At the beginning of January when the tabloid newspapers ran slamming headlines about 700 Glasgow teachers jetting off on a jaunt, they were alluding to the city council's daring initiative to fly school staff on an in-service trip to London, to visit the BETT show. This year the council may think twice, as it hosts a new "Bett show of the north" at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.
SETT 2001 is the first of what will be an annual Scottish Education and Teaching Technology showcase conference and exhibition, organised by Learning and Teaching Scotland and Emap Education (organisers of the BETT show) for all teachers in Scotland.
The two-day event, on September 19-20, aims to bring key computer and software providers north of the border to display their wares, while running eight strands of seminars each day on the best use of computers, software, the Internet and peripherals, such as whiteboards, radio links and video conferencing.
Greenwood Academy in Irvine has been featured widely in the press for its use of information and communications technology to record pupil attendance and progress. Teachers will have the chance to see for themselves how this works and to talk to staff and pupils from the school.
Notre Dame High School for Girls in Glasgow will show the potential of portable computing devices, including wireless technologies. Other schools will demonstrate a range of applications across the curriculum, including how they study modern languages online, use ICT for 5-14 science and how they work via the Internet with schools abroad. Visitors can get hands-on experience of the Science On-Line Support Network and discover how to create "incredible classroom resources" using multimedia tools.
Speakers include Alan November, one of the US's leading educational psychologists, who will address with humour and wit the validity of information tat pupils access while researching on the Internet. Russell Prue, product evangelist for RM, the leading education computer technology supplier, will show how teachers will prepare and deliver their lessons in the future, and Janice Rough, from BBC Education, will explore the potential of the digital medium.
With themes of Working the Web, On the Grid, Technology Showcase, Tap into Learning and Software in the Classroom, the two days will have something to offer all teachers, from nervous novices to experienced stalwarts, in primary, secondary and further education.
Behind the event is National Grid for Learning Scotland, the Scottish Executive project team set up to get all schools and teachers "on the grid". With plans for every school in Scotland to be linked on a single national network within two to three years, as revealed by deputy education minister Nicol Stephen to TES Scotland earlier this year, teachers are going to have to climb on board.
The demand from schools for help to achieve this is clearly there. A one-day Unlocking the Grid event last September attracted 1,500 teachers. The target for the two days this year is 3,000-3,500.
Glasgow has designated one of the dates an in-service training day to enable as many staff as possible to attend. Other authorities have been sent packs on how to organise coaches and deal with bookings. Schools throughout Scotland will have the received the show programme this week.
Entrance is free. Schools may send as many teachers as they wish. Those who attend will be able to participate in two seminars and spend three hours at the show.
SETT 2001, September 19-20, is organised by Learning and Teaching Scotland and Emap Education in association with National Grid for Learning Scotland, the Scottish Executive and TES Scotland. For more details, call 0870 429 4490; www.settshow.com is being set up