Monday, January 14, 2008

Reflecting on BETT and Teachmeet08

On Friday afternoon, I headed over to BETT, mainly because I was going to attend Teachmeet08 and thought I might have a quick nose around BETT first. Mistake!

I had heard that BETT is huge, but that is the understatement of the century.

On the advice of my colleague, Mark Berthelemy, I tried to plan my route ahead of time. I used the online planner and promptly found myself looking at a list of unbelievable length.

Take 2. I took out everything except "adult and community learning" and CPD. The list was still longer than my arm. Mark's advice was to go to Future Schools. What a good idea, I thought, since I have been known to occupy my soapbox on the subject from time to time!

He and I had a networking meeting scheduled for 4pm, so we went our separate ways on arrival, agreeing to meet up later - venue to be established via the joys of text messaging. I should have stuck with the man! After a short while of frenzied attempts to get my bearings and find the stand I wanted, I decided to head for the wifi hotspot and chill with a coffee. Wouldn't you know it? My stupid laptop decided that the wifi was all just a rumour! I could see other people all around me, busily interacting with their online resources while I just got an error page. So I just chilled instead.

Anything you want to know about BETT, you'd best ask someone, anyone else - my visit was a washout.


TeachMeet08 turned out to be a different matter entirely. Various people had put themselves forward to do 7 minute micro or 2 minute nano presentations. The order was set at random by a digital one-armed-bandit-type application. Oiled by copious quantities of free booze, both audience and presenters became increasingly rambunctious as the evening progressed.

The deal was that no-one was supposed to get up and sell their product. It was all supposed to be a testimonial: practitioners sharing their experiences with each other. Some people bent the rules, it has to be said, but it was wonderful to see the passion and enthusiasm among the people collected there - most of whom appeared to be secondary school teachers. It would have been nice to hear from a few in the primary school sector, too.

Highlights for me: Drew Buddie's wikifly effect about a collaborative writing exercise and Dave Stacey's 10 commandments for evangelising edtech.

The best thing about the evening, though, was getting to meet members of my online community in the flesh (people with whom I interact via Twitter, Facebook and blogs) - adding a third dimension to the profile photos I carry around in my head: Doug Belshaw, Dave Stacey, Andy Roberts (whom I've met before), Paul Harrington (who's much taller online), Drew Buddie (whom I've seen before, but only from the audience) and Ewan McIntosh (who gave the lie to the "online friends are not real friends" thing by hugging me the moment he identified me), Terry Freedman... Apologies if I've forgotten anyone. I can't even blame it on the free booze, since the strongest thing I drank all night was diet Coke!

I also met a few new faces, including Jose Picardo, who I mistook for David Delgado!

I will add pictures to this post once I've found my data cable so that I can upload them.


Mr Harrington said...

Hi Karyn - the slightly short Mr Harrington here :-) Isn't it a weird thing that along with the presentations, ((sadly we missed Drew and had to catch up by watching the Flashmeeting)) The best part for most of us online virtual inhabitants, was actually meeting each other face to face ! How very human :-)

Anonymous said...

Paul: Thank goodness for the indications that we are human - otherwise some people might wonder ;-)

Anonymous said...

Haven't been able to get onto your blog for the last couple of days (seemed to hang at loading your sidebar!)

It was great to meet you at last, Karyn. You look a lot younger and are a lot more bubbly and enthusiastic than your profile picture here suggests! :-)

Anonymous said...

Doug: Hmm. You're not the first person to tell me that the sidebar is causing issues. I think I might have to sek advice on this one. I'm not techie enough to come up with a fix myself.

Nice to meet you, too - especially if you're going to pay compliments like that!