5 Exciting Edtech Trends from BETT 2018
What do you get when you bring 41,000 square metres of innovative, educational tech into one place? For a start, you get the Bett 2018 Show at London’s Excel Centre! And secondly, you get a hub of excitement and drive to bring more useful gadgets into schools and the lives of children. We spent two days exploring hundreds of stalls to find fellow creators of great digital content for growing brains. Here are the 5 trends we’re most excited to see grow in 2018…
#1 Robotics and physical coding
The IT curriculum has changed somewhat since many adults were at school. Now, 8 year-olds can design a doorbell for the hard of hearing using just a SAM block! Physical coding, bringing kids off the screens, is on the rise. We were particularly excited by companies like Engino, who create build-able and code-able machines like those in the video below. The benefits go far beyond play: kids are developing transferable skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and logic.
And just when we thought we couldn’t get more impressed by the ingenuity of kids… We sat down and tried out Primo Toys’ Cubetto kit. Children as young as 3 years old can place the adorable, smiley Cubetto brick on a map and control its movements using colourful coded instructions. Tech like this will help children to have a strong understanding of how computers work from a young age.
#2 Coding clubs
Established tech brands like the Rasberry Pi Foundation attended Bett not only to demonstrate their products, but to encourage the growth of coding communities. Coding clubs tend to involve after-school activities, such as visiting a game developer’s studio, or an in-school club, that gives children an insight into the games and media they love. More understanding means smarter usage and an appreciation for the power of this tech. (And by the way – if you’re a coding club organiser looking for developers, drop us an email at [email protected])
We were excited to catch Tinybop for a quick chat about their new schools-focused work. We also visited Smile and Learn, to see their all-in-one learning experience that incorporates tons of skill-based activities into a single app. Through events like this, we’ve come to realise just how widespread devices are in schools. Even back in 2014, nearly 70% of schools used tablet computers. Nowadays, almost every school makes use of them to some degree. Anyone who follows us will know we’re excited to see our own products being used and loved in a variety of learning environments (check out our sample lesson plan for Astro Cat’s Solar System!).
#4 Kids in control!
As children are growing more independent and globally aware, it’s no surprise that many brands are allowing kids to contribute to the development of content. Publications like First News (a newspaper for 7-14 year olds that focuses on more positive stories and news relevant to children) have a Your News section that allows readers to tell and submit their own stories. We really enjoyed the overall feeling at Bett that children could take control of their own learning.
#5 3D printing and model making
Finally, the abundance of desktop printers, 3D printers, CNC cutting and crafting machines was mind-blowing! What we love about this growing sector is the opportunity for children to bring their ideas to life and boost class projects. Imagine creating your own board game inspired by a history or geography lesson, using 3D printed pieces! This tech definitely opened up the door from IT into more cross-curriculum education.
The edtech industry is set to be worth £129bn by 2020, so there are no signs of the march of progress slowing. There are some great benefits to more widespread educational technology. Competitive pricing will make it more accessible with time, while the benefits to our children are already apparent. Of course, as with any tech there are sensible ways to use it and limit the misuse of it. However, Bett 2018 showed us that not only is the educational realm ready for more tech, but that it also can’t wait to explore all of the advantages! We’ve got plenty more trade shows to attend this year, so keep an eye on our blog for any exciting developments. In the meantime, roll on 2018…