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    Down at the Festival

    March 12th, 2014

    JISC Digital Festival

    After a brief absence, the JISC, sorry Jisc Conference, sorry Jisc Digital Festival is back. The last JISC Conference was a couple of years ago and it has evolved in the Jisc Digital Festival.

    It was a two day event in Birmingham looking at many different aspects of technology enhanced learning. There was stuff for learning technologists, library people and IT managers. For someone in my role there was a lot of choice.

    In some ways it was reminiscent of past JISC Conferences and in others it was very different and new. There was a lot happening and it can be challenging to find the stuff you want to see and listen to.

    I did like the festival theme, which really gave the event a very different feel. Two days also made a difference to the rushed single day there use to be.

    With such a packed programme it was inevitable that there would be some clashes. I was torn for example about going to the digital storytelling session or the one on visitors and residents.

    I was pleased with the vast majority of the sessions I attended, they were stimulating, interesting, informative and made me think. There was a lot of stuff to take away. With recordings and resources online, there’s a substantial amount of stuff to refect on and take away.

    One of the key benefits for me of attending a conference such as this is making contacts, talking and networking. There wasn’t a huge number of people from FE, but I certainly spoke to many of them. Finding out what they were doing, the issues they faced and what they were planning. Finding out what others are doing is a critical factor when implementing change, for benchmarking and aiding discovery.

    It was also useful to speak to contacts at Jisc, Janet, TechDis, as well as some of the exhibitors. I have a bundle of business cards, flyers, web links and even the odd QR Code.

    JISC Digital Festival

    I got a lot out of the conference, I took a lot away and it has made me think. I am glad to see the return of the conference and in many ways I think it was much better than previous Jisc conferences. Now that’s back, I hope that Jisc will also bring back the online conference, as I really missed it this year.


    Loose Change

    July 9th, 2013

    This is the presentation I delivered at the RSC Wales Encouraging Innovation Conference.

    Change is all around us and the modern teacher needs to be adaptable, innovative and willing to take a risk. Flipped classrooms, MOOCs, wearable technology, cloud computing, mobile, tablets, 4G, internet TVs, social learning, learning analytics, game based learning, augmented reality and e-books are all been used now or are just on the horizon. Change is all around us and the modern teacher needs to be adaptable, innovative and willing to take risks. The rate of technological change appears to be getting faster. Can our existing cultures allow us to take advantage of the potential of emerging technologies? Or do we need to change the way we change?

    The focus of my presentation was that change is constant, we’ve always had change and that dealing with change is more of a cultural issue than a technical one. Change can be an opportunity and can be exciting, as well as being challenging and daunting for some.

    Read more about the conference on the RSC Wales Blog.


    Maharing It

    July 3rd, 2013

    Mahara Logo

    If I was doing one thing this week, the one thing I would be doing is attending the Mahara UK Conference. Alas I can’t go, but I have sent a member of my team.

    One of the success stories this year at Gloucestershire College has been Mahara. Learners have been using it in a variety of ways for learning and assessment.

    Teams really like how it can be used for many different purposes and one of the things I hope we can get from the Mahara conference is how other institutions and organisations are using Mahara with their learners.

    So how are your learners using Mahara?


    Would you like fries with that?

    December 5th, 2012

    I spoke at the UKSG e-Resources for FE event in London today.

    Research from the University of Huddersfield shows that the number of visits to the library has an insignificant impact on learner achievement. However in the same study it was shown that students who took out more books, or used more e-resources achieved higher grades.

    How can a library service engage learners who visit the library to utilise more of the resources available to them?

    What strategies can be used to increase the use of e-resources and the lending of books?

    Can we learn from major retailers, high street chains and other companies and implement their ideas into the library?

    James Clay from Gloucestershire College discusses the strategies they have been using to increase the use of books and learning resources by learners.


    Valuing CPD

    November 6th, 2012

    Victoria Street, London

    I’ve recently (been) signed up for a one day event in that London town.

    The event cost is £325 and the train ticket is over a hundred pounds.

    That isn’t cheap!

    I think it will be an useful event and (probably) value for money.

    However when you consider the costs of the JISC Innovating e-Learning Online Conference at just £50 and what you get for that, you might want to consider attending.

    As one delegate from last year said:

    “I think it is a brilliant return for the investment and consider this to be a major part of my CPD each year.”

    There is a packed programme and in addition to the usual week of presentations and discussions, there is the activity week, a chance to have a go at stuff.

    For £50 you aren’t probably going to find something of similar value anywhere else in the UK.

    Of course also as it’s online there are no travel costs either.