Today's blog starts with you, our customers, who visited BETT yesterday and left inspired. Here are some highlights:

'Fantastic! I need this...' 'Excellent range of interesting products' 'Great idea. Congratulations on your creativity' 'Enjoyed whole experience especially the Audio Pod' 'I would love to fill my school with your lovely ideas' 'A useful and thought-provking illustration of potential implementations of technology'

What's happening today?

  1. At 9:30 this morning, Carol Allen and John Galloway ran theInclusive Practice workshop in Olympia 2, and a lucky delegate won £100 SpaceKraft voucher. Read Carol's guest blog below (Guest Blog 2).
  2. At 10:30, the e-Safety workshop commences, and there are a few places remaining so pop in to see us at Olympia 2 to register.
  3. Of course the main RM Education solution showcase continues to draw in the crowds with the very latest from across the RM Group so come and say 'hi' at stands C60, D60, E60.
  4. The live BETT radio broadcast continues today, featuring music, text-in competitions, and phone-ins as Russell Prue, resident DJ for us today from Anderton Tiger reports live on the exhibition. Listen to the show from 11am till 5pm each day. Read Russell's guest blog below (Guest Blog 1).
  5. As I mentioned last night, we're really proud to have won two BETT awards: ICT Service & Support, and Secondary FE & Skills Digital Content categories. There'll be more on that later tonight.

Guest Blog 1: Russell Prue, Anderton Tiger

We arrived at BETT early on Tuesday morning for 4 days of live radio broadcasting from the RM Learning Emporium in O2. My first time to BETT was actually with RM in 1994. We were in a converted car park at The Barbican and all I can remember is that we were right next to the Acorn stand, there was a very low ceiling and it was hot!

However, for BETT '11 things are very different. I have 3 jobs this year: promoting my school radio equipment that I have designed and that I sell to schools, host a live internet radio show each day and demonstrate an interesting use of the ISIS acoustic pod. And anyone can listen, worldwide! There is a link on the RM Education website which directs you straight to a live feed but you can also listen from my website (AndertonTiger.com/BETT) where there are more listening options, details of our competitions and text in numbers.

But feel free to come and see us too! I love meeting new people and seeing educators' faces when they see children doing something innovative with technology, that sudden moment of realisation that young people really can lead on technology is fabulous. As I said I am based in the RM Learning Emporium and so that also gives you a great chance to have a tour round that. Personally I think this is an absolutely excellent use of RM's time. I love the tour idea - visitors have the opportunity to be shown around the space by RM hosts which ensures that nothing is missed or overlooked.  This is quite different to the massive, busy and often overwhelming BETT show floor that can be excessively crowded and noisy sometimes. I particularly like something that they have in the Emporium, The Immersive Space showing WW2 experiences in 180 degrees including projection onto the floor. I think this is exactly what children need.

I want to thank RM for giving Sarah and me a brilliant experience at this BETT; we have had loads of amazing conversations with some very inspired and very interested visitors today.  This does happen on the exhibition floor at BETT, but often requires you to have spoken to over 100 people before you finally reach that particularly interested visitor. Also, just want to say, love the purple! It's the new black, very fetching and modern!

Guest Blog 2: Carol Allen, SEN Advisory Teacher

This is my 21st BETT; my poor feet remind me of this as I step into Olympia each morning – they obviously have the power of residual memory!  Working this year in O2 within RM's Learning Emporium, I have the best opportunity to meet colleagues from across the UK and across the world; to share ideas and expertise and to indulge in several days of technology all designed, collected and presented for our delectation!

We are in early January, in London, and this is not a time of year for energetic excitement.  The excesses of the festive season linger (especially around my waistline) and the UK educational world is one of uncertainty; uncertainty about funding, about jobs, about curriculum priorities and demands and about central direction and vision.  However, the BETT show, whilst recognising all these issues, is not a time for uncertainty or negativity.  Indeed the bustling energy of both the main exhibition and the O2 Emporium is infectious and demands that you join in.

From the small, one man stands with single products amongst which will be some future big players, to the amazing stands and offerings from the current innovators and industry leaders, there are ideas, products and solutions for people to try, buy and implement in order to provide better educational opportunities for all.

Today started with a joint presentation with John Galloway on the importance of multi-sensory learning for all students.  Focussing on the issues that make multi-sensory teaching and learning effective not only for those who are working at early developmental levels, but also for those who find that cognitive understanding is consolidated if more than one route to the brain is engaged, the session led us on a You Tube journey from Stockholm via America to an art installation in London.  All the video examples demonstrated that educational technology can, and should, be part of the wider learning environment; should be accessible without instruction and should be fun.  The session ended with low-tech, practical examples of how to get started in your own classroom in simpler fashion, instant multisensory achievement.  The session was sponsored by SpaceKraft and one lucky delegate, Caroline Burley from Columbus School & College, received an £100 voucher to spend on SpaceKraft products!

A theme that I welcome this year is that of technology supporting communication.  From the amazing live radio opportunities presented by Russell and Sarah Prue, through the world of blogs and Twitter; Chromakey and animation, to the small Easi-Speak microphones and single message communicators; the students coming into the Emporium each day have shown their 'voice' clearly and with vivid enthusiasm.  For many of the students I work with, literacy remains a primary barrier to the curriculum.  This series of learning opportunities ably demonstrated the power that technology can offer to unlock those 'hidden' voices.

…and there we have it in a nutshell….BETT 2011 offers the chance to create, develop or refine your vision of educational technology and its place in the wider learning environment.  Despite the protest from my feet, I wouldn't miss it for anything!

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