Illustration of a group of women sitting with notepads as if at a conference.

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend (and present at) two education conferences in the last fortnight.

Solent Learning and Teaching Community Conference 2019

First was Solent Learning and Teaching Community Conference. This event takes place annually on the third Friday in June. Solent University hosts the event and invites the local community to attend. The title of this year’s event was In pursuit of excellence: creativity and innovation in a changing landscape.

I presented a poster with Charlotte Everitt from Arts and Humanities. It was about how Microsoft Teams is being used to enhance the digital learning environment for a group of wholly online Masters students.

What’s the worst that can happen?

The first keynote speaker was Dr Simon Usherwood a National Teaching Fellow who works at the University of Surrey. The theme of his talk was “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Simon Usherwood’s keynote was a refreshing change. He talked honestly about his personal experiences as a teacher and admitted where things had not gone to plan. Usherwood blogs at One of his latest posts, On being not very good, covers much the same ground as this keynote.

Digital skills for tomorrow’s world

Next, Sarah Knight, Head of Change: Student Experience at Jisc delivered a keynote. For me, it was a timely reminder of the resources that Jisc have created to support institutions who are developing the digital capabilities of their staff and students.

Knight shared a number of documents that are relevant in this area, including:


I enjoyed a range of sessions that were about teaching language at INNOCONF. However, I chose the topics that focused on how technology was being used to further learning both at the University of Southampton and elsewhere.

Charlotte and I again presented together. This time our talk was entitled Enhancing the learning experience and digital literacies of English Language Teachers on an Online MA in ELT through Blackboard and Microsoft Teams.

Sortez-moi de là ! Holt mich hier raus! Get me out of here! – Designing escape games for language classes

One particular session that gained my attention was by Sascha Stollhans from Lancaster University. Stollhans used the idea of escape games to get his students working as teams on key concepts within his classes. He would set them on a mission using a video created in Powtoon. Then they had to solve a series of problems using their language skills within the space of an hour.

What did we plan?

This was a workshop session. Consequently, in teams, we had to come up with an escape game that we could create for our students. My team planned to create a mystery either around the theft of a painting or a murder. There would be pictures of the suspects on the wall and each one would have a QR code on it. The learners (in teams) could scan the QR code and hear the suspect say something which would help them to narrow down the suspects. You could add additional information to the sound file.

Our idea was that students could then piece together information about the painting that has been stolen by asking questions about clothes, facial features, objects etc.

Alternatively, students could get language questions right to get pieces of a puzzle that looks like the right painting.

Have you tried creating an escape game in your subject area? We’d love to hear about it.

A pair of education conferences: SLTCC & INNOCONF

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