Shauna Hanna, Digital Content Manager

BETT 2018: Top Takeaways for Teachers


Our Texthelpers have just returned from another successful Bett Show - a major fixture in our UK calendar every year.

And just like every year, we had an amazing four days at one of the world’s leading education technology shows. It was chock full of activities; engaging workshops, interesting talks and extraordinary people that, like us, want to empower students to become collaborative, critical and creative thinkers.


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You most certainly get your 10,000 steps in at this event… and then some! As a free event to attend, if you are even remotely interested in the world of education, we highly recommend you go and see it if you ever get the chance.

If you missed out on a trip to the ExCel this year, don’t worry we’ve brought back some great take-aways

The VR classroom is here

Walking around the arena this year it was incredibly hard not to spot visitors with VR headsets. 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 an object or to take them on a field trip to the Natural History Museum.

VR is equally just as important in a higher education setting, for example, 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. 

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 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.

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Collaborative Problem Solving & Digital Skills

There was much talk about the importance of making technology useful and meaningful for students and, more importantly, how it is used. We couldn’t agree more!  

Collaborative Problem Solving is an essential skill in education and a basic necessity for the 21st century workforce. It is undeniable that the world is changing at an overwhelming pace and, as educators, we should all be thinking of how to equip our children with the skills to thrive in this transforming society.

But what is the risk if technology isn’t embraced? 

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.

If technology is not embraced in school or the classroom, then the Digital Skills Gap will widen. Digital skills doesn’t mean coding or how to use a computer to solve problems, rather it’s all about computational thinking.

Children crave more agency and control when it comes to their learning, they want to experience the same social norms inside the classroom as out of it and they have quite a lot to say! Being able to use technology in class allows for both critical and computational thinking.

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 a great platform for this. There’s lots of best practice examples from other countries, such as the 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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