25-11-2019 RepresentEdTech – Scandinavia AB launches!
When your new company’s aim is to ally itself to the best educational technologies, what better venue to make the launch official than Online Educa Berlin, where we have made so many friends over the past years?
Perusing the stands of the providers as RepresentEdTech rather than exhibitors (which we have been for years), we could take the time to talk at length with a few of them.
Online Educa Berlin 2019
Walking through the doors of the Intercontinental in Berlin on the first day of OEB always gives you a feeling of being special, a feeling of being part of something interesting and important.
In good spirits following our low-key official launch of the company the previous night, we went into OEB with three aims: to see our partners, to see people with whom we were in the process of partnering and to see which other innovative and high-end products were exhibiting so that we might talk about partnering with them. An unofficial fourth aim was to say hello to all our friends out in EdTech. Both Jonas and James have been in EdTech a while and have been to OEB on several occasions.
We were reminded of the powerful impact that having a large stand in the first hall gives you: we saw Proctorio, the proctoring company, in all their glory (but a well-lit stand makes for a poor mobile phone photograph):
Proctorio are an interesting company and one to watch; headquartered in Arizona in the US, they are expanding into Europe and now have offices in Germany (via a partner) and Serbia. Their tech seems very impressive and very easy to use. Of course, the obstacle is getting over the idea of having a camera watching students, but this is the difference between digitalisation and digitisation… Proctorio also had a good presence last year and it is encouraging to see so many of the same staff members again.
A trip to OEB would not be complete without stopping by Turnitin’s stand. As they are the market leader – and rightly so – in both plagiarism prevention and feedback, we were keen to see what they had to show us.
In the early stages of Katya’s eminent demonstration, we were graced by none other than Dr Debora Weber-Wulff of HTW Berlin.
Here began a discussion on plagiarism, plagiarism detection, plagiarism prevention and how burgeoning Artificial Intelligence (in the collective sense) is already upping the ante with its attempts at auto-generating unique texts, potentially clearing the board of antiplagiarism tools that currently only detect attempts at the simpler forms of plagiarism. Truth be told, Dr Weber-Wulff is the authority on plagiarism and, as both of us have a strong history in the field, we tend not to talk about anything else when we meet.
We were able to talk with Katya for a short while afterwards about #Turnitin and #Gradescope, though, and were suitably impressed.
Very recently, RepresentEdTech became an authorised reseller of D2L’s Brightspace in the Nordics. With that in mind, we had to say hello to our friends (now partners!) on their stand.
D2L is an excellent company with whom to be partnered. Their partner support is second-to-none, as is their Brightspace platform. Of all the managed platforms, Brightspace is by far the best, we feel, and this is why we chose them as our LMS provider. Their early focus on accessibility has meant that their platform is uncluttered and open to everyone. On the marketing side, they have eschewed ostentatious gimmicks and chosen solid technical knowhow and solid customer care.
OEB is a good place to meet and mingle with EdTech providers. Our good friends Gavin and Karen at Brickfield Education Labs were there to give a talk about accessibility requirements in learning management systems. With the 23rd September 2020 EU Web Accessibility Directive deadline approaching, it is important that public institutions have their material accessible. Of course, private institutions should also have their material accessible; we all win when content is no longer closed to people. Brickfield have a Moodle plugin which is set to remove a massive amount of the hard work of changing the content of Moodle instances. If you are a Moodle institution and are interested in this, drop us a line! We are collaborating with Brickfield.
What could not be ignored this year was the huge number of video solutions exhibiting. There seemed to be one every other stand…of the big players, we saw Kaltura, Streamitup, Panopto and Echo360 and talked with the latter two at some length.
They both have comprehensive video solutions which go far above and beyond lecture capture. Video in education is entering a new phase of acceptance, even though it has been around for quite some time. Most institutions are now aware of the immense value video brings to education. RepresentEdTech works with UNICAM, an excellent system for Moodle institutions which are looking for a scaled-back lecture capture and distribution system with built-in accessibility and privacy. Institutions looking for something more in-depth or which is going to be used in another LMS would do well to look at Panopto and Echo360.
BETT 2020 starts tomorrow in London and we will be present on the showroom floor for the whole event. If you are going and would like to meet up and discuss the six key areas of EdTech in the Nordics please get in touch! Book a slot in James calendar https://lnkd.in/gKudx65