The increasing demand for digital skills across the UK workforce outlines the importance for the FE sector to ensure that its supply of graduates meets employers’ demands for those digital skills. A culture of engaged and collaborative teaching innovators is required to help scale up learners’ use of digital methods across the curriculum to accelerate learning and encourage essential and rapid digital progress.
It is an expectation of today’s learners that the Further Education sector should not only keep abreast of technological advances, it needs to fully embrace current technology and be bold enough to experiment with evolving practices. Even more essential is the need to empower our teachers with the skills and confidence they require to deliver education to an audience that not only deserves, but more so expects, technology to be embedded within and to enhance their learning experience.
The implementation of forward-thinking digital pedagogy and technologies such as: flipped classrooms, personal learning networks, VLEs, e-portfolios, cloud services, MOOCs, virtual and augmented reality, and gamification, play an essential role in meeting these needs.
The Blended Learning Conference event brings together teachers, digital developers and education leaders to share experiences and offer insights into how they’ve used technology to improve the overall student experience, from teaching, learning and assessment to student communication and welfare.
This event provides an exciting opportunity to gain and share knowledge, discuss strategies, benefit from others’ experiences and see new innovations from industry leaders.
Keynote and Presentations:
"Best practice and future technologies"
Stuart Laverick｜ Principal and CEO, Heart of Worcestershire College - Opening welcome
Stuart has been in education for 35 years working in the school, college and university sectors. His consultancy and research interests have been in the areas of strategy and marketing. Stuart is a member of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) Board and Finance, Audit and Risk (FAR) Committee. He is the West Midlands representative for ASCL FE and is its Chair.
Chris Rothwell｜ Director of Education, Microsoft UK - Keynote
Session title: Digital Learning; a shift in learning culture
Chris has worked at Microsoft for 13 years, across a range of products, groups and functions, but always focussed on how people and organisations can achieve more through the use of technology. Chris recently moved to lead the Education Industry team for Microsoft UK, where he and the team work to help any education organisation use our technology to improve Education, and help build digital skills to prepare young people for a world of work that is rapidly changing in the face of digital transformation.
Michelle Swithenbank｜ Chief Executive and Principal, Hull College Group - Keynote
Session title: How to put innovation at the heart of culture and curriculum
Michelle Swithenbank is delivering a transformation of Hull College Group as head of a new team appointed following previous financial and operational issues. A former nurse, Michelle's career in education began after she started training others to join the profession, sparking a passion for learning. She has held senior positions at colleges across the country and believes in a ‘students first, staff always' culture to achieve the best results for all. Michelle leads from the front and it committed to providing employer-focused learning that is about careers, not courses.
Peter Kilcoyne｜ILT Director, Heart of Worcestershire College
Session title: The Blended Learning Consortium – 4 years of innovation and collaboration in Further Education
Peter has worked as a teacher and manager in Further Education for over 30 years. He has worked at Heart of Worcestershire College since 2006 as ILT Director and has led the Blended Learning Consortium since it was set up in 2015. He is a strong advocate for the benefits of digital and blended learning for students and the benefits of collaboration in all things digital for the wider FE sector.
Kirri Gooch｜ Regional Education Manager, Google
Session title: An Intelligent Education: AI/ML
Kirri's specialism is technology in further education as she was previously a lecturer at Warwickshire College, where she taught Business, Event Management and Hospitality. She was also one of the leaders in the digital transformation of the College. Her time in the classroom sparked a passion for increasing the impact of technology in education and she now directly supports FE providers, schools and academies in their transition to the cloud and adopting new technologies to save money and improve outcomes.
Dominic Williamson｜Project Manager, Microsoft
Creating active learning communities with Microsoft Teams
Dominic Williamson is a Product Manager with Microsoft Teams for Education. Based in Seattle, Dominic’s focus is to develop a hub for collaboration, learning and communication. Prior to moving to the United States he worked in the Microsoft Australia Education Team with educators in organizations ranging in size up to 75,000 faculty and students. As a university student, Dominic started a company following the success of a free fitness app he developed which received over 1.5 million downloads worldwide.
James Duckhouse｜ Curriculum Leader for Computing and Digital Media, HoW College
Session title: Blended Learning Materials for 5G and the Internet of Things
James is the Curriculum Leader for Computing and Digital Media at Heart Of Worcestershire College, where he has taught for 19 years. He has been involved with the Worcestershire LEP 5G testbed project and has led on the development of course materials for 5G and the Internet of Things to be embedded into FE and HE computing courses.