Meet LTSMG – Keeping UK Universities at the forefront of innovation

by David Amann, University of Cambridge, UK.

Established in the late 1990s, the Learning and and Teaching Spaces Managers Group (LTSMG) has evolved from its humble beginnings into a dynamic community at the intersection of technology and higher education in the UK. Under the capable leadership of its executive team, comprising Adam Harvey (University of Hertfordshire), Aaron Turlington-Smith (Loughborough University), Matt North (University of East Anglia), and David Amann (University of Cambridge), LTSMG has flourished. This dedicated group has steered the organisation to new heights, overseeing its growth to a formidable community of over 400 individuals who are passionate about advancing technology in higher education and enhancing the student learning experience. Their visionary leadership continues to drive LTSMG’s mission of innovation, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing.

Dedicated to nurturing collaboration and knowledge-sharing, LTSMG is a driving force in the realm of higher education technology management and design. The group unites technology managers in academia and enjoys the valuable sponsorship of leading manufacturers in the education technology industry. LTSMG serves as a nexus for professionals responsible for shaping the design, operation, management, and enhancement of learning and teaching spaces, fostering a unique synergy between technology managers and manufacturer representatives. This collaboration creates an environment where ideas and innovations flow freely, enriching the higher education landscape. Furthermore, the networking that transpires within LTSMG is not limited to these two groups alone; it extends to encompass the fruitful interactions between technology managers, manufacturer representatives, and the collective knowledge-sharing that propels higher education’s technological advancement.

Each year, the Learning and Teaching Spaces Managers Group (LTSMG) organises a highly anticipated annual conference, an event that journeys to a different host university every year. There is a rich and diverse program of presentations, captivating keynotes, insightful interviews, and thought-provoking panel discussions. Throughout the event, the beating heart of innovation pulses within the manufacturer’s exhibition. Here, leading technology companies unveil and demonstrate their latest products, creating a vibrant arena of ideas and solutions. Delegates, the technology managers themselves, seize the opportunity to explore the exhibition, engage with manufacturers, and engage in discussions regarding the applicability of these cutting-edge products to their respective university projects. The LTSMG conference is a dynamic and enriching experience, where knowledge exchange, networking, and technological innovation converge to shape the future of higher education.

The 2023 LTSMG annual conference found its home at the prestigious Loughborough University, renowned worldwide for its unrivalled excellence in sports-related subjects. Nestled in the heart of England, Loughborough’s campus, often regarded as the university’s crown jewel, dazzled attendees with its world-class facilities and sprawling green spaces beautifully bathed in the spring sunshine. Marking a milestone, the 2023 conference emerged as the largest in LTSMG history, drawing over 90 technology managers hailing from 60 universities, while the sponsor exhibition showcased offerings from over 50 leading manufacturers.

The conference’s robust program featured captivating discussions on diverse subjects, including the integration of Microsoft Teams Rooms, the importance of User Experience, AV performance standards, and the critical theme of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity. Delegates were treated to enlightening case studies highlighting impressive installation projects at esteemed institutions including the Royal College of Physicians, University of the Arts London, and the University of Hertfordshire.

Furthermore, attendees gained valuable insights into the transformative realms of augmented and virtual reality, exploring how these cutting-edge technologies are reshaping learning and research paradigms at institutions such as Keele University and the University of Cambridge. Throughout the conference, the challenge to continue innovating was a resounding call to action, encouraging a back-to-basics approach rooted in the fundamentals of technology and pedagogy while seeking harmonious synergies with spatial design, all while keeping user experience at the forefront of every endeavour.

Immersed in the realm of audio-visual within higher education, the 2023 LTSMG conference was succinctly captured by one attendee: “It’s more than immersive. You really drown.” This statement encapsulated the depth and richness of the conference experience, where participants were fully immersed in the boundless possibilities and transformative power of technology in the academic landscape. LTSMG is poised for continued growth as a leading knowledge exchange community in higher education audio-visual technology, ensuring year-round engagement for both technology managers and manufacturer sponsors, and through this forum of collaboration aspires to pioneer cutting-edge AV technology solutions that redefine the higher education experience.

Image credits: Matt Crawford and Allegre Hadida

David Amann,

University of Cambridge, UK.