DLNET Conference 2021: Key Note “Common Barriers, Creative Solutions”

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Lisa Peter


DLNET’s Co-Chair Sian Shaw reflects on the DLNET conference 2021 and on her takeaways from the day


Sian Shaw

It was a pleasure to kickstart a fascinating day of talks and discussion by delivering a keynote about where we are as a sector in terms of digital learning and an educated prediction about what the future looks like. Thinking wider than the pandemic, this was a moment to reflect that the fundamentals of learning using technology as a tool is something we’ve been doing as a wider sector, and as a society, for quite a while. So, where do we go from here?



I highlight in this keynote three concepts which I believe are at the core of digital learning right now and when we look forward. They are:

Time to embrace blended

We can catch up with the realities of how people in the 21st century seamlessly allow technology to flow in and out of what they are doing, rather than treating it like a calculated on/off switch.

Confidence powers innovation

We can acknowledge that when the pandemic left us without time, money or expertise, it was the determination of colleagues that led to great successes, because digital learning was, and always has been, driven by people.

More alike than we are different

We can recognise the many similarities to fellow heritage professionals around the world and will find it easier than ever to share ideas and learn from each other.

For each concept, I considered real-world examples to demonstrate how they are already part of our experiences of digital learning, celebrating the work of young people and self-proclaimed digital champions.

At the heart of all this discussion is the collective power of voices from around the world, supported by DLNET. It is a voluntary-run network, which has been in existence for nearly 20 years, that simply focuses on connecting people so they can ask for support and share ideas. DLNET is free to join and open to anyone who has an interest in how digital technology can support creative and inspiring educational experiences.

Three key takeaways

  • When you embark on digital learning, you are never alone. DLNET will make sure of it.
  • People are essential to the success of digital learning and it’s our voices together that are the driving force behind growing and thriving.
  • Whoever you are, wherever in the world, this was the start of the conversation about the barriers that unite us and just some of the solutions that can inspire us.

Watch Sian’s key note from the day on the DLNET YouTube channel below:

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