As the first industry event of the year, the BETT Show is always a great place to discover the direction the education sector is taking and what the key discussion points will be throughout 2020 and beyond.
This year’s edition featured a new, enlarged footprint and a whole host of new zones, covering everything from Learning Tech to Management Solutions.
From the many conversations we had with people who visited the Loxit stand, we’ve highlighted five key talking points that sum up the technology and trends affecting the edtech market today.
Billed as something that will really take off in the next couple of years, video-assisted learning was a talking point both on the showfloor and across the seminar sessions.
Much more than just putting a video on and expecting students to watch it, video-assisted learning combines hardware and software to create a more engaging and interactive experience. With new tools, videos can be played, annotated on, integrated into comprehensive lesson plans and used to test understanding and progression.
The central screen will be key to the success of a video-assisted learning strategy and, of course, ensuring this is safely and securely mounted is paramount. For large-format screens and touch screens, the HI-LO® Mono range of electric mounts is the ideal solution. Smooth electrical operation raises and lowers the screen by 500mm, meaning users of all sizes and abilities will be able to interact with content safely and easily. The HI-LO® Mono has been designed for durability and stability and can be fitted with an anti-crush bar for additional safety when being used in vulnerable environments such as with young children in nurseries, those in SEN environments or wheelchair users.
As in so many fields, the idea of user experience and the intuitive technology that this requires, is also a talking point in the education sector. At BETT, this included discussion about the role of the teacher and AV/IT technicians when it comes to device management, something which in the past has been quite a complex task.
By making device management simple, it will no longer be necessary for this to fall under the charge of AV/IT, instead giving teachers the ability to use devices in the way that works best for their students. This could include personalising apps to individual students’ needs and being able to uses devices in a more agile way.
In order to do this, it’s important that device management systems are intuitive and reliable. Take Loxit’s charging, security and storage solutions, for example. With options to securely store, charge and sync devices, these tools ensure tablets and laptops are always ready to use, and that students will be working off devices that are up to date, taking the complexity out of device management.
…But Make Sure They Feel Supported
Certainly not a new issue in the education sector, but one that doesn’t seem to be going away, is the uncertainty some teachers feel when it comes to implementing technology in the classroom.
This was highlighted by the launch of the EdTech Evidence Group at BETT and the news that 79% of teachers and school leaders would like to see clear, tangible proof of edtech’s effectiveness in the classroom.
Being uncertain about working with a new tool is understandable, but with a bit of planning it’s possible to achieve some incredible outcomes. For example, when it comes to investing in new hardware and software, it’s important to be clear on your goals and priorities, both now and in the future. If you want to improve student outcomes or reduce teacher workload, look for tools that have been shown to achieve this, or consider the activities you do or would like to introduce and explore how this can be supported through tech.
Above all, opt for flexible, scalable, reliable and intuitive tools, and uptake and outcomes are likely to be much improved.
Tech Support for SEND
With the announcement at BETT that the UK government has launched a £300,000 initiative to identify how technology can help students with disabilities and special educational needs, empowering SEND students to enable them to achieve their potential through technology was a key talking point.
With each child having their own specific needs, the focus was on how to identify the tools that will most benefit each individual. This could be anything from organisational apps and speech recognition for dyslexic students, through to touchscreens with features such as handwriting and shape recognition that remove the focus on writing/drawing skills, instead enabling the student to focus on the message they’re trying to get across.
Taking this a step further, tools such as the Magic Carpet interactive projection system have been specifically designed to create a totally immersive and intuitive experience for students of all ages and abilities, including those with complex needs. By supporting multiple access methods – gesture, eye gaze, mouse and touch – and with the ability to project images onto all kinds of surfaces, including floors, tables and wheelchair trays, all students can be instantly engaged and included.
The Cosmos is quite Overwhelming
Experimental physicist Brian Cox had a packed BETT Arena enthralled with his keynote entitled Exploring the Universe. Cox took delegates on a whirlwind history of the universe and, interestingly, highlighted how technology that has just been developed is helping to prove the theories of scientists such as Einstein and Lemaître.
As technology develops it’ll be fascinating to see how the field of cosmology, and the wider edtech sector, develops with it.