Shauna Hanna

A ‘Game Changing’ BETT - Top 5 take-aways for teachers

Our Texthelpers have just returned from another successful Bett Show - a major fixture in our UK calendar every year. If you missed out on a trip to the ExCel this year, don’t worry we’ve brought back some great take-aways.


Useful and Meaningful Technology

In one of the many sessions over the four day show, Google’s Senior Director of Product Management, Rajen Sheth, talked about the importance of making technology useful and meaningful for the students and how what really matters is how it is used. We couldn’t agree more!  



He highlighted the four learning principles that technology should support:

  • Personalised and measured learning, tailoring learning to individual needs and interests.

  • Collaborative and diverse learning, using the concept of learning as a social process.

  • Project-based and self-managed learning, giving students ownership of their own learning.

  • Conceptual and experimental learning, giving students the opportunity to apply what they’re learning.

The VR classroom is here

Walking around the arena this year it was incredibly hard not to spot visitors with VR headsets or using Google Expeditions in particular.


VR allows students to explore the far corners of the world and even space without ever needing to leave the confines of the classroom. It’s transformational!

The technology is fascinating and presents teachers with a whole new mechanism for educating their students.  It allows us to superimpose a layer of intelligence over the real world.  Imagine using this in the classroom, to map out every surface and give students the equation to calculate the area or volume of object or to take them on a field trip to the Natural History Museum.

VR is equally important in a higher education setting. Terese Bird, Educational Designer at the University of Leicester gave the example of medical students using VR to experience a real life emergency scenario. One that could be paused at various points and students asked to explain the course of action they would take to effectively manage it. From this, lecturers would be able to provide feedback on how to improve their response for real emergencies and students would be more confident, having gained useful practical experience in a controlled environment. 

3D Printing

Lots of Vendors at BETT were showing 3D printers - they have been around for a few years, but a couple of trends within 3D printing are developing.  Firstly the printers are much more consumer ready and faster - a few years ago they were unreliable, and schools really needed a tech enthusiast to make use of one.  Now they are much faster and less expensive than just two years ago.  You can even get a £150 DIY kit to build your own printer from PRUSA3D.  It’s easy to build and a great way for students to learn how 3D printers work. 
 
It allows biology students to study a cross section of an organ, chemistry students to print out molecules to study or even less techy - HE students to create moulds for their food experiments.

3D printing makes for a more tactile learning experience - allowing students to touch and hold objects and understand the creation process.

The Robots are coming...

School leaders now realise that some of the jobs of the future are being replaced by robots and because of that, students need to be taught how to build, programme and control robots - the earlier, the better.

Robotics is already very common at many colleges and universities across the globe, but imagine an educational journey that gives children that experience earlier in their school career?  They would progress to those university courses with the some of the skills and knowledge already required - creating a potential wealth of experience before they even start to specialise.

Robots can also be used to bring students into the classroom that otherwise might not be able to attend. In Colorado, an eighth grader with severe, life-threatening allergies was unable to attend school due to her condition. Her physical attendance at class was replaced with a robot. This robot helped to provide a 'real school' experience for her, 'attending' school and helping her to communicate via an internal video conferencing system.  We have a similar kind of robot at Texthelp for one of our remote employees, it’s a fantastic addition to our team.

 

It’s a global thing

Every year, BETT seems to gain an ever expanding international audience.  There is a big focus on connecting global learners and educators.  Now in times where we’ve got lots more access to connect with peers worldwide, it’s important to have lots of arenas to share ideas and learnings; Bett is great platform for this. There’s lots of best practice examples from other countries, such as USA, Canada and Australia that educators will be able to look to for inspiration and that’s what it’s all about, sharing experiences and learning from each other. If you’d like to share your ed tech experiences with other Educators, why not join our Teacher community?

Did you go to Bett this year? What key learnings have you come away with? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 





 

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