Helping Newcastle University become more digitally literate

Today, everyone in the office seems to have a digital hangover. We’re recovering from an exceptionally busy day yesterday at the Newcastle University event “Go Digital – Thriving in a Digital World” which was all about showcasing the breadth of the digital stuff people do across campus, sharing ideas and inspiring each other.

It was a great event to be part of. There was some really innovative research presented by the Digital Institute around using technology as a tool for social inclusion, as well as work in health, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and putting “big data” into actual use.

We were there to help bridge the gap between that kind of cutting-edge research and the day-to-day practice of staff, which is basically our job. Chris, Hanna, Will and myself gave two presentations each on augmented reality, digital storytelling, academic blogging, better e-learning and taking “awesome” photos (guess who did each of those?) These sessions were the ideal format for us – think intimate gig, rather than keynote – and gave us chance to get lots of audience interaction. Lisa also, rather brilliantly at an IT event, did a talk about cake. That is, how she used social media to support the activities of the “Clandestine Cake Club.”

We also ran a stand, which can sometimes be a pretty dull experience. However, my pride at standing in front of displays showing the digital stories and training videos we’ve made recently made me unusually keen to grab passers by and tell them how we could help them with this kind of thing.

As an aside on the stand, I now suspect Chris Young fancies being a roadie. He was a keen volunteer to set it up and looked very happy surrounded by wires, screens and speakers. I’m thinking of donating the mini-Marshall amp I have on my desk as a Secret Santa gift this year.

What also stood out for me about this event was that it was a team effort. Some of us are frequent conference goers, but we’re usually away on our own. So it was a nice experience to have all of us there working together. And to catch up with some ex-Netskills people who’ve moved on to work elsewhere in the university, but are still closely connected to us digitally.

As always, Hanna was busy taking photos, some of which you can see below. I’ve edited out the ones in which I’m pulling daft faces in front of my slides (which was about 95% of those I featured in.)