Learning and Technology World Forum & BETT 2009

 Learning and Technology World Forum

Not been keeping my blog up to date recently – sign of being too busy.

I spent the week before last in London attending two events. The first was a Becta organised conference which was attended by 60 ministers of education including our own Maureen Watt, MSP, Minister for Schools and Skills.

Some great speakers including:

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, who called for more investment in the science of the web, the fostering of a culture of sharing/the commons of the web and for governments to open up their data for public use.
  • Andreas Schleicher, Head of Indicators and Analysis Division, OECD PISA, gave a stunning presentation on how quickly education is changing across the world. It is clear that it is not enough for an education system to be improving if others are improving at a faster rate. Certainly no room for complacency if our children and young people are going to be able to compete in the increasingly globalised 21st century.
  • Ricardo Semler, World Economic Forum nominated young business man of the year, owner of Brazil’s Semco and founder of the Lumiar foundation. Gave a brilliant talk on 21st learning and teaching and designing a curriculum around Formula 1, fashion, popular music of the 1960s, building a bicycle etc. Inspirational stuff and worth watching for the future as traditional curriculum structures continue t to come under pressure from learners, parents, employers and teachers as poor preparation for life and work in the 21st Century.

It was also a great opportunity to network and find out what is happening across the world from Saudi Arabia (making a massive investment in education), Japan (concerned about demographics), Finland (top performing in Europe but about to undertake a radical reform programme) …

BETT 2009

The second event I attended was BETT. In previous years I have blogged about how little I get out of the exhibition but how much I appreciate the opportunity to meet pretty much everybody in the learning and technology world.

Apart from bumping into large numbers of the people I have worked with over the last 10 years I also met with senior executives from a number of IT companies including:

  • Terry Sweeney, CEO of RM Education,
  • Peter Isaacson, VP Global Education, and his colleagues from  Adobe Systems
  • Herve Marchet and Mike Munn of Apple Europe

I also had the honour of having lunch sitting next to Prof Tim Brighouse – great conversation about how Scotland should respond to the recent TIMMS survey.  Also had the opportunity to listen to Tony Howell the current holder of Chief Education Officer/Director of Children’s Services with Birmingham City Council – got a real sense of the scale of the challenge he faces on a daily basis.

Brilliant week, fantastic opportunity and a privilege to have this job but I was glad when my plane landed back in Dundee on Friday night.

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