Digifest – Birmingham 14-15 March 2017

2 Glorious days in the second city 

Digifest report


Day 1

Plenary session

explore what a digital revolution of learning and teaching means, and set the scene for how, through Digifest, we can make that revolution a reality. IDL

Some of the questions and answers from the plenary session. I thought that it was interesting the reflection that you can not use data on its own you will always need a person to interpreted the data and take decisions. DV

How does technology-enhanced learning contribute to teaching excellence? DV


Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education (John Branch, Paul Bartholomew, Claus Nygaard)

Rethinking Learning for a Digital Age (Rhona Sharpe, Helen Beetham, Sara de Freitas)

Idea that TEL should be based in Persons rather than Technology, should be seen as a social process.

What aspects can be enhanced? Speaker was focusing in :

  • Teaching quality
  • Learning Environment
  • Student Outcomes

All enhancement requires evidence of effectiveness. Another discussion is how can we produce those evidences.


TEL strategies should include:

  • Convince colleagues of the pedagogic value of TEL and support them to create new pedagogies
  • Build confidence in using technology
  • Encourage exploration and experimentation


3m apprenticeship target: how technology can support delivering at scale   IDL

This session had a lot to do with analytics and reporting .and we were able to feed directly into JISCs project and input into future activity to develop tools to support apprenticeship delivery, tracking and reporting at scale

In terms of scale Dudley College have 3000 apprentices

Tools used







The JISC Discover Tool NH DV

More informatin on this link: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/building-digital-capability

They introduce the survey beta tool that evaluates the digital capacity based in 6 areas. This tool produces results on an individual basis creating a graph where you can see where your gaps are and could be useful to check if a strategy has been successful comparing those results every year.

It was interesting to see parts of the functionality that they are working on where you can compare different institutions or different areas of your department (this functionality is not ready yet). I thought that the comparison tool was really useful as you can find gaps in digital capacity that other members of the department can help with.

I will definitely have a go at doing the survey and maybe we can compare our results if more people is interested. DV

Loving the alien – robots and AI in education (slides available) SW

Robots and AI – looking at what’s being used and the future uses. Interesting more than useful but good to see the advancements

Plenary and keynote from Geoff Mulgan  IDL

Flipped laboratory teaching incorporating online assessments IDL / SW


Will be talking to them about some engineering labs

Virtual lab simulations in practice – what do students gain? SW

Dancing from a distance, two halves of a whole: international collaboration in teaching and learning through videoconferencing SW


Flipping, pedagogies, mobile and more: case studies from the Hull Digital Technologies Network IDL


Attendance monitoring in higher education DV


Two case studies talking about the implementation of attendance monitoring. Both cases were based on student card technology so students had to swap their card or put them close to a beacon that is just at the entrance of the room. One of the solution was done in house as a project lead by the computer department with the help of students.

Only major problem was finding enough data points to connect those boxes and they had two developers working on the code to make the interface possible.


Digital technology is fundamentally changing learning and teaching in higher education  Debate  IDL / NH / SW / HC / DV


Day 2

Social Media DV

Interesting session by a very good speaker (Eric Stoller) on good uses of social media and how twitter could be used as an example in extending communication in the HE. I like the idea of having a student in charge of the social media for a day and using twitter as a platform to share their views.

More Institutions are introducing twitter as part of their CPD programme.

JISC Business Intelligence System NH


Doing better things: transforming how we use Turnitin for learning IDL / SW / DV / HC


Colour coded feedback – traffic light system – like we tried did at Law

Video links in the quickmark comments

Audio feedback with background music (new one on me)

Idea – show students the comments and feedback then let them work out  the mark (could be done as peer exercise I guess)



I found this a very useful session.


Interesting the way that they collect the feedback from students with sessions like guess your mark where they need to read the feedback and see if they can guess their mark, it makes them understand better the feedback given and the improvements that they need to do to have a better mark. DV

Idea that all feedback should provide instructions on how to improve, is not enough on saying what they have done wrong students should see what they need to do to improve and have a better mark next time. DV


What does a next generation learning environment look like? Debate IDL


Ultimately I came out feeling a little subdued. Like we are getting nowhere fast .


Samsung: innovation in education – E Board  IDL / SW / AT / DV /HC


Nice demo, however nothing that Prowise don’t already do, and the software on prowise works better in my opinion


Ditto from me though it may be a cheaper solution at £2K v £4K  but the prowise hardware looks better as does the collaborative software  IDL


A Google-powered classroom IDL /AT


I thought that she was an excellent presenter (Natalie Mcguinness) and lots of food for thought about where we use google suite v where we use VLE . She certainly was an advocate


Google Classroom still very limited compared to the fully fledged VLE but….


Closing plenary and keynote from Lauren Sager Weinstein  IDL / AT / DV

Fascinating amount of data they work from at TFL..learning analytics on steroids


It was really interesting how they can connect information from different methods of transport, the traffic lights and cameras that are reading car plates. Also the idea that some of these information is going to be accessible by API for other companies to produce apps or for students to play with it and maybe understand the relation between data or how to show these data in ways that are useful. DV

Stalls visited


Blackboard   IDL


Just went for the freebie but no ticket for Milan


Cerebriam SW

Video cameras for lecture capture / broadcast that move with the lecturer – works on full body recognition – like the swivl but enhanced


I had the impression of being very similar to swivl but with the capacity to broadcast and being more compact. DV


Clickview IDL


We already have echo and kaltura but i could see some use for the type of material we use with the apprentices flipped learning so open mind still


HoloLens SW

AR layered over your environment so you can see around you as well – alternative to fully submersive VR


Labster SW

Pre lab simulations, pre lab testing etc



Solution Path SW

Analytics that sync to VLE, and include swipe card attendance monitoring


Turnitin IDL
Nothing new to report from Turnitin. Some changes to the roadmap . Waiting for an update on that




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