16 March 2023
Ten Top Tips for getting the most out of a visit to BETT
The BETT show returns to London on 29th - 31st March and will bring together educators from across the globe to examine the latest in EdTech. Over three days, at least 30,000 delegates will descend on ExCeL to connect with over 600 exhibitors, along with attending a range of sessions examining recent issues and trends in education technology.
Whilst a visit to BETT can be a rewarding experience and an excellent CPD opportunity, the scale of the event can feel overwhelming; particularly for first time visitors unfamiliar with the layout and timings of the event. Therefore, within this guide, we present ten top tips to get the most out of your visit and to help you come away ready for the next step in your setting’s development of EdTech.
1 - Get your free ticket before the 17th March deadline
BETT is free to attend, although free tickets are only available if you register before the deadline of 17th March. Unlike previous years, it is no longer possible to obtain a free ticket on the day and registrations after 17th March will incur a £25 fee, so try to sign up well in advance to avoid having to pay for a ticket.
2 - Plan out your day
Before planning your day, consider what you want to get out of your visit. For example, are you keen to see a range of Chromebook solutions, have hands on experience with the latest programmable toys, hear from an engaging speaker on a particular topic, or something else?
Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your visit, examine the various talks on offer throughout the day and pick some to attend, then consider the exhibitors you wish to visit during the remainder of the day. There are sessions within the BETT Arena from around 9:00am each day, with the main exhibition opening from 10:00am. A paper map is available on arrival to the show and you may also wish to use the BETT app for iOS and Android to help with planning.
3 - Take some time to rest (and also wander)
It is also important to have some down time during the day. Many exhibitors have areas where you can sit for a while, sometimes including free drinks, or the central area between the exhibition halls has a number of communal seating areas.
The major players in EdTech often have huge, noisy stands to entice you to view their products. Having a large stand is unfeasible for many organisations, such as startups, so a number of smaller stands can be found around the edge of the exhibition halls. It can be useful to factor in some time to wander around these areas to explore what’s on offer.
4 - Connect with others
BETT can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with other educators. For example, you might catch up with a colleague from another educational setting to share your thoughts on a talk you’ve just attended, or meet up with a social media contact in person for the first time.
If connecting with other using social media, the hashtags #Bett2023 and #BettUK are often used. Items of interest to the CAS community can also be shared using #CASChat on Twitter.
5 - Go to, or even present at, the TeachMeet
Another great way to connect with educators is to attend the Teachmeet, which is held towards the end of Thursday at BETT Academy Live. This event enables educators to share their experiences and knowledge in short presentations, so it is even possible to present yourself! Further details and sign up links are available on the BETT agenda page.
Many educators continue their conversations after the TeachMeet, so 2Simple are hosting networking drinks at the nearby Fox Connaught pub from 7:00pm after the show.
6 - Look after your feet
During the exhibition, you are likely to be walking a significant distance as you make your way around the various stands. It is worth considering wearing comfortable footwear for the event, such as a cushioned pair of trainers, rather than a stiff set of brogues or huge heels! It is also useful to avoid carrying heavy coats and bags around all day, so pack light or use the cloakroom facilities provided.
7 - Take food and drink
There are many food and drink options around ExCeL, although these can get extremely busy; particularly at the start of the day and lunch time. It is useful to have at least some water and a few snacks with you, which will save you both time and money throughout the day. Free water refill stations are located by the East and West Entrances to ExCeL, as well as by halls S4 and S7.
8 - Keep that mobile device charged
You’re likely to be using your phone significantly throughout the event, so consider whether you are likely to have enough battery power to last the day. In particular, if your travel documents are stored on your device, a flat battery near the end of the day can make for a challenging journey home. It can be helpful to take a charger with you, or, even better, a portable battery pack to keep your phone charged whilst moving around the exhibition.
Along with helping to plan your day, a phone can be especially useful for taking photographs of resources, devices and exhibitors, which will help avoid becoming overloaded with flyers and brochures for products of interest.
9 - Consider your travel options
There are a range of public transport options available for travelling to ExCeL, with Custom House station being closest to the venue, which serves both the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the newly opened Elizabeth Line. Services are often busy around the start of the show, so leave plenty of time for your journey. For a more scenic arrival, you might even consider taking the cable car!
For people travelling from outside London, there is a train strike planned for Thursday 30th March, which may alter your travel options to the exhibition. If travelling by car, parking is available at ExCeL, although check carefully to see if you also need to pay the ULEZ charge.
10 - Grab plenty of freebies!
Many exhibitors give away free gifts, which could be as simple as a boiled sweet, to as extravagant as the latest tablet device. Giveaways for more expensive items often form part of a competition running for the duration of the show, so keep an eye out as you make your way around the exhibition halls. At the very least, you are likely to come away with some free pens!
If you want to read more about how to get the most out of education conferences, Terry Freedman’s well reviewed book, Education Conferences: Teachers' Guide to Getting the Most out of Education Conferences, is available for 99p on Kindle.