It was a busy time meeting lots of different people, both arranged and in-the-moment. I couldn't possibly mention everything and everyone so I've jotted down a mixture of my favourite talks, products and stands. If you are reading this and we met, then thank you very much. You contributed to a very enjoyable couple of days!
Also, thanks to everyone who had an explore of our tool, Thinking Kit, which allows teachers and students to create their own educational iPad activities.
- Filming my 60 second clip in the UKEdChat booth
It was so good to finally meet Colin and Martin from UKEdChat. I was planning on popping by their stand anyway but on my first morning there, I was waiting for a talk by Greg Hughes nearby (which was excellent) and saw their stand. It was brilliant to have a chat in person after having emailed each other for years! Colin kindly let me into their inflatable booth to film this clip.
- Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on creativity
Towards closing time on my final day, I headed to the Bett Arena 15 minutes early whilst thinking to myself “wow, look at you being so early”...I got there and I couldn't even get close to the entrance! People had obviously been a lot earlier than me! The arena was packed but all around there were rows and rows of excited faces waiting. As the talk got closer, more and more people appeared behind me. I was in the last row allowed into the actual arena (standing only). Luckily, the arena isn't totally encased so even all the people behind the barriers could see.
I've included one of my highlight quotes of the talk above but there were so so so many more, so what I'll do is leave you with his talk 'Do schools kill creativity?', the most watched Ted Talk of all time, as that will give you a better perspective into his thoughts than I can.
- Heston Blumenthal’s talk on the psychology behind food
Heston doesn't look any different but it feels like SO long ago that he burst onto our screens with his weird and wonderful creations using food. With a bit of spare time from my meetings, I headed to the arena. This was just really interesting and made everyone think. As Heston explains, everyone MUST eat and what you eat is so important, so why is it often not given the attention it deserves in education?
- Hearing about Plymouth School of Creative Arts
Dave Strudwick and Andy Carpenter (Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher) told the Learn Live: Secondary theatre all about their approach to learning. They looked at EVERYTHING that schools do, and considered why. If there was a perfectly good reason for something, then by all means, they would keep it in. If they couldn't see how a certain rule or method would be useful in this current day though, they would re-consider its use. Their use of Project Based Learning is very inspiring and seeing how passionate their students were about a project was fantastic to see.
- Bumping into Martin Bailey at breakfast
As my first full day was the Thursday, I'd heard so much about the Wednesday on Twitter without being involved myself...I was excited but slightly nervous too, so it was really nice to see a familiar face at breakfast. Martin hosts two fantastic events in June. Having been, I really recommend going! I've heard people liken the conference (9th June) to ‘Bett in the early days’ or ‘Newcastle’s answer to Bett’. There's also a TeachMeet 'Talk on the Tyne' the night before. This year, Martin has arranged some brilliant speakers once again. Whether you're reading this from an educator or company perspective, it's worthwhile for both.
Read about the events here.
- Trying out Class VR
I had a meander around the exhibition stands for an hour on my first day and this kit really impressed me. I hadn't ever tried a VR headset so one minute being at Bett, and the next being around the pyramids, was a very big surprise!
- Marshmallows and chocolate fountain delight at the EDLounge stand
Walking to one of my final meetings on Thursday, the huge amount of walking and carrying heavy bags was starting to creep up on me. I spotted a chocolate fountain and was greeted by someone very friendly on the EDLounge stand. Next thing, I was presented with marshmallows covered in warm liquid chocolate and a fork - what an afternoon pick-me-up!
- Seeing students talking from Halycon London International School
First thing on my second full day, I headed to the Google stand. The students had already started talking and it was quite a full crowd. It was just brilliant to see the confidence, eloquence and passion from young people talking about how they learn and express their learning.
- Meeting a new customer by accident
I was visiting my friends in Bett Futures on the VEO (Video Enhanced Observation) stand and Jon Haines, Co-Founder, was due to talk on the Bett Futures stages very soon. The lady who he was presenting with was there, waiting, so we got chatting. It turned out she was from a school who'd signed up for Thinking Kit the day before! Lovely surprise and really nice meeting her.
- Free Google Cardboard
I spotted a Google Cardboard vending machine on my first day, but there was a big queue and I wasn't sure what exactly was going on. After scrolling through Twitter, I found lots of excitable tweets with people having received free sets, so the next day, I couldn't resist. Since then, I have absolutely loved using it! I have so far got several members of my family to try it out too and they're hooked.
After all of this, it was time to head home. What a lovely sight my trip ended with. If you fancy trying Thinking Kit, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) or start a free trial at www.thinking-kit.com.