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The British Educational Technology Trade Show has gone from strength to strength. PCR finds out what’s cool at school

Show Review: Bett 2013

Bett returned once again to London to showcase the latest in educational technology.

This year’s show boasted over 650 exhibitors – all keen on grabbing visitors’ attentions with their innovative teaching tools across the four day show. After 28 years at Olympia, 2013 was the first time Bett made a move to a new venue, and London’s ExCeL provided a larger space for the show to occupy.

“Moving to a new venue gave us the opportunity to really invest in the content of the show,” explains Debbie French, education portfolio director at i2i Events Group.

With 35,000-plus visitors, the show was enormous, and there certainly wasn’t a lack of attention-grabbing stands.

A large chunk of the show focused on super-sized touchscreens and tablets. The idea behind many was to provide classrooms with more interactivity to stimulate and inspire students and teachers.

There were huge multi-touch TVs from Hanshin featuring technology to enable four different students to write simultaneously. There was also the iBoardTouch, which had an integrated quad core serviceable PC built in, blurring the lines even further between interactive whiteboards and computers. There was even a screen designed purely for making virtual graffiti. While it seems giant touchscreen TVs and tablets may be the next big thing in the classroom, there were still plenty of companies showcasing the interactive whiteboard and projector solution.

Mimio was one of these, demonstrating an extensive range of products aimed at schools on a budget. Not only did the firm have its MimioProject or MimioBoard on display, but it also showcased the MimioPad – a wireless pen tablet which controls an interactive whiteboard from anywhere in the classroom – as well as the MimioMobile app which lets multiple students simultaneously contribute to the learning environment through iPads. “What I noticed at Bett this year was just how much technology is becoming completely integrated into the classroom,” Mimio general manager Manuel Perez tells PCR. “Interactive collaboration is now a major aspect that is changing the way teachers teach and students learn.”

Chromebooks were also a hot topic at the show, with the Stone Group launching its first Google Chrome OS product at the show. “The Samsung Chromebook is designed for learning from the web,” says Simon Harbridge, CEO at Stone Group.

“With many of our 4,000 education establishment customers looking to get learning online for less, we see the Chromebook as a fantastic option.”

BESA director general and Bett co-founder Dominic Savage believes the success of this year’s show is down to the strong relationships that exist in the sector: “Bett occupies an enviable position ahead of all other learning technology events worldwide but it is the enthusiasm and dedication of the people it represents that have made it such a unique show.”

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