Last month, the Portflow team travelled to Birmingham for Digifest 2024, their second attendance to Jisc’s leading event on how to shape the future of education and research. And what a great experience it has been!

Imagining the future

The journey began with an electrifying keynote session by Tessa Kramer, professor at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, and a luminary in the realm of designing the future. Tessa’s words resonated deeply as she urged us to navigate the complexities of our rapidly changing world with clarity and purpose. Under the banner of ‘things can be done differently, and that takes courage‘ Tessa challenged us to embrace the mindset of a futurist, armed with practical tools to envision and create a better tomorrow. A future that could be for all, as long as we make sure to be involved in the imagination of the future.

Holistic assessment as the way forward 

From the vibrant discussions at our Portflow booth with people from universities, colleges, and Jisc, there was one topic that returned in almost every conversation: the urge for more holistic approaches to assessment. Programme-level assessment, programmatic assessment, and synoptic assessment were all mentioned as possible ways to tackle the challenges the sector currently faces with assessment practices. Integrating technology that supports these holistic forms of assessment within digital learning environments emerged as a key enabler of these approaches.

Learner agency has become an urgency 

Pieter, the Product Manager of Portflow, hosted a lightning talk titled “Ready to take the next step in learner agency?”. This talk offered a compelling vision for the future of education, one where students take center stage as active participants and architects of their learning journeys. In addition, our case study featuring Fontys University of Applied Sciences sparked enthusiastic reactions, underscoring the value of real-world examples in driving meaningful dialogue and exchange. It was also very nice to see some familiar faces and to catch up with people we met at last year’s edition of Digifest and the 2023 ALT conference.

International Community of Practice for Holistic Assessment

Digifest 2024 also marked the launch of the International Community of Practice for Holistic Assessment by Drieam. This initiative promises to serve as a hub for educators in higher and further education, fostering learning, sharing, and discovery around holistic assessment practices. As we embark on this collaborative endeavour, we are filled with optimism that it will help facilitate dialogue in shaping the future of education. If you haven’t joined yet, be sure to do so!

All in all, it was again a great experience. Thanks so much to all attendees for exchanging views, and kudos to Jisc for the very professionally organized event. We’re looking forward to catching up on the conversations we had and supporting the higher and further education sector with fostering career-readiness with holistic assessment and learner agency throughout learners’ journeys.

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