BETT Show 2020 – Part 1

Here we are again at the BETT Show. I have been coming to this show since the 90’s. That means 20 years of BETT. This one by far is the biggest. North & South Halls are filled with exhibitors. Also, the speakers have quadrupled to what I remember from previous BETT.

Paul Hutton in full flow on iPads

First stop was to see my old colleague and friend Paul Hutton speaking about accessibility options on the iPad. Always informative and entertaining as he demonstrates with examples how these features help pupils with special needs, especially his own daughter .I learnt about a feature I didn’t know called Reader View in Safari which is great for student revision but also the blind who use screenreaders. You can also change the font and the background colour of the page. That in itself was worth train fare!

Reader View on Safari
Changing fonts and coloured backgrounds

Next up as I walked around down North Hall I came past Scanning Pens. They are having a great year with being awarded “Company of the Year” at BETT this year. They are launching their Bluetooth enable Pen which acts like a scanner as text can be imported into your computer or mobile device. In turn that can be translated with Google Translate into any language and spoken out. Amazing for helping foreign students whose first language is not English. Not only can you edit text but you can manipulate it. Partially sighted users would find this a help. With the use of a ruler to guide the pen across the page it could provide them a way to enlarge any given printed material and have it read back. From menus to newspapers to books. Printed materials can be instantly accessible at the scan of a pen! It doesn’t stop there. You can also have a keyboard that makes it accessible to all your apps. Well done Scanning Pens for what looks like a great accessible tool!

Bluetooth scanning pen with transfer app

Time to sit down and relax. A rarity at BETT! But the Arena affords a pleasant area to sit and listen to talks that can inspire. I listened to a teacher from Boston speak about his class which is organised more like a youth club as pupils don’t have fixed lessons and work on projects in answer to questions. Intrigued? Well if you want to discuss more about this ( and how does he control the classes?) that you can contact him direct on the slide below. His name is Kader Adjout.

Whilst trying to work out why my phone had stopped working on Exchange. Which was a pain and took most of the next session, I listened to a Q&A session chaired by Helen Skelton the presenter about the future jobs not yet invented yet and how schools need to adapt to this changing model. Ideas were shared- some idealistic, some practical. The problem lies with our draconian and rigid system. How do we break free enough to do this? Everyone has an idea how we could work more creatively and effectively and it was good to hear the phrase “digital learning,” being used again. To me computing AND digital learning should be taught in schools thus squaring ICT up. Oh, and I got my Exchange working again ( why did my email need verifying and authenticated.? It was authenticated this morning? That’s technology for you, eh?

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