Summer 2023 Conference Round-up

Educational Enhancement (EE) team members have been attending and presenting at a range of conferences over the summer months, to disseminating our own good practice and research and follow sector developments. This post summarises some of the events we have attended with reflections from the team.

ICT for Education

June 2023, Helen Morley
ICT For Education – Regional Technology Conferences For Teachers

ICT for Education support schools to deliver ICT, both in terms of teaching the curriculum subjects associated with Computing and in connecting educators to service and equipment providers. ICT for Education hold events around the country throughout the year.

In June, a regional conference for Sussex was held at AMEX. It attracted teachers from a variety of schools across the county and presentations covered topics such as how to reconcile the demands of the GCSE courses with timetabling constraints, how AI can support inclusive teaching, the need for all teachers in schools to have a high level of digital literacy and to expect students to demonstrate the same, and how to find opportunities to use the technology to add play to learning.

I was pleased to attend the conference and was particularly interested in the keynote on ICT across the curriculum: I spent many INSET days as a teacher witnessing colleagues’ reactions to being told we needed to embed literacy (the language skills often left to the English teachers) in all subjects and it was refreshing to see another subject in the spotlight. I spoke to delegates about the expectations university puts on learners to have strong skills in computing, not least the requirement to complete typed exams online which most were completely unaware of.

ICT for Education will be back at Sussex in February, where I will join the list of speakers.

EdTech World Forum

May 2023, Tyrone Knight
EdTech World Forum Conference

(c) Free Stock Photo (

This event was a chance to hear from education sector projects taking place all over the world. The event was well attended and allowed for plenty of time to network with specialist attendees, speakers and companies. The presentations included academics and organisations sharing their excitement and recent work around AI, the metaverse, career skills platforms, coding opportunities and much more.

Ai projects, including those around ChatGPT, covered work on writing assistants, making large volumes of content more manageable, assessment and feedback, translation, data collection and analysis, audio restoration, and academic support.

Playful Learning 2023

July 2023, Faye Brockwell
Playful Learning Conference

Playful Learning is pitched at the intersection of learning and play for adults. Playful in approach and outlook, yet underpinned by robust research and working practices, it provides a space where teachers, researchers and students can play, learn and think together. A space to meet other playful people and be inspired by talks, workshops, activities and events.

Key themes from this year’s conference included discussions about building playful learning communities, the barriers that HE processes can impose and how embracing failure is key to playful learning. Faye Brockwell (Learning Technologist) attended and has written a blog post reflecting on her experience.

The next Playful Learning will take place on 3-5 July 2024 at the University of Sussex in Brighton. Follow #PlayLearn on Instagram or Twitter for conference news, and sign-up for notifications.

A colourful circular tool for slecting playful activities with interlocking circles made of paper, with Playful learning in the centre.
(c) Playful Learning and Jay Williams

Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning Conference

April 2023, Sam Hemsley
Interdisciplinary Teaching & learning conference

Held at Anglia Ruskin University, where all undergraduate students complete an interdisciplinary ‘Ruskin Module’ in their 2nd year, the 7th Interdisciplinary Teaching & learning conference , attended by Sam Hemsley (Academic Developer), provided insights into innovative approaches to teaching, assessment and building learning communities that can be applied to disciplinary and interdisciplinary module. These included approaches to enabling student choice, providing flexible assessments, encouraging reflection on learning through assessment and teaching with ‘wicked problems’. Sam’s former colleagues, from The University of Manchester’s University College for Interdisciplinary Learning, will be hosting the conference in 2024.

The conference programme and presentations are available online.

SEDA Spring Conference

May 2023, Charlie Crouch
SEDA Spring Conference

This spring, the SEDA conference focused on ‘the role of the Educational Developer in an ever-evolving landscape.’ Hosted online, the day began with keynote talks on the changing identities of academic/ educational developers (ADs). Caitriona Cunningham asked us to consider the depth and breadth of the role, especially as we often act as connectors across the university, and our expertise can impact policies and teaching programmes. Jackie Potter thought about how we work with individual teams, often across our institutions and sometimes, at a national or international level in the field of educational development.

Talks also focused on the unconventional routes many of us follow to become academic developers, and why imposter syndrome can be prevalent. Several talks considered how we can bring our previous experiences to the role; for example, Sarah Wolfenden provided an inspiring example of bringing coaching and contemplative practice to the PGCert. We also heard examples of how ADs can contribute to work on designing assessments, decolonising the curriculum and inclusive toolkits.

International Assessment in HE Conference

June 2023, Sam Hemsley
Assessment in HE

Held in Manchester, the conference welcomed over 280 delegates from 20 countries, including many of the ‘rock stars’ of the world of Pedagogy practice and research. This wonderfully collegiate conference provided lots of insights into great research informed practice from around the world, calls for collaboration and plenty of challenge and food for thought. The conference included over 175 presentations of research or innovative practice in assessment and feedback (the programme with embedded presentations is available online). Many included aspects of generative AI including products such as ChatGPT (GPT stands for ‘generative pre-trained transformer’) and the keynote speaker, Paul Kleiman, famously introduced a generic term for these AI products of ‘Chatty G’ which, despite the persistent attempts of Sam Hemsley (Academic Developer), has yet to gain traction at Sussex.

Posted in Events, External events

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We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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