BETT 2015 had an overriding theme of collaboration and connectivity in education, with technology as the key element in encouraging teachers and students to work together.
Major technology brands presented their ideas of a 'connected classroom' where each student and teacher is equipped with a networked tablet allowing work and learning materials to be shared across multiple screens and devices.
Other forms of education technology were showcased, some designed to make life easier for teachers and others to change the education system.
The Korean firm's vision of a near-future classroom eschews paper in favour of Samsung tablets.
The class is equipped with networked tablets, allowing work to be shared between teachers and students on a one-to-one basis or with the entire class by displaying it on a central screen.
Control of all these tablets rests with the teacher, who can lock the touch input on the tablets of misbehaving students to prevent unauthorised use.
Samsung School encourages students to take their tablets out of the classroom and access learning material at home.
Mobile device management and Samsung's Knox security is built into the tablets to prevent IT-savvy pupils using the devices improperly.
The concept allows tablets to be networked at classroom or school level, with the ability to pull documents and other learning material from cloud storage, which can then be pushed out to tablets across an entire school.
Samsung School is due to be offered to the education sector in June.
BT Connected School
Broadly similar to Samsung School in terms of teacher and student collaboration, BT aims to provide everything from broadband connectivity to the school's chosen tablets.
BT's efforts focus on providing the Connected School over the cloud, rather than rely on a school's internal IT infrastructure, allowing teachers and students to access material from a device without the need for internal networks or VPNs.
The Connected School from BT Education on Vimeo.
Connected School boasts a portfolio of services ranging from interactive digital signs and school-wide Wi-Fi, to web conferencing and resilient data centres.
However, a BT spokeperson at the show told V3 that Connected School is less about the technology and more about finding ways to facilitate learning and collaboration, rather than just equipping classrooms with tablets for the sake of it.
Sony Vision Presenter
Sony's stand, unlike many of the exhibitors at BETT, was focused on higher education, showcasing ways in which lecturers can present learning material to students.
Laser projectors and 4K displays were touted as ways to improve academic lectures, but it was Sony's Vision Presenter that caught our attention.
Vision Presenter can be used with projectors or large displays to allow video, images and documents to be pulled from multiple sources into pre-configured templates and displayed in one window.
Content can be drawn from live sources, laptops and flash drives and is fitted into a selected template controlled via a tablet or wireless mouse and a simple interface. The idea is to bypass the need for IT staff to ensure that everything works together.
Sony appears to be highlighting Vision Presenter as a way to make lectures more of a two-way interaction between lecturers and their audiences.
Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robot Educator
Lego is not normally a company associated with cutting-edge technology, but the firm continues to bring its renowned toy brand into the education sector.
Lego's Mindstorms range combines physical creativity with programming to address the growing need for children to learn digital skills in preparation for a technology-centric job market.
The EV3 Robot Educator (pictured) effectively allows students to create a robot out of Lego sensors, motors and programmable bricks.
The assembled robot is connected to a computer running Lego's EV3 software which allows students to create command routines using icon-based programming.
Lego is presenting the EV3 Robot Educator as a way to show children the basics of programming and algorithms, in line with the new curriculum that mandates the teaching of coding.
Icon-based programming is becoming more popular in the IT industry, and Lego claims that the EV3 software will provide a foundation for the skills needed for a career in technology.
The BETT 2015 exhibitors that really stood out from the crowd were exploring new ways to break down the static model of a teacher dictating to a class, and to create a classroom that interacts and works together as a whole.
It is clear that the use of technology to influence education is only going to grow as demand for digital skills and the proliferation of gadgets into everyday life increases.
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