Before I start, if you;re looking for a useful guide to BETT, head over to Ian Addison’s blog and check out his comprehensive BETT for beginners post. This post is a guide to what I usually get up to. The main plan is not to have much of a plan. Please, don’t assume that I’ve done anything in the post. It is probably just for entertainment.
I’ll cobble together a real preview post of what I’m up to this year when I’m being all serious.
I take BETT for what it is – a big barn where loads of people try to sell you stuff that you don’t need. However, it is possible to avoid the hype and seek out some excellent CPD if you take the right approach.
In preparation, register at least four time:
- Once in your proper name, include a Twitter handle. Use this for people and stuff you actually want to speak to.
- For the second promote yourself. This enables you to speak to the people who sell the stuff you really want to play with. If they think you the holder of a large budget, you can have some fun.
- Give yourself the most outrageous job tile on the third. Any rumours that the Priory Geography team are having a competition around this theme are totally unfounded.
- Do not, under any circumstances, register yourself under the name of someone else at your school in order to sign them up for SPAM. It’s probably against the fire regulations and probably illegal.
When you get there:
- Scope out and remember the location of all eateries on your way there. There was an awesome kebab shop just around the corner from Olympia, I’m hoping for a posher version in the Docklands.
- Remember to get outside the building from time to time. Fresh air and vitamin D is in short supply inside.
- Get there as early as you can. Don’t plan to see anything in particular but cruise the place out. Head to the stands that have people talking. You get ideas from these people and get to see demos of the stuff they are selling. Ideas are free.
- Talk to the people on the smaller stands. Most of their stuff is bonkers, but there are some real gems in there.
- Get totally distracted and wander off. Meet up with people and get chatting. Somehow, I got into the VIP bit last year.
- Create two bingo cards. Use one when listening to product pitches. You know, stuff like ‘this will transform learning.’ Use the other one for yourself. For example, can you get in ‘frosty snowman balls’ into a conversation with a vendor?
- Go to the seminars. They are quality and are a welcome respite from people trying to sell you stuff.
- Remember that this is a massive trade show selling technology. Don’t expect charging points or WiFi that works. A notable exception last year was the DELL stand. Socketeer as much as possible, it’s far more fun than taking a spare battery.
- If you’re going to the evening events – make up a word and see how far it spreads or change T-Shirts in the toilets every 10 minutes. If nothing else, it will be a conversation starter.
- Tweet me if you find quality real ale.
When you get back to school:
- Try to wallpaper a section of your classroom with the leaflets you picked up.
Above all, have fun.