I recently attended a conference run by National Training Resources Limited on the subject of Learning Technology and Innovation. One of the primary reasons for attending was to try and glean ideas for developing some purely online courses as part of the Work Based Learning Project in Engineering, but also with an additional SALT hat on.
The conference brought together an eclectic mix of people from education, Government and industry, from apprentices to managers and from all four corners of the UK. That in itself illustrates that innovation is open to all!
I picked out some interesting points and ideas that I feel I can take forward with the Engineering project, but I was struck by how much of this “innovation” we already do here at Swansea University. Some of the tools and methods were held up as excellent practice in their sector. Things we do here in Swansea but we don’t think of them as innovative because they are almost commonplace.
A particular favourite presentation of mine from the day’s speakers was that delivered by Mark Griffiths from NESTA. NESTA is an charity whose main aim is innovation. They have since launched a project entitled ‘Make Things, Do Stuff’ aimed at getting children and young people people to become digital makers. On the site, you’ll find advice, support and tools to help code a website, create a game or even build a 3D robot. This may not necessarily be relevant to Higher Education but personally I found the methods used to teach them really good, and with backing from Nominet, Mozilla and the Chancellor, it’s high on the Government’s priority list at the moment. The video below shows some of the comments from young people as well as the sponsors at the Make Things, Do Stuff launch:
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Dr Andrew Manches led one of the morning keynotes in talking about a report (commissioned by NESTA!) which was the culmination of extensive research into how technology has been used in the UK education systems, as well as lessons from around the world. This report provides a whistle stop tour of different types of innovative use of technology and provides links to several innovations.
Social Media also played a key part throughout the conference, with references dotted in almost every presentation, participants encouraged to Tweet with the conference hashtag #learntechconf as well as being the focus on yet another keynote, this time from Nitin Thakrar, Director of elearning Studios.
The video below shows the impact of Social Media on the world:
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