So after a great day in London (with exceptional weather conditions) with lots of walking and taking pictures and a fine dinner with a small Austria group, I could not wait to start my journey today to the ExCel London. This ist the venue for the biggest edtech-„Show“ in the world. BETT 2017.
Already at travelling there you get an idea of how many people were heading there too. So thanks to the pre-registration I could get access quite fast to what I call „the biggest teacher-nerd-universum“ found on earth! Imagine three big soccer fields packed not only with technology, but also with truly inspiring people that are dedicated to education and learning.
And for me this year I have taken a different kind of approach as three years ago. As I am far more connected over social media with lots of educators (and #edtech companies) I was really looking forward to meet all the people in real life. Also I’ve planned some sessions in advance so that I can get some detailed information on what I am focusing now (and in the future).
Microsoft & GeoGebra
So my first way was to the Microsoft booth where I met Ari and the GeoGebra team and they were coming up with some pretty interesintg questions in the discussion. The GeoGebra integration into Office 365 (PowerPoint, Word, OneNote,…) is quite useful and therefore it would be great if it could be integrated into Office Forms as well. But Markus and his team want to take this a step further. Imagine this workflow:
A teacher creates and assignment in Microsoft Classroom and distributes a GGB-file to students. So the student can work on this GGB-File and hand it in, so the teacher can actually see, what he has created. I am quite sure, that this scenario is working right now, as this working pretty fine with other file types. But there is another scenario I know about, that is currently not working. If I distribute a OneNote page with an embedded GeoGebra Applet to students section, the students basically get an iframe within a page and if they work on the GGB-applet there is no way to save it. But this would not be the way it should be. I want my students to work on a prepared GeoGebra-applet within Onenote and it would be automatically saved to the students space. So everytime I or the student comes back he can just see his work and does not have to start over again.
As far as I have understood Markus, this kind of scenary could already be achieved with Google, where a „personal“ GGB-file ist saved onto the GeoGebra-Servers. This works on PowerPoint-slides and Word already, too!
So let’s see where this will go.
Another session I attended was by itslearning and the cloud integration they are planning. Although I am not using itslearning and I am not familiar with all the features I was interested on their approach on how to create tasks and assignments form within their „world“. In some parts they are really doing advanced stuff and it looks really promising as they have an dedicated LMS in mind right from the basics. But in some cases I think that I can achieve all these things with O365 and Microsoft Classroom (and maybe Planner). But I will have definitely a look into this a bit more.
Schoolboard, OneNote and Office Forms
And the next Office 365 integration system was Schoolboard, that is providing a cool environment built for O365 where you can easily manage and organize your whole school, both on a class level, and on the bigger, school-level. I really like the approach and the visual style and how it integrates perfectly with Office 365. I will give it a try when I am back home!
Stoping by the Microsoft Stage I was very proud that Ari Schorr from the OneNote team was presenting lots of OneNote features to make learning more interactive with a lesson of mine about regression and interactive GeoGebra applets. The GeoGebra team and I prepared some OneNote pages and I am really proud that these are featured here at BETT and also on the Office Blog recently
In the afternoon I had a very compelling and interesting hands-on with the Surface Hub and also a deep conversation about the new Office Forms features for mathematics. Here is a German screencast of the new features:
A must-be-session was Anthony Salcito’s Keynote at the BETT-Arena in the afternoon with some inspiring words of wisdom and engaging examples of how Microsoft wants to empower students to achive more. I was very impressed by the work of students with the Micro-bit things and I am really looking forward to seeing this coming to Austria in the very near future! It is amazing, what can be done with this small bits of tech and although I not familiar with this, it should be available for our young students too!
Meet the edu-rockstars!
But the highlight was yet to come. Kirsten Panton set up a meeting at the pretty new Microsoft Office at Paddington with some of the most inspiring education rockstars aka MIEFellows! Koen, Mette, Paula, Katja, Oliver, Bernd,…
It is that kind of people, that you not only talk about „high level“ #edtech visions and best practice examples, but also have fun and be crazy. I imagine to get these bunch of fellows into a two week workshop with no limitations and I think the outcome will blow my mind and would transform education entirely!
It is always good to see on social media, what these splendid educators are doing and how they are striving for innovation and inspiration, but meeting them in real-life always gives me a feeling of belonging to a family of great friends! I love these guys! They inspire me to do more!
So the perfect wrap up for this day was the Austrian Dinner! Thank you Yuri for bringing together all kind of people that are willing to shift and explore the possibilites of new technology in education!