January is proving to be a challenging month for many reasons. It seems months since we were last paid, the weight that I shifted in the second half of 2019 is almost all back and the thought of arriving at or leaving work in daylight is unimaginable. It also takes a while to get back into the swing of things at school, nobody comes back from the festive break feeling rested and refreshed, that goes for; teachers, pupils and parents.
So that is why, like so many of us, I look forward so much to that week at the end of January every year when I can jump on a flight down to London for London Education Week, specifically, for BETT conference. BETT is widely regarded as the main industry show of the year for those interested in education technology. This year BETT promises to bring together 800 leading companies, 103 exciting new EdTech startups and over 34,000 attendees. According to their website; "people from over 146 countries in the global education community come together to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the future of education, as well as seeing how technology and innovation enable educators and learners to thrive".
This will be my fifth consecutive visit to BETT and I am looking forward to it this year in particular, because I think I have finally cracked how to get the most from my time, so I thought I would use this week's blog post to share some of my top tips.
A few warnings to first-time visitors
If this is going to be your first visit to ExCel for BETT, you cannot start to imagine how big this event is and from what I have read, it likely to feel even bigger this year as BETT seems to have taken over the second hall which was previously used to host The Education Show at the same time as BETT - I am not sure quite how this worked before as I never made it over to the other show. If you are only down for the day, good luck. I would probably suggest that if you only have one day, you just have to wander and get a feel for what is out there and if you have something specific in mind, make sure that you get to that stand or presentation, but realistically, you aren't going to achieve very much in one day, so use it to learn what to do differently next year!
Personally, I like to have three full days at BETT (Wednesday > Friday). I would probably plan a couple of meetings or perhaps take in one presentation, but other than that, I use my first day just to wander, get my bearings and grab some free swag. I then don't allow myself to pick anything up for the rest of the week, so get all the handouts and bags back to the hotel and use Wednesday night to make a plan for Thursday and Friday. The app has had a major update this year and whilst the random appointment invites are starting to get more than a little tiring already, it is a great way to see what presentations and workshops are on offer. I have certainly used this to create a schedule for each day of aroun