Bett Show: Bring together technology and educators to drive innovation, says Cable

Vince Cable opens the Bett Show at the Excel Centre this week, with message of collaboration between technology, educators and business

The IT industry needs to bring together technology, educators and training to drive innovation according to Vince Cable, secretary of state for business innovation and skills, who opened the Bett Show today.

Taking place at the Excel Centre in London this week, thousands of attendees are descending upon the conference centre to hear about the latest technologies in education.

During the opening ceremony, Cable said that in 1970 there were three million students wanting to learn which has risen to 150 million students this year.

“How do we deal with the sheer volume of people wanting to learn?” he said.

Cable said the 10 most-demanded jobs this year did not exist at the start of the decade: “At the heart of these changes is technology. The great strength of Bett is that is brings together the best of the public sector. In a way, I envy some of you – you are in a really exciting place.”

The Bett Show, which has attracted 100 international ministers, has also seen Antony Salcito, vice-president of education at Microsoft address an arena full of academics, students and technologists on how to give students a connection to knowledge that is both in and out of the classroom.

“When students are learning, they are thinking how does this relate to the real world? Your students are learning without you. The classroom should be a catalyst to connect the two together,” he said.

According to Salcito technology is not the issue: “Technology will always be available. It’s how we react to this in the classroom. It’s about a student’s experience and emotional connection to what they are learning. 

"What is the journey that is going on for the student? We have to avoid dropping technology in schools and hoping change will just happen."

He explained that there are many transition questions when classrooms adopt new technologies, which can be a fear for some teachers: “How does it work? What do I do if it breaks? We should be celebrating automation, not transformation. E-learning environments need to be made deeply personal, so the transition between the classroom and home is seamless.”

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