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Mini setts lift off

Big is not always best. Thousands of visitors now attend the BETT and SETT educational technology events each year, many coming to London and Glasgow respectively from much further afield to see for themselves the latest developments.

But the conviction is growing that these major events are attracting the usual suspects each year, while - to paraphrase Newton - the great ocean of teachers lies all undiscovered before them.

Robert Naylor, education adviser in Renfrewshire, explains: "Because of the difficulty of providing cover, you tend to get just a couple of people attending from any one school - and they're the enthusiasts and heads of ICT."

This explains why the authority made their recent Renfrewshire ICT showcase an in-service day for teachers, while inviting their headteachers to nominate a large number who had not previously shown any enthusiasm for ICT.

As a result, 600 visitors attended a very successful one-day programme of seminars and workshops on good practice and innovative thinking from around the authority and beyond.

Other mini-SETTs have already been held in Highland and Edinburgh, and more are planned. It might be thought that Learning and Teaching Scotland, the public body that organises SETT, would regard these developments as unwelcome competition.

Not so, says National Grid for Learning development officer Patricia Kemp:

"These local events are a great way for us to learn what teachers are doing and vice versa. We are presenting seminars at all the mini-SETTS and providing support and funding to local authorities to set them up."

* Streaming video footage of the SETT 2003 keynote speeches, and a wealth of other useful educational materials are available on the SETT website.


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