As an intern I had the opportunity to attend the ‘Jisc Digifest 2017 Event’ which celebrated the power of digitalisation. I attended this event with two other interns and we all had the opportunity to hear how the power of digital technology has the potential to transform and revolutionise learning and teaching.

Initially I felt intimidated; for the reason that I don’t believe myself to be very knowledgeable regarding technology. During the welcome meeting I took out my notepad and pen and glanced around the room to see that the majority of people had a device of some sort, thus adding to my initial discomfort. What’s more, the other interns enjoyed engaging with the various gadgets displayed, whereas I felt out of my element.

I was mindful that attending the Digifest event would provide a great way for us to ‘network’ and promote the Catalyst Interactive Essay Project. However, the ‘face to face’ networking proved to be much more complex than the online networking I had become accustomed to. For instance, in an online environment I am able to share ideas and projects confidently. This is achieved through a clear descriptive that is targeted at a specific ‘network’ of people. Yet, face to face this was incredibly difficult; I found that approaching people was more challenging than I anticipated. Several people were instantly dismissive and this ultimately impacted on motivation and confidence. An advantage of online networking is that people can avoid commenting on something they feel has no interest to them, therefore the writer doesn’t have to contend with any discouragement. On reflection however, I have realised that this experience is comparable to receiving a critical comment on a piece of work shared in an online network.

During the ‘Designing Digitally Enhanced Curricula’ meeting, I noticed the ideas and concepts presented from Basingstoke College of Technology on ‘Innovative and Creative Uses of Technology’ were similar to those of the ‘Catalyst Interactive Essay Project’. Therefore, I took the opportunity to connect with members of this project via twitter to share and promote the Catalyst Interactive Essay Project. This initial ‘networking’ then led to a quick discussion face to face. I also seized the opportunity to briefly introduce our project to a group of educators we were seated with; this group were much more accepting of the project and were keen to hear more. What opportunities could result from this networking?

Attending the event provided ‘food for thought’; ‘how has technology supported my learning journey?’ Reflecting briefly on the second year of the BA (hons) Education Studies Degree programme; I was provided with the opportunity to produce an interactive essay assignment and it was this assignment that challenged and transformed me as a student. The network I created to share my interactive essay provided feedback from peers, academics and professionals. Thus altering my views regarding technology and education. This links to a statement I heard today from Liam Earney, ‘it is only when we share and collaborate that great things happen’.

The word opportunity has entered my thoughts a lot today, and it is this word that I consider to be of great importance. Shouldn’t students be provided with the opportunity to use technical advances to network? Shouldn’t educators and institutions be providing students with these opportunities? What further opportunities would this create? My final thought from my experience at Digifest is that we need to ensure students experiences match the digital society we live in.


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