Takeaways of a techy kind from #ALTc

I’ve just come back from ALTc – a learning technology focussed conference, three days at Warwick University.  I wanted to record some of of it before I get consumed by the day job.

1.  I noticed that there seemed to be less about the technology in particular and more about the human interactions with it.  A number of sessions mentioned its all about the people for example.  Of course I would say that being a very people orientated person but Bryan Mathers mentioned it in his talk and it goes without saying that education technology systems are a waste of time if people don’t use them.

2.  Digital literacies – yet again, underlying theme for everything we do.  I noticed that there were many sessions mentioning online skills.  The wonderful project with Leicester Council (Josie Fraser and Lucy Atkins) which is a lovely example of collaborating with external organisations to develop skills.  They are sharing all their project outputs and I think that there will (or should be) many more intiatives like this to extend skills.   There were other sessions as well, that were not specifically about digital literacies skills but essentially that’s what they were talking about.  Spread the word.

3. Online learning is mainstream.  It’s not going anywhere and can only flourish (see point 2) MOOCs have played their part in attracting those who may not have necessarily been interested in doing anything online (purely because senior leadership teams weren’t interested) so if nothing else.  MOOCs have opened the door.

4.  People – so many people I know ‘online’ and I got to meet them face to face.  Thats the cool bit.  Yes, I am all over social media, but I stiil want to see and hear from people in the flesh. Jeff Haywood (I always like hearing about Edinburgh), Catherine Cronin (really interesting, all open and getting people to embrace the world at their fingertips) and Audrey Watters.  She has tatoos.  Lot’s of tatoos.  And some of them are techy tatoos which did distract me a bit.  But she was funny, engaging and had something to say about the use of the web and how it shapes our thinking.  Really fun and interesting which wasn’t a disappointment at all.

Next years conference is going to be all about ‘Shaping the future together’ at Manchester 8th – 10th September.  I hope it will be as much fun as this years, the ALT members are a blast and I hope to see as many of my online and offline friends as possible.


Riding Waves at ALTc 2014

It’s all very exciting – next week is the annual Association of Learning Technology Conference. I really wish I could bring the iChamps along as they’d be wowed by all I the innovation that takes place, but alas, funds are not available. I’ll do my best to bring back the expertise and hopefully I’ll be inspired by some of the ideas and activities that will be on show.

ALTc is also a wonderful way to get in touch with all the virtual colleagues so I’m hoping to meet up with as many a possible.

Part of my time will be spent on my talk about the MOOC SIG of which I’m chair and there is also a SIG meeting later on, so I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me.

Details of the conference are available along with live streaming (yikes) #altc2014 (I’ve also seen #altc but I don’t think that publicised)

See you there if you’re going, stop by and say hello! Conference programme

Notes from Nottingham

Over the last few days I have been in Nottingham talking at two conferences. Tuesday  to Thursday I’ve been at the Association for Learning Technology’s Conference (ALTc) which is a massive, full on, education led conference, showcasing a gigantic range of educational technology practice.   The theme this year was ‘Building a Culture of Learning’ and there was a lot of MOOC activity (someone even had that MOOC Squad t-shirt from my previous post!), in fact that was why I was there, we launched the special interest group on MOOCs yesterday.

The MOOC SIG has over 60 people signed up before the conference and we have circulated the sign up page since then so it will be interesting to see how many more people add themselves to the list.  There are 10 committee members, not all of whom could attend but they remain active members regardless.  Mark Morley (who wasn’t there) sent me a link to a group Diigo account and Helen Whitehead (who was there) came along and participated at the launch.  Prezi for Launch here

The launch went well and was well attended considering it was 9am, the morning after their 20th Anniversary Gala dinner! We had a great discussion and got some valuable input from those present.  We invited the SIG members to sign into our website and contribute to various themes that we’d identified.  So it will be good to see how that works out.  We have lots of work to do, but we have a great team, all of us raring to go and actively participating so that should be interesting.

ALTc is always very full on and you always feel like you don’t see everything you should. But I was lucky to be able to be there as part of something and met up with some great people.  Mira Vogel, James Little, and Helen Whitehead on the SIG, Olaojo Aiyegbayo who is creating iPad Coffee Clubs at Huddersfield (based on the Southampton ones) Hilary Griffiths from Bristol (who I’d met at the QAQE SIG conference at Hertfordshire Uni last Friday!) and many more.

ALTc finished after Stephen Downes crazy keynote which covered networks, Lolcats, Frank Zappa and two in one shampoo ( I kid you not) I then raced over to the RAISE Conference at the other Nottingham Conference Centre to meet up with Southampton colleagues and students.  I’m presenting the Digichamps there with Katie Spires (Digichamp).  Julie Wintrup is there with Kelly Wakefield along with three Curriculum Innovation Students to present their paper.  The RAISE conference is all about Student Engagement and so having a paper accepted there about the Digichamps was excellent.

I’ve just relayed the facts here because I wanted to get something written down amongst the mayhem, and its only 5.30am which is way too early to be writing anything, but I have to grab the moments I have 🙂 More when I can