Sunday, 17 January 2010

Do you want to BETT?

Having attended BETT for the last 3 years I was aware that this time was going to be equally manic, tiring and fraught with a plethora of sales people thrusting Shiny glossy leaflets into my hands. So I was prepared for the day and entered into the fray with 3 clear questions:
  1. What shall I do about my school website?
  2. What are my options for a VLE?
  3. How shall I approach my desire to have some 'games based learning' in the school?

A quick walk around the venue talking to nobody, scowling a lot and finding my bearings gave me an overview of what was on offer. Following a coffee and some consultation of the show guide I then did some targeted stall visiting. I am not going to mention names or products, nor am I going to link to any of the companies that I spoke to. Whilst I walked away with a small bag full of leaflets and spent a great deal of time discussing my needs, I was unable to answer any questions with any degree of fortitude, in fact if anything I asked myself more questions... Still that is the nature of the Technology beast.

So you might say: 'A wasted day!' Not at all, a day is only wasted if you do not learn anything from it. I got loads out of BETT, saw some new products, had some great conversations and I think moved my thinking forward. As I said, nothing jumped out at me, no one item or supplier floated my boat, but thinking time, and having time to reflect on my needs was an important benefit.

Following a long day traipsing the halls and galleries at BETT it was finally time for the Teach Meet: #TMBETT2010, as a TM virgin, I sat reticently (as if I do reticient!) in the Apex room as it slowly filled with a multitude of other professionals, I was impressed with the sheer number of people that attended, even more so was having that many i phones in one place, not sure what the collective noun for i phones is but I am going for 'an intelligence of i phones' (mainly because I like the alliteration). Within minutes there was a discernable buzz around the hall as people began to piece together their own PLN jigsaw, replacing an avatar with a face, a user name with a Christian one. There was a hum as these seperate parts discussed work environments, BETT itself and a range of other topics. I have to hand it to @tombarrett the whole thing was impressive. The list of people who stood up to share their classroom practises and thoughts is massive and I refer you to @dawnhallybone's blog for details of the speakers. But my thoughts are this:

  • Not one single person who stood on that stage failed to deliver me something; A useful tool; a concept to muse over; something to laugh about; some infectious enthusiasm; in fact most of them offered me all of the above and more.
  • Meeting some of the people whom I have: had conversations with; shared ideas with; read their blogs or shared a joke, was equally worthwhile and served to reinforce my opinion that my best CPD has come via the social networking of my PLN.
  • The organisation of the event was faultless, from the free drink to the technology available to the presenters (and the camel) and I raise my hat to those who put it together and also the sponsors.

So it is with a heightened enthusiasm that I am typing this, I have used Voki today to embed some instructional tips in my Basic ICT page I have set up for the staff at school. A conversation with @jasondilling on the train after the TM led me set up an Edmodo account today for all my classes to enable a journey into microblogging. I am seriously considering driving forward a Teach Meet in Kent in the near future. My BETT/TMBETT 2010 experience proved to be a profitable one. I look forward to using the tools and ideas I have been gifted, thinking about the opinions and ideas of others and being able to share something of mine.

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