Friday, 16 January 2009

@BETT: overall impression

BETT is huge. It is the "world's largest educational technology event". The exhibition halls at Olympia, London, are taken over by a mass of trade stands and thousands of visitors.
It was impressive to see the number of people involved in providing ICT "solutions" for education. It was also quite difficult to tell, just by reading the stand posters, what exactly was being sold. Obviously this was clear for the well known names, but the products of a vast majority of stands were only identifiable by asking - was this the object?
Stand expertise varied. Some exhibitors had able and experienced users of the product. Others had demonstrators who knew just enough to do that and no more. On the whole, you could get your questions answered - in some cases, even by talking to the programmer of the software.
Different styles of presenting products and services were evident. Many had a presentation section with the inevitable electronic whiteboard (with ultra-short throw projectors), some with a lean-bar to perch against whilst standing and others with modern block or bench seating. I suspect many a visitor was just resting weary legs! But it was a marathon over 4 days.
The larger presentation areas had a busy schedule of presentations covering all aspects, with buildings for the future being a popular theme.
What were the major exhibition themes? VLEs and software, electronic whiteboards and ancillary devices (including voting systems), mini-laptops, National Curriculum assessment tracking systems and other assessment software, digital signage, ICT "solutions",  ICT "solutions" and more  ICT "solutions".

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