Jussi Okkonen, Iiris Tuvi, Daranee Lehtonen, Vallery Michael from Tampere University participated in one of the largest and well known educational technology show in Europe, Bett UK. More than 20 000 people visited it, 400+ solution providers participated and 50+ countries were represented. As numbers show, it is a huge event, where one could easily get lost if it wasn’t organized so well. The event took place at ExCeL exhibition centre in London where spring was two months ahead from northern countries and people were enjoying street cafes under blooming trees and colorful flowerbeds and green grass in the parks. The temperature was wonderful, 20 degrees in shade during all those three days full of Bett action… indoors. Fortunately, there were so much talks to choose from and solutions to see that it was possible to forget the summer outside for quite some time.
The technology presented made us curious, whether we could see something truly innovative in educational technology that we had not seen before. We did not see mind blowing innovation but the solutions advertised seemed to emphasize the affordability and the possibility of bringing a lot of functions under the same “hat”. However, some issues that were particularly interesting for the Tampere team as university lecturers, still seemed to be unsolved or it was too hard to find the provider that had developed that. For example, it would help a great deal if there was an automatic free text assessment AI developed. Instead, several providers offered possibility to add to students’ texts repeatedly usable feedback sentences with a single button press but there was no possibility to teach the system in order to automate grading the actual text. Also, beautiful platforms for creating online courses were introduced that were similar to MOODLE but they had similar flaws that MOODLE has in functionality.
The most satisfaction came from ready-made materials for class teachers (Estonian company Futuclass was really popular for providing virtual chemistry and physics labworks, Mozabook from Hungary provided ready-made interactive class materials from anatomy to history and beyond etc). There were also several providers who attempted to create smooth hybrid teaching solutions and easy to use learning analytics solutions.
The next Bett is next year in the end of March, 29-31, 2023.