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Scotland’s College Expo20 goes online – Here’s what to look out for…

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@ColDevNet much anticipated College Expo will take place on Thursday 11 June and for the first time ever, the event will take place online, and includes a full keynote and seminar programme, along with a virtual exhibition of college sector stakeholders and other organisations. The virtual Exhibition Hall will feature a programme of short ‘Taster Talks’ from exhibitors throughout the day. Drop in to virtually meet exhibitors, browse their virtual stands and watch their talks.

The one-day programme, which celebrates college excellence, welcomes keynote speakers and inspiring seminars from across Scotland, as well as England and Ireland. The event is the perfect opportunity to learn from colleagues who work, study or are otherwise involved in post-16 education and training, and to share ideas and experiences on this year’s theme ‘The Future Is Now: Learning From Lockdown’.

Richard Lochhead MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, will kick off College Expo20, and induct the next member of the CDN College Hall of Fame, Dr Julia McElroy. Mr Lochhead will be followed by Liam McCabe, President of NUS Scotland, who will discuss the impact of lockdown on Scotland’s college students in his keynote speech. This will be one of Liam’s final speeches before his term as NUS Scotland President ends, so make sure you tune in to hear about how college students have been coping during lockdown and find out what they really think.

College Expo20 will also offer seminars on the theme of student engagement. In her 11am session, Sue Beckingham from Sheffield Hallam University, will explain how Sheffield Hallam University students contributed to advice and guidance after lockdown. Simon Varwell from sparqs and Allison Lamont from North East Scotland College will analyse approaches to student engagement in their session at 12.30pm.

Another hot topic at this year’s College Expo20 is mental health and wellbeing. Attendees will hear from Student Health Project Coordinator Jessica Smith from NUS Think Positive, who will share and promote best practise for student mental health support during the COVID-19 crisis across Scotland. There will also be an interactive mindfulness session – Mindfulness in Times of Uncertainty & Change – by Director of Youth Mindfulness Michael Bready.

Edinburgh College’s Principal and Chief Executive Audrey Cumberford MBE will give a keynote speech about The College of the Future at 12pm, followed by a Q & A. Audrey will share her latest thinking from the Independent Commission on the College of the Future, considering implications within the context of lockdown and beyond. In his 2.30pm seminar, Dr Ken Thomson OBE, Principal and CEO of Forth Valley College, will launch Digital Ambition 2030 – a new document focusing on the digital future of the college sector.

Dr James Stanfield, Lecturer in Education at Newcastle University will appear virtually as a keynote speaker in the Main Auditorium at 3pm. James will discuss the future of learning within the context of COVID-19 and will share his views on the impact of the Internet on education. We are also pleased to welcome Fiona Robertson, Chief Executive of SQA, who will provide a keynote speech at 4pm.

For people interested in adult learning, do not miss Mhairi Harrington OBE, Chair of the Adult Learning Strategic Forum, and Nicola McAndrew from the Scottish Government’s seminar – they will discuss The Role of Adult Learning in Civic Recovery. They will be followed by Miriam Walsh, Further Education teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator and Apple Professional Learning Specialist, joining us from St John’s Central College in Ireland. Miriam will explore how she has embedded coding into the curriculum, providing students with the skills to think critically, allowing them to progress to the workplace or higher education – and how that curriculum has evolved to meet learning from home goals.

From Skills and Employability, to Learning for Sustainability, and much more, check out the full College Expo20 Programme here.

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of CDN said: “I am absolutely delighted that College Expo will be happening this year… as an online event. We have a wide range of keynote speakers and seminars to choose from, with something for everyone. We are living through such a challenging time right now and we hope that College Expo – which is now in its third year – provides a unique space for inspiration and collaboration. The CDN team are so excited about this virtual conference and exhibition, and we can’t wait to see you there on 11 June!”

Book your free place for College Expo20 here 

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