Friday 20 January 2017

5 things to do at Bett

Bett 2017 (register here) is nearly here, and I realised this time is my first as a ‘visitor’. I was on a stand before so had limited flexibility to explore.

I’ve planned quite a few specific things for my time there, but everyone’s different, so you may prefer to go to different talks to the ones I’ve picked, or you may want to visit different stands to me! For this reason, in this blog post I wanted to share some general tips. The ExCeL arena is huge and there’s so much going on, so here are my top five tips, in no particular order:

  1. Check the schedule of talks/seminars

    This is something I’m particularly looking forward to, as I didn’t get to see any talks last time. With 14 different theatres and SO many different options to choose from, there really is something for everyone. I have roughly planned out which ones I am making a priority to see, but if you have a top recommendation, let me know.

  2.  Visit the exhibition halls

    You may have already planned to go but I've included this as sometimes, when you think of an event exhibition, you have visions of nervously scuttling around trying to avoid making eye contact of sales people on stands that you know you’ll never actually buy from. However, with the Bett show, there is so much fun stuff going on at different stands. Whether that be talks by EdTech influencers/Apple Distinguished Educators in the Apple Village, or presentations by enthusiastic students about how they’re learning in their schools.

    Even if you think at first glance, there’s nothing a particular stand has to offer you, you may be surprised! Everyone is so friendly too - what if they have a top tip for you or know about something cool planned?

  3. Check the hashtag #Bett2017

    As well as scheduled talks and events, there’s often extra things going on that you may not hear about other than via the power of social media. Check the hashtag #Bett2017 throughout your time and you may come across an informal gathering you like the sound of, and it's worth is just for the highlights of the best talks and video snippets of exciting things happening all around the arena.

  4. Take notes when you can

    We’ve all been there - in the height of bedlam at a conference, we get chatting to the person next to us or we hear an idea we like the sound of, or even an exciting new app or innovation that we just cannot wait to try when we get home. However, because of all of the sheer excitement happening around us, things can often get mixed up or we forget who gave us what. If something really interests you and you want to make sure you follow that person on Twitter later, why not pop it in your Notes app on your phone, or jot it down in your (probably) freebie notepad with your freebie pen? This way, when you’re all cosy and back at home, you’ll be reminded of those things that you really didn’t want to miss out on.

  5. Have a cuppa and some reflection time.

    I think it’s important to pace yourself at Bett. It’s a fantastic event and you'll come across so many new things and meet many new people. Depending on how long you’re there, try and grab a cuppa/lunch in one of the many refreshments areas. Reflect on what you’ve already seen/discuss ideas with your colleagues. Out of all of the things you’ve looked at or heard about, highlight the top three things you think you can take back with you and really help benefit you, your school and/or your students.

BONUS TIP: I didn’t want to include this in the top 5 tips as it would exclude people who aren’t staying until then, but I just wanted to mention the TeachMeet on Friday 27th January. It’s in the main arena and is on from 6pm-9pm. You should still be able to get tickets, and if you want to, pop your name down to share your ideas with the crowd.

I hope this has helped and that you’re looking forward to Bett. I'll be there all day Thursday and Friday, as well as the TeachMeet so if you’d like a demo of our tool (an iPad tool to create activities and encourage collaboration/higher level thinking) or even just a chat, email me at or send us a tweet @refthinking.

Thanks, Natalie

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