unless it can stand up for the social obligation to educate the masses, something that the founding Director General of the BBC, Lord Rieth, (a fellow Scotsman) had written into the BBC Charter. To this day this Charter forms the basis of what the BBC do, say and broadcast and it should continue to be fought for on all fronts, not least by those within the BBC that represent the education community.

    The BBC Trust, the body that now oversees the BBC, needs to direct the BBC to engage with the education community and develop content that builds on the strengths of the BBC and supports education.

    The Government and its agencies should endorse this and be supportive, unlike they were with BBC jam.

    The commercial industry should raise their game and start to produce high quality educational software that learners can engage with.

    Perhaps with these strategies in place there will be more engagement by learner in education and much more enjoyment in our classrooms.

    Neil Livesey

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