Tuesday, September 06, 2016

#altc Association for Learning Technology Conference 2016

I composed this on the train on the way to this year's #altc at the University of Warwick and looking forward to the  luxury of having three days thinking and inspiration time which is what #altc is.

I think my first #altc was in 2000 and in 2001,  really through circumstance,  I found myself on the organising committee for the conference at Edinburgh University . Thereafter, I've tried to get along to either the full conference or at least one policy forum or special interest group event in any year. Though sometimes due to external commitments it has been a flying visit for a day. My timeline is reminding me that I missed the 2009 conference as my six year old daughter decided she needed her appendix out that week in September. 

I'm looking at the delegate list. There is still more scope for a much deeper engagement with learning technologists in both further education colleges and in the training provider sector. While Jisc supports infrastructure  and innovation across these sectors Alt has the networks of practitioners that give learning technologists the community of practice to support them in experimenting with new approaches confidently but also the practical support to run existing systems and gain professional recognition. 

The main conference always runs in the early September window which utilises the university down time and gives university learning techs a quick inspiring burst of ideas before the new university term begins. Unfortunately this clashes too with period in Scotland when FE colleges start and learning techs are on boarding this year's cohort of learners.  

In terms of professional development and progression both membership of ALT and completion of CMalt certification  gives  learning technologists in FE an opportunity to access the breadth of understanding and knowledge or even mutual 'uncertainty' that can support continued professional development across the sectors, while CMalt offers appropriate professional recognition.  Even if you engage with alt community through special interest groups or regional forums you will get a lot back. The Scottish Special Interest Group now has around 150 members https://www.alt.ac.uk/about-alt/special-interest-and-members-groups/alt-scotland .

It would be good to see more learning techs from Colleges and training providers engaging directly with ALT , I think too there is increasingly a new group of learning technologists supporting the school sector that should be welcomed in too - there is a lot of learning around the system but still too may people and sectors re-inventing wheels or worse.

Josie Frazer just delivered a superb session on the issues around Trolling relevant for all sectors and I  am sure all the sessions and keynotes will be as relevant as this. 

If you are not here today follow the hashtag #altc and you will pick up something useful. If you are based in Scotland look out for the Scottish special interest group and their events. If you are a learning texhnologist in a Scottish college,  the college development network works closely with ALT and currently has a limited offer on access to CMalt certification.

Declaration of Interest
I've been a member of ALT since last century, served on number of committees over the years one year went from organiser to chairing the conference . I am co-chair of Scottish SIG with Professor Linda Creanor of GCU and an ALT UK ambassador.  I've made sure any organisation I have been involved with over the years has become an institutional member of ALT.
And no I didn't do it for the Lulz - I hope this is helpful !  I think the public education sector has been getting some constant Trolling from the press and political establishment.

noun: lulz; noun: luls
  1. fun, laughter, or amusement, especially that derived at another's expense.
    "the splinter group embarked on a spree of daring cyberattacks for the lulz"

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