19 January 2010 Leave a comment
Last Saturday, I visited BETT 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 mixture of excitement and trepidation!
From the outset, it was clear the the was (understandibily) still a large focus on the primary and secondary sector, and to find those technologies that might be applicable directly to my work at the University of Bath might be a little tricky to find.
What were the highlights (for me)?
- My conversations with Mitt Nathwani and Paul Jenner from Reivo Ltd., the UK distributors of TurningPoint handware, were incredibly useful. I met with Paul a couple of weeks before Christmas to discuss the TurningPoint-based Audience Response System (ARS) pilot that I lead at the University of Bath. Through the conversations, I learned more about the TurningPoint 2008 software as well as about ResponseWare Web, including attitudes towards ARS in the US from Shelia Hura from TurningTechnologies Inc.More importantly perhaps, I got to borrow a sample of the TurningPoint ResponseCard RF handset holder/casing that is currently being installed in a number of lecture theatres at UWE. At this institution, these casings are being screwed onto lecture theatre benches, meaning that handsets no longer need to be given out to students, and collected back, in at the end of each lecture. (This in turn leaves more time for teaching!) Instead, the handsets are in place permanently. I wonder if the General Teaching Area working party at Bath might consider trailing this approach in the new East building lecture theatre?
- A number of the larger hardware and software companies had a presence at the show, namely, Adobe, Microsoft, Dell and HP. With both Adobe and Microsoft, the focus was on promoting key new features of their new software suites: Office 2010 and Adobe CS4. The University of Bath are still running Office 2003, so we might still be some way off upgrading! That said, it was interesting to hear that Office 2010 encompasses some of the features of Google Docs, namely storing workfiles in the cloud. Google Apps-Moodle integration has already been talked about on the VLE@JISCMAIL.AC.UK mailing list – how far off might an integration with Office suites with Moodle be?In terms of Dell and HP (and a number of other vendors), the proliferation of netbooks into the market is increasing. HP even had a touch screen model, which is coming to the UK market in March 2010!
There was little during BETT that suggested to me that the e-Learning team needed to re-evaluate current work practices or projects. We’ve already either committed to solutions or are undergoing an evaluation period: a VLE (Moodle), an Audience Response System (TurningPoint), an SMS solution (edutxt)… and now, a lecture capture solution (Panopto). That said, it was useful going along to see what might be coming up in the way of learning technologies, of course, seeing what else is out there.
Talking of which – was there anything that you saw at BETT2010 that I didn’t. My new colleague, Vic Jenkins, has already blogged a few of her thoughts…