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Ffion at Bett 2024: The Educational Technology Show

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Bett 2024 attracted over 30,000 educators, policymakers and industry changemakers, with over 500 EdTechs, and 300 speakers from 130 countries. It's a game-changing event building better connections, collaboration and conversations within the education technology sector. Ffion, our STEM & Skills Officer was there to share her experience of holding STEM workshops in schools, and to learn from some incredible innovators.

I recently had the opportunity to start 2024 with an inspiring visit to the bustling centre of London. Held on the banks of the Thames at the Excel Centre last year, the Bett Show was the largest educational technology exhibition in the world. The show showcased the latest developments in education technology from all over the world (130 countries!). Over 30,000 educators, speakers and experts in the field attended; Talk about a great opportunity to network, share ideas and learn from each other.

The atmosphere there was thrilling with everyone there sharing the goal of learning and developing. The best way to describe the event was that it was a feast of digital innovation. From the latest practical resources and influential guest speakers, to software to make your school management more efficient, Bett was a very valuable experience. With over 500 exhibitors, inspirational key speakers, and interactive sessions, the event offered a glimpse into the future of education. As a former teacher and digital coordinator of a Primary school on Anglesey, the main thing that struck me was the current potential on the classroom floor, without looking ahead to the distant future.

Many primary schools have registered and received a set of 30 Micro:bits for free, but many educators have not made the most of them, or are not sure where to start. Micro:bit is a computer, which can fit in a pocket, which aims to make coding fun, creative and exciting for children.

Having come all the way from Ho Tak Sum School in Hong Kong was Cici and Emma (10 years old). Using the Micro:bit, they built an AI detector that recognised animals. If the camera detected an animal e.g. cat, in front of the car, the light would flash for the driver to brake the car. Emma explained that they had chosen light instead of noise in order not to scare the animals. This is an amazing example of creative use of the Micro:bit to solve real life problems!

I’m sure, like me, you are questioning how on earth you would start implementing something like this on the classroom floor. Well, slow and steady wins the race. Be persistent, and if you start experimenting and practicing with the Micro:bit in your class, the children will soon come to use it creatively if they have opportunities. If you are looking for a hands-on opportunity to introduce the Micro:bit to your class, the company ‘OKDO’ sells a paper robot creation kit for £25. The content can be re-used over and over and is great for encouraging children to think about using their digital skills creatively.

Give the students something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.

John Dewey

One clear emphasis that was highlighted when wandering through the entire exhibition was the significance of activities and hands-on learning methods. From large exhibitions such as Microsoft, Meta, Adobe, Google, to smaller ones such as OKDO, Kitronik, Makey Makey, E-Sports Wales, the same message was conveyed. When giving children the opportunity to experiment, nurture their creativity, and use technology in practice, the possibilities are endless. Only by offering these opportunities and making the most of what technology has to offer, can we move education forward and nurture the next generation of innovators.

Leaving Euston and traveling back to Anglesey, I felt very lucky to be part of the exciting developments that are underway in the world of education. The future of technology in education is bright and the possibilities are beyond our imaginations. With educators trying to develop the skills of the Digital Competence framework cross-curricular, there is no better place for ideas or inspiration than Bett’s show. Grab the opportunity and go there!

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager

tom@m-sparc.com

Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.