I’m not going to BETT

This week is BETT 2010 and I will not be going.

I have been to BETT twice in my life and that was two times too many!

So what is BETT for those that don’t know.

BETT is the world’s largest educational technology event. Use this site to find products and suppliers, and discover the latest ways to use technology for teaching and learning.

I went in 2000 and then again in 2007. So why am I not going in 2010? Well it’s not down to the weather, that doesn’t always stop me from travelling.

The reason why I won’t be going is that the focus of BETT is too much on the technology rather than what people do with it. It is much more an event based on educational technology suppliers than educators using technology. It is this reason that I won’t be going.

Surprising to some will be that I am not interested in technology, I am interested in how people are using technology to enhance and enrich learning.

Other events and conferences I go to (such as ALT-C) are very much about learning and not about technology.

I’m not going to BETT 2010, are you? Why are you going?

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18 Responses to I’m not going to BETT

  1. I hope it isn’t like this as I am looking forward to talking and listening to other people and finding out how they use the technology.

    I can get authorisation for a rail ticket to London for a free event, but there’s no way I could get to ALTC, which is what I really want to go to.

    Regards, David

  2. Zak Mensah says:

    I wont be going as I went in 2007 and it just seemed like a giant electrics shop with free pens! So don’t see where it would add value for me going to our audience who have James needs for T&L.

  3. Doug Woods says:

    I’m surprised that you’re not going. I guess there may be more there for mainstream education rather than for further or higher ed.

    I’d be interested to know, though, on the years that you did attend, did you attend any of the seminars? These do tend to be far broader in their scope than the main arenas which, I would tend to agree, seem to be more based upon the kit than anything else.

  4. Bill Lord says:

    I go for the fellowship and networking far more than anything else. It is always worth it for at least one seminar and I often meet someone new through introduction from a friend.

  5. Dawn Hallybone says:

    I am going to BETT – yes I agree with the fact that is is a large electronics show. However this has its uses when you are looking to get ‘kit’ for school, it enables you to talk to a lot of suppliers and in some cases get discounted deals as well.

    However the main reason I will be attending BETT is for the ‘fringe’ events. I live in London, however Olympia is the other side of London, but I am going to TEDx event and TeachMeet – both to learn about how others are using the Technology in their T&L. I will also be trying to pop along to one or two TMtakeover sessions, this for me is Why I am going to Bett to listen and learn from others.

  6. Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments, James. However, I’m going to BETT primarily for the ‘fringe’ events that are all about how the technology is used to facilitate learning and hearing it from the mouths of innovative practitioners.
    I’m talking about the Mirandamods, TEDx Orenda, AmplifiED, Teachmeet Takeover and Teachmeet itself.

    I will, as ever, tread the exhibition floor, occasionally dipping into a trade stand. But I’ll mostly be looking to catch up with folks from my network(s) for some healthy face to face and perhaps… some coffee 😉

  7. Dan Sutch says:

    it is a trade show first and foremost so if the sellers aren’t extolling the benefits of using the kit then they’re not doing their job very well. I don’t particulalry enjoy that side of it – but it is it’s primary function. Having said that, the growth in teachmeets and the greater focus on the seminars means that it is more now about practice and sharing ideas – but still as a trade show. Enjoy your BETT free weekend!

  8. damoward says:

    Definitely the social and networking side but also the demonstrations of technology that I already have an idea I might use at work. Yes I want to know about the pedagogy but I’m not reliant on a salesman to tell me how to teach! The salesman is going to give me the best possible demo of his kit in 3 mins or I’m off to the next stall. E.g. I wanted a closed garden version of YouTube last year; look on the web theres a few that stand out for streaming video in school. At Bett, I saw, talked to and evaluated at least 10… in an hour. Back at work I could more easily talk thru’ the idea with the boss. Love Bett but can see the need to have a break every few years. Great post

  9. geoffstead says:

    As a corporate – we aren’t going either!

    Not for quite the same reasons as you, James, but perhaps driven there by the same frenzied tech-fest that you describe.

    The best bit of having a stand BETT used to be the chance to have real conversations. With our customers. Or with interesting stall-holders with great ideas. But as the price of exhibiting has rocketed the interesting specialists have become harder to find between the high-gloss-and-glamour stalls with mega marketing budgets. The best conversations seem to have moved to the periphery … all the alternative events, or the food hall!

    This year we don’t have a stand at BETT, but like Dug and Dan, I look forward to the fringe networking and conversations!

  10. Andy Kirk says:

    I will not be going to BETT as I live in New Zealand 🙂 However I would probably trot along were I back in the UK. More out of habit than expectation of finding something essential or really inspiring for teaching and learning.

    I would also apply the same thinking to the round of eLearning conferences that take place. Trade shows and conferences are good, but far from essential. I’m probably at the stage where I just want to get on with it and know who to seek advice from or network with when I need to.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be going as am at Learning Technologies World Forum in London and therefore get to go in the ‘International’ entrance and before others…beat the rush eh!

    But having only gone once in my life – and yet I have been teaching/using technology for too many years I am unsure what I will see/hear that’s new and exciting. I,too, value the networking. I heard fantastic stories about real teaching last night at the Lancaster House reception – chatting to people from South Africa,Belgium, Denmark, Saudi, Austria, Germany and Latvia – loads of stories about how they use e-learning. Many are not quite there in terms of m-learning and were keen to know more… much more tricky to do networking at BETT for little me but I may bump into my new found overseas friends who just want to hear all about MoLeNET and related success stories. I have enjoyed delivering today at LTWF… perhaps I should start blogging about what I’ve learned… or perhaps leave it until after BETT and tell you all about that experience?!

  12. I am 5 months into my role as eLearning Facilitator at an FE College so I am attending BETT this week for the first time.

    I have been reading James’ blog & all of your comments and feedback with interest. I am not in a position to make budgetary decisions with regards to ILT so I will wait to see what I get from attending on Thursday. I already attend events which offer networking opportunities appropriate to my role & our college.

  13. […] – they have a load of videos from 2009 on there at the moment! Was interested to note that James Clay feels event is too tech-focused, which is not my area of interest either – just the uses to […]

  14. Ems says:

    I am going with a view to looking at particular types of software that my orgnisation is looking to buy; as it is an easy way for me to see software demonstrated without having to set aside separate slots of time on different days for different suppliers to do in person on web demos. I can then feedback to our Senior Management Team on the ones that most closely fit our needs and arrange demonstrations of those.

  15. Virg says:

    I am not going to BETT this year but a colleague is going with a bit of a ‘shopping list’ for things to research for the team but she is primiarly going for the activities around inclusion. I agree that it is often the networking that is the important part of the whole event but to be quite honest, with the cost of rail tickets going up in January it does make it an expensive deal even to go to a free event and we have to make a good case to go.

    I have however found it useful to have access to the BETT website and to the BETT supplements in the newspaper and have picked up on resources that I want to follow up through checking out other websites.

    However whilst we should not lose sight of the fact that this is primarily an exhibition and as such is designed to entice budget holders to buy kit – I am in agreement with Dan (Sutch) that if someone is ‘selling’ me something (and remember this can be an online resource)HOW it is used in learning and teaching as much as the nuts and bolts of what it does is of equal importance and any rep worth their salt should know this.

    I have seen numerous Conferences being advertised to support the pedagogy of ILT but until the costs are kept at realistic levels (one I saw costs £695 plus VAT)we have to make informed judgements on selecting the one Conference that will bring the most reward. This is what we have to do in our team and I suspect this is the same for most people.

  16. Geoff Rebbeck says:

    I suppose it is all a question of what you hope to get from the day. It has turned into a huge product fest, mostly aimed at schools as well.
    I am completely with James on his sentiment and it is arguable that BETT is really an event to sell technology rather than discuss good pedagogy. The latter type of meetings are the ones that interest me although there is a place to see what’s out there. BETT is a push not pull event. The networking is good. I loved the Mac classes last year and I met lots of people for networking. It’s free. The cafe facilities are overcrowded and nowhere to sit. Beyond that it takes its place in my priorities of time and this year it has fallen off the edge.

  17. […] 2010, the world’s largest learning technology show, at London’s Olympia. Mindful of James Clay’s thoughts about the event, and visiting for the first time in four years, I went along to the show with a […]

  18. […] gone. There’s been quite a bit of discussion of BETT in the blogosphere: some deciding not to go at all, others talking about how they reacted to it and others talking about how it wasn’t the […]

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