#BETT2016 – Day 1 Highlights

Day 1 at BETT 2016 began with a dawn dash to Rotterdam Hague Airport to meet fellow Learning Technology Managers (LTMs). After a quick coffee we boarded CityJet to London.

WHAT a productive day, despite the disappointing lack of stable wifi once again this year (at a global technology conference)! This quotation caught my eye at ExceL check-in, a fitting theme for the days ahead.

When I left at the end of the day a most amazing sky greeted me and as I took some time to enjoy it, began to summarise the day on the train back to the hotel.


Here are my Day 1 highlights:

#1 KS2/3 Computing with @LEGOEducationUK

This was a great way to start the day! In the hands-on workshop, each team was given a LEGO Education Mindstorms EV3 body and a box of pieces. It was quite revealing to see how everyone emptied the box and organised the resources before them!

John Pinkney (Warwickshire ICT Development Service and LEGO Academy Certified Trainer) set us a QuickBuild Challenge – 7 minutes against the clock to build a bot in any way we wanted. IMG_9055

The box included: motors, sensors, wheels, skis, a hoard of connectors, a ball-bearing and parts of a LEGO character.

Amazing how many different combinations can be made from the same set of kit – each team was distinctly  different. Here’s ours taking shape! IMG_9065

From there, John ran us through the Mindstorms Education EV3 app.

Exceptionally well thought out, and eye-friendly, it allows you to combine a colourful series of drag & drop code blocks. It takes a few minutes to become familiar with the function icons and options within blocks. There are helpful hints in the app to support users.

We used blocks to program wheel rotations and sensor commands, e.g. sensors can be pitched for distance in centimetres, time limits or distance. Once the program is complete, you pair robot + program via Bluetooth, try it out and debug. We set our sensors to engage at a a specific time after a motion is detected in front of it.

This was a pacey session, with oodles of humour and culminated in a Race-off! All workshop participants gathered at the entrance to the LEGO stand and raced the robots into the waiting crowd. This got a great reaction from students gathered outside, who gave us feedback on how the robots moved. Great fun!

Prior to the workshop, I was unaware of the breadth of development that LEGO undertakes to design and support a range of education programs, lesson resources and trainer schemes. Well worth having a look at LEGO.com to find out more, and Follow developments via Twitter @LEGOEducationUK.

The LEGO curriculum works on project progression in three phases:

LEGO flow principleSee the #BETT2016 – Day 3 Highlights post for the lowdown on the LEGO KS2 Science workshop.

#2 3D Printing with Ultimaker

This session focused on how 3D printing is enhancing education opportunities to engage in STE[A]M through The Great Project. Why is it relevant?

Paul Croft from Ultimaker outlined his experience and highlighted how it offers cross topic engagement, with the key to success being idea sharing and collaroration.

Open-source software enables 3D collaboration, and we were shown some great medical modelling where, for example, surgeons print joints pre-op. Being able to interact with an actual model, allows them to understand where connective tissue joins to bone, resulting in less tissue being removed during operations and consequently faster healing times.
The Enabling The Future Project is raising social awareness, by collaboration outreach projects created by community volunteers, to give ‘A Helping Hand’. Such moving results!

Creating designs via Ultimaker us by coding in Cura, YouMagine or Sketchup is making 3D printing easily accessible to all. The repeatability of designs and the reduced cost is a major benefit for production.

The Create Education message to learners is clear – “Imagine it, Make it!”. Paul encouraged educators to look for hooks to switch students on as lifelong learners and to not lose sight of the motivational impact of ‘making things’. This is a theme that emerged throughout BETT this year.

#3 3D Kanjers & 3D Printed Board Game by Kidesign
We were pleased to hear that a team from TU Delft, NL was working with Ultimaker, so met up with them after Paul’s talk. It was great to hear about the engaging work of 3D Kanjers developing collaborative printing projects which begin with some students building their own printer to understand each of the elements in the printing process. The project includes schemes of work, lesson resources, and access to 3D Kanjer coaches.
We also met with Kidesign, an educational startup who created Kideville “a collaborative city design project for children, with a full curriculum for teachers. Each student gets a design brief for a building, and they are guided through a term-long process of research, ideation, sketching, urban planning, 3D design and printing. This curriculum includes teamwork, project management and practical skills that equip children for jobs of the future.” (Source Kidesign website)
#4 STEAM Village and RaspberryPi


At various times, I’ve looked into RaspberryPi, but felt I’d missed the curve. However, today totally changed that and I came away with a host of ideas and inspiration!

At the Steam Village, James Robinson, Educational Developer at the @raspberry_pi foundation, Cambridge walked us through some key  projects, pictured below. I’ve been looking for a new module on data & analysis for Year 4, and the Weather Station and Pi in the Sky fit perfectly. Can’t wait to get writing the new module centring around the RPi.

RaspberryPi projects focus on purposeful learning and include coding in several languages: IMG_1407

Exciting Snippets : did you know a RaspberryPi is currently hanging out with @astro_timpeake on the International Space Station? AstroPi



Altitude Balloons – one was suspended @Bett_show, and was set up to respond to Tweets. img_1415

Each Tweet triggered the Pi to capture a shot of the floor below. Pi in the Sky involves data capture over a plotted area, in flight by the Pi and track specific data along the way!


Can Day 2 top that? #bringiton @Bett_show.

> > Day 2 Highlights here

> > Day 3 Highlight here


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