Saturday, 12 January 2008


On Ant's prompting, I decided to visit BETT today, a technology in education exhibition being held at Kensington Olympia this week. I convinced Sarah to register as well and we cycled there in the morning. Olympia is a huge venue, truly vast, and it was filled with stands handing out flyers, giving demonstrations, and talking with visitors. We both really enjoyed seeing some new things, but we disliked being sold to so much. We attended a seminar about maths and graphing software, which I enjoyed and Sarah found a bit confusing; we found and displayed a correlation between handspan and shoe size. I got loads of free goodies (Sarah admits that freebies were one motivation for going): two Guardian sections, 29 brochures, one stress ball, two pens, one foam cube to put together, a cloth bag, two CDs with demo software and resources, three journals, and a book about the career paths of secondary maths teachers.

We stopped for lunch at one of the in-house cafes (overpriced, though nice, sandwiches). A few stands were handing out food as well, for example, chocolates, a fortune cookie (with the company's website URL inside!), and a frog-shaped biscuit. But the best freebie of all was at the BBC stand. One of the things they were demonstrating is a part of their website called 21cc, and they were showing a piece of software in which students build an athlete and feed them, then study their agility and calorie expenditure. So they were handing out healthy treats: BBC branded oranges! Hahaha! How fantastic is that.* I was so taken with them, I ended up taking two.

We stayed until closing time are learned some neat things. Our school has a set of handheld voting pads that don't get used much and so we visited the company's stand to see how they can be used and I plan to try them out in the next month. I got some resources for the maths graphing software we have at the school already and I really hope to use it more as well in lessons. I have already been using it a bit for coordinate plotting and line drawing.

There was a stand there from the teachers' union we are part of and we chatted with the staffers a bit. It seems more and more likely that the union is going to ballot its members for a strike soon after the government makes its announcement about our next three years of pay. It's suspected that they are going to fix our pay rises at 2%, which is below inflation. Gordon Brown has been saying that all public service workers will have to sacrifice to help curb inflation. We have had no news of our pay negotiations this week, though. We are waiting with baited breath to see what will happen next.

*To make my parents' evenings go smoothly I usually have a bowl of small chocolates or sweets on my table for the parents and children who come. It's a popular stategy, but sometimes I cringe about the unhealthy aspect. One evening I brought little boxes of dried fruit pieces (similar in size to the raisins we used to get in our lunch boxes as kids). Now I have a new idea: maths branded oranges! Perfect!

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