8 cool things to see at Bett 2016

PCR went along to the annual Bett show to check out the latest devices and innovations the tech world has to offer the education sector.

From old school toys such as Lego and K’nex showcasing their integration with new technologies, to big-name vendors like HP demonstrating its impressive and futuristic Sprout machine, this year’s Bett was full to the brim with eye catching gadgets and devices.

On the more business side of things, the show – which attracts teachers, schools and education-based firms from all over the world – had a number of manufacturers and IT solution providers who were there to demonstrate how they can help schools run more efficiently.

The show still has one day to go, so if you’re planning on attending on Saturday 23rd, here’s our pick of the coolest things to check out at Bett 2016.

As I kid I had an awful lot of K’NEX, so I was quite excited when I saw a giant ferris wheel made out of the stuff at Bett. As well as helping kids be creative with it comes to building and engineering, now K’NEX can connect to a PC and be used to teach students STEM principals through robotics design and programming.

BBC Micro:Bit football table
BBC Micro:Bit had a lot of cool gadgets on show, but the football table really caught our eye. The humble foosball table was jacked up with the Arduino platform and two Raspberry Pi machines.

Music was quite prevalent at this year’s show and SoundDrop was there demonstrating how easy it is to introduce kids to music making software and even creating their own podcasts. Inspired by the look and capabilities of Apple’s Garage Band, SoundDrop lets kids and teachers drop musical tracks into a timeline and automatically configures instruments so they all work together as one piece of music.

Raspberry Pi
As well as being incorporated into loads of tech products at the show, the mini-PC maker had over 60 workshops and talks running over the event’s four days. As well as offering visitors the chance to get hands-on with computer science, the foundation took to the stage on Friday to talk about how educators can make computer science more exciting.

The iPad Band
Visitors to the show this year we treated to a performance by a bunch of kids called the iPad Band. Created by teacher David Kirtlan, the band demonstrated how a few iPads can be used in conjunction with some ‘real’ instruments such as a guitar, a trumpet and a few singers, to perform music live.

HP Sprout
We’ve written about the HP Sprout a few times over the past year on PCR, but this is the firm time we had a chance to play about with it in person, and we were not disappointed. The All-in-on PC comes with a touchscreen, 3D camera/projector and an interactive touch mat. You can basically throw whatever you like onto the mat, the camera will take a snapshot, remember where everything was and let you modify the physical objects on-screen.

Minecraft Education Edition
There was a big Minecraft area layed out at Bett, designed to give those that haven’t played the game before (yes, there’s still people out there who haven’t!) a chance to test it out and see how it can be used in an educational way. The hands-on workshops were designed specifically for educators, and were facilitated by Stephen Reid, director of Immersive Minds, an education consultancy specialising in the use of games in schools. As well as this, it provided an opportunity to wear a Creeper head.

Epson’s ink bags
This one might not be an obvious attraction at an event with gadget whizzing past at every turn, but PCR spoke to Epson for a while finding out how they help schools keep on top of everything. We were shown a series of printers that can hold bags of ink instead of cartridges, meaning they shouldn’t need refilling for a whole year.

Check out pics of all the tech and brands mentioned, as well as all the Bett 2016 images from the day, over at our Facebook gallery. Just hit this link or click on the image below.

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