BETT 2012

How to sum up BETT 2012 in one blog post? Here’s my highlights…

Meeting people
The excitement for BETT this year, my second one, has been building up for quite some time now. Twitter was a-buzz about it and it was catching! It may seem odd to say this about a technology show, but it was the meeting of people in the ‘analogue sense’ (thanks for that phrase, Andrea Carr) that made it for me. I’ve been much more involved in Twitter this year and BETT would not have been even a fraction as exciting without that element to it. It was great to catch up with folks I have already met and get the chance to speak, even briefly, to the many that I hadn’t. It just reaffirmed my belief that speaking with other teachers is one of the best things you can do as a teacher yourself.

Taking children
A while back, the lovely people at 2Simple invited me to bring some children to present on their stand. So on the Friday, seven very excited and very nervous digital leaders came with me and our ICT technician to BETT. I tried to prepare them about what it would be like, but their stunned faces when we first walked in confirmed that I hadn’t quite managed to do this! However, once they were up on the stand, they were awesome and I can’t quite put into words how proud I was of them. They spoke to a rather large, but extremely supportive crowd about how they ran a staff meeting showing teachers how to use Purple Mash. My favourite part was possibly the unrehearsed Q&A session at the end where one of my girls asked the crowd if they had any questions and Anthony Evans, 2Simple’s online content manager, took on a David Dimbleby-esque role! They also got to meet Julia Skinner, who they know through doing the 100 Word Challenge every week and has celebrity-like status to them. After the excitement of their presentation, they had great fun visiting stands and getting to try out lots of other tech that they haven’t before. I may need to find some budget for BrainPOP after their rave reviews… Thank you to everyone who supported my children and were so kind to them and also for the great tweets I received after. Particular thanks must go to Ant Evans, Jack Sloan, Steve Bunce, Oliver Quinlan, Andrew Kilgour and Julia Skinner. I will be sharing all of them with them. They all told me it was ‘the best trip ever’ many times and they’ve already asked to do an assembly to share their experiences. We’ll definitely be back next year if someone will have us!

They also got a mention in Oliver Quinlan’s BETT 2012 Scrapbook here.

#TMBETT2012
Whew. The Teach Meet at BETT blew me away in so many ways. It was only my second one and my first one at BETT and I suppose I wasn’t really prepared for the size of it. Also, somehow, Ian Addison had talked Cherise Duxbury, Julie Stanton and I into presenting our story of how we use Google Docs to plan maths together every week. None of us had presented before, but the most interesting aspect of it all was that the three of us had only got together in person for the first time about an hour before! So to say we were unpractised, unpolished and nervous was an understatement and a half. In the end, we went up last and by that point had worked ourselves up into an excruciatingly painful state, but you know what? We needn’t have. The support we got was just unbelievable. People, who I know, follow and respect, took the time say and tweet some amazing things to us and it bowled me over. To have people like Tim Rylands even know who I am, let alone take the time to give such amazing feedback was, quite frankly awesome. And for Ewan McIntosh to tell me the next morning that he enjoyed our presentation, well, it made the terrible nerves worthwhile. Thank you to everyone who took the time to do that.

Beyond my own experience of presenting for the first time, there were also many other #tmbett2012 highlights, such as BEd students, Amy Parkin and Emma Taylorson, taking to the stand – just brilliant! Oliver Quinlan spoke about building an online community and that growing a PLN is not about luck, but actually about having a member of that community there to induct you into it. Many people have been kind to me, but I have to mention Ian Addison at this point, who, through his encouragement and support, has been my ‘inductor’. Emma Dawson shared the amazing Monopoly and Mission Explore projects she has run with children, which I would I need to talk more to her about and Paul Hutson spoke about organising Kidsmeets, something I hope to get involved with too. Colin Hill showed us just how versatile eBooks are and David Mitchell revealed his Feb29th.net blogging project… the ideas just went on. It was a fantastic experience.

The DellEdu Think Tank
This was quite a surreal one for me, I have to admit. I had received a couple of emails from Dell asking me to attend their think tank, which was being held on Saturday and it sounded interesting so I thought, why not. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I know I didn’t expect to be sat around a table of only about 20 people to take part in what felt like a quite intimate discussion that was being streamed live over the internet and facilitated by Tom Barrett and Ewan McIntosh. Honestly, I felt out of my depth on arrival and did wonder how I ended up there. However, once it got under way it was extremely interesting and thought provoking. I had to leave at 11.00am to present on 2Simple, another great experience, and BETT being as it is, there was too much (and too many people) I wanted to see so I didn’t make it back but followed the #domoreedu tweets with interest.

What next?
Our LA Primary ICT consultant saw my digital leaders’ Purple Mash presentation and has asked them to do it again at our LA ICT Coordinators conference, which is just great. In fact, seeing just how fantastic the children were has given me big ideas for my digital leaders. The support I received myself during and after the Teach Meet has spurred me on to present at other ones in the future and be a giver as well as a taker! Overall this year’s BETT has left me more buzzing than I felt beforehand and with some great ideas in the pipeline.

11 comments

  • It was so lovely to meet you and the children Claire. They did you proud. I found it all so exhilarating & that’s from someone retired. I’m sorry i missed your #tmbett2012 presentation but I’m sure there will be a link somewhere that I can watch. Keep up the great work you are doing because it is making such a difference to children’s lives!

    • Thank Julia, I was extremely proud of them and they LOVED it! The whole two days there has really spurred me on and filled me with ideas.

  • Hi Claire,

    It’s sad when events like this happen and we don’t get to meet in person, it certainly sounds like you got lots from BETT2012 on many different levels too! If I had been able to stay for the Saturday like I had planned to I’m sure we would have met up as like you I was planning on attending the Dell think tank for a slice of the morning before I was presenting too.

    Thanks for putting your thoughts and experiences down in a post as it is always great to hear about other people’s experiences.

    Speak soon.

    David Mitchell

    • It would’ve been great to catch up in person David and I personally would have loved for you to have been in on the Dell Think Tank and hear your thoughts. I really have gained so much from the past two days and it’s mainly down to meeting and talking to people. It’s left me feeling very inspired. I hope we get to speak and meet again soon.

  • ian pratt (@sciencelabman)

    so much of BETT for me was about the people, you and Cherise were two very special people I wanted to meet, talk to and learn from,,sorry i missed the presentation just had a get home after a long day. by all accounts you were excellent….as you say great to make contact in reality with so many i only know in a virtual world. it is always great to share a comment with you…the enthusiasm you have is always passed via the ether to those who follow you. BETT has given me so many ideas for future activities but the people give me the energy.

    • Ian, it was wonderful to catch up with you again. As with so many others, I wish we had had more time! Maybe this needs to happen more regularly than just at BETT. Although I don’t have the answer to that just yet. Thank you for your kind words and support. 🙂

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  • Hi Claire,

    I really enjoyed meeting you and had so much fun with your children, watching the Beatles movie and doing the quiz!

    Glad you all enjoyed your experience at BETT2012 🙂

    Best regards,
    Louise

  • Thanks for you interesting reflections. I totally agree about the people aspect. Two years ago I went round the show on my own, knowing no one and making few real connections. This year I was blown away by bumping into all the supportive people I know online, and this has undoubtedly given me the confidence to make connections with lots of new people during the show as well.

    Really enjoyed your presentation at the TeachMeet, you also showed how online can make really productive and supportive connections happen. Apologies it was one I didn’t manage to live blog, a shame it slipped through my net as I thought it was one of the presentations with the most profound implications for practice.

    • Oliver, thank you for this. Cherise, Julie and I have been astounded by the comments we’ve had about our presentation. I think, if you’re not used to it, it can be incredibly easy to feel like you have nothing worthwhile to share in front of such an audience. To us, it’s just what we do now, but I’m so glad that Ian Addison encouraged us to share our story. I feel I ‘stretched’ myself and learned a lot from it this weekend.

      My last year at BETT was a similar story to your one from two years ago by the sounds of it. Making all those connections has been invaluable and left me feeling very inspired. I find it hard to explain to others just how much and in what ways building up an online PLN has transformed and supported my practice.

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