A very quick update post regarding my current visit to the BETT show, here in London at the moment.
I am very lucky to have a principal and Board of Governors who saw the benefit to the school to send me to the BETT show this year with the aim of seeing where we were now placed as a school in terms of our technology provision to pupils and where we could be heading. For a school our size, it is a financial luxury to give this opportunity.
So, is it worth it? Absolutely! As well as getting ideas it is also a fantastic networking opportunity and having the chance to meet old friends who have been stretching their wings is fantastic – more on that soon. It is an investment to send a teacher to BETT, especially the ICT coordinator. This is my chance to get my CPD when I spend so much time helping others with theirs. I couldn’t recommend attendance highly enough.
It was great to see that, as a school, we seem to still be at least up to date with current thinking and striving in front of current thinking in many areas. What was fantastic was that there were no surprises! Yes, some of the tech is up to date and could make a difference but I wasn’t ‘blown away’ as some schools might be when surrounded by the level of technology on display. To me, that is a great recommendation of the work the school is doing – so a big thank you to all my colleagues for their support.
I will take a couple of things away – especially the collaboration tables from Promethean and SMART – again, photos and comment in the near future.
But the main thing I will take away is how disadvantaged we are in NI when it comes to seeking solutions to ICT issues. It was remarkable the number of sales people whose faces fell when they realised that I was from Northern Ireland and was operating under the ‘constraints’ of C2K. I feel that it is important for our schools that there is the element of freedom promised in the new (delayed) provision if we are not to fall behind the rest of the UK. The are some wonderful people working very hard in C2K and they know I appreciate them for it but the level of frustration vented from those who have been dealing with the NI setup was astonishing, simply astonishing!
We need to give our kids the best opportunities and shouldn’t be hamstrung by the politics (with a small ‘p’) that seems to be permeating the system. For example, the new ACER Windows8 solution Is beautiful and inexpensive – YET, we possibly would have to roll back to Windows 7 to use it on our system! Madness! The same goes for the Collaboration Tables from Prometean and SMART. I worry about the inability of our provision to enable us to exploit their full potential, so may not invest in what I feel Is a fantastic, though expensive, SEN resource.
We are at the cutting edge in Northern Ireland and have the potential to grow even further. Let’s hope we can.