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Thursday 12 March 2015

Celebrating the digital in HE at #digifest15

Last year I watched Jisc's digital festival #digifest from behind my desk. I could see from the website that the venue was imaginatively laid out and according to the twittersphere there were many interesting things to see and do, all at the bleeding edge of technology in education. This year, with attendance free to HE staff, I decided to go along and see for myself. The short train ride to Birmingham followed by a brisk walk across town taking in the Cathedral and the new Library was a welcome break from sitting behind a screen. The International Conference Centre in Birmingham is easy to find and well staffed and soon I was exploring the hub under the multi-coloured circus tent decor which gives the event an enticing atmosphere. Using the event app and twitter I was able to connect with other participants too. 

Soon I was getting the latest on Jisc Open Access services, giving me helpful insights into the issues and the technical challenges that Jisc can help HEIs to confront.  I made a mental note to share with colleagues in our library.

I was interested to hear about Jisc's support for publishing:
and participated in a lively, well attended session on using apps which included a good hands-on demo of Socrative. A session on 3D tech gave me insights into the technical aspects of this immersive way of curating and interacting with valuable artefacts and extended my understanding in an area I don't usually come across. 

My twitter feed brought more interesting observations from attendees:
The combination of the physical (an unusually genteel, calm conference) and the virtual (through social media) brought me space to think. Add to that the encounters with tweeps I had not really had a chance to chat with before as well as meet ups with old friends and this was a better than average conference experience. The highlights were yet to come though! The Google presentation was comprehensive and enthusiastic, well caputred by Martin Hamilton but by far the highlight, and well worth waiting for was the no-nonsense delivery on FE and Feltag by Bob Harrison, seen here getting a selfie to show the wife :) He reminded us that we have a responsibility to future generations to make best use of our assets, to think differently and to engage together in agile evolution. 

So thanks Jisc for a memorable day, my batteries were recharged and I felt ready for the rest of my week knowing that the sector lead is up for embracing the challenges of digital education. Inspired by Bob's words I am ready to shift some paradigms :)

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