Bett 2019 was abuzz this year with visitors encountering everything from a Back to the Future Delorean to a Bumblebee Transformer wandering the aisles. However, amongst the show floor activity there were some stand out themes to this year’s show.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds kicked off the teacher workload debate and the potential role of technology in addressing this concern. A large number of exhibitors had also picked up on the issue, giving presentations on how to streamline ongoing admin processes for teachers. The workload issue is a critical one for schools as it affects staff retention, student outcomes and the ability of schools to engage with parents. It was encouraging to see the emphasis placed on making it easier for schools to do what they do best - teaching students. Saving time and reducing the frustrations surrounding the everyday tasks that clutter up teachers’ working days outside the classroom is good for teachers and schools.
The partnership model is becoming more important in edtech, as reflected in the number of conversations taking place amongst exhibitors. Key to a successful digital strategy is determining the tools that work seamlessly with each other, making it easy for teachers and school leaders to create, share and manage content; improve student outcomes, and measure the impact of teaching and learning in their school. Providers are developing a better understanding of the increasingly sophisticated needs of schools - teachers want access to the best tools available, and they recognise these are unlikely to come from a single source.
One thing that was really noticeable this year was the types of conversations taking place on the different stands. Schools are now far more savvy about what they want technology to do and as a result there was a much greater focus on pedagogy and school systems, rather than simply feature demonstrations from exhibitors. This reflects a growing maturity in the edtech space as providers work more closely with schools to identify their needs and the solutions that schools are asking for.
BETT continues to evolve as schools develop their understanding of the possibilities that technology opens up for them, and providers move to meet the changing needs of the world of education. As always, this year saw an interesting mix of what is already embedded in the school work environment alongside indicators of what the future might hold. The year ahead looks to be an exciting one and I look forward to seeing what Bett 2020 has to offer.
Check out our Bett highlights page.