Digital Economy USRG

The Future of Technology in Education #FOTE11

Avatar photoOctober 22, 2011
by Lisa Harris

Key takeaways for me from a great day at Future of Technology in Education (#FOTE11) at the University of London yesterday:

There was angst from the IT department as the ever increasing consumerisation of technology challenges creaking university systems and a too prevalent culture of ‘computer says no’. It is more productive for staff and students to collaborate and operate outside the system using free online tools (Google docs, Dropbox and Skype do the job perfectly well for me).

Vendors who try too hard to plug their stuff to an ed tech audience risk the ire of the backchannel (you know who you are!)

While a sense of place is still important, (we had a great tourist’s guide to Bristol from @nick_skelton ) mobile phones have allowed people to make their meeting plans on the fly (for example, student bars are struggling) and economics keep many students away from campus (eg living with parents). And this is before the increase in fees…

Time and time again we heard examples of poor communication (between university and students, teaching staff and students, IT and staff/students…etc)

We don’t know enough about what students want and how students live – it was agreed we should try *asking them*more often.

The importance of digital literacy – plenty of staff and students just don’t have it. Thankfully, there seemed to be general agreement that the ‘digital native’ is simply a myth. @suebecks gave a great presentation with many fascinating examples of the importance of digital skills to employability.

There was more emphasis on challenges than solutions. How do we take change forward…we have identified the need for it, but how to make change actually happen? Andrew Bollington provided a reality check, suggesting that appreciating and incorporating the contrasting perspectives of finance, strategy and marketing would be a good start.

@andypowe11 provided a great summary of who and what was shared on Twitter – as you can see, quite a lot!

Originally published on

EPSRC /Energy USRG meeting

October 22, 2011
by Graeme Earl

EPSRC presentations on:

  1. Energy Overview – Dr Jason Green
  2. Renewables – Dr Neil Bateman
  3. Demand Reduction/Cities & Energy – Dr David Holtum
  4. Transport – Dr Nick Cook
  5. Digital – Dr Jason Green

The Big Digital Debate (Google Central Saint Giles)

October 16, 2011
by Graeme Earl

The internet has changed the economy – and our lives – for good. Over the last decade the internet economy has been a key driver of growth and jobs. Today, Britain leads the world on ecommerce, spending more and exporting more than anyone else. By 2015, the internet economy is forecast to rise to 10% of UK GDP.

But while the internet economy is a powerhouse of growth for the UK, creative industries, from film-makers to newspapers, are under more pressure than ever before to make the web pay for their content.

The result is an explosion of innovation in high-quality online content. Great content is being delivered in new ways through platforms like Netflix or iTunes to new fast-growing formats like Kindle or tablets. But what are the models of innovation that will help high-quality providers grow?

Different players are betting on different models: advertising-driven, or subscription-based. But can either approach succeed?

And consumer demands are changing too – with news becoming quicker, faster and fewer than 140 characters. And with the bulk of the world’s online videos just a few minutes long how will what we think of as high-quality content evolve in the future?

Details at: