PebblePad Community Event – MiniBash UK 2023

Category: Company
Monday 10th July 2023
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by: PebblePad

MiniBash 2023 Round Up

Teaching and learning in Higher Education is constantly evolving. In the past year, our community has had to deal with a variety of challenges, perhaps the most obvious one being the re-evaluation of assessment methods prompted by the rise of Generative AI. But as ever, other challenges such as finding the best ways to enhance employability, or to support experiential learning and authentic feedback, are always high on the priority list of educators and those who design learning experiences. As these issues are complex and diverse, it’s crucial to share practices, learn from successes and failures, and collaborate to promote learner-centered pedagogies that foster self-regulated, future-ready, and lifelong learners.

That’s why on June 6th, we hosted our much-anticipated 2023 MiniBash event at The Studio in Birmingham, a forum to discuss how PebblePad is helping to solve the common challenges educators face in today’s ever-changing landscape. The event was a huge success, featuring keynote speakers, a Pecha Kucha session around blended themes, panel discussions, and speakers from across the globe.

During the day, we were delighted to be joined by 134 attendees, keen to share their stories and passion for teaching, learning design and student success.

Watch our highlights video for a quick overview of the day or read on to discover the highlights from the event, videos of speaker sessions, and what we learned from our peers.

Opening Address

Setting the scene for the day, our CEO Shane Sutherland welcomed everyone to the event and shared five intersecting crises in education that HE organisations need to address. Each of these five crises can be described as a crisis of confidence in:

  • Content – we need to move away from a content-centric model of learning and focuson skills, attributes, and mindsets.
  • Assessment – new and advancing technologies (such as Chat GPT)have shone a light on some of our assessment processes and exposed that they aren’t fit for purpose. We need to find a way to move forward.
  • Student wellbeing and belonging – the pandemic has had effects on how students connect and work together, and there are difficulties with how they can prioritisetheir study/work/life balance.
  • Platforms and processes – we need to properly understand the benefits and limitationsof the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), and how and where other platforms fit
  • The university experience itself – we need to resell the benefits of highereducation, and all that encompasses beyond the degree.


Assessing work-like experience across the institution, and themes intersecting with authentic assessment

After the opening remarks, we got started with our first session and morning keynote from Kathy Charles, Executive Dean of Learning and Teaching & Rachel Challen, Associate Professor from Nottingham Trent University entitled “A university strategy for assessing work-like experience for all students.”

Session two followed, with speakers from four universities across the UK and Europe on themes around authentic assessment, focusing on topics such as reflective experiential learning, the constructivist magic behind personal tutoring, enhancing student reflection and developing professional competencies.

After the presentations and following panel discussion with our speakers, we broke for lunch. During this break we were able to catch up with our attendees, and our PebblePad team hosted stations where our customers and attendees could catch up with different teams and discuss important issues such as Onboarding, Training & Learning Design, Integration, Product, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Support, and UX & Accessibility.

Pecha Kucha – Blending Themes (Pedagogy & Planning in Practice)

During this session, four more clients took to the stage to present Pecha Kucha-style. This was a lively discussion, covering topics such as streamlining assessment processes, the art of collaboration, and co-owning personal tutoring.

Provocations Panel Discussion

During session four, we hosted four 10-minute provocations on ‘making assessment meaningful’, followed by a 20-minute panel discussion. Our speakers included:

  • Jonathan Powles, Vice Principal and PVC Learning from the University of West of Scotland
  • Kathy Charles, Executive Dean of Learning and Teaching from Nottingham Trent University
  • Rola Ajjawi, Professor of Educational Research at the Centre for Research in Assessment at Deakin University
  • Simon Riley, Chair of Experiential Student Learning at the University of Edinburgh and Director of Teaching, Deanery of Clinical Sciences, Edinburgh Medical School & Director of Teaching at Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Product Development

After a short 30-minute break, we reconvened with a talk from PebblePad CTO Toni Lavender, on the product development highlights over the last six months.

To catch up on the highlights, check out our video from MiniBash or check out our recent blog post. 

Advancing usage to support staff & students across the organisation

During session six, our speakers discussed ways to help increase the usage of PebblePad. This included presentations around institutional adoption and advancement, the use of reflective portfolios an advancement plan for eportfolios.

Final thoughts

As MiniBash 2023 drew to an end, our CEO, Shane Sutherland, shared a few closing remarks, as well as a comprehensive list of features and functions we covered throughout the day which included:

  • eportfolios
  • Competency portfolios
  • Workbooks
  • Reflective blogs
  • Signatures
  • Activity logs
  • Self-access workspaces
  • Workplace management
  • Tutor management
  • Brilliant example of reporting

If you’d like to learn more about the powerful features and functionality of PebblePad, check out our newly updated guide for 2023.

See you next year!

You can now register your interest to attend our international conference, PebbleBash 2024 in Edinburgh. Entire your details today and you’ll be the first to know when the official tickets are available.

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