Does it matter?

After careful consideration and because of the ongoing and unpredictable developments around coronavirus (COVID-19), this year’s Data Matters will not go ahead. It was a difficult decision to cancel but the health and wellbeing of our members, staff, exhibitors and suppliers is our top priority. We also want to ensure we play our part in containing and delaying the spread of the virus. For delegates who have already paid for their ticket, we will fully refund all conference fees.

Image by Welcome to all and thank you for your visit ! ツ from Pixabay
Image by Welcome to all and thank you for your visit ! ツ from Pixabay

“New technologies and approaches are merging the physical, digital, and biological worlds in ways that will fundamentally transform humankind. The extent to which that transformation is positive will depend on how we navigate the risks and opportunities that arise along the way. The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.” – Klaus Schwab, (founder of the World Economic Forum), The Fourth Industrial Revolution

 “The potential of Education 4.0 is huge – the UK must take the lead, now.” – Paul Feldman (Jisc CEO), The potential of Education 4.0 is huge – and the UK must take the lead, now

Digital is core to the UK’s higher education sector, enhancing and creating efficiencies across all aspects of the student experience, and supporting staff in delivering excellence.  The UK education sector needs to transform to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0 and student expectations. Artificial intelligence and mixed reality will play a critical role in successfully upskilling, retraining and assessing our workforce to ensure no one is left behind.

The world of Industry 4.0 is one of high-level skills such as analysts, AI wranglers, problem solvers and creatives, but also a world of dexterity, such as artisans, carers and robot carers and maintainers. Mixed reality will play a role in educating and reskilling the professionals of the future, while assessments could be performed by robots.

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay
Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

In order to fulfil and achieve that vision, universities and colleges will need to start laying the foundations now, so that they can build the infrastructure, the technology and the culture required for whatever the future will bring.

One core aspect underpinning the vision of Education 4.0 will be data, analytics and data literacy. Future technologies will be dependent on a range of datasets which have been gathered accurately, but also ethically. Without a foundation of data, a single set of truth, it will be challenging to take advantage of the possibilities that analysis

Analytics and prediction will rely on working algorithms, which need to be designed and created in a way that removes bias and are able to tell us an accurate narrative that will enable data informed decision making that will enhance the student experience and improve the effective and efficient use of spaces and resources.

We know we can collect a range of data about individuals, but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. There are numerous ethical, as well as legal, issues in the collection of data about how individuals are engaging with a university or college, including academic data, but also location and usage of resources data as well.

We must not forget the human element of data and analytics. It’s not enough to deliver accurate analysis, predictions, and visualisations. Staff and students in universities and colleges need to be data literate to enable them to understand and act on that data. Appropriate and effective interventions will only be possible if staff and students are able to understand what is being presented to them and know what and how they could act as a result.

The future is an unknown, but universities and colleges can start to prepare for whatever is coming at them. They can lay the foundations for the future, and an important foundation is that of data, the use of data, analytics, wrapped in an ethical blanket.

The Data Matters 2020 conference will bring together experts from across the sector to discuss and debate the key data and analytics challenges in building the future vision of Education 4.0. We will discuss the possible future, the importance of laying the foundations for that vision, we will think about what we need to do today, to start that journey.

Group working
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

We will consider the ethical implications of undertaking all this as well as how we could provide the data literacy and other digital skills for the staff and students to take full advantage of the possibilities that data can bring.

This unique conference brings together three sector agencies, Jisc, HESA and QAA, who will be working together with colleagues from universities and colleges to collaborate and share their vision, ideas and solutions for the data enabled future of Education 4.0.

Book your place on the conference now.

Data does matter and at Data Matters 2020 we will be helping universities and colleges for the future.


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