further & higher education

4th Annual Further Education Technology Forum

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:50

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.

This interactive Forum will provide delegates with the opportunity to discuss with sector leaders the current state-of-play and future direction of technology in Further Education (FE), as well as hearing about new strategic measures and funding opportunities to support the digital agenda. Attendees will also gain invaluable insights from best-practice case studies around how technology can benefit FE teachers, students and institutions through utilising AI and Augmented Reality technologies, designing high-quality blended learning programmes, investing in staff digital skills training and developing whole-college digital strategies.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Further Education sector, including:

  • Principals and Assistant Principals
  • Digital Learning Managers
  • Academic Directors
  • Directors of Curriculum
  • Heads of IT
  • Directors of Quality
  • Directors of Teaching and Learning
  • Blended Learning Managers
  • E-learning Managers
  • Advanced Learning Practitioners
  • Digital Learning Managers
  • Education Technologists
  • Heads of Learning Resources
  • Learning Technologies Managers
  • VLE Developers and Teaching Improvement Managers

This Forum is also open to the Private Sector to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Deborah McCann, Head of Edtech, Stem Strategy and Digital Division, Department of Education (DfE) 
  • Sarah Knight, Senior Co-Design Manager, Jisc
  • Bob Harrison, Member, Further Education Learning and Technology Group (FELTAG) 
  • Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive, The Association for Learning Technology (ALT)
  • Scott Hayden, Digital Innovation Specialist, Basingstoke College of Technology
  • Debra Gray, Principal and Deputy CEO, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education 
View the agenda and additional speakers


In the 2017-2018 academic year, the UK’s 266 colleges provided education and training to 300,000 apprentices, 600,000 young people aged 16-18, and 1.4 million adults. Despite higher standards being placed on providers, sixth form and Further Education (FE) funding has fallen by a fifth since 2010 according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. This is seemingly in contradiction with the fact that the apprenticeship agenda, along with introduction of T-levels and Institutes of Technology, has put FE centre stage in closing the UK’s technical skills gap. 

With depleted resources and higher expectations, FE needs to continue to embrace technology as a means of improving educational quality, raising student engagement and attainment, and enhancing enrolment and retention. Digital transformation has been proven to help colleges streamline administrative processes and become more efficient at an institutional level. Additionally, given that Jisc’s 2018 Digital Experience Survey reveals only 41% of students think their course prepares them for the digital workplace, FE has a critical role in furnishing students with the digital skills and technical know-how to flourish in the modern economy. 

April 2019 saw the Department for Education (DfE) releasing its EdTech strategy, entitled Realising the Potential of Technology in Education: A Strategy for Education Providers and the Technology Industry. The strategy has £10 million in funding to support its implementation, and contains measures directly relevant to the FE sector, including putting together a network of ‘demonstrator schools and colleges’ to leverage the existing expertise in the sector and help to provide peer-to-peer support and training. This policy update builds on the Government’s 2017 Digital Strategy and the original FELTAG ambitions and proposals outlined in 2014. 

The onus is now on the FE sector to capitalise on this renewed push towards technological integration and transformation across the education sector. Sixth form colleges, FE institutions and institutes of technology must collaborate and share best practice on how to cultivate innovation, design robust digital strategies and integrate technology across colleges to ensure that the sector continues to develop students’ digital skills, adopt emerging technologies and effectively harness them to enhance teaching and learning processes and outcomes. 


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Vikki Liogier, Head of Learning Technologies, Education and Training Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: The Government’s Vision for Technological Innovation and Implementation Across the FE Sector

  • Discussing how measures and funding in DfE’s Realising the Potential of Technology in Education 2019 strategy will provide support to FE colleges around digital skills, procurement and technological infrastructure  
  • Outlining how this strategy is backed by £10 million in funding and exploring how this will be allocated to support those most in need of assistance across the FE sector 
  • Detailing how the DfE’s strategies and measures dovetail with the 2018 Essential Digital Skills Framework, and how the FE sector can work to equip young adults with the necessary digital knowledge and skills 
  • Producing a suite of guidance documents for colleges detailing the key questions and issues to consider when implementing technology infrastructure
  • Launching a network of ‘demonstrator’ schools and colleges to showcase technological best practice and offer peer-to-peer hands-on support for those institutions that need it 

Deborah McCann, Head of Edtech, Stem Strategy and Digital Division, Department of Education (DfE (CONFIRMED) 


Special Keynote: Designing an Excellent Student Digital Experience

Colleges are increasingly working in partnership with their learners on the development of their digital leaning environment. As a result, students experience a digitally enabled learning experience which better meets their needs and offers them the digital skills they require for their future workplace.  

With the emphasis on digital capabilities for staff and students in the Department for Education, Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology industry, its vital that students have the opportunity to develop the necessary digital skills and confidence for their profession and that they develop these in the context of their studies.

In order to achieve teaching excellence staff need to have evidence on how their students are using technology to support their learning. Staff can then adapt their own teaching practices to be more responsive to their students’ requirements and ensure that students have the opportunities to develop their own digital practices in the context of their courses.

But do we really know how learners are using technology to support their learning?

This presentation will share the 2019 national results from 30,000 further and higher education students who completed the Jisc digital experience insights survey on their expectations and experiences of technology. The presentation will also discuss the implications from the findings for developing an excellent digital experience for all students.

Sarah Knight, Head of change: student experience, Jisc (CONFIRMED)


Sponsored Session


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Utilising Integrated AI Technology to Enhance the Learner Experience and Improve Organisational Efficiency

  • Utilising student data to create an innovative, one-of-a-kind AI chatbot called ‘Ada’ providing 14,000 students with personalised support, information and advice 
  • Working with the Ufi Charitable Trust to develop the same service for staff; detailing how this will enable teachers to garner on-demand information on student progress, saving time and increasing accessibility to disparate sources of information 
  • Explaining how Ada has been integrated into smartphone apps to further enhance the accessibility of college services to pupils and improve the learner experience 
  • Reporting on how the chatbot has been carefully designed to respond intelligently and appropriately to questions about sensitive topics, such as mental health and personal wellbeing 

Winner for ‘Effective Use of Technology in Further Education’ at the TES 2019 Awards 

Aftab Hussain, Strategic Information Learning Technology Lead, Bolton College (CONFIRMED) 


Case Study: Successfully Adopting Augmented Reality Technology to Create an Immersive Learning Environment

  • Working across the eLearning team and Music Production Faculty, and in collaboration with Jisc, to design a groundbreaking app which supports students in the studio by offering an AR overview of the recording console
  • Detailing how the first-of-its-kind app was developed in response to learning barriers identified across music students
  • Sharing insight into the process of bringing together relevant stakeholders to consult on app design, including technical aspects and how these would meet the intended pedagogic enhancement outcomes 
  • Outlining how using the app provides a more interactive, engaging and “hands-on” learning experience for students, allowing for greater comprehension 

Craig Golding, Curriculum Leader for Music Production, Leeds College of Music (invited)

Matt Ramirez, Senior Innovation Developer, Jisc (invited) 


Case Study: Developing Effective Blended Learning Programmes in a Further Education College

  • Exploring how technology and a blended learning model facilitate greater course flexibility for students, for example booking bespoke tutorial sessions with tutors by Skype, Face Time or telephone
  • Outlining the process of developing a Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) course for HR professionals utilising a blended-learning model to maximise accessibility and uptake 
  • Outlining how Cardiff college has established a team of ‘Digital Champions’ to help staff develop their own digital skills, and assessing the impact this has had on student technology usage and proficiency across the institution
  • Sharing insights and guidance around the effective development of robust IT delivery platforms to maximise course quality and accessibility for online course enrolees 

Hannah Mathias, E-learning Manager, Cardiff and Vale College (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Panel Discussion: Learner Analytics and Student Data – Challenges, Opportunities and Advantages for the FE Sector

  • Exploring how colleges can make better use of student data to help make informed decisions leading to improved student satisfaction, retention and attainment
  • Evaluating the range of existing learning analytics tools available to FE practitioners and e-learning specialists 
  • Looking at opportunities for further collaboration between FE institutions and the commercial sector in terms of adopting and integrating data-driven technologies into college systems 
  • Assessing how best to cultivate digital innovations around data and analytics “in-house” through cultural transformation, effective leadership and up-skilling staff  
  • Discussing how effectively collecting and utilising student data has benefits across a range of FE services and functions, from operations and administration to student support and wellbeing 

Julian Gravatt, Deputy Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (invited)

Scott Hayden, Digital Innovation Specialist, Basingstoke College of Technology (CONFIRMED) 

Esam Baboukhan, e-Learning Manager, City of Westminster College (CONFIRMED)

Steven Hope, Head of Independent Learning, Leeds City College (CONFIRMED)


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Exploring the Role of Technology in Improving Educational Quality

  • Outlining how evaluating the use of technology to deliver content and assess learning is a key part of how Ofsted will inspect the quality of educational provision from September 2019
  • Providing guidance around how educational technology can be used to enhance the quality of teaching within the context of the Ofsted inspections framework
  • Looking at how colleges can support the delivery of apprenticeships and T-levels through blended learning and e-learning models to ensure they meet Ofsted standards 
  • Sharing updates on the consultation to introduce a single, more holistic judgement for ‘quality of education’, and how this would impact the FE sector specifically 

Chris Jones, Specialist Advisor, FE & Skills, Ofsted (invited)


Special Keynote: Fostering the Development of Learning Technology Professionals to Enhance Further Education

  • Responding to the DfE’s 2019 EdTech Strategy, and reflecting on the challenges and opportunities it presents to FE practitioners
  • Supporting, publishing and disseminating research on technology in further education in order to better understand how the sector can improve through digital transformation
  • Outlining how ALT drives forward the professionalisation of learning technologists and the support it provides its members
  • Detailing how the ALT partners with Jisc to deliver consultancy and expert advisory services to learning technologist practitioners 
  • Assessing the capacity of technological up-skilling within the FE workforce to make digital transformation more achievable and effective at improving learning, teaching and assessment 

Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive, The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) (CONFIRMED) 


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Developing an Effective Whole-College Strategic Approach to Digital and Technological Transformation

  • Discussing the value of appointing a director of digital learning technologies to coordinate and drive forward digital transformation across the college group
  • Exploring how strategic senior leadership is critical to sustaining momentum and direction when implementing a joined-up digital strategy 
  • Reporting on the process of establishing an innovation and quality hub to train staff in digital skills, and sharing how this has supported the delivery of the college’s digital strategy 
  • Working closely with partners in industry and higher education to write project bids and secure new sources of income for technological investment

Rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted 

Debra Gray, Principal and Deputy CEO, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education (CONFIRMED) 


Case Study: Integrating Digital Management Information Systems to Facilitate Digital Transformation

  • Outlining how adopting digital Management Information Systems can help FE colleges automate processes such as enrolment, timetabling, examinations and reporting, freeing up staff to focus on student outcomes 
  • Demonstrating how using tools such as ProMonitor allows staff to more effectively track student learning, monitor progress and better identify students who require additional support 
  • Detailing how integrating systems, such as finance and HR, provides a centralised, single real-time view of student data across the college, delivering increased confidence in the analysis and trends revealed
  • Exploring the value of tools like ProMetrix, which provide insight to help develop an effective retention strategy, monitor students’ progress, assess course effectiveness, and direct resource allocations efficiently 

Pamela Forchione, Head of Learning Technology, Buckinghamshire College Group (invited)


Closing Keynote: Re-Invigorating the FELTAG Agenda - Evaluating Progress To Date and Discussing Priorities Going Forward

  • Evaluating the progress of the FELTAG agenda since 2013 and identifying the key areas that require renewed focus, investment and development 
  • Emphasising that technology is not the end goal but the means to raising standards and outcomes across the FE sector
  • Discussing how FE leaders should be integrating technological and digital transformation plans into wider strategic goals for maximum impact
  • Sharing best practice around teaching digital skills to students in order to expand digital literacy and ensure post-16 education prepares students for the modern workplace 
  • Urging greater co-development of strategies to ensure the FE sector as a whole is moving in the right direction with regards to technological adoption 

Bob Harrison, Member, Further Education Learning and Technology Group (FELTAG) (CONFIRMED) 


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

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