The future of classroom tech at BETT

The future of classroom tech at BETT

Summary: As Microsoft came under criticism from Becta at BETT 2008, plenty of other companies were showing off the latest tech for schools and colleges

TOPICS: Hardware

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  • Despite declining attendance rates at technology exhibitions in recent years, BETT has thrived.

    Started in the mid 1980s, the technology-in-education show has continually attracted a healthy number of visitors, including — curiously for a term-time Wednesday — a lot of teachers.

    This year's event runs until Saturday at London's Olympia and fills both floors of both the National and Grand Halls.

    The 700 exhibitors include the usual big names — Microsoft, Apple, Dell and Oracle among them — plus a raft of lesser-known niche players displaying a host of innovative software.

    The government has also played its part, with an opening keynote from schools minister Jim Knight, who is keen to see both open-source and proprietary software included in the school curriculum.

  • Microsoft held one of the most prominent positions at the show, with two large stands inside the main entrance.

    However, it didn't take long for Redmond's outpost to come under fire, as government IT adviser Becta released a report urging schools not to deploy the company's latest software, Windows Vista and Office 2007.

    Microsoft was unfazed, springing back with an upbeat riposte.

    The software giant was keener to focus on its flagship educational product, the Microsoft Learning Gateway, a collaborative platform based on SharePoint for running VoIP, mail and Web 2.0 applications in schools.

    Full marks to the organisers for their skills in juxtaposition: Apple's bold positioning next to Microsoft generated a stream of competitive banter throughout the show.

Topic: Hardware

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