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Moving Young Minds conference and BETT, London

The fourth annual Moving Young Minds conference in London 8-10 January 2006 brought together 62 ministers of education, 65 countries and 180 participants. There were three main strands:
 Visit to the BETT show and the speech of Jim Knight, Education Minister who announced the creation of a task force to develop home-school links as part of the Every Child Matters agenda. He emphasised the importance of personalisation. Presentations by participants and discussions around the theme of digital divides opened by Mrs. Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Education, who pointed out that even the $100 laptop was a lot for those earning $1 a day. In Afghanistan the annual budget per pupil is $25. European countries agreed to seek ways of helping developing countries through joint projects and expertise sharing.
 Deepening understanding of UK education and some remarkable school visits, e.g. to Georgia Greens, where substantial investment has been made to ensure success. The school is open beyond the school day and during holidays and five people provide ICT pedagogical and technical support to the 1200 pupils, not to mention an on-site policeman and social worked to help maintain an orderly atmosphere. 95 % of parents are involved and receive text messages to keep them in touch, though pupils’ mobile phones are banned in school. There is a speech online made by Beverley Hughes at the conference, on cultural issues surrounding young people and technology.

The conference format is clearly successful; it helps keep ICT on the political agenda and is an effective means for exchanging information and ideas.

The 22nd edition of BETT (www.bett.com) the annual ICT in education event, took place in London. Highlights this year included:
• A training section run by Schoolzone, with seminars, workshops and self-access training.
• A creativity section showcasing creative teaching approaches with pupils and teachers.
• “Tomorrow’s learners today?, where visitors took part in discussions on the future, related to the Building Schools for the Future programme, mobile learning, etc.
• Extended school activities
• Seminars on how to raise standards and increase motivation and behaviour.
The most visited stands were publishers and content suppliers and government agencies. Linking the political event - Moving Young Minds – and the commercial event – BETT – is a shrewd and successful formula.
(Thanks to Odile de Chalendar for this report).