I’m just back from two days at the BETT show in London. I had a very interesting two days and met some great people. I was kindly given a press pass this year which led to some very interesting things, but more on that in a day or two when I’ve got a little bit more time to write.

Tilt Shift Bett

My initial thoughts on the technology on show was one of slight disappointment. There was no new “Big Thing” on show. Everything had been there last year, and was just slightly updated, or had new features added. There was nothing groundbreaking.

That’s not to say that there weren’t things on show that I really liked. I was impressed with the new 800 Series Smartboard, I got a peak at Smart Notebook 2.7 which can use Google Sketchup 3d objects along with support for mixed/augmented reality. Mark Cogans Primary Games has a content creation tool that looked fab and I liked the look of the new Uniservity VLE called Life. And Nebula, the LED wall from NYON would be excellent in the Sensory Room of a Special School (with a large budget).

There were a lot of cheap looking boards from the far east, even more than last year. And each one had rather strange looking software. The software is just as important as the board. I haven’t heard too much about the common IWB format, and with the demise of Becta I guess it’s lost it’s driving force. I also worry about schools buying boards without being able to then get decent training and support for their staff in using them effectively. You get what you pay for and really cheap boards are a false economy.

Like last year, 3D projectors were on show, which again leave me cold. It’s a “wow” tool, with limited uses, and the practicalities of having class sets of glasses is just silly. I’m all for moveable, “3d” models, but they work just as well in a 2D space, the brain is able to cope with what’s going on. My favourite film of all time is still Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t need to be in 3D to be visually exciting and engaging.

Of course, for me Bett is more about the people and the fringe events. I really enjoyed TEDxOrenda which had some excellent, inspiring speakers and I had a blast giving my first TeachMeet Takeover presentation (thanks again to Iris Connect for the use of the stand) and visiting some of the other talks.

As always it’s not just the tech, its the people who use it that lead to inspiring teaching.

As I said, there were lots of good things that I liked, and updates to old favourites that I can’t wait to try out. I’ll blog about those over the next few days. Watch this space.