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Digital education

JISC Digifest 2016 – by Gethin (Post 3/4)

22 April 2016
Digifest 2016 graphic

by Gethin Rowlands

Digifest 2016 graphic

Just as both Hannah and Dewi have mentioned, #Digifest16 was a great opportunity for us to learn from other institutions, to network and establish useful contacts from outside the University, but also look within and understand the practices that we have here at Cardiff University (I also attended the “Understanding your organisation’s digital practice” that Dewi mentions in his previous blog post).

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others”. An African proverb that perfectly sums up what I took from attending the conference, and the reason for having the 5:00am alarm on that Wednesday morning. (I can also gloat that the snooze button wasn’t pressed. Not even once!)

However, selfishly, my intentions for this conference wasn’t just to come away with a better understanding of what others do, but for others to know that Cardiff University is very much at the forefront in its efforts to developing learning technology. Networking works both ways. It’s as much a way for others to learn about you, as it is for you to learn about others.

Whether it was being recognised as the Learning Technology team who were playing cards on the train on the way to the conference, the friendly (or so it seemed!) competition in gaining points on the #Digifest16 App or meeting Jisc members of staff who were interested in co-working with us, it was important for me that people knew who we were and that we mean business.

A very good session, “Why Educators Can’t Live Without Social Media”, by Eric Stoller touches on this in some ways. Even though this session focused on the ways in which teaching staff can use social media to engage their students, the message still applies. Effective communication. Therefore, in order to share good practice, learn from others whilst also showcasing what we do effectively, constant communication with interested parties is vital.

Which brings me to my next point, where do we go from here? They say that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, but I believe too much of a good thing can be wonderful. The main thing I took away from attending this conference, is that I (or should that be we) need to attend more conferences and events outside of Cardiff University. Not only to learn from other institutions, but to put Cardiff University on the map, and ensure people are aware that learning technology is something we’re passionate about. I also believe that there is ample opportunity to toot one’s own horn, and this is something we should be encouraged to do. There are amazing things happening across the University in terms of Learning Technology; and even though we are working diligently to share good practice internally, we shouldn’t ignore the power of showcasing what we’re doing externally. The soon-to-be launched Resource Bank will allow the University to do this, so will the upcoming GW4 Learning Technology event that we will attend in a few months time.

We did leave our mark at #Digifest16. Here is a digital render of Hannah Temple’s head, left on one of the iPads used to demonstrate the 3D Structure Sensor:

3D Structure Sensor Image