Saturday, 17 January 2009

BETT day 4 - Steven's Perspective

I may not be at BETT physically today, but my head is definitely still there. I am trying to assimilate all of the information picked up and networking contacts made. It was a very full on three days. More feedback will be given when I have had time to process my thoughts and re-read the information packs picked up and notes made over the week. I will however mention yesterday's main event;

Last night Katy and I attended an event called 'Teachmeet'. This was a gathering of over 200 people with an interest in technology in education, which took place after the main BETT exhibition had closed for the day.
Teachmeets operate under the 'unconference' principle. Those people who have something to share sign up to give a 7-minute 'micro-presentation' or 2 minute 'nano-presentation'. The order of speakers is selected live on the night at random and not everybody will get picked. Timings are very strict and the rules state that presentations need to be directly related to what is going on in classrooms, with no sales pitches or PowerPoint presentations allowed. Those running over time or breaking the rules are unceremoniously removed from the stage - in last night's case by the throwing of a toy camel...
There was a real buzz in the room during the 2 hour event with huge amounts of networking taking place. Not to mention extensive use of 'twitter' (at one point during the evening the event tag was the 4th most 'tweeted' word worldwide). The presentations varied from inspiring to dry - but this is all part of the uniqueness of the event and luckily not many fell in to the latter category. A number of people attended the event virtually, via flashmeeting, with one of the presentations delivered via this system live from the Isle of Islay in the Hebrides (who have their own unconference in June if you fancy a trip).

Highlights included:

Random name picker - as used for selecting teachmeet speakers, a fun way of selecting participants in your class for answering questions, doing jobs, sharing their work etc. A great feature is that you can choose to remove names from the list once they have been picked so that you don't get repetition.

Learning Event Generator
- An innovative way of setting learning challenges.

Zoomit - a free tool from Microsoft that lets you quickly and easily zoom into any area of your screen - great for highlighting or focusing on a particular area - for example a web address that you want people to navigate too. You can annotate on top too.

If you are interested in attending a Teachmeet, there will be one held in North-East London in a couple of months time, hosted by the Havering ICT team. More details to follow when we have them.

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