Bett 2017 show preview - what should you definitely see?

Here's our pick of the most intriguing talks at Bett 2017

Bett 2017, or the British Educational Training and Technology show if you're not a fan of acronyms, is one of the biggest events in the technology/education calendar. If you've got any stake in the overlap between these two industries, you'll likely be making your way to the ExCeL Centre in London from 25-28 January, when the event runs.

There's a lot to see at Bett, with speakers and seminars straddling everything from education policy to gender equality. Here we bring you our pick of the biggest and most intriguing talks from the lineup. Note that these times are subject to change.

Wednesday 25 January

Abdul Chohan - Keynote

Bett Arena 10.40-11.15

The opening keynote will see Abdul Chohan, director of development at Essa Academy, talk about the school's use of Apple technology in the classroom. Apple has placed a great deal of focus on its education apps, so it'll be interesting to get an educator's perspective on the matter. Does Apple's approach signal a transformation in learning, or does it clash with outdated pedagogical systems?

Texting Parents to Raise Attainment

Learn Live: Secondary 13.30-14.00

Last July the results of an EEF research project suggested that texting parents about tests and homework has the potential to improve student exam results. In an age of constant connectivity, it raises interesting questions about the extent of teacher/parent communication. Raj Chande, a senior advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), will discuss the study in detail.

Ministerial address

Bett Arena TBC

Secretary of state for education, Justine Greening, will join director general of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), Caroline Wright, in Bett 2017's ministerial address. This should set the political agenda of the event, so it will be more than worth seeing.

(Above: Justine Greening, Credit: Commons)

The best apps to use with the equipment your school probably already has

Bett Futures (Primary) 14.45-15.15 (Secondary) 15.25-15.55

Talking up the use of educational tech is all well and good if you have a vast budget and several cupboards of iPads, but what if you don't have these resources? This pair of panel sessions looks at how primary and secondary schools can make the most our already-existing tech investments. A number of experts will explain how educators can best use phones and laptops to encourage student collaboration, communicate with parents and save on admin.

Answering Creativity's call for STEAM talent

Bett Arena 16.05-16.50

You might have already heard of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). STEAM is all of that with art thrown in - cue a lot of pictures of old trains, with a subtitle about how creativity fuels innovation. Beyond buzzwords, however, there are important questions about how creative industries have changed in our digital world. This panel will look at how STEAM presents a crucial opportunity to redress gender and diversity gaps within certain careers.

Exploring the impact of local cultures on how technology is used in education

Bett Futures 16.45-17.30

Ali Shameem, director of educational technology at King's Academy in Jordan, will join co-founders of the Edtech World Tour - Svenia Busson and Audrey Jarre - to discuss how cultural factors can influence attitudes towards educational technology. If you're aiming to widen your understanding of edtech outside of the UK, this could be a valuable session to head along to.

Thursday 26 January

Inspecting and Keeping Children Safe Online

Learn Live: Primary 10.30-11.00

John Nixon, Ofsted national ICT lead, and David Wright, director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, will talk in detail about how Ofsted inspects the ways schools keep children safe online. Given the recent revisions to the government's "Keeping Children Safe in Education" guidance, this looks to be a useful session for educators working with young students.

F1 in Schools

Bett Arena 12.00-12.45

Sky's David Croft will talk to educators and ex-racers about the F1 in Schools programme, and how it has brought action-based learning into the classroom.

(Williams F1 car, Credit: Bigstock)

Never Mind The Politics? Invigorating Stories Coming from the Classroom

Bett Arena 13.30-14.15

Educationalist Stephen Heppell will come bearing stories of transformational projects that are making an impact in today's educational landscape. If you're feeling weighed down by the current state of educational politics, this looks to be a fine session for reinvigorating grassroots enthusiasm.

Lightneer: Towards the Future of Games Learning

Bett Arena 16.25-17.00

Lightneer is a studio dedicated to educational games, and this session will see its team argue the importance of "fun learning". When it comes to providing fun experiences, should educational games measure themselves up against the general games industry?

Brexit, 6 months later: Effects on the international edtech startup scene

Bett Futures 17.05-17.35

No post-Brexit tech event would be complete without a session on what our impending exit from the EU means for the industry. Here, a panel of experts will discuss what impact last year's referendum vote has so far had on edtech startups, and what this could mean for the future of teaching.

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