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Visit to be among the first to know what we are premiering at stand C76BETT Update sponsored byFortunately, much of the documentation and advice produced by those bodies is still available on the web - a useful starting point is But when it comes to making purchasing decisions, the watchword is very much caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. Schools will need to adopt tactics which may, perhaps, be unfamiliar to them, such as inviting would-be suppliers in to demonstrate their wares, collaborating with other local schools. Fortunately, BETT provides the ideal opportunity to see and compare many technology solutions in a short space of time.Many UK educators have been disconcerted by the Coalition Government's apparent disdain of technology, suggested by the two developments just considered. However, it became clear from Tim Loughton's talk at BETT 2011 and Michael Gove's recent talks at the Royal Society and the National College for School Leadership that this is far from being the case. Unfortunately, however, perception is reality, and one challenge facing school ICT leaders is convincing their Senior Leadership Team that the importance of technology in education has not been downgraded. The role of ICT as a subject in its own right is being challenged (as has happened for at least two decades anyway), and its future in the National Curriculum is in doubt, but these are somewhat different issues. Even if ICT disappears as an independent entity in schools ,the challenge of providing relevant, meaningful and on-demand access to technology across the curriculum will still remain. So, do use BETT to seek out innovative ways of using technology in various subjects, and compelling reasons for doing so.And that, of course, brings us onto another challenge: finding out where good practice is going on, and who is doing it. Again, BETT is an excellent starting point, with hundreds of seminars to choose from plus free "unconferencing events" planned for some evenings. But after BETT, what then? Joining Twitter, if you have not already done so, is a good start. ICT in education has always been challenging, and these days it is even more so. But the ICT community is still strong, vibrant and, above all, supportive.Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant. He publishes the ICT in Education website at and the Computers in Classrooms newsletter at ICTSchool Leaders

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