Bett Seminars

2nd January 2004 at 00:00
The BETT seminars offer something for everyone, from policy makers to teachers looking for ideas, inspiration or examples of good practice in the classroom. Barbara Brookes, director of Educational Events, which organises the seminar programme, says: "Many are aimed at classroom teachers, with practical advice or summaries of classroom research that can help teachers to become more effective. The speakers know they are talking to a diverse audience and make sure that they reach everyone, whether you're just starting out in ICT in education or a highly experienced user."

Professor Stephen Heppell, director of Ultralab, the educational research centre at Anglia Polytechnic University, is presenting this year's TES keynote lecture, Astonishing technologies, delightful learning. "I suppose the theme of my presentation is 'no one ever said this would be easy'," says Stephen. "It's a complex process to do ICT well, but it's not impossible. If you look back to the early days of aviation, people could build aircraft themselves. The modern plane is far more complex yet we can now go so much further."

Stephen plans to illustrate his talk with some of Ultralab's research projects, including the use of mobile phone technology for student assessment. He is also a great believer in both teachers and children creating their own content and will be examining the tools that are available for this today.

Does effective use of ICT mean a change of pedagogy or simply grafting ICT on to existing teaching methods? Niel McLean and Helen Walker of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) will be exploring different models of pedagogy with ICT in their seminar Effective pedagogy and ICT.

One of the biggest fallacies in ICT is that an interactive whiteboard is simply a hi-tech replacement for a blackboard, and teachers looking for ideas and strategies for using them will find great interest in the seminar from Ros Walker, Effective use of interactive whiteboards - The REVIEW project findings. REVIEW stands for Research and Evaluation of Interactive Electronic Whiteboards, and it is a two-year project carried out by the University of Hull.

The research team has observed more than 200 lessons across all areas of the curriculum and all age ranges and created a set of criteria for the effective use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Those attending the seminar will also get a chance to see a preview of a CD-Rom practical guide that the REVIEW project is releasing later this year. "We wanted to share our findings with as many teachers as possible and help them get the best out of interactive whiteboards. The guide covers everything from installation to on-going professional development," says Ros Walker.

Classroom teachers have lots of great creative and presentation tools at their fingertips already, say Trevor Millum and Chris Warren of the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE). Their seminar, Using PowerPoint in your English lesson: a tool for all seasons, looks at some of the features that this program has to offer. "We're not just talking about bullet-point presentations," says Trevor, "but you can use PowerPoint in many more creative ways. For example, you can use it for sequencing text, fading text on the screen or showing one word at a time."

Everyone knows there's a lot of good content on the internet, but how can you find it? Tom O'Leary, head of education at the National Archives, will be showing teachers the array of free and rich resources available online in his talk, History Online - What are the cultural content providers doing? He'll also be handing out free copies of a history teachers'

handbook written by Ben Walsh, and there'll also be an opportunity to visit both The Learning Curve's (S19) and British Museum's (S60) stands after the presentation.

Are you making the most of the ICT expertise that many students already have? Rob Porteous, a teacher at St George's School for Girls in Edinburgh, has developed the Dolphin System, a peer tutoring system that can make a big difference in the classroom. His seminar, Learning teams - developing primary pupils' ICT skills through peer tutoring, shows how classes can be organised into small groups of tutor pupils and children, with tutors (who are the more confident and competent users of ICT) taking on the role of mentor. "It's a very efficient means of developing ICT skills," says Rob Porteous.

Recommended seminars

Stephen Heppell's TES keynote lecture is on Thursday January 8 at 10.45am in room A5

Rob Porteous's session on peer tutoring is on Thursday January 8 at 12.30pm in room E6

Ros Walker on whiteboards in the classroom, Thursday January 8 at 4.30pm in room E9

Trevor Millum and Chris Warren's session on using PowerPoint creatively in the English classroom is on Friday January 9 at 11am in room E10

Niel McLean and Helen Walker's talk on effective pedagogy and ICT on Saturday January 10 at 11am in room B11

Tom O'Leary's guide to the rich history content available online is on Saturday January 10 at 12.30pm in room C15

There are more than 70 seminars running throughout the four days of BETT, including a number that are presented by subject associations.

There is keynote lecture every day. The sessions are free, although some may be over-subscribed on the day.

For a full listing of seminars at BETT and to book a place in advance (for a small fee), go to

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