Digifest is a great way to hear from other educators from around the UK and share and learn from like-minded people.
I was honoured to be part of the steering group for this annual event and think that Jisc has continued to listen, to and be led by, pedagogy and industry needs with Digifest 2018.
Here are five reasons why I think you should attend...
1. Meeting people in person
I only use digital to free up my time to work with students and co-design ideas with other teachers - it’s important we don’t get distracted from the use of digital and meet face to face with people when we can.
Digifest is great for networking at breakout sessions (sit away from your friends - you know them already), peer meetups, hosted lunch tables to build your network, share experiences, and set up collaborations as well. It goes quickly so use your time well by downloading the free Digifest event app (anyone registered will receive a link as soon as it the app is ready) before you arrive, and message your fellow attendees to organise a meet up.
2. Hearing best practice from across the UK
It is a unique opportunity to see and hear the latest thoughts and edtech advancements from across the further and higher education sectors and to explore what is going to be happening next. The workshops, lightning talks and keynotes are all good, so you'll need to cherry pick what is best for you and your students.
Hearing from peers (people who actually do it) and other sector experts (people who genuinely want to help us) from across the UK is a unique opportunity. I like hearing how others in the sector are improving education using digital and want to come away inspired with at least ten new ideas.
3. Sampling new technology
The exhibition space is a nice place to play with new tools and think about how they can enhance teaching and learning; with helpful experts keen to chat and share - as opposed to simply selling you units.
The Digi Lab is where you can try all the latest edtech aimed at improving education. This year’s Digi Lab will offer a ‘seed to oak’ route (I like that phrase) explaining each product from research and development, to technology available to use in your teaching now.
4. Learning about learning analytics, and what they can do for you
Big data and learning analytics will be a big talking point in 2018 to help us use our data in a productive way to improve student retention and grades as well as the effectiveness of our teaching.
This year’s Digifest promises to illuminate the topic in an accessible way through live demos exploring intelligent campus data in real time, learning analytics debates, eg how analytics supports student wellbeing, and other innovative approaches that help streamline and evolve our practice.
Find out more about Jisc’s developing learning analytics service.
5. Engaging with Jisc
As well as meeting peers, sector experts and businesses, Digifest is a good opportunity to find out about Jisc's plans for the next year. You can also get support and advice on topics such as GDPR, and explore the products and services they have available to enhance your teaching.
Jisc are there to help us and can be an invaluable ally as we all seek to develop our respective institutions in 2018/19.
Collaborate with us
I want to take this opportunity to extend an open invitation to all other colleges using blended learning approaches to visit Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) and potentially collaborate with the digital team as we embed meaningful and relevant digital learning in every curriculum.
We love collaborating with others and it’s thanks to events like Digifest that we continue to benefit from meeting other inspiring educators and grow each year.
Scott Hayden is the digital innovation specialist / lecturer of creative media production, at Basingstoke College of Technology.