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Bumping into Bob Geldoff, spotting Michael Gove and visiting one of the 700 exhibition stands – just some of the highlights from a visit to the ExCel London, where this year’s BETT show celebrated its 30th anniversary.
By Jenny Laird @Texthelp
2014 marked my second visit to the BETT show, the world’s leading event for learning technology. To celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary, this year’s BETT was bigger than ever before with visitor footfall up by 6% on 2013, to a massive 46,508.
Having previously visited the show in 2012 at the London Olympia I was initially shocked by the sheer size of the show at the ExCel. The exhibitor stands were huge, hi-tech, artistic structures each competing with the next for delegate’s attention.
BETT 2014 had over 700 exhibitors coming together to showcase their latest products and discuss key topics in the education technology sector. Top of this year’s agenda was the impending computing curriculum.
Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove opened the show on Wednesday. In his keynote speech he said the curriculum, which will be taught in UK primary schools from September this year, was built “from the bottom up” by academics because government departments would not be able to keep up with the rapid pace of technology.
The Texthelp exhibition stand was located in the Special Needs zone. We received lots of attention because of our creative stand design, with some delegates even taking photos of the beautiful butterfly on our stand!
We met lots of visitors from Schools, Colleges and Universities but were surprised by the large increase in enquiries from International students and organisations.
Dominic Savage, Director General of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) mentioned that BETT’s growing international presence played an important part at this year’s show. “The show aims to be reflective of the global move of education technology. Inviting the international companies along gives them and the UK-based firms a chance to talk all things industry.”
On a trip around other exhibitors’ stands at lunch time we noticed the exhibition stands of some big players in the technology market, including Google, who had a fabulous stand with lots of visitors chatting and checking out their wares.
We also bumped into Sir Bob Geldoff who was taking great interest in the tour he was being given around the many exhibitors stands at the show; and Laura and I made friends with some cuddly mascots.
The BETT Awards
Entries to this year’s BETT Awards were up by a quarter on last year. Texthelp’s Angeline Kelly, Caroline Cuddy and CEO Mark McCusker attended on behalf of Texthelp as we were shortlisted as as a finalist in the Exporter of the Year category. Although we didn’t go on to win the award, a great night was had by all.