Over the past two decades, OEB has gained the reputation of being the place to be to meet with the world’s leading educational technology players. OEB is defined by its diversity – both in terms of its internationalism and its cross-sector blend of participants. Testament to that is a tour through the bustling exhibition area, which forms the networking hub of the annual event.
In 2014, the exhibition area featured 81 businesses and institutions hailing from 26 countries, showcasing the breadth of services and products available in the technology supported education and training market.
Ranging from market leaders to emerging new players, the exhibition area is one of the conference’s “big strengths,” according to George Siemens, the progenitor of connectivist educational theory and Executive Director of UTA’s Link Research Lab: “With Online Educa, one of the big strengths is the number of vendors and providers that are represented, which is really helpful for getting a sense of what’s happening in e-learning – what are the things that universities are buying, what are companies buying. It’s the opportunity to see what’s happening on the product provision side of the online learning landscape.”
With many exhibitors already confirmed, 2015 looks set to continue the trend, with a great variety of services being offered, including web-based plagiarism detection, training and top line consultancy in higher education project- and programme management, mobile learning through gamification, lecture capture, video streaming and publishing, serious games, augmented reality and educational robotics, cloud-based online language training, course authorship, MOOC creation and many more.
For exhibitors taking part, the benefits of being able to meet face to face with the OEB audience are clear: “OEB is actually my favourite educational technology conference,” says Dan Peters of Blackboard, “mainly because you get all sectors across education … and you also get a huge number of nationalities, an incredible variety of perspectives from all over the world. It’s a really rich place to interact with peers.”
Reflecting on the experience of sponsoring and exhibiting at OEB 2014, Heather Hennessy of D2L, described the event as wonderful: “We enjoyed connecting with customers and meeting new people from all around the world.”
David Nir, of the International Security Academy, was also impressed by the scope of the participants and delegates at OEB 2014: “Meeting all the parts of the world in one place was very good for our business; I think we will be here again. There’s a lot of knowledge, a lot of new things: this is the right place!
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