Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Opening Digifest keynote, the Power of Digital

Opening session at Digifest is about the Power of Digital for Change and opens with a short video featuring our own astronaut, Tim Peake from space.

Opening introduction from Paul Feldman, relatively new Chief Executive of JISC. He stresses that it's not just about digital, but what we can do with it. How we can use it as a force for change.

Then the Chair of JISC, David Maguire. Need to combine vision and pragmatism. Build things that work. JISC does three things:
  • Shared digital infrastructure and services, eg JANET, Eduroam, future developments include learner analytics
  • Sector wide deals, eg with Microsoft, Amazon web services, ejournals
  • Expert and trusted advice eg on open access, cloud advice
JANET network traffic has increased sixfold between January 2010 to Jan 2016 and will double again in next two years.

Some practical challenges we all face
  • Digital Wild West - BYOD, Wikipedia scholars, limited IP respect. Everyone expects everything to work on everything and is an expert on everything.
  • Students moving faster than university policies, systems, practices and staff . Solution is not to slow students down!
  • Keeping up with demand, building industrial strength solutions, MOOCs, VLE, student systems
  • Breadth vs depth. How do we meet the need of digital champions, whilst improving digital literacy of those that aren't experts
  • HE sector is not a huge one. Not a huge market for our specialist systems around students. Need some sort of shared infrastructure to deliver systems effectively.
JISC working on a number of solutions to these challenges:
JANET upgrade, national learner analytics system, more technology and content agreements, open access agenda not right yet and needs improving, research data management developments and rekindling JISCs leadership of TEL.

Next speaker is Andrew Harrison about creating great digital spaces for learning.
The rules are changing.... Some major influences of space include: The Internet has changed notions of place, time and space; Emerging new methods of teaching and learning; Blending of living and learning.

More emphasis now on informal learning spaces. The cafes, parks, social spaces are all important aspects of planning learning spaces.

Need to create a different landscape of learning. A shift from physical to hybrid learning spaces, where technology is an integral part of the learning experience. But one type of space does not replace the other. When in a virtual space, you are still in a physical space.

Spaces to support blended learning are bigger, more flexible, easily reconfigurable, lots of technology, access to natural light, more space per student. These are often boring. Obviously not been to The Diamond... No need to be. Need for estates team, technology team and TEL teams to work together to design these spaces. Maybe more space per student, but will get better utilisation.

Libraries changing from their traditional role as a repository to informal learning spaces, collaboration spaces, virtual spaces, learning commons (or maybe Information Commons).
Successful digital space has to take account of
  • Space - size, technology
  • Place - well designed meaningful space
  • Process - learning and teaching approach including use
  • Experience - total student experience including before during and after the learning event
Final speaker of this opening keynote is Donna Lancos who talks about thinking about digital as a place, not an add-on. Also about how we use digital to change things. And what are we trying to change, and why? There needs to be an institutional acceptance of risk in implementing change. No-one is going to die!

Change is not about looking at tools and how you use them. Think first about what are we trying to do? Who do we need to work with. Start from practice and intention, not tools. Engage with human experience not technology.

Change doesn't come from predicting the future, that restricts us from embracing stuff we haven't imagined yet.

Favourite quote of the keynote "Telling a learner to turn off their mobile device is the same as the old "look me in the eye young man". It didn't work then either."

No comments: