This a an extremely delayed blog post about BETT 2017, I should have done this months ago but have never got round to doing it yet.

So, on the last week of January 2017, I finally managed to get to BETT, where I was able to see what developments have been made within the education sector and the sorts of technology that are available to schools. These technologies ranged from assistive technology to improve the experience of education due to a disability to small pieces of technology to teach as many people to code as possible.

There seemed to be a theme this year of BETT seemed to be VR and Interactive Floor Projectors, as these were the two most common pieces of technology dotted around the ExCel space. Amongst the huge industry giants, such as: Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Asus and Acer, were smaller companies who were just bringing their products to market.

One of these developing companies was Kubo, who are a Danish company who have developed a system to allow people to learn how to program using physical tiles and a small robot. These tiles can be joined together to make the basic concepts within computer programming and even incorporating functions, nested functions and recursive functions within the design. I can see this enabling people who don’t necessarily understand the basic concepts to begin with to explore these concepts physically and hopefully strengthen their understand of them.

Obviously seeing that the Micro:Bit Foundation were there I had to go and say “Hi” as I knew that wherever they were David Whale wouldn’t be far behind. They had a dalek on their stand which I was informed that I couldn’t steal as they were borrowing it, no one would miss it would they? After some discussion with David and some of his colleagues the foundation offered to donate some Micro:Bits to Kent Jams to be used at the Jams. I can happily say that in the last, however long its been, Kent Jams now has a stash of Micro:Bits that we are able to use within the events so will be branching out from just the Raspberry Pi to other devices in the future.

It was also nice to see Joe Nash, from Github, there with his Github colleagues, running some Github sessions along with dispersing Mona Lisas throughout the event. Joe also kindly gave the Jam some different Mona Lisa stickers so we now have quite a range available in our swag box to distribute at events.

Over the 4 days of the event, I managed to catch up with familiar friendly faces and some new friendly faces and managed to enquire about some new and exciting things for the Jam along with some possible support for various activities within Kent. So all in all it was a productive 4 days, even if my feet wanted to kill me by the end of the event.

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