Digital Transformation and Innovation in Further Education

Promoting and sharing best practice in independent, blended and digital learning

1st July, 2019 - Heart of Worcestershire College & The Artix, Bromsgrove

A one day conference focussing on innovation and best practice in the use of digital technology to enhance the learning experience.

The increasing demand for digital skills across the UK workforce outlines the importance for the FE sector to ensure that its supply of graduates meets employers’ demands for those digital skills. A culture of engaged and collaborative teaching innovators is required to help scale up learners’ use of digital methods across the curriculum to accelerate learning and encourage essential and rapid digital progress.

It is an expectation of today’s learners that the Further Education sector should not only keep abreast of technological advances, it needs to fully embrace current technology and be bold enough to experiment with evolving practices. Even more essential is the need to empower our teachers with the skills and confidence they require to deliver education to an audience that not only deserves, but more so expects, technology to be embedded within and to enhance their learning experience.

The implementation of forward-thinking digital pedagogy and technologies such as: flipped classrooms, personal learning networks, VLEs, e-portfolios, cloud services, MOOCs, virtual and augmented reality, and gamification, play an essential role in meeting these needs.

The Blended Learning Conference event brings together teachers, digital developers and education leaders to share experiences and offer insights into how they’ve used technology to improve the overall student experience, from teaching, learning and assessment to student communication and welfare.

This event provides an exciting opportunity to gain and share knowledge, discuss strategies, benefit from others’ experiences and see new innovations from industry leaders.

Keynote and Presentations:

"Best practice and future technologies"

  • Stuart Laverick Principal and CEO, Heart of Worcestershire College - Opening welcome

    Stuart has been in education for 35 years working in the school, college and university sectors. His consultancy and research interests have been in the areas of strategy and marketing. Stuart is a member of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) Board and Finance, Audit and Risk (FAR) Committee. He is the West Midlands representative for ASCL FE and is its Chair.

  • Chris Rothwell Director of Education, Microsoft UK - Keynote

    Session title: Digital Learning; a shift in learning culture
    Chris has worked at Microsoft for 13 years, across a range of products, groups and functions, but always focussed on how people and organisations can achieve more through the use of technology. Chris recently moved to lead the Education Industry team for Microsoft UK, where he and the team work to help any education organisation use our technology to improve Education, and help build digital skills to prepare young people for a world of work that is rapidly changing in the face of digital transformation.

  • Michelle Swithenbank Chief Executive and Principal, Hull College Group - Keynote

    Session title: How to put innovation at the heart of culture and curriculum
    Michelle Swithenbank is delivering a transformation of Hull College Group as head of a new team appointed following previous financial and operational issues. A former nurse, Michelle's career in education began after she started training others to join the profession, sparking a passion for learning. She has held senior positions at colleges across the country and believes in a ‘students first, staff always' culture to achieve the best results for all. Michelle leads from the front and it committed to providing employer-focused learning that is about careers, not courses.

  • Peter KilcoyneILT Director, Heart of Worcestershire College

    Session title: The Blended Learning Consortium – 4 years of innovation and collaboration in Further Education
    Peter has worked as a teacher and manager in Further Education for over 30 years. He has worked at Heart of Worcestershire College since 2006 as ILT Director and has led the Blended Learning Consortium since it was set up in 2015. He is a strong advocate for the benefits of digital and blended learning for students and the benefits of collaboration in all things digital for the wider FE sector.

  • Kirri Gooch Regional Education Manager, Google

    Session title: An Intelligent Education: AI/ML
    Kirri's specialism is technology in further education as she was previously a lecturer at Warwickshire College, where she taught Business, Event Management and Hospitality. She was also one of the leaders in the digital transformation of the College. Her time in the classroom sparked a passion for increasing the impact of technology in education and she now directly supports FE providers, schools and academies in their transition to the cloud and adopting new technologies to save money and improve outcomes.

  • Dominic WilliamsonProject Manager, Microsoft

    Creating active learning communities with Microsoft Teams
    Dominic Williamson is a Product Manager with Microsoft Teams for Education. Based in Seattle, Dominic’s focus is to develop a hub for collaboration, learning and communication. Prior to moving to the United States he worked in the Microsoft Australia Education Team with educators in organizations ranging in size up to 75,000 faculty and students. As a university student, Dominic started a company following the success of a free fitness app he developed which received over 1.5 million downloads worldwide.

  • James Duckhouse Curriculum Leader for Computing and Digital Media, HoW College

    Session title: Blended Learning Materials for 5G and the Internet of Things
    James is the Curriculum Leader for Computing and Digital Media at Heart Of Worcestershire College, where he has taught for 19 years. He has been involved with the Worcestershire LEP 5G testbed project and has led on the development of course materials for 5G and the Internet of Things to be embedded into FE and HE computing courses.

Breakout Sessions

Following the keynote presentations, delegates will be able to attend three of the following workshops covering topics such as:

  • Educational use of Microsoft Teams and Office 365
  • Educational use of Google apps
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Educational opportunities with 5G
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Organisational digital strategy
  • Innovations in virtual learning environments
  • Digital capacity and capability
  • Student digital mentors
  • Digital content development
  • Digital accessibility
  • Blended learning
  • and many others

Programme of the day

Time Description
09:00 Registration
10:00 Welcome - Stuart Laverick - Principal and CEO Heart of Worcestershire College
10:15 Opening Keynote - Chris Rothwell, Director of Education, Microsoft, UK
10:45 Presentation - Kirri Gooch - Regional Education Manager, Google
11:00 Presentation - Peter Kilcoyne - ILT Director, Heart of Worcestershire College
11:!5 Coffee break
11:45 BLC Learning impact Award presentation by Stuart Laverick, Principal and CEO HoW College
12:00 Presentation - Dominic Williamson, Project Manager, Microsoft
12:15 Presentation – James Duckhouse, CRQ Leader Heart of Worcestershire College
12:30 Closing Keynote – Michelle Swithenbank , Chief Executive and Principal, Hull College Group
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Workshops: Session 1
14:45 Coffee break
15:15 Workshops: Session 2
16:00 Conference ends


The conference will be based in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire at Heart of Worcestershire College and the Artrix Arts Centre.

Artrix, Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove, B60 1GN

Free parking is available at the Artrix Centre. HoW College is situated in view from the Artrix car park.

By road:
The Artrix is ideally located for access from the M5 (Junctions 4 and 5) and M42 (Junction 1), from which it is just a short drive on the A38 to the venue’s ample free car parking (follow the brown signs).

By rail:
For delegates arriving by train we will be providing a shuttle bus between Bromsgrove station and the Artrix at key times, to and from the conference.

The Premier Inn Bromsgrove Central is conveniently situated within walking distance from the Artix.

Fully Booked

The conference is now fully booked, however, additional spaces may become available due to cancelations.

To add your name to the waiting list please email Judy Kay using the link below.