further & higher education

4th Annual Further Education Technology Forum

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:30

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Hallam Conference Centre, Central London

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 Policy, 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, Member, Department for Education EdTech Leadership Group
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

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


Building a Coherent Profession in Further Education 

“In 2019 the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) launched a free online training service, the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, for teachers, trainers, instructors and assessors who want to develop their practice using technology.  
Overview of the new service, designed specifically for the FE and Training sector:

  • Provides a range of bite-size training modules to make learning as convenient and easy as possible
  • The micro-learning modules are based on the ETF’s Digital Teaching Professional Framework (DTPF) developed in partnership with Jisc, which
  • The modules set out a shared understanding of digital skills development
  • Completion of modules is linked to digital achievement badges at three stages of personal development – Exploring, Adopting and Leading

This session will give an overview of the new service including the Enhance Management Dashboard and how you and your organisation can benefit.” 

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 Policy, Department of Education (DfE) (CONFIRMED) 


Special Keynote: Designing an Excellent Student Digital Experience

With the emphasis on digital capabilities for staff and students in the Department for Education’s, Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology industry, it is vital that students 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 must:

  • Evidence how their students are using technology to support their learning
  • Adapt their own teaching practices to be more responsive to their students’ requirements and
  • Ensure that students can 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 27,914 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 Case Study


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Panel Discussion: Explore What Impact the Increased Competition Between Microsoft and Google had on the Education Sector- Exploring Google with Classroom and Microsoft with Teams

  • Analysing whether these products with their built-in productivity tools are helping to increase student engagement with online learning outside of the classroom
  • Evaluating the opportunities to help to drive up the digital skills of students and teachers
  • Considering the possible drawbacks – for example, the lack of support for SCORM challenges with monetising online courses
  • Considering the benefits in relation to increased accessibility 
  • Explore the impact of these two digital platforms on traditional virtual learning environments 

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

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

James Kieft, Group Learning and Development Manager, Activate Learning (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: How Can AR and VR Develop 21st Century Skills in Learners?

  • Enter the ‘T Level’ learner – the direction of travel from now to 2022 – what it will mean for 21st Century work skills
  • Exploring the rise of the ‘Millennials’ – soon to be the largest segment of the workforce – how does AR/VR complement their preferred ways of working
  • Demonstrating how AR/VR can develop 21st Century skills
  • Getting started – a guide to AR and VR equipment and software

Preston’s College was a national finalist for the Effective Use of Technology in Further Education AOC Award 2019

Frank McHale, eLearning Development Coordinator, Preston College (CONFIRMED)                         

Steve Smith, Project Manager- Learning Beyond the Classroom, Preston College (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


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) 


Lunch and Networking


Case Study: Partnering and Collaborating with Employers to Develop and Meet Technology Skills Gaps: An Institute of Technology Perspective

  • Exploring the new Institute of Technology development in Dagenham, an innovative collaboration with employers to meet the future skills gaps in advanced technologies
  • Highlighting how the institution successfully designed the facility by drawing on industry best practice including flexible learning zones, high tech laboratories organised around a central digital design hubs and an Employer Innovation and Enterprise Zone
  • Outlining how other further education institutions can secure the next round of Government funding by providing key techniques on how to develop an effective proposal and bid
  • Sharing in the next steps in progressing the institution including ensuring learners are ‘T-shaped technologists’ and learning significant transferrable skills in the meantime such as problem -solving, resilience and teamwork to suit evolving markets

Yvonne Kelly, Principal and CEO, Barking & Dagenham College (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Demonstrating How to Utilise Digital Experience Insights Surveys to improve Technology in Further Education

  • Exploring the college’s pilot of the student digital experience insights service which involved getting a better understanding of students and staff views and improving how well technology is entrenched in learning 
  • Analysing how the college is acting on these findings by outline opportunities for digital activities within the curriculum that are not time-consuming 
  • Outlining key considerations for other further education institutions to consider when surveying staff and learners on their digital experience.
  • Highlighting key steps going forward,  to improve the college community digital experience

Conrad Taylor, E-Learning Manager, City of Wolverhampton College (CONFIRMED)


Interactive 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, Member, Department for Education EdTech Leadership Group (CONFIRMED) 


Closing Keynote: Re-Invigorating the FELTAG Agenda and Discussing the Edtech Strategy- 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
  • Providing ALT’s Members perspective on the DfE’s 2019 EdTech Strategy, and reflecting on the challenges and opportunities it presents to FE practitioners
  • Outlining how ALT drives forward the professionalisation of learning technologists and the support it provides its members in this respect

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

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


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change


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.  

In September 2019, the government announced an additional £400 million additional funding for 16-19 year olds in further education as part of their Spending Review. The additional funding will aid in financing new technical qualifications, more ‘costly’ courses which may require additional technology and will help to ensure that skills reach the correct jobs more generally. Furthemrore, 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. 

Vikki Liogier, Head of Learning Technologies, Education and Training Foundation

Vikki Liogier is French and has been living in England since 1987. She initially worked as a freelance illustrator and taught graphic design and illustration at South Thames College. In 1993 Vikki acquired her first Apple Mac, Wacom tablet, colour printer, Adobe suite and scanner, as she could foresee the impact such technology would have on the creative industries and education. From then on, she pursued her interest in the exploration and embedding of digital literacy and capability into her life and course delivery. In 2008, as a keen technology early adopter, Vikki decided to refocus her career on change management and digital capability. In 2018 she was recognised as one of the UK EdTech50 – A celebration of the people, products & projects shaping the education and technology sector across the UK.

Deborah McCann, Head of EdTech Policy, Department of Education (DfE)

Deborah McCann is currently Head of EdTech policy at the Department for Education.  Deborah has recently led the development of the government’s education technology strategy “Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology industry”. Her current role is focused on overseeing the delivery of the commitments in this strategy. Deborah is an experienced policy professional, having over 18 years of experience within the civil service.  Her previous roles have included academy and school accountability policy, management of the government’s relationship with the largest multi-academy trusts, governance policy, teacher regulation, young offender education policy, adult basic skills and strategy projects within the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and the education department’s Strategy Unit. 

Sarah Knight, Head of change: student experience, Jisc

Sarah is Head of Change: Student Experience at Jisc. Sarah manages the teams supporting the Digital experience insights service which is researching staff and students’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment and the Jisc Building digital capability service to support the development of staff and student digital capabilities.

Sarah has established the Change agents’ network a national network to support staff-student partnership working on curriculum innovation projects. Sarah established and runs the Jisc Student Experience Experts Group, an active community of practice, which provides valuable consultation and dissemination opportunities for Jisc.

James Kieft, Group Learning and Development Manager, Activate Learning

James has a wealth of experience working in Further education for over 23 years, he is passionate about teaching and learning and how technology can be used to enhance it. In 2018  her was included in #Edtech50 a list that celebrates the work of the education technology sector in the UK, and shines a spotlight on those pioneering a new future in education through technology.

He also appeared in the #JiscTop10 a competition that celebrates the excellent social media work, He is an advocate of using Twitter as a development tool and he was one 20 cohosts of a recent #MSFTEduchat

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

Following thirty years in Secondary and Further Education as a teacher, lecturer, Vice Principal and Principal Bob spent fifteen years as Education  Adviser for Toshiba Information Systems Northern Europe. He was Chief Examiner for City & Guilds and made an Honorary Life member for services to vocational education. He was heavily involved in the Building Schools for the Future programme and designed and delivered the Digital Future module for the National College of School Leadership where he also taught and assessed on the National Professional Qualification for Head teachers. He was a leading member of the Ministerial Education Technology Action groups FELTAG and ETAG and chaired the DfE Teacher Expert Group for the reform of the ICT National Curriculum. He was stood down for challenging the Ministerial interference in the rewriting of the computing curriculum by the then Gove adviser Dominic Cummings. A badge of honour he wears with pride. He is an assessor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education on the Masters programme “Learning Design with Technology”

He is a Judge for the TES FE Awards, BETT Awards, Learning Reimagined awards and the E-Assessment Awards. Currently Chair of Governors at Northern College Barnsley, Lostock High School, Stretford , a Trustee of the UfI and a Governor of Oldham College.


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