With Christmas now behind us and the decorations all packed up for another year, the emphasis for those of us in the education team at Microsoft has firmly shifted to one thing: BETT 2015.
The BETT show is definitely one of the highlights of the year for everyone in the team and, as with previous years, we are looking forward to welcoming the education community to our stand and sharing how our technologies and programmes can help transform learning, democratise access to powerful resources and raise attainment.
In particular this year, we are focused on providing a platform for educators, IT professionals and head teachers to share their stories, best practice and overall experiences of how technology is making a difference in their classroom and schools.
As an extension of this, we are also providing opportunities for visitors to not just be inspired by the great stories being shared within our Learn Live Theatre, Game and Learn zone and Device Galleries, but to actually get hands on with the technology in more of an experiential setting within our Showcase Classroom.
Within the Showcase Classroom, visitors can arm themselves with a Surface Pro 3 and take part in a variety of short and informative lessons delivered by fellow educators on technologies such as Office Mix, Sway, Adobe PhotoShop and TouchDevelop. I personally can't wait to check out Ray Chambers' session within the Showcase Classroom on how to develop a Flappy Birds game in literally 15 minutes. I will be in the front of the queue for that, for sure 🙂
Microsoft Learn Live Theatre
For those BETT Show veterans out there, you may well be familiar with the Microsoft Theatre. We work hard to source the best teachers in the community and provide a platform for them to share their stories.
Through this obsession to curate a unique and valuable line-up each year, we have built a strong reputation for delivering inspirational and practical content in our theatre over the years. Continuing this trend is something we take very seriously and, for BETT 2015, we have worked with i2i to become a formal Learn Live Theatre at the show.
With this in mind, we have a fantastic line-up planned in the Learn Live Theatre that will provide something for everyone, regardless if you are just starting out on a particular technology journey or looking to finesse a project that is already in place.
Sessions in the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre are as follows and will demonstrate a variety of Microsoft products ranging from Office 365, Surface, Yammer and OneNote:
- Bringing learning to life in and outside the classroom - Kevin Sait (MIE-Expert) @ Wymondham High
- Minecraft in Education: Inspiring the next generation of developers - Ray Chambers (MIE-Fellow) @ Uppingham Community College
- Project Based Learning in partnership with BBC Earth 'Enchanted Kingdom - Speakers: BBC Earth Director and Skype
- The digital classroom: fact or fiction? Digital inking, wireless projection and more with Surface - Jacqueline Russell (Surface Product Marketing Manager) @ Microsoft & Harry Traynor (MS Student Ambassador) @ Wymondham High
- Watch out Dragons Den!: Broadclyst Community Primary School go global. Meet the 10 year olds in the boardroom - Anthony Lees (MIE-Expert) @ Broadclyst Primary School
- Beyond the notebook: classroom efficiency and collaboration with OneNote - Ari Schorr (OneNote Product Marketing Manager) @ Microsoft & Emma Hicks (MIE-Expert) @ Arnold Hill Academy
- Making learning better through technology: The Vision. The Technology. The journey so far... - Tom Rees (Head Teacher/Showcase School Leader) @ Simon De Senlis
Sessions within the theatre will be repeated twice per day across all 4 days of the show and the full schedule, complete with timings, will be shared in a follow-up blog post. Keep an eye out on the blog for more information. The BBC session, in particular, is going to be really exciting. Again, watch this space for more info!
Devices in Education
Beyond the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre and Showcase Classroom on the stand, we are also showcasing a wide range of devices that are great for users across the sector. This year in particular, we have a fantastic collection of sub £200 and £400 devices that will sit front and centre alongside more premium devices, such as the Surface Pro 3 and the Lenovo Yoga 3.
Within these collections, the HP Stream (7,11 and 13) and Linx devices have to be seen to believed. With great build quality, awesome screens and, in the case of the HP Stream devices, high quality keyboards, these devices are really going to surprise visitors when they see how much device you can get for the price. Head over to the stand and ask one of the team to give you a demo. We would love to hear what you think.
Also, on the subject of HP devices, we might just have a few surprise exclusives on the stand. Keep an eye out on the blog or, ideally, head over to our stand at BETT to learn more. Let's just say we are really excited 🙂
Integrated within the device showcase zone on the stand, we are also sharing our cloud story to visitors to the stand. If you have any queries about how to get a free copy of Office, how Azure can save you money or how Yammer can help create an environment for peer to peer learning, the cloud zone within the device showcase is the place to head.
Lastly, within the devices showcase zone, we also have a great selection of Lumia Windows Phone devices available to experience. The Lumia 930 is definitely on my shopping list 🙂
Computer Science in the Curriculum
Computing has been a key focus area at BETT for the last few years, and this year we are excited to have a large section of the stand dedicated to showcasing all the exciting projects, support and innovations that we have available for the education community to better integrate computing into the curriculum and inspire learners.
Minecraft, TouchDevelop, Kodu and Project Spark are all featured within the Game and Learn Zone and we will also be discussing the new QuickStart Computing guides on the stand. QuickStart Computing is a national programme to help teachers to plan, teach and access the new computing curriculum. Our QuickStart Computing guides are essentially 'toolkits' for teachers who need to teach computing and are packed with additional resources, including online videos and interactive tools. The QuickStart Computing guides will be available from our stand at the show and are also available from www.quickstartcomputing.org
Beyond the Stand
In addition to the wide range of products, projects and stories we are showcasing on the stand at the show, we also have a number of off stand activities scheduled.
Anthony Salcito, WW VP Education, is presenting a keynote in the BETT Arena at 2pm on the Wednesday. Anthony's session is titled 'The Role of Technology in Transforming Education' and will look to share his global perspective on the journey to education transformation.
Within the School Leaders' Summit, of which we are the Headline Sponsor, we also have 3 sessions scheduled. Details are as follows:
- Wednesday 12.55pm - 1.10pm: From Data to Insight: Unlock insights that will drive better and more informed decisions - Graham Fox, Schools Business Manager, Microsoft
- Thursday 11.10am - 11.40am: Project Based Learning in partnership with Microsoft and BBC Earth 'Enchanted Kingdom' - Mark Stewart (Strategic Partner Manager, Microsoft), Neil Nightingale (Director, BBC Earth) and Jonathan Bishop (Head Teacher, Broadclyst Community Primary School)
- Thursday 1.50pm - 2.20pm: Personalised Learning & Collaboration with OneNote Class Notebooks: Ari Schorr, Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft
For the 3rd year running, we are going to be running our popular partner treasure trail again at the show. We have 14 partner participating this year and we have some fabulous prizes available that include Surface, Lumia 930 and Xbox One.
As with previous years, visitors should drop into the participating partner stands (14 for this year's show and include HP, Civica, Misco and Acer) and get a stamp. When completed, the treasure trail card should be delivered back to the Microsoft stand and we will run the prize draw at the end of our 4pm theatre session in the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre. If only I could enter…
The only other thing to share before I wrap up this intro post into BETT 2015 is to share our stand number - D270. More news to follow, and if you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via Twitter - @microsofteduk
See you at the show next week!