BETT 2015, The ‘World’s Largest Tech Show,’ Pushes Collaboration


The ideas of collaboration and connectivity in education were overwhelming at BETT 2015 technology show this year, calling them the keys to helping students and teachers work together.

A number of major technology companies suggested that technology be used to allow teachers and students to work together, replacing the traditional top-down model of education with the teacher at the front of the room. Major companies such as Microsoft and Samsung discussed the idea of a "connected classroom" as a place where students and teachers work together, sharing information across multiple screens and tablets, each having their own networked tablet.

The idea allows teachers to keep track of the progress of students on an individual basis, while allowing students the comfort of using familiar devices and access to learning materials outside the classroom.

In the end, the concept of a classroom without paper or pencil is nothing new for these students, many of whom already use laptops and Wi-Fi, collaborating with other students on homework assignments through social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. The technology shown during BETT 2015 would like to expand on that idea, bringing it further into the classroom, writes Roland Moore-Colyer for v3.

However, Vicki Phillips, director of education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said it is important to remember that technology does not solve all problems, and that nothing can take the place of the human interaction that occurs between teachers and students.

"[Technology] alone can't form a bond with students," she said. "[It can't] fan their interests, guide their projects, design their classrooms, or figure out what's going on when students aren't thriving."

Phillips went on to say that technology cannot offer life skills such as planning, emotional awareness and dealing with disagreements. Teachers are what can provide this to students and technology cannot replace them in that aspect, writes Jane McCallion for PCPro.

However, she said that technology can be used to transform learning to create an experience for students that is personal and driven by each individual student, in addition to allowing students to connect. She finished by saying that technology "must be seen as a tool, not a goal" and "not be elevated above its purpose to improve learning".

Additional forms of technology were presented at BETT 2015, some of which made life easier for teachers, others promised to change education.

In the end, many of the presenters at BETT 2015 looked at trying to break through the traditional model of classroom teaching where students simply learned information told to them from teachers at the front of the room, replacing that with a classroom where teachers and students work together as a whole.

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