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Technology should not replace human contact, NUS president warns

Shakira Martin says technology could be used to help lifelong learners and part-time students get back into learning while juggling other commitments

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Shakira Martin says technology could be used to help lifelong learners and part-time students get back into learning while juggling other commitments

Digital technology can help transform the FE sector, but it should not come at the expense of face-to-face contact, the NUS president has warned.

Shakira Martin delivered a keynote speech at Digifest 2018, a conference organised by ed tech company Jisc, to share technologic innovation in FE with stakeholders in the sector.

“Young people do believe digital technology can prepare them for the world of work. But this should not replace face to face learning with teachers, trainers and lecturers,” she said.

'Adaptable and flexible for all'

She also highlighted the fall in adult learners in the keynote address to delegates at the Birmingham International Convention Centre. “There are one million fewer adult learners today – that is one million lost opportunities,” she said, adding that technology could be used to help lifelong learners and part-time students get back into learning while juggling other commitments.

“I’m optimistic about how digital technology can help students across tertiary education. It is vital that we have an education system that is adaptable and flexible for all students.”

'Fulfil their potential'

Paul Feldman, chief executive at Jisc, said he believed technology had an increasingly important role in education. “We believe our children are our most important asset. Everyone in this room wants to ensure they fulfil their potential,” he added.

Digifest offers delegates across the FE and HE sector a series of workshops and talks showcasing the latest technologies in ed tech.

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