image BETT is the big event in the education ICT calendar, not just for you but for us as well. Knowing that 30,000 people will flood through the doors of Olympia in about 7 working weeks tends to focus our minds on making sure that we put on a good show for them/you.


Our challenge, every year, is to get a balance between whizzy new technology and being realistic about ICT in the classroom – because the pace of change means that technology appears to be moving faster than the pace of change in the classroom. Some people are always looking for things to change rapidly (you only have to look at your students’ attitude to the release of the latest game) whilst others see change as something that disturbs the natural rhythm of things. And in your own school you will probably have staff on both ends of the spectrum.

This year, we have got lots of new products to launch (or which have been launched in the last few months), which will create a bit of a buzz. Windows 7 is out there, and in use by the innovators, but for many schools it may be the first chance for them to see it in detail. For some teachers, Office 2007 will be ‘new’, while some others will want to look at the next version – Office 2010. SharePoint is in a similar position – with some schools pushing the limits of the current version, and some who couldn’t wait to get their hands on the Beta version of SharePoint 2010.

So the plan this year is to dramatically increase the number of demonstration PCs, so that we can show all of our new things, and still explain how we can help schools get more out of what they’ve already got.

Our draft list of “demonstration Pods” looks like this at the moment (bound to be some changes between now and BETT)

  • Windows 7 (and also the multi-touch facilities, which are exciting to demo)
  • Office 2007 (and a new add-in product to be launched, which I can’t yet tell you about yet)
  • Office 2010 Beta – more here
  • SharePoint 2010 – more here
  • Home Learning Package – more here
  • Semblio – more here
  • …and a nice little bundle of 3 other new products to be announced on the first day of the show

Oh, and we’re just finalising this year’s freebies!

See you in January!