Last January I was waxing eloquent about BETT, the education technology show. We’d run a well-attended stand, heard some very nice things about ourselves and our products, and were all feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves.
Looking back, I’m not so pleased. Running even a small stand costs £5000 if you include staff and preparation costs. Certainly it generated interest, but only a fraction of that created by Mike and Miranda with the free Xmas quizzes. The benefits just don’t justify the expense.
So, why does anybody exhibit? The reason I most commonly hear is “my competitors exhibit, so I don’t dare not to”. It’s a bit Emperor’s New Clothes-ish, isn’t it? I suspect that only a very small proportion of exhibitors get real value from the money they pour into fancy stands, expensive brochures and exhausted staff who, believe me, are pasting those smiles on by Saturday.
And who pays for it? In the end, it all comes out of the education budget one way or another. So this year, I’m restricting Chalkface to supporting the Moodle stand, and putting the money saved into more free resources on Yacapaca.