Category Archives: BETT

How teachers can do what technology can’t, BETT 2016

Sean Gilligan with Tom Starkey

Sean Gilligan with Tom Starkey

Having just been at the BETT Show in London Excel, one of the most interesting talks was chaired by Tom Starkey, a teacher and columnist for the Times Educational Supplement. He was joined on stage by guest panelists Miles Berry (principle lecturer for computing education at Roehampton University) and Maurice de Hond (founder of the Steve Jobs School).

The discussion was somewhat controversial subjected on “How teachers can do what technology can’t.” Some in the profession (and this isn’t just limited to education!) fear that computers, robots and indeed artificial intelligence (AI) will replace them. The advent of machine learning and the ever-changing and fast-evolving technology landscape means things like driverless cars are just around the corner, and with the internet of things, people may be less needed. Indeed Miles Berry stated that the chances of a school secretary being replaced by a robot were 65%. However the replacement of a primary school teacher was 9% and a secondary school teacher just 1%.

Miles argued that if robots can do the repetitive, low level tasks, then why not let them? This would then free up teachers to do the more important tasks of teaching and learning. After all, if marking can be automated then why not allow for this and free up more time for lesson planning?

Tom Starkey and Miles Berry BETT 2016

Tom Starkey and Miles Berry BETT 2016

Teachers are needed for helping with creativity and curiosity, as well as building pupils’ character. Teachers are needed and don’t need to worry about their employability. What’s more important is the employability of their students in a digital world. It’s the learning process which is key, and the relationship between the teacher and the learner.

Agile methodology works for software developers, so why not teachers? Students need to be curious, challenge authority and be creative. Teachers should be courageous and set an example to their pupils as role models. Miles suggested that agile software development works in business, so why not therefore apply it to the classroom. Why not let teachers and learners have 10% of their time during the week free to teach what they want to teach, or for learners to learn what they want to learn?

Miles Berry and Tom Starkey taking questions at BETT 2016

Miles Berry and Tom Starkey taking questions at BETT 2016

Our future workforce need to work with computers and robots, not against them. Teachers are not going to be replaced by computers any time soon. Computers and the internet are here for enhancing learning outcomes and transforming education. As Sugata Mitra said in his BETT keynote earlier in the week, “freedom and collaboration are key to creativity.” Knowing “stuff” will be obsolete, because “you plus the device” means you know everything – there’s already evidence that the ability to rapidly look information up on search engines is impacting how we store and remember information.  “I know” is irrelevant. It’s how we apply the knowledge to create new businesses, new ideas and the jobs of the future that’s what’s important. Sugata suggested assessments should be shifted to the employer rather than at the end of school. To establish real change, you would need to change the assessment system in schools.

Below is a short video of the BETT 2016 discussion on “How teachers can do what technology can’t.”

Miles Berry and Tom Starkey at Bett 2016 from Webanywhere on Vimeo.

BETT Show Excel London 2015 Moodle with Microsoft

Sean and the Webanywhere team at BETT 2015 Excel London

Sean and the Webanywhere team at BETT 2015 Excel London

Webanywhere’s 5th BETT Show in London saw us launch a number of new products and services. Our two main product lines now have OneDrive integration which allows schools to quickly use their Office365 files in both our School Jotter and Moodle platforms. The Moodle functionality has been released to the open source community making it free for anyone to use. The key advantage of storing files on OneDrive is the ability to access your files at anytime and on any device. Office365 makes version control of your documents a breeze and avoids the pain of duplicate files causing confusion. You could start a word document on your mobile phone and then see it in your Moodle LMS with no extra work involved.

During the Moodle with Microsoft Better Together Seminar including Jason Cole, CEO of Remote Learner and Doug Mahugh, Senior Technical Evangelist of Microsoft Open Technologies a walk through of how Moodle can play with Office365, Azure, Active Directory, OneDrive and OneNote was demonstrated. This code has been released to the open source Moodle community and I was particularly impressed by how OneNote assignments could be submitted and then marked.

Webanywhere BETT 2015 Stand

Webanywhere BETT 2015 Stand

Once the presentation had finished I asked what the plans for the future would be and whether Office Mix (PowerPoint with narration functionality, quizzes and analytics) and Yammer (a social network) would be on the development roadmap. Doug replies this was being investigated and future developments could also include Skype integration. Skype of course would be great for starting an online meeting straight from Moodle.

The lecture theatre was certainly packed for the Moodle with Microsoft talk and the new integrations look like they will improve productivity and easy of use for a great many teachers. After all teachers want to be teaching and coaching not conducting unnecessary administration which can be solved by new technologies! It makes sense to link Moodle the most popular open source learning management system in the world with Microsoft who have a strong reputation for their office productivity software.

Webanywhere at BETT 2014

Sean Gilligan at BETT 2014

Sean Gilligan at BETT 2014

Michael Gove’s speech started the BETT Show 2014 at Excel in East London. BETT in it’s 30th year was busy not just with UK schools but many international delegations. The Education Minister mentioned three key words in his speech which give resonance to what we do at Webanywhere. Michael Gove in his speech mentioned open source software and flexible technology that stretches learning outcomes.

Our commitment to the world’s number one open source learning platform is most certainly a positive with the Cabinet Office and Francis Maude recognising the need for free open source software to reduce government spending on IT.

Webanywhere’s core business value is to be flexible so again the need for flexible IT is in parallel with many of our software product roadmaps. Our tag line is stretch beyond and stretching learning outcomes is one way in which we judge whether our software deployments are a success.

I was very proud to launch the latest version of our market leading software School Jotter at BETT. Two additional apps have been launched within the platform including School Merits and Jotter Learn. School Merits is an online reward system and is particularly useful in evidencing how schools utilise their pupil premium budgets. The Jotter Learn application allows teachers to create compelling learning sites within School Jotter. Learning sites can be edited and created in a similar way to your school website but with a different set of widgets designed specifically for digital online learning.

In some ways I don’t like the great expense and cost to both schools and business of the BETT Show. On the other hand it’s great for team building and a celebration of UK innovation in education with a worldwide audience. BETT 2014 was an open source, flexible and a stretching experience and long may it continue. See you at BETT next year.

Webanywhere at Learning Technologies and BETT 2013

Leaning Tech 2

Webanywhere are taking up residence in London this week as we show off the latest in education and workplace learning technology at BETT 2013 and The Learning Technologies Exhibition.

My colleagues in Workplace Learning and I kicked off proceedings this morning at Learning Technologies, with a rush of visitors to our stand (122 – come and visit us tomorrow if you get the chance, it’s well worth a visit!). As well as getting a chance to talk face-to-face with workplace learning professionals, and promoting new offerings (such as the Compliance Module for Moodle, and a groundbreaking social video platform for training) we are also hosting our partner The British Safety Council on the stand, as they promote their great range of health and safety e-learning courses.

A big highlight at the show tomorrow is the joint Webanywhere-Google seminar – Stretch your organisation further with Google Apps for Enterprise – not to be missed.

Tomorrow also sees the first day of BETT 2013, the world’s largest technology in education show. The Webanywhere presence at the show will be our largest to date – here’s just some of the reasons to drop by our stand:

    • Free Mathsanywhere account for primary schools who visit the Webanywhere stand
    • 5% discount for BETT visitors on the Webanywhere product range. Simply visit the stand and get the promo code(s)
    • Launch of the new look Learner Journey e-portfolio and safe social network for schools, with enhanced functionality, improved user interface and a range of new themes
    • Demonstrating the great new Learnanywhere mobile app, which allows the primary specific VLE to be accessed on the go
    • A joint promotion with Planet Sherston (stand F310) – take a product demo at both stands and claim a sticker. Attach both stickers to flyer to get a promo code for a fantastic special offer

…as well as the chance to talk to our e-learning consultants, who I can proudly say are the best in the business.

I’ll have updates throughout the week; be sure to follow @WebanywhereWork and @webanywhere_ltd for the latest Twitter updates, or check out the show hashtags #bettshow and #LT13UK

Learning Tech

It’s Showtime – BETT Show 2013 & Learning Technologies 2013

A very Happy New Year to you all!

We’ve had a fast start to 2013, with more new starters and some exciting developments
approaching fruition – more on that another time…

January sees Webanywhere at the two big ICT exhibitions this month. We’ll be at both BETT and Learning Technologies, at Excel London Jan 30th- Feb 2nd, and Olympia 2 London 29th-30th Jan respectively, with a bigger and better presence than ever.


I’ll be at both shows, and am relishing the chance to chat to customers and non-customers alike. Our stands will be manned by our fantastic team of e-learning specialists and developers, so if you would like to ask us a question or see our products in action, make sure you stop by stand F280 at BETT or stand 122 at Learning Technologies. To book a meeting in advance, click here for BETT and here for Learning Technologies.

I recently had the pleasure of another trip down to Google UK headquarters. As a Google
Enterprise partner, and Google Apps for Education reseller we really value our relationship (and internally Webanywhere’s use of Google Apps for Business allows us to communicate and collaborate in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise).

Sean at Google

I am delighted to announce that Webanywhere and Google will be conducting a joint
seminar at Learning Technologies – Stretch your organisation further with Google Apps for Enterprise, examining amongst other things the integration of this powerful suite of cloud based tools with Totara LMS.

We hope you can make it to at least one of the shows, and that they provide you with new ideas and inspiration for the coming year.

Welcome to BETT 2012


Yesterday I travelled all the way down to London with the team for the first day of the BETT Show 2012. We set up in the morning at Stand K49, and its been all go since then. With Wednesday traditionally meant to be a quiet day, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were rushed off our feet all the way till Saturday 14th of January when it finishes.

The show, for those of you that don’t know, is an annual event that showcases the best uses of ICT and e-learning in education. It’s a great opportunity for me and my staff to meet new customers and catch up with a few familiar faces too. The exhibition is also a big inspiration, with plenty of exciting demonstrations and eye-catching inventions.

We started the day with a Webanywhere presentation at the Google stand all about Google Apps. Then, we dived right in at our own stand with chats, coffee and demos of our software. My personal highlight was showing off the brand new version of our school website builder; School Jotter 2.

As well as a team at the stand, we also had our multimedia crew filming and snapping the event. Take a look at their BETT 2012 video round-up of the show, featured below.