BETT 2011, Olympia, London

Today I went to the BETT show to see the latest in technological developments aimed at education. I have been to almost every one of the shows, sometimes as a visitor, a teacher and as an exhibitor. This year I was just visiting for one day.

I like BETT, I always have. It’s a quirky venue that appeals to me, packed out with technology companies displaying their wares. I thoroughly enjoy walking around and seeing what’s new, how things are developing, the latest version of this or that. Today I was looking forward to catching up with old friends, and seeing some new things too.

Today was remarkably busy for a show that has been touted as being past it’s best. I would say there were as many people at the show as there ever has been, and whilst the organisers claim the reorganisation of the space at Olympia meant there were wider aisles, I couldn’t help feel there were less stands. For example, the gallery in the Grand Hall was not full all the way round as it has been in the past. The loss of all the ‘Policy’ stands from people like QCDA, Becta, NCSL, DfE and so on meant there must have been huge floorspace freed up. Perhaps it was a combination of these things.

Either way, the ‘feel’ of the show was as good as ever – crowds of like minded folk from all over the world converge on Olympia for four days of mayhem, and it still feels like a family event. Yes, it could be better, and yes there could be new things there (still loads of stuff for interactive whiteboards and similar ‘old’ technologies) but ultimately, it’s still the best education show in the UK, and probably Europe.