BETT 2022 London: An International Showcase of the Latest in Educational Technology.
23rd – 25th March 2022
The Bett 2022 show in London was a highly interesting event showcasing the latest and best in all things relating to technology and education. After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bett London returned in full force with educational innovations and solutions from a plethora of industry players, from big names to startups. As anticipated, the pandemic influenced the technological offerings presented in a big way, with many educational technology (ed tech) solutions geared toward distance and online teaching and learning as well as online school/classroom management. These digital developments in education in the post covid era is very much in line with, and pertinent to, our project and offered us an insight into potential digital innovations and solutions that can be utilized to better enhance and improve the digital lives, both teaching and learning, of educators and students.
There were a number of broad categories of ed tech which we observed at Bett. We would like to highlight some of them here as we believe they are highly relevant to this project.
Online/Distance Education Add-Ons
These types of innovations were somewhat common and mostly featured add-ons for video conferencing via Zoom, Teams etc.
Digital Educational Materials and Tools
These types of ed tech solutions involved interactive, immersive, and networked digital materials for education in the classroom. Some the most impressive and engaging of these came from a couple of companies called Edify and Mozaik Education. Edify and Mozaik both offer rich and immersive graphics along with high quality educational content. One attractive feature from Mozaik, for example, is the possibility to choose any particular point in history and virtually map and see all the parallel events happening at that particular moment in time. This is a feature we wish had existed in history lessons when we were in school. We found this innovative as well as meaningful as it allowed students to learn history within context and from a larger global perspective.
Coding and Robotics Materials featured prominently at Bett 2022 with a wide range of products from various companies across the globe. The offerings from Modi, Vex Robotics, TTS Group, and Fable in particular caught our eye as they offered practical coding and robotics systems that are easily adaptable, at a low threshold in terms of cost and availability, and offer creative and workable solutions for teachers to incorporate coding and robotics in their classroom.
One of the criticisms of the digital age, and a proven negative impact of digitalization, is the decrease in physical activity brought about by the use of digital devices and platforms. The more time students spend on digital activities, the less time they spend being physically active. Right? Well, not necessarily, we learned at Bett. In fact, we were delighted to see some solutions at Bett which addressed this important issue. There is now a growing number of innovations out there which combine digital educational activities with physical activities to promote not only interactive learning but also active physical movement. We call that a win, win!
Classroom and School Management Systems
Another trending category of ed tech at Bett were Classroom and School Management Systems. In the light of the increase in digital teaching and learning in this post pandemic era, these ed tech solutions are of great interest. The best of these platforms offered practical and creative features which make student and class management easier and more efficient in digital and online teaching and learning. Examples of these features are centralized device controls, two-way communication channels (between teachers, students, and parents), as well as activity and/or progress tracking of students. While two-way communication platforms are already a relatively common thing these days, these new innovations are focused on improving user experiences through enhanced graphics and interactive features.
Safety & Security
From our rough observation, almost a third of all booths at Bett pertained to safety and security in the digital age, and rightly so. As digital technology in education advances rapidly, so does the risks associated with it. It was encouraging to see the ed tech community rise up to me the challenge of this growing safety and security risk in the digital world. The safety and security offerings were manifold, covering a range of needs, from personal online safety and privacy to GDPR compliance as well as cyber security.
All in all, the Bett 2022 show was an informative and interesting experience, especially for the first-time visitors from the Dilipoco research team. We came away with fresh new ideas and some inspiration for digital teaching and learning solutions and systems that can be potentially implemented in Finnish schools.