When Bett opened its doors in January, kicking off the year for the education technology sector, Futuresource Consulting’s research analysts were there to explore the key innovations, topics and trends at the show. Between them, the education team spent more than a hundred hours exploring the show floor, attending presentations and participating in the seminar programme. This is the eighth year that Bett has been staged at ExCel, the only location in London big enough to host the show. For the first time this year, the show took over the north and south halls, underlining its ever-growing relevance.
The Futuresource team’s expert insights are now being made available in a free 42-page show report, available for download from the Futuresource website, click here>>. With more than 800 exhibitors, thousands of products and 34,000 attendees from nearly 150 countries, here’s a preview of some of the key themes that can be found in the report.
Many governments across the globe are focusing on teacher efficiencies to reduce the burden of administrative tasks. This was apparent across the Bett show, with many software companies offering a more complete suite of administrative software applications that can be integrated into student information systems. In previous years, admin software development was highly fragmented, with numerous small developers offering single, standalone applications. Standout providers this year included companies like Edulink One and Satchel, which provide solutions that span homework, parent/student communication, seat planning, roll call, student behaviour management and financial services. Data integration and analytics, together with single sign-on functionality also remain a key focus in order to reduce administration time.
Student safeguarding continues to move into the foreground, with companies harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) to apply context to written words and statements. With the contextual awareness that can be achieved through AI’s ability to learn, not only can suspect content be blocked before it reaches students, but targeted cyber bullying attacks can be identified, flagged and dealt with promptly. As student wellbeing rises up the agenda, advanced tracking, web filtering and real-time scanning will also aid in pinpointing depression and alerting administrative staff if students explore inappropriate content.
Across the show floor, there were a number of instances of governments presenting their own LMS-style management platforms. This was most apparent from countries in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia and Oman. The UAE also presented its digital classroom concept, by Alef Education, which utilises an AI engine, among various digital learning resources.
Esports continues to enjoy increasing uptake at both higher education and K-12 level. This was apparent at the show, with Dell, HP, Lenovo and Acer all showcasing their esports offerings, and the message was reinforced by competitive demonstrations at the Dell and Lenovo stands. Despite the hype, the desktop and notebook-based workstations on display have been around for a few years, rather than new device launches.
The field of robotics continues to innovate, with a wide range of exhibitors entering the fray, from established players such as Lego and Pi Top, to smaller organisations and embryonic start-ups. However, despite the buzz that was being generated, providers are finding it difficult to gain significant scale. This is due to schools and teachers struggling with integrating robotics into the curriculum, which has led to solutions that focus on after-school and specialist club applications.
For a more detailed analysis of all the Bett news, announcements and launches, download your free copy of the Futuresource show report, available here>>.
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