Tech festival digi-proofs the future of education

Teachers, IT managers, librarians, lecturers and research managers from across the UK were given the chance to discuss the positive impact of technology on further and higher education and discover new tools and approaches to its use at this year’s Jisc Digital Festival.

Held in Birmingham on 9-10 March, the largest Digital Festival yet presented the best digital talent under the theme of ‘connect more’. And featured a diverse line-up of digital innovators and leading technology organisations, including internet giant Google.

During his keynote speech on day one, Simon Nelson, chief executive of the UK MOOC platformFutureLearn, announced that the platform will be making some units from its courses available openly online – without the need to register.

Carole Goble, professor in the school of computer science at the University of Manchester called for research to be reusable and shareable during her talk on day two. Carole highlighted the ‘research object’ work she is doing to ensure research can be created faster and is replicable.

Bob Harrison, chair of the Teaching Schools New Technology Advisory Board, called for a significant shift in the culture of the further education sector to not only survive but to thrive in this technology driven era. He said that the further education model is no longer fit for purpose.

Martyn Harrow, chief executive at Jisc, said:

“How we connect technology and education is a journey that we’ve only just started. The Digital Festival has demonstrated just how important this is to institutions and has really celebrated all the great digital developments that are happening in the sector.

We’re looking forward to continuing to develop ideas and help institutions to use the best technology in the most effective way, now and in the future. This will all help the UK retain its position as the world’s most digitally advanced education and research nation.”

Other sessions throughout the two-day event included how to effectively use augmented reality in the classroom, how to implement BYOD (bring your own device) policies, internet safety and why open accessresearch data is important.

Stats about the event:

  • Over 1000 delegates either in Birmingham or online, 90 speakers and 85 sessions
  • Trended nationally on Monday
  • Total #digifest15 tweets: 7204
  • 15,986,340 total appearances in timelines
  • Nearly 600 active app users
  • Top five hashtags used with #digifest15:
    1. #digitalstudent
    2. #edtech
    3. #openaccess
    4. #feltag
    5. #rdm