Tag Archives: Steljes

Return of the BETT.


Touch screen art... Engage. #BETT2015 #SMARTboard.

The past few years have been a rollercoaster and the peaks and troughs generally come at the same times… Event days and the huge amount of work they entail.

I’ve been a teacher for 120 months now and the first 60 passed by in a fairly normal fashion. Teach, paperwork, mark, paperwork, chase students, paperwork etc. Then we were asked to demonstrate tablet art techniques at the World Skills Festival which was thoroughly fabulous.

How do you follow that? With turns at the Barbican, the Royal Academy. Teentech (x4), Bohunt, Magic Summer, Europamer (x2), MCM (x3), Sky Arts, Electric Theatre and much more. So many places we’ve been demonstrating tablet art on so many devices.

And, of course, there was the Gadget Show Live:

…which was the only show where everything has gone to plan despite being the biggest we had done (until recently). 70 or so students from 6 different classes on a seven day working residential. A 120 sq m stand which we filled on a budget smaller than most other stands free drinks budget. It should never have worked… but it did and it was brilliant.

Which brings me to BETT. How does that fit into the calendar? Surely the students would prefer to work at the comic conventions or the computer games shows or the music festivals or the art galleries?

Team Friday McAwesome. #BETT2015.

Well. Yes. Those were fabulous. But this time a surprising number of students who said they enjoyed this one most of the shows we’ve done this year. I loved it, because I love BETT, but they thoroughly enjoyed it too, and it was all down to the tech.

Thanks Team SMART. Had a fab time helping you on your stand. #BETT2015 #SMARTKapp

Sometimes we’re asked to do shows with tech that the students work brilliantly and professionally with at the time but afterwards grumble about an app or a device. We’ve been very spoilt, but to be fair we’re also pretty good at what we do. This year we were asked to draw on the SMART stand (again. They asked us last year too) and we drew on devices as we always do.

#SMARTKapp at #BETT2015 (close up ") ).

Lets be clear though, this year was different. Last year we drew on Interactive Whiteboards and it was good but, at the end of the day we were just drawing on large screens, which we’ve done, a lot.

SMART board art at #BETT2015

This year SMART had a 1-2 sucker punch of devices that I loved using and want in my classroom, stat . I’m absolutely NOT saying this because SMART paid for the travel and sandwiches (to be frank they got a good deal -I charge more for two pictures than they paid for all of the student train fares and I drew significantly more than two pictures over the past four days). SMART amp and Kopp were my two stars of the show. BETT obviously agreed as SMART amp won best collaboration software. If Kapp didn’t win an award it was robbed  its a fabulous piece of tech

Drawing on SMART board. And iPad ")

I’ll write some more later, today is my VERY MUCH DESERVED lazy day following four 15 hour days in a row. However I wanted to show off some pics of my students being thoroughly brilliant, as the always are at a trade show, and I wanted to big up the SMARTboards while BETT is still fresh in people’s minds.

Interview time #SMARTAmp

It was an ace show for us, there are hopefully some very cool things to come out of it too, but for the moment let’s just say that BETT is fab, the students were too, as was SMART and, you know what? So was I 🙂

As ever as always: lovely to draw on a #SMARTboard at #BETT2015

(Apols for some of the formatting. I’m writing this on a Surface 3 and it’s not allowing me to do some of the things I want…)

BETT 2014.

(Drawn on Tesco Hudl on the way to BETT day 2, Sketchbook app).

A longer blog post to come I think, with a few more details. But in brief, I and some of my graphics and IT students were invited to be a part of the Steljes stand at BETT (www.bettshow.com). Working on SMARTboards we were asked to draw for two 45 minutes sessions and explain some apps which might be useful for teachers or the artistic process for teachers who may not teach art (or some who might) and who could use pointers on where to start.
(a student drawing on a SMARTboard using ArtRage app).

Working primarily in ArtRage – an excellent program and app which is both very powerful and also very sympathetic to new digital artists – we also created images in Sketchbook (less kind to beginners but the symmetry mode is an excellent first picture icebreaker). We also showed off SumoPaint, Didlr and Webchemy – the latter package delivering excellent results which I look forward to posting soon. I also drew a few pictures in SMARTs own Note application which was very useable and often caught people’s attention because they recognised the interface  but not the outcome.
(drawing dinosaurs on Note program, SMARTboard).

For my part? Well, I’m in the post show/absolutely shattered phase at the moment (which, coincidentally has me wondering when the next show is because they’re a huge amount of fun to do). “For only drawing for 90 minutes a day?” you might say aloud in astonishment. “You great big wuss” you may additionally think, being, of course, far too polite to say such an accusatory awfulness aloud.

Well, no. Because literally every second I was there I spent either walking to new stands or drawing on devices I’d rarely seen before. BETT is a fabulous show and from day one I found myself surrounded by a plethora of devices I couldn’t wait to connect my stylus to, ranging from unreleased (as yet) larger screen tablets to table top projectors to huge interactive screen displays to… well… all sorts. The pedometer tells me I walked a minimum of 8 miles a day so I think I’ll return it as it’s obviously faulty. I did WAY more than that 🙂

(drawing a Marmite jar on an Epson tablet top interactive projector).

Four days were, very much, nowhere near enough. I made it a rule, one I almost stuck to, to not draw on any device twice, regardless of how much I liked it. Even with that constraint in place I found myself finishing the final day regretting a number of missed opportunities of screens unscribbled.

The highlight? Well, I like screens, and I found few I didn’t enjoy drawing on. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the Microsoft, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, Sony and Intel stands. Again I surprised myself by enjoying the HP stand (sorry, but up until a yer or so ago I’d found HP screens to be muddy and laggy and unresponsive to the styli I rested against them). To find that the tablets on offer were significantly better than I remember was heartening and, most importantly, they had a HUGE six screen wall of monitors which they were kind enough to allow me to hijack for half an hour. THAT was the highlight of the four days for me, with the only regret that half an hour drawing on such a huge and impressing canvas was not nearly enough. A video to come on that, soon.

(drawing a Marmite jar on the HP six monitor set up using Microsoft Paint).

Another highlight was getting to take two sets of students to Chin Chin Labs 🙂 Which is ALWAYS a wonderful way to end an event day.

I’m told this looks like Santa Clause. Which I can sort of see, so is doubly brilliant.

All in all a hugely tiring and utterly excellent week.