Massive education technology show BETT is shaping up to be bigger than ever in its 26th year, according to organisers at Olympia on the first day of the four-day expo.
Richard Joslin, show director for BETT, said visitor numbers were expected to be on par or even higher than last year’s 30,000 despite the persistent snow, and foreign visitors – going by pre-registrations – would exceed last year’s 6,000.
“We have 750 companies or organisations, and we have got a slightly larger space – we are almost breaking 14,000 square metres here in Olympia. We are almost pushing out the walls,” Joslin said. “Registrations so far have been on par with last year, where we had 30,000 visitors – but in the last week we had 12,000 alone.”
He added that perhaps the cold weather would encourage more visitors to such an indoor event rather than deter them.
Further, this year’s focus on playful learning was itself exciting, offering chances for industry collaboration with big-name global players including Google and YouTube, alongside the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme, Joslin said.
Stephen Heppell, a new media environments professor, chief executive of Heppell.net and organiser of the Playful Learning initiative, said technologies and solutions that are entertaining as well as educational should do well in the education market of the future.
IT offerings that allow learning to be playful do help students engage better and make more of their time at school, suggested Heppell.
Joslin added: “Feedback from leaders and practitioners puts pupil engagement issues at the heart of some of today’s challenges for educators.”
Open Access technologies and offerings would also be big in the market, while other highlights at the show include this year’s Future Learning Space, including education-focused virtual reality solutions, and the all-new seminar programme, said Joslin.
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