On the 20th of January, eight Digital Leaders from Oundle School went to visit BETT 2016. Formerly known as the British Educational Training and Technology Show, BETT is an annual showcase for the latest in educational technology, held in the ExCel Centre in London.
Nikita Belenkov (15) commented, “A lot of well-known multinational companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Google, and Intel, present their state-of-the-art products, some of which seem to be shoe-horned into the education market rather than being built for purpose. Microsoft’s brand new 84” touch screen with built-in computer was an impressive example of this, quoted at circa £18,000!
Our mission was to find the most interesting and potentially useful software or hardware that would add value to learning at Oundle School – not an easy task. We had a lot to choose from. The most interesting products were often presented by smaller companies, for example, the revision app Gojimo.”
Each Digital Leader has been charged with writing a one-sheet report on a product they discovered at the exhibition. Some of the companies that the School is already working with also presented their new features including iBoss, iSAMS, Firefly and Parents Reception Booking system. This year BETT opened a new part of the exhibition called BETT Futures, designed to promote 30 educational start-ups and bring them to a wider audience. A number of interesting speakers were presenting their thoughts on the use of IT in education, tincluding Mr. Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, and Dr Ellen Stofan, the chief scientist of NASA. BETT also provides a platform for politicians, the highlight being the Right Honourable Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education.
Nikita concluded, “It was fascinating to spend an afternoon immersed in this investment hungry tech expose and think about the services and products on offer from a different point of view. It will be interesting to see if any of the products identified by the Digital Leaders will become part of Oundle School’s developing digital ecosystem.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports MasterPlan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion which opened in April 2015 and new astroturfs due to be completed this year.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11.