BETT 2012: Thanks to EdSurge friend, Ben Barton from zondle.com, for sharing his observations from London's BETT conference last week (which has noticeably taken on a very Scandinavian flavor). Curiously enough, this was Apple's first absence in ages, which just so happens to coincide with Google's first attendance, where it featured an education platform based on Chromebooks and Google Apps. Dell made a semi-splash announcing its "Next Generation Learning Platform," which so far sounds like a cloud platform for learning tools and a dashboard to manage accounts and data. Smaller noteworthy companies were Night Zookeeper, an arts and literacy project that won London's Startup Weekend EDU, and stealth startup Flooved, working on the "Spotify of Textbooks." And the most eye-catching feature? That'd be the Teachmeet Takeover, where exhibiting companies gave up precious booth time for teachers and kids to share their experiences with tech tools.
The bloody talk of the town, however, revolved around British education secretary Michael Gove's speech on the need to decentralize government control over the currently "off-putting" and "demotivating" ICT curriculum. His advisor, Ian Livingstone (also president of gaming giant Eidos) lamented that students "are effectively slaves to user interface" like Word and Powerpoint. Researcher Ben Williamson provides some useful context surrounding these prevailing attitudes and offers insights on how "geek politics" will decide the future of the "wikirriculum."