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Bett 2018: What’s on the horizon

The UK’s biggest edtech trade show returns to the ExCeL for 2018

It’s not news that the rapid evolution of technology means that professions and industries are evolving at a dizzying pace. The impact on the higher education sector, which has for so long been considered the holder of knowledge and has maintained its traditional Socratic teaching styles, is far-reaching and looks set to continue. 

The impact of Brexit on HE is yet to be fully known, but what is likely is that the changes will be felt for years to come. Homegrown challenges are also rife; the debate around tuition fees and salaries show no sign of abating and political uncertainty makes it difficult to future-proof venerable institutions every bit as much as their younger counterparts. Educators and academics are faced with the intimidating task of applying for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), where creative institutions are publicly rewarded and institutions, where teaching is not a priority, are publicly chastised. Meanwhile, increasingly informed higher education students now see themselves as consumers, not just receivers, of education. They enter into this phase of education with high expectations and experiences of state-of-the-art edtech and creative learning environments. 

Combined with this, educators are tasked with preparing students for a constantly evolving job market in which they themselves may have little personal experience; many of the jobs that exist today, didn’t several years ago, and that particular trend of change is set to continue apace. This can feel like aiming at a moving target. Meanwhile, the technology used in businesses and in our everyday lives is changing the way that students consume information; the very way that we study is being reinvented constantly. Just have a look in the ‘education’ category of the App Store. 

Tackling these challenges in order to better prepare pupils for an unknown future is exciting, and undoubtedly difficult, for higher education institutions, and it’s why so many educators gather each January at Bett; to discuss education, its challenges and the different ways in which we are all rising to meet them.

Bett 2018 has its eye firmly on the future but its roots in the present. The event has become the meeting place for discussions on education transformation and it’s often the peer-to-peer exchanges of new information and existing approaches that resonate throughout the months following the show. Suppliers with the latest tech for the HE sector give visitors the ability to touch, test and evaluate products and services, collaborate and refine practice to meet the new national and global challenges. Technology giants like Microsoft, Google and Apple sit alongside edtech start-ups in Bett Futures and transformative integration companies. With the rise in artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, self-assessment, big data and mass formats, cutting-edge tech gets brought to life and debated at the event each year. While the Bett Arena offers a range of workshops and talks by world-class speakers that will address the burning questions of the sector. 

Bett visitors will have the opportunity to network with over 45,000 education professionals and suppliers in order to find out more about the practicalities and realities of meeting the changing requirements of higher education and to gain insight into how other institutions are surviving and thriving. As ever, the key message underpinning the entire trade show is the belief that everyone has a role to play in transforming education. 

Bett 2018 will run over four days, from 24 to 27 January 2018 at ExCeL, London. For more information and to register for your free pass, visit: www.bettshow.com