Category Archives: altc2010

Down the #altc road


Reading Maren Deepwell’s recent post about her #altc journey, it reminded me of the many conferences I have attended and like her the impact that they had on my life and professional practice. Going back to my experiences of my first ALT-C I was surprised I even went again!

Continue reading Down the #altc road

Podcast lectures “better” than real lectures

In recent weeks I have written about lectures following Donald Clark’s keynote on the end of the lecture at ALT-C 2010.

As well as reflecting on Donald’s keynote I also posted the video Dave White’s invited talk where he talks about eventedness.

However if the results of a slightly unconvincing study are to be believed then giving students a recording of the lecture would be better for the learners than them attending live!

The New Scientist reports on the study that was undertaken at State University of New York in Fredonia.

New psychological research suggests that university students who download a podcast lecture achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person.

Why do I say unconvincing?

To find out how much students really can learn from podcast lectures alone – mimicking a missed class – McKinney’s team presented 64 students with a single lecture on visual perception, from an introductory psychology course.

This is a very small sample set and only covers one subject.

Now before we completely dismiss this study, there was also a recent article of interest in The Telegraph about Flip-thinking.

The article implies that education hasn’t changed much over the last hundred years…

Since it’s 2010, many of these students will see smartboards instead of chalkboards and they’ll turn in their assignments online rather than on paper. But the rhythm of their actual days will be much the same as when their parents and grandparents sat in those same uncomfortable seats back in the 20th century.

During class time, the teacher will stand at the front of the room and hold forth on the day’s topic. Then, as the period ends, he or she will give students a clutch of work to do at home. Lectures in the day, homework at night. It was ever thus and ever shall be.

However the article then goes onto describe the work of Karl Fisch

…instead of lecturing about polynomials and exponents during class time – and then giving his young charges 30 problems to work on at home – Fisch has flipped the sequence. He’s recorded his lectures on video and uploaded them to YouTube for his 28 students to watch at home. Then, in class, he works with students as they solve problems and experiment with the concepts.

Now though that article talks about flipping publishing and movies, there is a connection between the two articles on the students watching and listening to stuff and then using lesson time to ask questions, undertake exercises and do more practical things.

I don’t know about you, but there is a kind of logic there, isn’t there?

Some I know will say that learners won’t be motivated to watch or listen to the videos and podcasts. But are they going to be any more motivated to undertake questions and assessments for which they may not understand the underpinning theory.

Also it is a lot more difficult to get someone else to do your “homework” if the “homework” is done in college rather than outside.

You could also use additional materials and resources to extend the topic for those learners that need it.

The more I think about this, the more I think it has potential.

What do you think?

Back to the Future

I really enjoyed ALT-C, it’s a great conference, so much to hear and learn. However it has one “flaw” and it’s not really a flaw, more a design feature.

ALT-C is in September and the submission process occurs nine months earlier. So the content of the conference is mainly about work undertaken in the one or two years before that! As a result the majority of the presentations and papers at ALT-C is on work and activity that is eighteen months old! However this is not a problem, this is an academic conference and the point of the conference is to look back, learn from the past and build for the future. However this is not a conference to go to if you are interested in what the future will bring… in other words the stuff you would hear about at ALT-C 2012 or 2013. Many learning technology conferences I attend have a similar model, MoLeNET this week for example was about MoLeNET projects that were designed in November 2009, this was before the iPad and the iPhone 4G were even announced.

So what of the future?

It is true many of these conferences do have sessions on the future, but today in London I am presenting at FOTE10. The Future of Technology in Education 2010 Conference is about the future. Though one person did think it was more the “here and now” conference. Cycnicism aside, ULCC says…

…the FOTE conference is back for 2010 and, as with previous events, is dedicated to showcasing the hottest technology related trends and challenges impacting the academic sector over the next 1-3 years.

This is why this conference is different. This is now about where we have been, or even where we are, this is about where we are going.

It is very TED like in format and structure and I think the conference benefits from that. Short intense presentations (and a few panel sessions) to get people thinking. Even though many may think the lecture is dead, in this case I see FOTE having a term I will steal from Dave White, eventedness. In other words the event is not just about the presentation, it is also about the community that attends and engages with the conference.

There will be (I am assuming) quite a lively back-channel and the coffee breaks are a hub of conversation and discussion.

Many of the key players, personalities (and even celebrities) from the world of learning technologies in the UK will be there.

It is all these features that make this conference such an exciting event. The free tickets this year “sold out” as fast as the previous two.

Of course there is one question.

Who decides whom should present and on what subjects?

That is a question that I can’t answer, but obviously it can’t be easy. There are many new technologies, themes and trends. How would you choose what should be at the conference?

Fote 09 AudienceI was humbled last year to talk at FOTE09, I talked about the future of learning. I was even more humbled when I was asked to come back and talk at FOTE10. My presentation this year is entitled, “The iPad is the future of reading”. I have already written a couple of blog articles on the FOTE blog, one on how books are wonderful things and how the Kindle is a wonderful thing, but despite this, the iPad is still the future of reading.

The Engaging David White at ALT-C 2010

One of my favourite presentations from ALT-C 2010.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #058: Do you like books or do you like reading?

Recording of the Do you like books or do you like reading? symposium from ALT-C 2010.

This is the fifty eighth e-Learning Stuff Podcast,Do you like books or do you like reading?

Audio MP3

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Do you like books or do you like reading?

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes