What’s happening with technology in Higher Education?

Held at the Rose Bowl Conference Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University this was the first joint Jisc RSC Higher Education (HE) Conference put on by the Yorkshire & Humber and Northwest regions. Over 50 delegates from as far afield as Hull, Barrow-in-Furness, Scunthorpe and Liverpool were captivated by Peter Shukie’s debut keynote presentation exploring how deploying technology is not simply a case of using software and hardware.

Teaching and learning in the 21st century

Peter Shukie in action 12Feb13Using the music culture analogies of Poptech, Edupunks and Folksonomy, Peter Shukie gave an enlightening and entertaining insight into how education can embrace community use of technology, open source networks and the use of social tagging of knowledge.

My colleague Christine Comrie has summarised Peter’s views on the Jisc blog, which I recommend you take a look at.

The conference then divided into three parallel themes allowing delegates to select from the wide range of amassed practitioner and technologist experience:

  • The “Hands-On” theme provided delegates with the opportunity to shoot and edit videos, and use QR codes and Augmented Reality with their learners.
  • In “Scholarly Activity” delegates learnt how using mobile devices can impact on the educational experience and how technology can be used in educational and social research, and the support of students on extended project work.
  • For “Exploring and sharing innovative practice” delegates were treated to a broad range of case studies in which learner needs had been met through fresh ways of using existing institutional and cloud-based technologies to build learner support communities.

The conference was rounded off with an activity where delegates identified areas of their role that the conference will affect. All 21 activity participants said they would apply ideas from the conference, with these being the most influential topics:

As well as the presenters and delegates our thanks go to the eleven exhibitors showing an array of products and services that kept the conference buzzing throughout the day.

Nearly 80% of participants said that, as a result of attending the conference, they will be expanding their network of external contacts, and over 60% intend reviewing the way they support learners. We will see how delegates took these intentions forward in 3-4 months time.

Resources from the day

QR code for conference presentation slides

Slides (PPT)

QR code for collection of conference papers

Papers (pdf)

A collection of the papers presented at the conference is published here: http://goo.gl/tJG4W

Presentation slides for the event can be found here: http://goo.gl/KSz87

RSC Events

Recognition also goes to the facilities of Skype and Google Docs that enabled this event to be planned and delivered jointly by two geographically separated teams without the need to travel and meet in person before the day of the event itself.

There are a large number of events being planned by the Jisc Regional Support Centres across the UK that are open to any supported providers, so I’d recommend that you keep an eye on the national events listing page for upcoming events and online webinars, as well as browsing the events listing of your local RSC.

One particular event I wanted to highlight is one taking place on the 17th April that will address how to help learners with autism in mainstream education. Again RSCs Yorkshire & Humber and Northwest are working together, this time along with RSC Northern, to put together this event that will give providers a chance to meet new contacts and share expertise. More details coming soon on the Events page.

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