I go to BETT most years and am usually on a mission. This year was no exception as I was looking for sponsorship for the Second International Conference on the Use of New Technologies for Inclusive Learning organised by the European Enable Network to be held at the Higher Education Academy in York 18th and 19th June 2014. (Anybody reading this who would like to know more please contact me via my email below). Anyhow after a bit of burn out with this I thought I would have a look around for myself to see who is there, who isn’t there, what’s new and what’s not new, you know the usual thing.
Glancing through the programme I was very interested in the UK Trade and Industry villages plus my feet were hurting by 3pm and I needed to limit my mileage. There were around 50 exhibitors in this area, all small stands but not necessarily small organisations as I noticed that the OU was there. There were quite a few products that caught my eye here so I will pick out just four of them to give you a flavour. They are not necessarily new technologies but certainly ones that I don’t own but would like!
The 3Doodler – the 3D printing device that can be used within minutes, no technical knowledge, software or PC required was pretty amazing. I was very interested in the artefacts that only 3D printing can produce such as the object pictured above as well as some pretty snazzy platform shoes.
Next on my must-have list is a personal projector. I am not certain that I actually need one but I am sure I could find a use for it if necessary. I had this sudden longing to project my mobile screen just can’t quite justify this – yet! If I was more classroom based I can see they would be a pretty nifty piece of kit and actually they look pretty cool too – hmmm which to choose?
MyCognition attracted me with their Escape from Monster Valley game designed to enhance mental agility and develop memory, reaction, attention and executive function. This product seems to be more on the definitely need list rather than just would like to have.
Finally on my shopping list was a product that remembers your passwords automatically. I am just about reaching the upper most limit that my long term and short term memories can deal with so this could be the answer. Roboform also has a product which fills out long checkout forms for you so more time and more incentive to go shopping online.
I had a very enjoyable day – there is a huge amount to look at and a certain amount of planning is required. I stayed up in London the night before as it is quite a trek for me from the Welsh Borders so I was able to approach the day bright eyed and bushy tailed. There was quite a lot of herding in place along the DLR and once you get into the exhibition centre, which was really helpful.
I have only mentioned one small aspect of BETT and there are loads of seminars and celebrity speakers covering a wide range of topics as well as the usual networking opportunities not to mention all the products. Will I be going again next year? Yes hopefully but mindful of the need to go with a plan and an objective – oh yes and a large shopping bag!
Dr Shirley Evans
Special Projects Officer, Jisc TechDis
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