The Bett Show has been running since 1985 when it was called the Hi-Technology and Computers in Education Exhibition. Since that time it has evolved into one of the largest “Edtech” conferences in the world, and an annual fixture for many visitors.
However, as the conference has grown, some have questioned whether the original ethos still exists, and in a world where you can reach any vendor you like through the internet, it's easy to question it. So, is a visit to the BETT show ‘worth it’?
Here are five good reasons that prove it is…
5 Reasons To Attend The BETT Show
1. It's FUN! Imagine Comic-Con for teachers and you have BETT!
There are hundreds of smaller regional conferences now which is a good thing, but companies can rarely afford to invest in the pazazz or **FREEBIES that companies use at BETT to compete against each other. Of course, huge flashy stands aren’t a good indicator of whether you should trust a vendor with your school budget, but it does make for a much more exciting visitor experience.
**FREEBIES aren’t the only reason to visit, but there have been some great giveaways over the years that have been a big hit with attendees. One of the best examples being a few years ago when there was a craze for capes which resulted in children and teachers running around the show pretending to be superheroes!
**Did somebody say FREEBIES?! Fiction Express is aiming to have THE most popular and useful giveaway at BETT 2018, we're on stand D320. Sign up for FREE COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS and we’ll have a decent coffee and Krispy Kreme waiting for you when you show up for your short 10-minute demo and (much needed) sit down.
2. Children are invited too
The big name speakers at BETT are great, but for many, the most inspirational and motivating elements of the seminars are hearing from the students who have been using the technology.
There are many seminars where students share what they have been using and what they think of it (Google "BETT digital leaders"). Even if not speaking, many teachers bring their whole class to BETT (it’s allowed in the rules, check the FAQs on the site website if you were wondering).
3. It makes a great team outing
The many (many) BETT shows I have attended have given me an insight into who seems to get the most out of attending (and who seems to be enjoying themselves the most).
To me, this always seems to be the teachers who have come as a gang. I have no idea how this works in terms of staffing the school but I always meet three or four very excitable school or MAT “crews”.
They often arrive with a game plan (“we’ll split up take half the show each, scan for anything interesting and meet at Chozen Noodle in half an hour") but importantly they always seem to have all the people who could contribute to a decision in the same place at the same time (hopefully including your hard working ICT technician/manager) and all the schools combined experience to ask really hard questions.
Safety in numbers and team building... BONUS!
4. BETT lets you be a demanding customer
If you’re already using products and services, make sure you go along to the stand of the vendor. You rarely get to interact on a human level with some of the companies your school gives thousands of pounds a year to; do you have any gripes, ideas, or complements?
This is chance to talk to the powers that be and get a solution to your problem. Ask about special offers that could be useful to you, ask about ways in which you could get discount on your product, ask about planned improvements.
You might find the things they are planning will actually solve your pain, or at least tell you a cool workaround.
5. Meet Your Tweecher Pals
Loads of the people you follow on Twitter will be at the show, even if you only get to say hi and thanks, you'll feel more confident reaching out to them on social media after you’ve met in real life.
Lots of the teachers I know have formed incredible support networks through connecting with professionals in similar roles online. A top tip is to put a sticker on your BETT lanyard with your twitter name - you never know when you are speaking to someone that already follows you!
In past years the Friday night was always a Teachmeet. This hasn’t been announced for 2018 yet but keep an eye on #tmbett for confirmation. There have been some legendary BETT Teachmeets in the past, famous for a good supply of beer, flying soft toys to people who speak for too long and the incredible bravery of the teachers sharing.
Go on, challenge yourself!
We'll see you at stand D320 at BETT!
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