Not as big or well known as BETT, LWF (originally Handheld Learning) has become a serious thought leadership event in the international edu tech calendar.
LWF this year had speakers ranging from Noam Chomsky (on video) and Lord Puttnam (film director and edu ‘inspirator’) through Ray Kurzweil (‘rightful heir to Thomas Edison’), Mark Surman and Michelle Levesque (the Mozilla Foundation) to Paul Howard-Jones (neuroscientist who focuses on how gaming engages the brain) and many others.
LWF costs £995, but for this sizeable fee, delegates got two days of thought provoking talks and seminars along with a £400 Apple iPad 2 thrown in. Those with less time, budget or need for a new iPad could follow the LWF keynotes live online or later as online videos, for free.
If BETT is a Moby Dick-like behemoth, LWF is more akin to a Michelin-starred degustation menu, literally served in beautiful inflatable white igloos.
For my sins I was co-opted into being one of the judges at the LWF Edu tech Startup Pitch Fest, won by NightZookeeper who just pipped Zondle for the win.
It was a fun spin through ten ideas, although by the end of the evening, the Twitterati in attendance had marked me out as the Mr Nasty (Simon Cowell) of the UK edu tech startup scene (and there was I thinking I’d been gentle). Afterwards people stayed for a quick drink before most escaped into the bleak London night or onto the LWF awards dinner.
If I were CloserStill (owners of LWF) I’d be very happy; conversely were I a shareholder in Eden Bid Co (the APAX/Guardian Media Group JV who own Emap and BETT), I’d be quite depressed.
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