FULL DISCLOSURE this is a write up I’ve already passed round my colleagues, and isn’t particularly reflective, but it’s good to keep a diary of what you’re doing I think…

I attended Jisc England’s Connect More event on Tuesday 30 June, at Shine in Leeds. It was an incredibly hot day, but I had a lot of fun playing with some new technologies and meeting up with other educators, including some former colleagues. Here are my highlights. Check out the #connectmore hashtag for more pics and videos (unfortunately my video of the dancing robot won’t load…) from the day.


  1. 1. FabLab/Exhibition

I was given the opportunity to play with some new innovative technologies, demonstrated by various companies including Google Cardboard virtual reality glasses, augmented reality apps, a zSpace desktop RV system, and (my personal favourite) a programmable robot. Although I could not see exactly how these could be applied in a library context (apart from possibly the VR glasses for remote library inductions…) it was a lot of fun, and great to see examples of what our students’ might be using in classrooms for example. I was also thinking about how we could have say augmented reality ‘things’ that pop out of posters etc and could be used in treasure hunts for example.

Google Cardboard glasses are also really affordable, or you could have a go at making one yourself https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/get-cardboard, and download the app.

  1. Innovations/links I picked up during the day

Not all the sessions I went to were particularly relevant to an HE/libraries context, so I’m not going to give in-depth details of each session.  Here are some interesting links/things that were mentioned throughout the day

  • ac.uk/rd links to various projects Jisc is working on at the moment – most of the day was Jisc plugging their projects/working in partnership with Jisc, especially the Chang Agents Network, which promotes partnership working between staff and students https://jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/change-agents-network . There was a talk about different ideas to do with how to work in partnership with students, and we workshopped what problems might come up (lack of volunteers etc). The speaker also heavily emphasised that they are looking for articles to publish in their new OA Journal of Education Innovation, Partnership and Change-which might be something to think about for the future https://journals.gre.ac.uk/index.php/studentchangeagents/about
  • More interesting links on staff/student partnership working included the University of Southampton’s IChamps project, which has students work with academic staff to develop new ideas for education using technology http://www.diglit.soton.ac.uk/ …though the website isn’t great and doesn’t seem to have been updated this year! The UCL also run a digifest which actually looks like a pretty good idea (and might be a way of getting Computing students to work with CLS?) http://ucldigifest.org/  this website has loads of stuff about how it came about and what the students and staff thought about it.
  • My favourite of the talks was from Geoff Rebbeck on technology for employability which gave the excellent idea of exporting powerpoint slides as PDFs, converting that to a QR code and putting that on the front page of your slides for people to follow them along if they so choose. His talk was about how now education should now lead to students having adaptable life skills that can follow them throughout the various careers they are predicted to have, as most people will now have several career paths. He also said it is really important to find out what the students use to communicate between themselves and get onto those platforms-something I’ve been thinking about with International Students who might be using other platforms than Facebook etc-is it worth us having a presence there too?

All in all this was a good day of learning about what other places are doing, what the ‘next big thing’ is going to be in terms of digital learning, and of course meeting other librarians and people working in education, and from Jisc.

On a side note, the Shine Centre where the day was held in Harehills in Leeds http://www.shinecollective.co.uk/ is gorgeous and well worth a visit, they’ve done wonders converting it from a dilapidated school and I really appreciated being able to see what they’ve done.


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