Jan 18, 2009

BETT 09: UK's Annual ICT (Ed Tech) conference - Tabletop Computing and More

BETT is the annual ICT & educational technology conference held in the UK. The UK has the highest number of classrooms in the world with interactive whiteboards, which has been an interesting transformation to follow over the past few years.

I've posted several video clips from BETT '09, which was held this month (January), along with some other resources. Tabletop computing applications for education were demonstrated by Microsoft Surface and Smart Technologies. Take a look!

BETT 2009 Video Overview

Microsoft Surface at BETT 2009

More Surface for Education: User Interface and Paint

Physics and Social Studies

Orientation and Images

Science: Medical and Health Care

SMARTTable at BETT 09
(Note: The two clips below look as if they were taken with a cell phone video camera. I'll post higher-quality videos if I find them.)

SMART Technologies PR video

I think there is a need for more application development in this area!

The following two clips are from the visitor's point of view, overwhelmed by it all...

SMARTTechnologies SMARTTable

Microsoft Surface
BETT 2008 Video Magazine
BETT 2008 Teachers TV Report


Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to be at the BETT show this year and I have to say that the Microsoft Surface was, for me, the most impressive piece of technology.

It was only there that I really saw how advanced it was. I had thought of it as "only" a multi touch device but the other sensory information it can take was unexpected. The ability to detect physical objects placed on the surface was surprising but I'm not sure if it should be. I suppose a counter isn't so different to a hand. Totally unexpected, though, was the detection of the orientation of the user. Both of these are demonstrated in the videos.

I think this is very encouraging as it would be nice not to get into a similar situation as we have now with the single touch boards where the adoption of the existing technology is a barrier to the adoption of the new technology. What I mean by this is everybody adopting a multi-touch display and then realising the need for a board that detects orientation, physical objects etc but being unable to to move on to the next level due to previous investment. Implementing this kind of interaction in advance of mainstram take up is very wise.

I think, forgivably, the current software is excellent at showing the features but a little underwhelming in what it offers new. It seems to focus very much on picture/document sorting albeit very intuitively. However does this software really offer anything that a non electronic table and a stack of physical photos does not? It would be nice next year to see software that offers something way beyond the real physical objects.

As a side note, it is interesting to se that multi-touch is being seen as suitable for tables rather than wall mounts. I wonder if this is borne of user requirements or so that they do not to compete with existing interactive boards?

Lynn Marentette said...

Many teachers who have interactive whiteboards would like them to support two or more students using the board at the same time. I heard rumor that new SmartBoards might allow this to happen.

Microsoft's Win7 operating system supports multi-touch interaction, so maybe this won't be a problem in the future.

The main problem is that we've been brainwashed by "WIMP"- point and click interactions with our mouse. It takes creativity to think how to program for multi-touch interaction.

You are right, the applications for multi-touch, even single-touch, are underwhelming. They are basically variations of a photo manipulation demos created by Microsoft.

Jeff Han's videos provid more examples of what can be done. You can also check out the videos that were created by members of the NUI-Group, an open-source community sharing information about multi-touch development.

Jeff Han: Perceptive Pixel http://www.perceptivepixel.com/

Search this blog using the key-word Multi-Touch for more videos and links, and also take a look at the Technology-Supported Human-Computer Interaction blog. http://tswhi.blogspot.com

Lynn Marentette said...


I just realized that you must be Spencer from TeacherLED...