BETT 2014

BETT 2014 1
There was something really special about arriving at the ExCel in London for BETT, I was there in 2012 for the Olympics and arriving off the train I got the same rush of excitement coupled with that feel I refer to as CESI Fever. I am slightly amazed I didn’t squeal if I’m honest! I’ve spent the last few weeks getting my head around everything I did and learned there and think I’m finally ready to share my top five highlights with you!

And in no particular order….

5. Digital Storytelling
Arvin Ross’ talk about storytelling in a digital classroom gave me a lot to think about and how easy it is to bring digital story telling to life using simple tools to present work to their audiences. Digital storytelling allows the author to play on the audiences emotions using a variety of techniques, using music to change the mood and tone of the story, images to set the scene and changing the tone of voice to create characters. Digital Story Telling allows students to present their work in the way that suits them best such as video, comic or audio. Every student learns differently so allowing them to present their work differently only makes sense!

4. Digital Literacies with Doug BelshawBETT 2014 2
Doug gave me so much to think about that I’m still reeling from it and trying to take it all in. After listening to Doug I’m more aware of how my own digital literacy and how I read, write and understand everything online and offline. The main thing I took away from this session was the key elements of Digital Literacy: Cultural, Cognative, Constructive, Communicative, Confident, Creative, Critical, Civic

There is no quick fix, no easy answer but there is plenty to consider in this digital age. Online web literacy is a part of digital literacy and awareness should be as central for us in all aspects.

3. TeachMeet BETTBETT 2014 3
The biggest TeachMeet in the world and the first two front rows were full of #edchatie and #cesi delegates! It’s hard to narrow down the best bits of the TeachMett to be honest because there were so many big names up there that I know from my life spent on Twitter. I had chance to meet Steve Bunce who presented on gaming in education showing how the game Thomas was Alone could be used for literacy. We saw Russell Tarr’s updated random name picker and his Fakebook of historical figures. I loved the concept of Speed Geeking, same idea as Speed Dating but a mini CPD session in school, much like a TeachMeet but could be held over coffee at break time! Seven presenters/teachers present on their top techie tips in seven minutes. So simple and would be ideal in the staffroom. We were again reminded of #batttuk or #battie Bring A Teacher To Twitter UK/IRE a hashtag to encourage friends and colleagues to get involved in online CPD and networking. An idea that has brought more and more educators to Twitter then I can shake a stick at.

2. The STEMettes Hackathon
I loved this. A group of young girls all coding and hacking a website. A fantastic sight to see and something I am proud to say I was there to witness and experience. The stemettes started by trying to explain to a Dumb Robot how to make a jam sandwich without using the words spread, put or get. It was a great way to explain how coding works, just think of your browser as a dumb robot and that each step has to be explained as simply as possible right down to pick up the jam jar, twist the golden lid. Remove the lid and place both the jar and lid on the table again. Now think you’ve to do that for every element you’re coding. The Stemettes used Mozilla Webmaker and X Ray Goggles to start the basics of coding and hacking and made sure to explain to the audience what they were doing as they went along. A truly wonderful session.

1. BETT Exhibitors BETT 2014 4
3D Printing is just so cool! I saw a few bits being printed and they looked amazing. Once designed the printer takes over, ok it takes time to print but it is worth it. I saw a house finished, a owl half way through and traffic tone. I also had a chat about a Hover Cam which is a tiny visualiser that plugs into your laptop via the USB port. It can also be used as a video recorder and camera. The zoom on it was fantastically clear and everything could be saved to the software. I want. Another stand I found myself drawn to was Purple Mash, a lovely looking site for primary schools. Which just happens to include some very simple coding, even easier then Scratch! It was lovely and simple to use! There’s an online internet search feature which allows for safe searching, photos, games and a whole host of activities to make and do! I have to say what most impressed me most was the thematic element, you could do research, activities and games all based on certain themes like the Chinese New Year! I also loved the coding games, especially the one where you code cars to drive and a frog to cross the road, if the car hits the frog he goes splat! I can see any class enjoying that if I’m honest.

I also want to give a special mention to Ranulph Fiennes who was a special highlight for me personally. I can’t help but admire Ranulph and everything he’s done, he spoke at length about his adventures and how technology has made exploration easier for him over the last few years. On the most recent trip 43000 students were able to join in virtually thanks to social media, online tools and better networks. Ranulph is a true inspiration to us all.

I spent two full days at BETT and loved every minute there. I caught up with friends and met new colleagues. I learned more then I ever thought possible and gained a wealth of knowledge. I can’t wait to go back in 2015 and add to the great hard drive of ideas in my head.

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