Creating the Future at BETT 2022 

After more than two years of continuous pandemic-related disruption, three lockdowns and countless school closures, the UK’s largest education technology show, BETT, finally reopened its doors to educators and organisations from around the world this week.

As the central hub for the global edtech community, the event welcomes visitors from over 120 countries and sees upwards of 400 edtech solution providers exhibit their services and offer product demonstrations. There are also extensive opportunities for professional development, with more than 300 inspiring speakers and nearly a hundred CPD content sessions.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Secretary of State for Education, opened the show by delivering a keynote speech in which he outlined measures to help sustain the “momentum” of “technological innovation” witnessed throughout the pandemic. Plans to ensure that every school in the country has reliable access to high-speed broadband by 2025 were welcomed by many attendees of the show, solutions providers and teachers alike; aligning well with this year’s theme of ‘Creating the Future’.

Team Mango, part of PLMR’s specialist education practice, had a busy few days at the show this week helping a number of clients showcase their services, organising and managing media interviews, and of course making the most of everything the event had to offer.

Amidst navigating the hustle and bustle of the show, some of the team managed to attend a range of thought-provoking best practice talks and seminars. Read on to find out our highlights from the show:

 

  • Laura Coryton, Account Manager: “Abdul Chohan did a brilliant job of demonstrating edtech platform Showbie in a very enthusiastic and energetic manner at ‘Tech in Action’, proving the power of recording a lesson via Showbie to capture everything a teacher does, the concepts they explore and the energy they put into their classes. Not only does this help consolidate concepts, but it also caters to a wide variety of learning types and help to make lessons as fun and engaging as possible.”

 

  • Nancy Laws, Senior Account Executive: “I was lucky enough to hear Sarah Brown (chair of charity Theirworld, executive chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and of course, wife to former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown) explore the topic of ‘sustainable equity’ in partnership with HP. A passionate advocate for global educational, social and health issues, Sarah emphasised the importance of working in partnership as a professional community to help deliver meaningful, committed change in the sector.

 

“Another wonderful and moving presentation came from the team at Empathy Week, a global schools programme deploying the power of film to help students better understand the world around them. Having been a teacher at a large north London comprehensive school for three years, now CEO Ed Kirwan was left frustrated at short term initiatives like awareness days or one-off assemblies, and realised the need to embed the development of emotional skills across the curriculum. The programme allows students to be joined throughout their school journey from the age of 5 until 18 by 65 different people’s life stories, spanning every culture, ethnicity, religion, gender and country thinkable. It was absolutely brilliant to hear about the tangible impact Empathy Week is already having in some of the country’s most disadvantaged regional pockets, as it encourages us to embrace our differences and celebrate diversity.”

 

  • Hannah Tait, Senior Account Manager: “As schools, colleges and universities let the dust settle following the accelerated use of technology triggered by the pandemic, educators are increasingly considering equitable access to technology as a human right. During the ‘Transforming Pedagogy’ discussion, Cheryl Shirley, Director of Computing and Digital Skills at LEO Academy Trust, shared how digital equity shapes the foundations of LEO’s remote teaching and learning offering. Technology has also opened up more direct, frequent lines of communication with families, who no longer have to wait for a termly parents evening for updates and can therefore stay up to date with their child’s progress.”

 

  • Maddy Wright, Account Executive: “After a jam-packed morning overseeing client interviews and networking, I caught one of the final talks of the week – ‘The future of AI in education’ hosted by Lord Jim Knight (former schools minister), Jos Dirkx of Beenova AI and Jeff Merriman of Dixtera Institute. It was interesting to hear the panel join the dots between AI development and emotional intelligence, as it’s a connection that can often be overlooked in conversations about the subject. Sometimes the narrative surrounding AI (of cyborg robots gaining power and taking over!) can make us feel uneasy or closed off to the possibilities it can unlock, but actually good AI allows teachers to do much more of a human job by freeing up labour intensive, menial tasks.”

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