#Digifest16 - The Power of Digital

Jisc hosts annual education technology conference

March 10, 2016
Jisc Digifest was an amazing experience

Last year's tweets from Jisc's Digifest conference were epic. It seemed that almost everyone in the UK who I followed on Twitter was at the event, making meaningful connections, learning a lot, and then sharing about it on social media. This year, I knew I had to attend what was described as a "celebration of the power of digital."

Digifest is Jisc's premier event for the UK higher education community. As the "UK higher education, further education and skills sectors' not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions," Jisc is the go-to source for technology conversations and leadership. 700 people were registered to attend Digifest in-person with another 300 individuals signed up for the online conference experience.

On day 1 of Digifest, I had the opportunity to present a session based on an article that I'd written on "Why Educators Can't Live Without Social Media."

One of the sessions that stood out for me was Chrissi Nerantzi's plenary talk on "Wondering while wandering." The gist of her talk was that educators need to remember to always engage in learning new things. Nerantzi emphasized the power of play as being an important aspect of experimentation, innovation, and learning.

At the Digifest "Digi Lab" there were plenty of gadgets and gizmos. While it's not "new" in the sense that versions of VR have come and gone, I must say that the Oculus Rift never fails to impress. As virtual reality resolution and frame-rates improve, look to VR as being a game-changer for the future of higher education, gaming, and remote communication.

The number of exhibitors at Digifest was quite impressive. Notable companies present at the event were Kortext (digital textbooks), Canvas (Instructure's LMS/VLE), and RefMe (literally the most humanly-friendly reference app I've ever used).

One of the final sessions of Digifest was on "Working In Partnership to Develop Students' Employability." It can be tricky to combine learning AND employability in the context of UK higher education and this session provided a refreshing amount of nuance.

As is common with most conferences, the power and impact of Digifest was in the conversation. Networking opportunities took place throughout the event and it was nice to be able to meet and converse with so many higher education practitioners.

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