Archive for the Category ◊ Conferences / BETT ◊

#TMTakeover at BETT 2014
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 | Author:

This post has been written to ask for your help and support. Each year for the past four years, there has been a Takeover event at BETT. This is where companies give up their stand for half hour slots so that teachers can come and present on a range of free software, ideas or experiences from the classrooms.

I have created a sign-up page for the Takeover but at the moment, I don’t want or need any presentations because we haven’t got any companies on-board. That is where you come in. Do you have a contact at a company that is presenting at BETT? Could you ask/persuade them to give up 30 minutes so that we can share some ideas? If you can, direct them to the page below or ask them to get in touch with either myself or @ictmagic and we can talk to them about what is involved.

Once we have a number of timeslots available, we will ask for teachers to sign-up to present ideas. Hopefully we can get a range of different sessions across the four days of BETT.


To sign-up, please visit the TMTakeover wiki page here.

BETT2013 Plans
Saturday, January 19th, 2013 | Author:

Borrowing (porcupining) the idea from Chris Mayoh, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of my plans for the BETT exhibition. I have a number of presentations and these tend to be for companies I have worked with in the past few years. So I thought I would share my plans so far. I do need to look at the seminars and theatres and plan some of those in somehow too!



11:30am – 12:00 (Google)

Francesca, Issy and Emma will be presenting on the Google stand looking at how they have used Google Sites in the classroom. We will be sharing a few ideas of how to get started and showing just how easy it is to create a website in minutes. Google Sites is a great tool for sharing information that the children have learnt on a particular topic and they are extremely easy to use.

1:30 – 2:00pm (Stone Computers)

Emma, Emily and Lottie will be on the Stone Computers stand (info here) sharing their thoughts on what it is like to be a Digital Leader and they will also be talking about our school blogs. This includes examples of children who have now got their own blogs for sharing their own ideas too. Our school blogs have had 600,000 views in two years and I’ll be giving a bit of an insight into what we use the blogs for and how they have helped our school. For info: This talk will be followed by Chris Mayoh discussing his Digital Leaders, which will be well worth sticking around for.

2:30 – 3:00pm (2Simple)

Henry and I will be looking at how we have been using 2Do It Yourself to create platform games. This will include designing our own characters, planning the game and then editing the code to change the game dynamics. The children learn and use a whole range of skills when creating these simple games and we will give a demonstration of that.

When not presenting, we’ll be wandering around and enjoying ourselves!

Thursday – Not attending, back in school for the day!



10:00am – 12:00 BrainPOP

Along with my wife we will be on and around the BrainPOP stand showing just how amazing BrainPOP is and how it can help with a range of topic areas in your classroom. We’ll be the ones in the black t-shirts ūüôā

1:30 – 2:00pm (Stone Computers)

Similar to the presentation for Rising Stars later on today, this will be another quickfire look at free web tools to get teachers using the web in their classrooms. This will include tools to help with animation, research and art.

2:30 – 3:30pm (2Simple)

I will start with a presentation looking at the impact Purple Mash can have in your classroom. I will then be around to answers questions and to help share some of the great ways in which we have used 2Simple’s tools in our school.

15:30 – 16:00pm (Rising Stars)

This will be a presentation sharing a range of free online tools to help with ICT in the classroom. This will include tools to help with presentations, ebook design and photography. These are quick and easy tools that can be learnt in seconds and then applied into your curriculum with ease.  There will also be a chance to purchase copies of my book, Essentials: ICT and get it signed too.

6:30 – 9:30pm

I’ll be heading to the Teachmeet to see what wonderful stories and ideas people are sharing this year.

When not presenting, I’ll probably be on the BrainPOP ¬†stand ūüôā


11:30am – 12:00 (Rising Stars)

This will be a presentation sharing a range of free online tools to help with ICT in the classroom.  These are quick and easy tools that can be learnt in seconds and then applied into your curriculum with ease.  There will also be a chance to purchase copies of my book, Essentials: ICT and get it signed too.

2:00 – 3:00pm (2Simple)

Another talk and demonstration of Purple Mash talking about how we have used this in our school. There will be time for questions too.

Presentations at BETT
Saturday, January 12th, 2013 | Author:

The first of our presentation times have now been released and my Digital Leaders will be presenting for Tony Parkin on the Stone Computers stand on Wednesday at 1:30pm. They’ll be talking about their role as Digital Leaders and the way in which we use blogging across the school. Then on the Friday I will aim to give loads of free ways to include ICT in the classroom using a range of web 2 tools.

Have a look on the website for the full schedule from Stone Computers.

Merlin John talks about the plans on his website here.

BETT for Beginners 2013
Friday, January 04th, 2013 | Author:

This is now the third version of this popular post, (here are tips for  BETT2011 and BETT2012) but I thought I should edit it slightly and repost it for people that are new to BETT.

Firstly, what is BETT? –¬†

Well it’s a huge event where there are hundreds of educational suppliers ranging from huge companies like Google and Microsoft down to tiny companies you won’t have heard of via others like Busy Things, Rising Stars and BrainPOP. BETT has been held at Olympia for years and this year moves to Excel in London Docks. It usually attracts 30,000 people a year and was held at the start of January, but has now moved to 30th Jan-2nd Feb. It is free to attend but you do need to register.

I first went (twice) as a trainee teacher and it was part of our course to go and see the hardware and software that was available to schools. This is still the case, although don’t expect to see Popplet, Prezi or any other web 2.0 product¬†demonstrating¬†their wares, this is about the paid-for stuff you have in school. Back in my trainee days (9 years ago…) there were also loads of freebies such as pens, sweets and memory sticks to be had. If you were lucky you won a set of voting pads or a Microsoft fleece. These days there are still some free gifts handed out but for me, it is about much more than getting free pens. During my time as a consultant for the Hampshire VLE, BETT became a chance to talk to suppliers about working with our VLE to provide content for schools, this never happened for one reason or another but still, it was a good chance to make connections with companies and see new products. Now, BETT has become a chance to meet people from Twitter, have discussions and see presentations as well as look at what is there on display.

So, what do you need to know before you go? Well, firstly, Wednesday tends to be the quietest day and Friday the busiest. It still seems like schools will let teachers out of class on a Friday as if it is a less-important day than Wednesday or Thursday.

Before the show:

  1. Book a ticket. It helps to have one as your line will move quicker. The Bett website is here so go on, go and sign up.
  2. Plan your day/s. Why are you there? What do you want to see? Who do you need to go and speak to? Especially in these ‘financially uncertain times’, what will you be taking back to school? Your school might have spent ¬£150-200 covering your class, so you need to go back with something to show for it. Make sure your day is well planned and you’ll be fine.
  3. Also plan in rest stops. But why not plan these to coincide with a Teachmeet Takeover? Three years ago I sat and had lunch while watching @tombarrett share Maths Maps and two years ago I did the same while listening to the wonderful Bill Lord (@joga5)
  4. Do some research! There are some great show-only deals available, but there’s no point negotiating if you don’t know the normal price. Think of it like the DFS sale. There might be a great sale price available, but is it always that price? Have they only knocked ¬£5 off for Bett? Knowing your stuff before you go will help. When you’re at Bett your mind will be in a bit of a daze from the sights/sounds so trial some software, look at some prices etc.
  5. Ask your staff what they would like to find out. Does the literacy coordinator need to look at e-books? Does the SEN coordinator need some software to help writing? Ask the staff before you attend and that may help your plan.
  6. Look at the seminar list. There seem to be loads more talks and seminars this year than in previous years.
  7. Make business cards. Now this is where opinion will get divided. Some will mock me for suggesting such an old-fashioned approach, some will say ‘I’m not important enough for a card’. I say neither am I. My cards have my name, position, school, blog and twitter name on. That’s it. If you meet someone and want to follow them/swap ideas, why not just pass them a card? The cards are also useful should you want to enter a competition as some stands have jars for you to put your name/card in to enter their prize draw. I’d also take a small stapler as suggested by Terry Freedman so you can staple your card to a prize entry from. You could also make your cards a little different, why not add your Twitter avatar, especially if it isn’t a photo and why not add a QR code that links to your blog? Google will help you to find a QR code generator here.
  8. Get a spare battery/charger. Your phone will run out. You’ll be trying to tweet all day so it will probably run out. The memory from Bett2010 was @lisibo asking anyone and everyone if they had a plug so she could charge her iphone (and being told to move for being a fire hazard). Buy a spare battery (and charge it). You’ll need it come 3/4pm. Especially if you attend an evening event! There are sometimes stands that have spare plugs, so carry your charger just in case.
  9. Check tube trains, there shouldn’t be any problems, but it’s always worth checking the day before!

On the day:

  1. Buy some water and a snack. The food and drink inside Olympia was quite pricey and I would imagine Excel being the same so grab yourself some water beforehand. Often there are some companies (such as Espresso and 2Simple) who have free water or a water fountain, this will save money on expensive bottles!
  2. Display your name/twitter name so people can see who you are. I can’t remember how many times I’ve met someone whose name and twitter name don’t match and I’ve spent ages trying to marry the two together. There are loads of people, so grab a marker pen and write your Twitter name on your badge. (Or copy @dughall with this snazzy jumper)
  3. On that last point, @digitalmaverick suggests that when you register for the show, instead of putting your name as Ian Addison, put it as @ianaddison and then it will display your Twitter name large and bold on your badge.
  4. If you need a friend, come and visit someone from Twitter. Quite often people attend Bett on their own. This could be because of cost so why not pair up with someone else when you get there? To find people head to a Teachmeet takeover or head to Brainpop’s stand or Rising Stars or 2Simple. There always tend to be lots of Twitter users around those stands. You can then say hello to people and feel less alone. Check here to see where/when people are around.
  5. Get your bearings. Bett is big and can be scary. There are lights, colours, sounds everywhere. Spend a while getting used to it. Walk from one room to another, find the stairs, the toilets. Look for a key stand e.g. Microsoft, Google, 2Simple that will help you get your bearings as you walk around. Then you can start to follow your plan.
  6. It’s like a theme park, at lunchtimes the cafes are busy. Don’t go there at lunchtime. Sounds obvious, but it’s true. It’s also expensive so, as above, take a snack/picnic.
  7. Wear sensible clothes. You don’t need a suit. You’re not presenting/selling anything so get comfortable. Wear shoes you can walk in for 8hours. Take a jacket you can carry when you get hot (which you will). You can put stuff in the cloakroom, but again, you’ll be queueing and paying. A rucksack is probably a good idea.
  8. Don’t get offended by Twitter. I’ve had a few occasions when I’ve met someone who was following me but I didn’t know who they were and vice versa. It’ll happen. Say hello, apologise to them or ask them what they do. Then remedy the situation by following them. If they aren’t very interesting, unfollow later. Twitter is a huge place and I’m sure you’ve missed someone or other, don’t worry about it.
  9. Don’t worry if you miss people or don’t get much chance to speak to them. It’s a busy place, you can’t meet everyone. There’s always next year right?
  10. Don’t worry if people seem pushy. Politely take their leaflet or tell them you’re not interested and move on. Sometimes people are rude and noone wants to see that. I tend to sit down for 5mins and empty my bag of everything and then put the interesting stuff back in and the rubbish in the bin. There’s a lot of rubbish, but some great hidden treats too. It is well worth doing a quick check of rubbish before hauling it all home with you!!
  11. Do make time to speak to people on the stands though, there are some great products to see at BETT.
  12. Oh, if you ignore your plan (as I have done a few times every year), don’t worry. Of course something caught your eye. Don’t worry that you sat and watched a 3D presentation or joined in a competition to win a whiteboard or whatever. It’ll happen.
  13. Don’t worry that you forgot to tweet about what you saw or who you met. Do it later.
  14. Enjoy yourself! Yes it’s big, yes it’s overwhelming, but I enjoy it. Mainly because of the underground events and meeting people, but still. It’s good fun.
  15. Attend at least one Teachmeet Takeover if you can.
  16. Oh and yes, there will be free stuff. Yes you can get pens and badges and sweets, but please, please DON’T be the idiot that goes crazy.¬†Last year the saddest moment was watching two of my children waiting politely for 5 minutes for someone to stop talking so they could ask for a chocolate from their stand only to be pushed out of the way by a teacher (I saw her badge) who promptly took a handful and walked away. My children asked me why they had to have manners when it was clear so many people attending had none at all! So take a pen, a sweet, look at the products if you feel you have to, but don’t take the Michael. Plus, you are a teacher! There are always pens at school. It’s more fun trying to find weird and wonderful freebies instead, such as Squidgy Pig.

After Bett:

  1. Take stock of what you’ve seen. What did you learn? Blog about it. Don’t have a blog? Start one.
  2. Tweet people to say hello. You’ll have got new followers and you’ll be following new people. Say hi to them.
  3. Follow up the free trials and contacts you’ve made. Have a play with new software and share it with colleagues. If a company says you have 2 weeks from the BETT show to try it and buy it, tell them you need more time. You’re a busy person after all. Don’t be swayed too much by the ‘sales’ and stuff, the software isn’t going anywhere.
  4. Look up the materials from Teachmeet. I’ll post those on here so don’t worry!

This all sounds like a lot, but it is mostly common sense and stuff that I’ve picked up along the way. Do you have any other tips for Bett newbies? Is there something I’ve missed?

More tips for beginners here and another post is here

David Rogers has written a great post on how to enjoy BETT by causing some trouble…that post is here.

Pete Yeomans has written a post here explaining that there is no such thing as free. There are some very good points here, definitely be polite when talking (or avoiding) vendors!

Terry Freedman’s very comprehensive guide to BETT is available on his blog.

I have always asked for other tips and here are some from previous years:

Dave Colman –¬†More tips for BETT can be found at¬†

Richard Anderson –¬†I‚Äôve always found that the main problem with BETT actually occurs post-BETT; you need to plan in time to actually look through the contacts and materials you‚Äôve collected. It‚Äôs easy to let a few weeks pass by. If you‚Äôre staying down in London, take some time before dinner (or on the train home) to sort through the materials and condense them down into the stuff you‚Äôre genuinely interested in / genuinely able to afford.







BETT – Teachmeet Takeover and Kidsmeet Takeover
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 | Author:

This post is just to announce that the wiki pages for Teachmeet Takeover and Kidsmeet Takeover at BETT2013 are now live.

If you are unaware, a Takeover is where a company gives up part of their stand for 30 minutes so that a teacher or group of children, can share some ideas about anything. This is usually a free tool or idea and it should be something that can be easily replicated in the classroom.

For example, last year two of my children discussed Popplet on the Scholastic stand and then I talked about 5 cool web 2.0 tools on the Rising Stars stand. It can be anything that you have used or tried in your classroom. A good way to approach this is get someone to share a 30minute timeslot with.

So what do we need? Well we need two things. Firstly we need people willing to present and secondly we need companies willing to share their stand with the presenters, If you are one of those, then click the links below and sign-up on the Wiki.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

PS: Yes, there is a Teachmeet on the Friday of BETT and no, details aren’t all sorted yet!

Teachmeet Takeover at BETT2013

Kidsmeet Takeover at BETT2013

Rethinking ICT
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 | Author:

Now with less than two weeks to go, I am very excited to be attending Rethinking ICT. I’m not sure what I will get from it, but that is part of the excitement. I know that I am talking for 10minutes on my thoughts about ICT and this changes every day. I keep thinking I have it sorted and then something comes along and changes my mind a little. I’m hoping that whatever I say will be useful and relevant to the other people attending.There are quite a few very important people going and I still just consider myself as a primary school teacher that has been a bit lucky. One thing that people need to remember is that there are thousands of teachers not attending, not on Twitter, not finding the exciting resources we do every day and it is these people that I am most interested in reaching. It’s a shame that I can’t take children with me, but I will be trying to capture their views about our ICT curriculum and what they like about it and what they would improve. I think they like it, but we’ll see!

I’m also hosting a discussion in a room about badges and ICT assessment. I’ve made a mini breakthrough in this area and found another teacher who wants to try this too so we are going to work together to come up with a plan of action before September.

The third aspect of my day is the question-time style panel where I’ll be sharing the stage with people like Miles Berry as we answer questions from the audience. I’m not sure why/how I said yes to this, but somehow I’ve been signed up. Maybe I need to learn to say “no” more often? I’m sure it’ll be fine. Miles will look after me.

All in all it will be a fantastic day and I can’t wait to see what comes from it. Will Gove be listening? No. But who cares. I have a plan for my school and I think that I am right with the way I am pushing it forward.

To find out more, visit the Rethinking site here:

TM Pompey
Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 | Author:

There are many fabulous people on Twitter, but one of my favourites (if I am allowed to have favourites) is David Rogers. He is always trying to get the rest of us involved in naughty learning and it’s always loads of fun. In fact, I was at a conference listening to one of his sessions and then 5minutes later, under his instructions, I was climbing a tree in the hotel and being told off by security. I was trying to catch a falling leaf at the time.

Anyway…David is organising the latest Teachmeet in Hampshire and this will be happening on July 4th at Action Stations in Portsmouth. Not one for a normal Teachmeet, this one will also feature Laser Quest. Obviously.

So, if CPD, sharing ideas and lasers sound like your perfect evening…then add your name to the wiki or contact me and I will do it for you.

The wiki is here:

I hope to see some of you there. Also, if you fancy presenting or sending a video presentation, please do let me know too! (Or contact David of course)

BETT Radio
Saturday, January 28th, 2012 | Author:

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my children were interviewed by the legend that is Russell Prue while they were at the BETT show. This interview was done without any¬†preparation¬†and they were amazing (as always). I thought I’d share the link, it’s a ten minute long podcast but it makes me smile.

The radio archives are here: and the direct link to the mp3 is here: