It's been two years since I last visited BETT and the thing that first struck me when I arrived this morning is that the show is even bigger than ever.
There's a bewildering array of exhibitors and a well thought out plan of attack is needed before jumping in to the action... first stop then the International Lounge for a cup of coffee and an exhibition plan! First person I see in the lounge is award winning teacher Tim Rylands. Tim is one of the most influential voices in ICT teaching in the UK. Kellett students will have seen his play "A Load of Rubbish" performed by P6 last year. Having been in regular touch with Tim on a variety of subjects in the last six months, we agree to meet with the hope that we can arrange for him to visit Hong Kong in the future.
Into the action and a chance to catch up with a few ex-colleagues to pick their brains about "must-sees" for the week. Nick Langley's company iTeachers have produced planning and training materials to support teachers in embedding ICT within the wider curriculum. As enthusiastic as ever, Nick gives me an in-depth demo and his product is certainly impressive... I can see that our staff would find it really useful.
Next stop Lincolnshire's Schools-Online product and another ex-colleague, Clare Mugridge. A very simple web editing tool that creates clear, effective web sites. Clare recommends some of TAG Learning's products, so they're added to the list.
Paul McMahon's work in Hong Kong has been mentioned here before and he remains an enthusiastic advocate of collaboration between HK schools. Paul and I will both be attending Friday evening's Teachmeet and we'll be chatting during the week to keep an international perspective on the show.
The first in-depth visit of the day is to Altman Technologies to look at their P-Counter software as a way of monitoring how much we print at Kellett. This software will not be popular if and when it arrives at school, but is essential for the smooth administration of ICT resources. It looks like it will do all we need and we'll be evaluating the product at some point this term.
Apple Distinguished Educators Tom Barrance and David Baugh are always worth talking to and I hassle Tom about providing me with some of his high quality video materials to aid our video editing work. He doesn't give in, but surely it's only a matter of time! David Baugh's presentation on the Mac OS Leopard has plenty of food for thought for us as we look to implement our Mac environment, and I'll be back to the Apple stand before the end of the week to find out more.
As usual at BETT you can't get a decent sandwich in the place and I ponder bringing one of my famous packed lunches on the train tomorrow...
Next visit is to Adobe for a look at their Digital Schools Collection. We desperately need to upgrade our old Photoshop Elements 2 graphics software and the Schools Collection comes bundled with the excellent Premier Elements. Distribution in HK is a problem, but it's still on the wish list for next year.
English Heritage used BETT to launch their new web site, Heritage Explorer. This is a great site and will be very useful for a variety of history topics such as the Victorians, with interactive resources and teaching activities.... and it's free!!
Schools in the UK are now required to provide an online learning space for their students and Kellett will be looking at Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to enable pupils to collaborate and access resources from anywhere. Early days in the procurement process, but a good chance to discuss some of the issues with Uniservity. There are at least another four suppliers to discuss matters with in the next couple of days, after which we'll hopefully be better informed about our decision.
The real eye-opener on day one, and the must-have gadget so far is the short-throw projector. These beauties look great and get round many of the problems associated with glare from the bulb. The Promethean model even clips to an adjustable whiteboard, allowing even the smallest pupils to access more of the board.
Promethean's multi point input system was also present, but it's one for tomorrow as the bus was about to depart!
A longer day in store for tomorrow with an appointment with 2Simple Software and a look at some Visualisers.
It's great to be able to spend an extended visit at BETT as there's simply too much to see in one day and I'm looking forward to discovering more tomorrow.