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The Bett Show is always a highlight of our year at Canvas, giving us a chance to showcase everything we love about our suite of solutions, as well as speak to hundreds of passionate teachers, educators and SLT members about their ambitions for the year ahead. Across the last three days we have handed out hundreds of t-shirts, put on eight events – and taken more selfies with our giant inflatable Pacman than we’d like to admit – making Bett 2019 our best yet!

One of the reasons this year was so special was that for the first time we took over the Peer-to-Peer lounge for six ‘Lunch and Level Up’ sessions, offering Bett attendees the chance to hear from some of the most innovative minds in education, and to share ideas with their peers. And, not content with a mere six roundtable sessions, we also put on talks in two of the biggest venues at Bett, collaborating with more of our amazing customers, as well as showcasing the talents of some of our own Canvas colleagues.

At Instructure we are passionate about providing lifelong learning. This year’s Bett gave us the opportunity to showcase our diverse suite of solutions, taking our customers on an education journey from the first day of school to the last day of work.

Bett 2019 photo

Wednesday 23 January – Digital Transformers (but not an Autobot in sight)

Day one saw digital transformation and student-driven learning high on the agenda, with our expert speakers covering topics ranging from the barriers that are preventing effective digital strategy implementation, to whether exams are an outdated way of assessing student progress.

First up we welcomed Deb Millar, director of digital learning technology at Grimsby Institute, Canvassador and technology pioneer in the FE edtech space. Using her 23,000 student FE and HE college as a case study, Deb took us through how she’s created not only a strong and comprehensive digital strategy, but developed a culture of enthusiasm around Canvas, which touches everyone from the SLT right through to the catering team. 

To access the slides from this roundtable click here.


Fontys ICT picked up the baton next with a roundtable which shared its vision of a next-generation pedagogical model, where traditional measurement tools are phased out in favour of pupil-driven benchmarks of success. Through Canvas, Fontys has completely flipped the way teaching and learning is delivered, putting the student in the driving seat and enabling the teacher – or ‘coach’ – to act as a supporter and collaborator in their learning.

To access the slides from this roundtable click here. 


Closing out our first day of events were Michelle Swithenbank of Hull College Group, and Mark Bramwell of Saïd Business School, Oxford University. Although they don’t work within the same educational sector, both Michelle and Mark had experiences of starting from nothing when it came to their edtech, and had some great tips for getting a digital strategy off the ground, and how Canvas can help drive and support that change. 

Access the slides from Saïd Business School here and for Hull College Group here.


Bett photo Jared and Alex

Thursday 24 January – Yoda or Iron Man?

Before we’d even had time to catch our breath it was day two, and our VP of Higher Education Strategy Jared Stein and renowned author Alex Beard were starting us off in a packed Bett arena. Alex began by explaining the greatest challenge facing educators in 2019 and beyond – how do we grow and learn in the digital age? The dynamic duo offered up some thought-provoking ideas on the role of innovation in education, including how edtech should always push educators forwards, and rather than just doing all the hard work for us, should facilitate our own invention and innovation in pedagogy. To borrow Jared’s analogy, a VLE needs to be more Yoda, and less Iron Man.

Access the slides from this session here.


Over in the Peer-to-Peer lounge Focus Learning Trust were sharing their evidence on why teachers being as much a part of the lifelong learning journey as students is vital for any edtech journey. As a global schools network, FLT uses Canvas to make sure that all of their teachers are able to be a part of this culture of learning, through sharing resources, creating consistent course content, and sharing best practice, from Northampton to New Zealand.

To access the slides from this roundtable click here


Day two closed out with a packed talk by Ilka Nagel of Ostfold University College on how we can turn passive learners into active learners. By opening up teaching and learning through Canvas, Ostfold have enabled their students to take control of their education, learning in their own way, at their own pace, in a manner that would not have been possible without it.

To access the slides from this roundtable click here

Bett team photo

Friday 25 January – Practice makes perfect (fuel for conversation!)

Friday saw us unveil Canvas Practice, designed to help train and support high quality teachers, together with Dr. Philippa Hardman from Cohort Learning. Practice creates a low-risk environment for every teacher to develop both competence and confidence, regardless of phase, subject area, or style of pedagogy. The web video-based professional development tool gives teachers the opportunity to learn by doing, and receive peer and expert feedback as part of continuing professional development (CPD).

Institutions from across the world joined us for a discussion about their own CPD challenges, and why the industry is so receptive to a tool like Practice, which puts teachers in control of their own development.

To access the slides from this roundtable click here


For the final Friday roundtable session at the Peer-to-Peer lounge, the wonderful Karen Barton – Director or Learning and Teaching at University of Hertfordshire – joined our very own Frances Quirke for a discussion on how to drive pedagogy with digital technology. Karen walked an audience of educators from higher education, further education, training institutions and schools all across the world through her experiences of developing their Guided Learner Journey – putting students at the centre of their own educational path – and putting it at the heart of Herts’ education strategy.

With pedagogy always coming as step one before technology enters the picture in concrete terms, Karen talked about how Herts worked with Canvas to deliver their innovative teaching programme and ambitious strategy, including rebuilding all of their existing modules from the ground up in 6 months. The roundtable discussion then tackled key issues like how institutions can ensure everyone buys into a vision of the direction of travel for tech and pedagogy.

To access the slides from this roundtable click here


And with that, our whirlwind of educational expertise came to a close. If you didn’t manage to make it to our “Lunch and Level Up” sessions then never fear – it’s not game over – you can console yourself with the fact that we’ll be sharing a series of write ups from the session right here on the Canvas blog to help you take things to the next level.


Keep learning,

Joanne Patterson
Director, EMEA Marketing & Communications, Canvas