I had what I could quite easily describe as being a 'perfect' day on Saturday as I travelled down to London (on the extremely early 0555 train from Manchester!) to attend BETT 2012.
Like last year, it was a bit of a whirlwind as I wanted to visit lots of stands in quite a short amount of time at what is quite easily the largest ICT supplier's exhibition in the country. In addition, I also wanted to watch several talks too (both showcasing particular products and as part of TeachMeet Takeover demonstrating innovative classroom practice by teachers) - indeed at one point I even wanted to be at two ends of the main hall at once so apologies if I didn't quite manage to see the beginning/end of your presentation.
Some of my highlights from the show included:
- TTS letting me try out their new Bee-Bot app (which I was assured will appear on the Apple App Store imminently) and showing me their new rechargeable Bee-Bots complete with charging station;
- Scholastic Education (with the help of Chris Ratcliffe and Ian Addison) introducing me to Class Pet - a new online resource kit for primary literacy and numeracy;
- getting a free copy of the great Teach Primary magazine which although it is half-full of adverts, is also half-full of some really good articles/lesson ideas written by teachers too;
- being reminded of the power of CoverItLive through the new livewriting.net website which @simcloughlin and @cherise_duxbury doing a live lesson with children from High Lawn Primary School;
- trying out a Chrome Book (basically a stripped-down laptop with nothing but the Chrome browser on it) on the Google stand ;
- taking part in a writing workshop on the Nelson Thornes stand run by Pie Corbett (author of this new Story Ideas iOS app) in which he: explained how to write stories from images, taught how to describe a setting/character in detail to help build a picture up of it/them in the reader's mind and pointed out the value in doing a full shared writing of whole story with your class to model it fully to them before they are expected to write one independently;
- meeting the creator of the Testbase software we use at school for filtering old SATs questions by topic and year to give out to the children to solve/answer on the AQA stand;
- listening to Jane Fisher talk about the impact running after-school Mathletics clubs has had on improving her children's mental calculation skills;
- getting a free pointy hand stick from the SMART stand;
- being reminded how fantastically child-friendly the educational videos on Brain Pop are;
- meeting up with many of the outstanding educators I follow on Twitter for the first time like Claire Lotriet, Matt Lovegrove and Dawn Hallybone.
I also enjoyed giving a short presentation on the 2Simple Software about the amazing impact several of the creative tools available on Purple Mash has had in my school.
Finally, I ended the day with a scrumptious dinner at a Spaghetti House restaurant before then going to watch Matilda in the West End. This was by far one of the best musicals I have ever seen, being: funny, heart-warming and wonderful - I, along with the whole audience, came out of the theatre with huge smiles on their faces. What a fantastic way to end the day! :-)