When I arrived in the halls of Olympia yesterday it was almost as if I had never been away. It was familiar in terms of its fabric and its substance. As I made my way through the carefully crafted stands, along the carefully cleaned carpets, past product areas I recognised I had a sense of the last twenty years coming back. But I did have the usual sense of adventure, that tingle which comes with high expectations … would there be things tucked away here that would make a real contribution to developing learning with technology … where will this year’s ‘mini book’ be ? The one (Asus) that changed the game last year.
A friend later said to me that she felt that it was almost like coming home … familiar objects in familiar places doing familiar things.
… and that’s how Day 1 was. Many friends and colleagues past and present dropping by to ask ‘What’s new?’ … and me asking them the same thing. They spoke of the stands and the development of the technology of presentation rather than what was being presented.
I still have not got a sense of what was/is new in the exhibition … a look at the Microsoft Surface … got me quite excited and I could sense the potential here for collaboration and this was added to my my look at the ‘Smart Table’, definitely a tool for the EY classroom.
I asked people coming to the stand I was on what the Minister said but got little feedback from them. You can see Jim Knight’s speech from the opening here
and read it for yourself here. The gist is encapsulated in the closing statements:
And that needs to happen right across the education spectrum, starting early on. As well as investing in specialist teaching at secondary level, Jim Rose’s review of the primary curriculum in this country has told us that we also need to focus on making sure that teachers are engaged at primary level too. So that by the time pupils start secondary school, using technology across all of their studies is already second nature.
The power of education to drive change, to forge success, and to break cycles of disadvantage perpetuated over generations has long been established. For communities, for nations, and for individuals
My views of the day and of BETT 2009 are for me exciting. I feel that on Saturday as the show closes that ‘Dr Who-like’ it should implode on itself only to be reincarnated at some time in the future in another place and another time in a different guise (but with a similar purpose in mind … to showcase the best of the best to ensure that learners of all ages have access to what is new and what is exciting to develop their learning lives)
We pondered, my friends and I, on the cost and the ‘opportunity cost’ of it all (stand, products, travel, hotels, time etc) and whether or not, rather like the …. we are not sending Christmas cards this year but are giving the money we would have spent to charity instead …. the exhibitors at BETT would go along with the idea of putting all of the money they were spending on the show into a giant education pot and then using this money to ‘make a difference’. We came to no conclusion.
So Day 2 beckons …