So, I just got back from the BETT (British Education and Training Technology) Exhibition. It was crazy with 1000’s of exhibitors and 10,000’s of visitors. It was impossible to see everything, but I did chat to some interesting people with fascinating products. Everyone was ‘welcoming me to the future’ and telling me to ‘Make IT better’.
There definitely seemed to be certain themes to the event, but especially personalised learning and learner voice. Theories and techniques for digital messaging, learner platforms and merging real life with e-life were all interesting, as were www.pupils.tv, www.rafi.ki and www.school-online.co.uk, (a tool for a school to easily build their own website).
The area that seemed most relevant, to us at least, was the Heppel stand, the largest space in the middle of the venue, sponsored by Stephen Heppel, who used to work for FutureLab, but is now a freelance education consultant and involved with www.notschool.net, which is a virtual school environment, (have you heard of this Jess L?).
Emblazoned with Learner Voice, they refreshingly had NOTHING to sell, but were just promoting using emerging technology to enhance Learner Voice. Such as a trial in Wolverhampton where pupils are being given handheld computers, with which they can record their acitivity, use it as a camera and video, access their online learning profile, go online to approved sites, upload and download files and documents, liaise with their teacher, do their homework, and much more. They are finding that many dissaffected students find using this device much more exciting and are keener to enagage with the school and their own learning through it.
The long and short of it is that I can’t help feeling that we are a bit behind the game with technology, we should definitely be encouraging school councils to use the ICT in their schools on a daily basis. It will be very interesting to see how our new site is received. Hopefully with technology and IT become an everyday part of life in schools it will fit in quite nicely with this emerging priority in education.
PS. If you got to the end of this blog then you’d be interested enough to listen to my rambling comments on a Learner Voice podcast that I was asked a question for. Go to http://learning2goblog.org it’s titled ‘St Jude’s Bett 08 learner voice Podcast!’ and i’m right at the beginning.