Children's 'KidsMeet' presentations at BETT had a 360-degree impact, writes Catherine Steel

Even though the Saturday of the BETT show is often considered the ‘graveyard shift’, my Code Club children are still talking excitedly about the event three weeks further down the line!

The seven Year 4 children (aged 8 and 9) who attended KidsMeet with their parents, myself and another member of Redbridge Primary School staff, along with children from nine other schools are still making comments such as “When can we go again?” and “Can we write to Night Zookeeper?”

Saturday January 23 was indeed a fun-filled day for children and adults alike as we attended the KidsMeet hosted by Night Zookeeper. For schoolchildren of varying ages to have the opportunity to present to other schools at a global event was inspirational to say the least.

Learning and legacy

pickmbett16panel‘I was inspired by BETT and want to help shape the future... at school’As a result of the success of KidsMeet, I am currently advertising for the inaugural cohort of Digital Leaders at Redbridge Primary. Needless to say, all the children who attended KidsMeet have applied and have used this experience as evidence for why they should be given the job.

On their application forms one child wrote, “My experience in Code Club is a real asset to me as I have learned so much more about programming!” while another wrote, “I was inspired by the BETT trip and I want to help to shape the future of technology at our school!”

Such enthusiasm for driving change within one school got me thinking about the other nine schools who attended: Myrtle Park School; Francis Bailey Primary School; Lady Lumley’s School; Brockwell Junior School' Northwold Primary School; Royal Masonic; Langham Village Primary School; Downlands Primary School; Hackney New School.

Judging by the response on Twitter, everyone seemed to enjoy it in equal measures:

  • @MrWilBaker: “Loved the look on people’s faces at KidsMeet during the Rolling Spider surprise!”;
  • @NorthwoldSch: “#bett2016 was so much fun. Thank you…”:
  • George at Redbridge Primary said, “That was awesome! Thanks for taking us to Mars @nowpressplay.”

'The children made an impact on the workshop leaders'

picKMBETT16floor‘Working the graveyard shift on a Saturday was an absolute pleasure’On returning to school, the leadership team was pleased to see that the children had made an impact on the workshop leaders, one of whom wrote: “We just wanted to say how impressed we were by the seven members of your Code Club who participated in KidsMeet at the BETT Show with their teachers and parents. They really were awesome ambassadors for Redbridge Primary School. Their presentation about ‘Classrooms of the Future’ not only showed confidence and vision, but the way they talked and co-operated provoked further discussion among the audience.

“Your children really embraced the idea of working with others from another school. When they were split into teams for the Tagtiv8 active learning workshop, you could not tell which children were from which school as they worked so well together. Watching their energy and enthusiasm made us smile; their movement, language and art showed great creativity and imagination!

“We were also particularly impressed by your staff, their commitment and ways in which they engaged with the learners. There are not many teachers who would give up their Saturdays to organise and lead learner participation in an international event such as the BETT Show.”

For some school staff, this may be the case but when you are as enthusiastic and passionate as all of the staff who were at the #KidsMeet, it is easy to see how children become empowered to do more.

Two weeks after the event, the children arrived at Code Club sporting their Night Zookeeper books and t-shirts they had been given at the #KidsMeet, keen to create a presentation in response to a writing challenge that had been set. Night Zookeeper Buzz has asked them to write a non-chronological report about the event. Instead of writing text in a Word document, the children asked if they could use Scratch, PowerPoint and Publisher. Even though they did not complete the task in the allocated time, they requested an extra opportunity the following week and gave up two lunchtimes to finish it!

The whole day has been summed up in the Night Zookeeper #KMBETT video (see below) where you can view the range of activities and inspiration that took place.

Bett 2016 from Night Zookeeper on Vimeo.

Will there be a lasting legacy from this one day alone? Who knows, but you can bet that the children who took part have the memories and experience to last a lifetime... and that's something that you can never take away. Fort this teacher, being part of the community that is the teaching profession, where every day is a chance to inspire young minds, makes 'working the graveyard shift' on a Saturday an absolute pleasure.

Catherine SteelCatherine Steel (pictured above with her pupils) is a Year 2 teacher and Computing subject leader at Redbridge Primary School, London. Follow her on Twitter at @TaffTykeC   
Photography: Catherine Steel

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