BETT (British Educational Training and Technology Show) takes place in EXCEL London this year again.The event is not only attended by education technology companies but many corporates who are targeting education sector with a more generic service or product. It was a little overwhelming to walk into a huge hall with booth after booth after booth. And I try to draw a few observations from a half day there:
- Hardware is getting cheaper and cooler: In terms of low cost entry, a £20 tablet has already appeared. For hardware innovation, we see a hybrid of tablet/PC from Acer, and a very cool ring type bluetooth device you put on your finger to remote control touch screens.
- A strong presence of Maker Culture: There are a lot of ‘robotics’ linked with software such as ‘scratch’ so that people (not only children, people like me) can learn coding in a visual friendly way. The greater news is that one gets to see the result of his/her program in the robot instantly. You are making something while learning how to code. Below is a robot face whose expression, gesture, language can be manipulated by running scratch programming language. (I had my first scratch lesson there).
- It is hard to stand out unless you have something distinguishing: Needless to say, a good educational technology product takes many brains and much time to develop, to really innovate. Otherwise, it will be easily overlooked in an ocean like exhibition as BETT, when more than 100 countries send their delegates and troops to present.
- What is supposed to happen does not necessarily happen: Even with a really cool technology product, the implementation relies on people, takes time and depends on some luck. Like life, what is supposed to happen does not necessarily do so, at least not immediately.
Still a fun event to visit, gives me some Christmas gift ideas.