From education to employment

Eight best things to do at #Digifest19

LoLa performance at Digifest 2018 ©Jisc and Matt Lincoln

Jisc’s showcase edtech event of the year, Digifest 2019, is informative, inspiring – and jam-packed with things to do and see. Here are our top picks:

1. See one performance in two countries

This year’s Digifest opens with a performance that simultaneously showcases artists in Birmingham and Barcelona. Using the power of Jisc’s Janet Network, ‘a short journey into folded space’ incorporates contemporary dance, music and multimedia visuals.

Performers live at the Digifest venue will seamlessly interact in real time with performers at the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MACBA) in Barcelona.

10:00 on Tuesday 12 March in Hall 1, lasting around 15 minutes.

2. Discover Natalie, the student of the future

Fast forward to 2029 and experience student life ten years into the future. Use a VR headset to see the world from the perspective of imagined history and geography undergraduate, Natalie.

Immerse yourself in Natalie’s world, exploring the technology and teaching practices that enhance her learning.

All day on Tuesday and Wednesday 12-13 March in Hall 3, experience lasts around five minutes.

3. Try something (virtually) new

Head to the DigiLab to try out the latest edtech. This year, there are a lot of VR and AR experiences to play with, and a raft of affordable apps. The memory aid Mind Maps, for example, allows delegates to visually pin ideas to locations that hold personal meaning. 

Meanwhile, the STEM tool, MERGE Cube, enables users to ‘hold’ and interact with virtual objects. Other highlights include the musical slideshow Mars Is A Real Place, which embarks on an intergalactic trip to the red planet, and Sheffield University’s ‘robot telepresence’.

All day, Tuesday-Wednesday 12-13 March in Hall 3.

4. Get chatting

What can a chatbot bring to college life? Bolton College students use theirs to gain everything from practical information around timetabling to emotional support.

Known as Ada, the college’s chatbot is a great help to students, while also freeing up time for staff. Creator Aftab Hussain describes the positive impact Bolton’s virtual team member has on college life.

‘Chatbots: the future is conversational’, 14:45 on Tuesday 12 March in Hall 5, 45 minutes.

5. Fight the stereotypes

With female voices and names, consumer AI products can reinforce stereotypes about a woman’s role, contributing to long-term problems of a gender imbalance in the tech workforce.

A panel of influential women in tech and education discuss why these issues matter, and what we should be doing to tackle them.

‘Alexa, Siri and female robots: can education help women to fight sexist stereotypes?’, 13:45 on Tuesday 12 March in Hall 1, 45 minutes.

6. Witness the rise of humans

It’s not all about robots! In this presentation, Dave Coplin, CEO of The Envisioners, outlines his “humans plus machines” approach to edtech, working to combine the best of both to help students embrace the opportunities technology offers.

Closing keynote at 16:00 on Tuesday 12 March in Hall 1, one hour.

7. Consider a more intelligent approach

Google’s Liz Sproat explains how machines that learn are creating a more personalised, inspiring and intelligent approach to using technology in education. Gain practical advice on how machine learning can prepare students for the working world of tomorrow.

Closing keynote at 15:00 on Wednesday 13 March in Hall 1, 45 minutes.

8. Do it your way

Use the Digifest app to make the most of your time at the event. It’s packed with information on the sessions, speakers, exhibitors and everything else that’s happening over the two days.

Create your own schedule, network via the activity feed, and take part in polls and feedback opportunities. The app can also act as a reminder, prompting delegates where to be and when, with a map of the venue so nobody gets lost.

Related Articles