ALTC used to be one of those conferences I only attended every second or third year, but over the last couple of years it really has become unmissable. Whether you attend in person or participate virtually, it undoubtedly provides the best way to get a broad overview of technology enhanced learning in the UK together with plenty of opportunity for in depth discussion around many of the issues currently affecting the sector. And this years conference Connect, Collaborate, Create co-chaired by Nicola Whitton and Alex Moseley, at the University of Warwick was no exception.
I’m not going to attempt to blog a summary of the conference, as the ALT team has already rounded up a whole host of excellent conference reports here Enabling the Connection, so I’m just going to pick out a few or my own personal highlights.
Lets get the team back together
I was delighted that ALT invited Rich Goodman, Chris Bull and I back to join Martin Hawksey and the conference social media team again this year. Live tweeting the conference keynotes from the official ALT account can be more than a bit daunting but it’s also an extremely rewarding experience and it was great to be joined this year by Kenji Lamb and Sandra Huskinson.
Trolls, myths, privilege and freedom
Josie Fraser’s keynote In The The Valley of the Trolls took an intelligent look at the thorny subject of trolling and didn’t shy away from addressing Gamergate head on. (By contrast, aside from a single comment about gender imbalance in the games industry, Ian Livingston failed to address the issue of representation, sexism and harassment in the gaming community.) Lia Commissar gave a highly entertaining keynote on Education and Neuroscience: Issues and Opportunities, which exploded a whole host of neuromyths common in education, ranging from learning styles and right / left brain thinking to the magical power of fish oils. Jane Secker’s thoughtful and thought provoking keynote Copyright and e-learning: understanding our privileges and freedoms touched on many issues that are of deep personal concern to me, including privilege, equality and the enclosure of our cultural commons. I actually found myself getting quite over emulsional while Jane was talking :}
— Josie Fraser (@josiefraser) September 8, 2016
Although I didn’t manage to get to nearly as many sessions as I would have liked, because I was running around doing so many other things, my impression is that some of the main issues to emerge from the conference this year were learning analytics, policies for lecture capture, and games in education.
It was great to see so many presentations on different aspects of open education, particularly at a time when there is so little external funding going into OER. My impression is that openness is slowly starting to become embedded across the sector, with more institutions starting to consider the sustainability of the resources their staff and students create. I gave a presentation Into the Open – a critical overview of open education policy and practice in Scotland and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who provided enthusiastic comments and feedback.
ALT Scotland SIG
And talking of Scotland….we had a very successful meeting of the ALT Scotland SIG. It was great to see so many new faces! You can find out more about ALT Scotland and join out mailing list for updates.
Learning Technologist of the Year Awards
The University of Edinburgh was acknowledged twice in the Learning Technologist of the Year awards. The Open Education Team, which I work with, was placed third in the team awards and the Education Development and Enhancement team was highly commended. The awards were great fun and it was a real honour to join so many of the award winners from 2007 – 2016 on the stage.
I’m delighted to have joined the ALT Central Executive Committee as a Trustee and look forward to hopefully making a positive contribution to the organisation.
I took part in a great Virtually Connecting session with Fiona Harvey, Teresa MacKinnon, Nadine Aboulmagd and others. We discussed a wide range of topics including the risks and privileges associated with openness.
Despite patiently explaining to co-chair Nicola Whitton that I am #notagamer she insisted that I joined her team for the Actionbound School of Rock challenge. Yes really. I have to admit it was a lot of fun and we had the most awesome team. Also this happened…
We should have won. We were robbed.