Key speakers confirmed for Jisc festival

Jisc has announced its programme including four headline speakers for its upcoming Digital Festival (March 11 and 12).

The four speakers, who have gained huge accolades in their respected fields include, Sugata Mitra, TED winner and pioneer behind The Hole in the Wall theory, Diana Oblinger, the CEO of non-profit organisation, EDUCAUSE, Paul Curran, vice chancellor of City University and former NASA researcher, and completing the line-up is Ray Hammond, a futurologist who wrote The Modern Frankenstein (1986), the world’s first book to predict the importance of genetic engineering.

The Jisc Digital Festival, which will be held in the ICC in Birmingham, will showcase innovations in higher education, further education and skills sectors, as well as explore the future of digital technology.

In addition to the four keynote addresses, the Digital Festival will offer a wide selection of seminars, surgeries, panel discussions, and live demonstrations of the latest education technology.

The speakers will be addressing delegates, including key decision makers within universities and colleges. Their keynote talks will be focused on a diversity of topics designed to provoke discussion around the role of digital technology in education institutions, and how it can improve student experience.

Speaker Diana Oblinger, CEO of EDUCAUSE said: “I’m looking forward to attending and speaking at the Digital Festival in March. My talk will involve a landscape exploration; looking at some of the exciting things happening in higher education and some of the key developments which will serve as a game-changer to the sector.

 “While higher education is not a homogenous community, we do share many similar issues and ideals. In the US we have some research programmes that we feel could benefit from the input of our colleagues in the UK and elsewhere. As well as sharing my insight, I hope to come away from the Digital Festival with tangible and innovative ideas on how we can collectively advance the use of information technology in higher education.”

Speaking about the line-up, Jisc’s executive director customer experience, Robert Haymon-Collins said: “Following a two year break from our annual conference, the Jisc Digital Festival represents a fresh new event for the sector. We have worked hard on developing a programme that encompasses the achievement and innovation that is enhancing education and opening the door to exciting new possibilities in teaching and learning.

“The headline speakers embody the purpose of this festival, which is all about sharing cutting edge ideas and best practice. I am confident that visitors to the event will come away with useful advice they can implement in their institutions.”

Key programme highlights include demos and surgeries, practical hands-on workshops and a ‘Technology Garden’ featuring the latest innovations for education and research including 3D printing and augmented reality. The Digital Festival will also include a ‘Start-Up’ zone with some of the UK’s leading technology talent.

Jisc was established to support education institutions in effectively adopting digital technologies and to help position the UK at the centre of digitally advanced education and research. The Jisc Digital Festival is aimed at HE and FE senior managers, library professionals, teachers, policy makers, IT experts, academics and learning technologists.

To register attendance at the Jisc Digital Festival on March 11th-12th 2014, visit the Jisc website. Join the conversation by following the hashtag #digifest14 on Twitter.

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