Not just a schools market, BETT is a forum for debate and discussion. Get the key messages at the seminars, writes George Cole
BETT 2003 isn't just the best place to see the latest developments in hardware and software, it's also the venue for a seminar programme that provides fresh, stimulating and challenging views on the role of ICT in education.
Marian Brooks, director of school improvement for Cambridge Education Associates (CEA) will be delivering the TES keynote speech on the theme of Learning Communities Fit for the 21st Century: What Schools Need and What Teachers Want (Thursday, January 9, Room A5, 11am). Her talk will follow the presentation of the Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) ICT in Practice Awards.
Brooks will be pulling no punches when it comes to examining how teachers are expected to use ICT in the classroom: "Teachers are accused of being mavericks if they try and use ICT imaginatively, or they are said to be boring if they don't," she says. "But the system doesn't encourage people to use ICT. Instead it's set up so that people reach back and take the safe option rather than taking risks.
"We need a new model of assessment to take into account the new forms of learning that ICT brings," she adds. "Teachers need to share good practice with others and learn ways that can fundamentally change the way they teach." Brooks will illustrate her talk with examples of how ICT can be used to inspire teaching and learning: "I'll be showing some of the things being done in everyday schools today. There are a lot of people doing good stuff out there," she adds.
The seminars, running alongside the main show all week, are the most popular events at BETT and attract a wide range of speakers covering many subjects and issues, from policy to practice to pedagogy - there is something for everyone.
Barbara Brookes, director of Educational Exhibitions, which organises the seminar programme, says: "We like a mix of new speakers and regular speakers - many of whom are back by popular demand. We also put a lot of subject areas on Friday and Saturday, when we know more teachers will be able to attend."
On Wednesday January 8, the BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) keynote speech is given by Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, whose 1997 Stevenson Report is widely seen as the blueprint for the Labour Government's "ICT in Education" policy. In Updating the Challenges of the Stevenson Report, Lord Stevenson will look at the current situation and the challenges ahead in updating his original report (A2, 12.30pm).
Another seminar taking place on Wednesday is Where Now for the E-enabled School? presented by Doug Brown (see page 10), who will look at the impact of ICT in schools over the next few years (A3, 2pm). Sustainability and the total cost of ownership (TOC) of ICT are hot issues, so Steve Lucey's talk on Thursday 9 November - Using Total Cost of Ownership Models to Support ICT Infrastructure Planning - should be of interest to many. Steve will talk about Becta's TOC model and how six schools used it in their ICT development planning (B5, 1pm).
On Friday January 10, the Becta keynote is presented by Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson.
Seats can be pre-booked and any available seats are free on the day. More information can be found in the BETT programme or by logging on to: www.bettshow.co.ukvisitorseminars