The Bett Show 2016 – Our highlights: Part 1
This year marks the 31st Bett show, the world’s largest education technology show that brings the education community together.
With new technology announcements, exciting developments with the Fujitsu Ambassador Programme and inspiring keynotes from leaders in the education space, there is a lot to report back in our first update from the show.
Visitors to the Bett Show were welcomed by Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, who expressed how the Government is excited for the possibilities in education that are being opened up by technology.She explained how important it is for every young innovator to have access to the technology they need in order to flourish. We need to nurture all of our talent and spread educational excellence everywhere, which is why the Government is backing investment in broadband to improve access.
Nicky highlighted the need for technology to inspire students learning, especially when it comes to STEM. She spoke about the new BBC micro:bit which has recently been unveiled.
This is a pocket size codeable computer which is to be given to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK with the aim of inspiring digital creativity. In fact Nicky was wearing a micro:bit around her wrist!
Nicky also told us how she recently completed an Hour of Code session with the Prime Minister. These sessions are designed to give you a basic understanding of coding in 60 minutes.
At Fujitsu we run many of these sessions with our employees, helping them to grasp the basics of coding to enable them to support their children who are already learning code at school.
Nicky went on to explain that ‘teachers are our greatest resource’. The Government is committed to bringing in and developing the best available talent into teaching computer science. Nicky highlighted how it’s important to remember that technology should be seen as an aid, and teachers need to be supported to use it.
Nicky finally discussed the role technology has to play in developing education assessments and explained that technology has exciting opportunities not only for running schools, but also for their output.
Elsewhere, Fujitsu’s Director of Education, Ash Merchant, also spoke about the importance of technology in the assessment process.
He was joined by Dan Sandhu, CEO at Digital Assess, who both highlighted the process of inspiring young people, igniting the mind, and then following with assessment.
A key theme of this session was the need for assessments to be adaptive to the student taking them. ‘We need a modern workforce that challenges traditional thinking’.
Ash explained that in order to achieve this, we need more modern methods of assessment to give all students equal opportunities – technology can help with this. Digital Assess uses technology to change how we capture what students have learnt and how they demonstrate their skills. They help school leaders assess things that are difficult, such as qualitative assessments, giving them more time to focus on teaching.
Technology will also help assessments to identify vocational skills. As a large employer, Fujitsu is interested in identifying skills that can help young people thrive in business. The potential applications go far beyond just academic assessment.
Assessments are absolutely necessary, but they need to be relevant. Ash highlighted how there is a stronger need for innovation in assessments, and technology can help school leaders incorporate this. He mirrored the thoughts of Nicky Morgan and highlighted the importance of teachers.
Although technology is the driver for change, we still need to devote time to train and develop our teachers to help them come up with relevant assessment methods.
Another highlight from the day was the Long Live Learning keynote by Microsoft’s Anthony Salcito, who made the standout point: ‘The way we learn has changed, it’s shifting the conversation’.
People are no longer just listening, they are taking part and sharing – collaborative learning. Anthony looked into the audience to highlight this point, the majority of which were sharing by making recordings on their phones, taking photos or joining the conversation on Twitter.
As educational content becomes more rich and available, the focus shifts from where we can get it, to how we can use it. All around the world young people are being inspired to use this more readily available tech with initiatives like Hour of Code and the new BBC micro:bit, getting students excited about the jobs of the future.
Anthony went on to announce the launch of a new and exciting product for the technology space, Minecraft Education edition.
The new edition is being demoed at the Bett Show this week and will be available in Summer 2016. It contains new features especially for the education sector, new technology helping teachers to teach and students to learn.
We were left with a final message from Anthony, ‘empowering every student on the planet to achieve more’. At Fujitsu we believe that technology is at the heart of learning, it brings peoples together to acquire new knowledge and create opportunities – learning is for everyone, it doesn’t stop when we leave the classroom.
Finally we wrapped up the day with an exciting new announcement about the Fujitsu Ambassador Programme. We are now 12 months into the programme and are delighted to announce 5 new ambassadors, all of which are University Technical Collages (UTCs):
- London Design Engineering UTC
- London South Bank UTC
- The Leigh UTC
- Warrington UTC
- UTC Watford
We are looking forward to working with these new ambassadors during the year ahead and into the future – and look out for more information on this blog very soon!
Continue to follow our live updates during the Bett Show 2016 on Twitter at @FujitsuUKEvents #BettShow2016. Look out for our Fujitsu monkeys during the show, if you find one tweet to let us know to enter our competition #namethemonkey.
Find out more about Fujitsu in the education sector.
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