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Vice-Chancellor speaks at leading digital technology conference

The Jisc Digital Festival showcases innovations in the education sector and explores the future of digital technology
by Sophie

nullProfessor Sir Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor of City University London, has given a keynote speech at the Jisc Digital Festival. The Festival, held at the ICC in Birmingham, showcased innovations in higher education (HE), further education (FE) and skills sectors.

Professor Curran discussed some of the major sectoral trends in IT supply and demand with a focus on education. Particular attention was paid to the move towards a more centralised and commoditised approach to IT service, which retains the necessary flexibility.

City University London has the ambition to be a leading global university and is making significant investment in academic staff, IT and its estate. Professor Curran discussed the importance of aligning IT provision with changing student expectations and the University's Strategic Plan. The presentation concluded with some observations on this transition for both academic staff and IT professional staff.

The event coincided with celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. The milestone was marked on Wednesday 12th March, a quarter of a century since it was first proposed in 1989 by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

There will be three other keynote speeches from Diana Oblinger, CEO of non-profit organisation EDUCAUSE; Sugata Mitra, TED winner and pioneer behind The Hole in the Wall theory and futurologist Ray Hammond, author of The Modern Frankenstein (1986), the world's first book to predict the importance of genetic engineering.

Formerly known as the Joint Information Systems Committee, Jisc is the charity that supports the use of digital technologies in UK education and research. Speaking before the event, Robert Haymon-Collins, Jisc's Executive Director of Customer Experience, commented:

"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."

In addition to the four keynote addresses, the Digital Festival offered a wide selection of seminars, surgeries, panel discussions, and live demonstrations of the latest education technology. Key programme highlights included 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 also included 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.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.