Drawing at #altc

CB_ALT_WED_38 https://flic.kr/p/XRVcwY CC BY-NC 2.0
CB_ALT_WED_38 https://flic.kr/p/XRVcwY CC BY-NC 2.0

I spent the last week at the ALT Conference in Liverpool where I listened and participated in a range of sessions on learning technologies. As I did the previous year I did manage to make some sketch notes of the keynotes and some of the sessions. I was using the iPad pro, Paper by 53 and an Apple Pencil.

My sketch notes are really for me, rather than other people. The process of sketching allows my to digest for myself what is been talked about and demonstrated. The sketch note provides me with a mechanism that provides a process for my interpretation of what is being said and what I understand from the talk. The process of sketching engages me in the talk in ways in which note taking does for others, or conversing on the Twitter. They are not done for other people, if other people find them useful then that’s just a bonus. Having said that I do share them online, through Twitter (and Flickr).

Quite a few people came up to me to ask what I was doing, what app I was using and if I was sharing them. I had similar questions on Twitter as well.

The first sketch note was of Bonnie Stewart’s keynote.

Keynote: Bonnie Stewart – The new norm(al): Confronting what open means for higher education

Bonnie Stewart is an educator and social media researcher fascinated by who we are when we’re online. An instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and Founder/Director of the media literacy initiative Antigonish 2.0, Bonnie explores the intersections of knowledge, technology, and identity in her work.

Her keynote, The new norm(al): Confronting what open means for higher education, was recorded and out on the YouTube.

I really enjoyed this talk about the meaning of open and how though we may think we are open, that may not necessarily be true of what we do, or how others perceive us.

My next sketch note was from Lawrie Phipps and Simon Thomson’s session, VLE to PLE – The next generation of digital learning environment, which was a forty minute session. One of my children called it, after seeing the sketch note, the Vile Pile.

VLE to PLE – The next generation of digital learning environment

This was a challenge to draw, partly as it was very much discussion based, but also it was quite a short session. My sketch note was very much about drawing out some of the main themes that came out, the core for me was about how the VLE is getting bloated (becoming a Swiss Army Knife, lots of tools, but not good at doing anything well) and that maybe we should move to a learner centred “system” which the VLE could be part of – this reminded me very much of the VLE is Dead debate we had back in 2009.

At Leeds Beckett University they are exploring the development of a PLE “space” through a HEFCE funded research project into Personalised User Learning & Social Environments (PULSE). This project explores the development of a hub for connecting students’ existing spaces with institutional spaces and empowering students to take ownership of their “content” within and beyond their learning.

The difference here is that they do not seek to develop an entirely new learning platform, but just an architecture through which to connect existing spaces.

On the Wednesday I did a sketch note of Siân Bayne’s keynote, The death of a network: data and anonymity on campus.

The death of a network: data and anonymity on campus

I did initially wonder where the talk was going, as Siân recounted her tale about a research project involving Yik Yak, but I found the end of the keynote fascinating as she spoke about the importance of anonymity in a world of big data.

This keynote will talk about a recent research study which traced the slow death of the anonymous, geosocial app Yik Yak at our university. I will provide a description of its use and decline but, more importantly, use it to understand what is at stake in the loss of the possibility of anonymity within universities in an age of data profiling, extraction and personalisation. Linking to the conference theme which explores issues at the forefront of innovation, I will use theory drawn from literatures on surveillance capitalism and the data economy to focus on developing our institutional values surrounding anonymity through and within our learning technologies.

I really enjoyed sketching this talk it just worked for me from a sketching perspective, I think drawing the gravestones was the heart of I what made the drawing for me.

You can watch this keynote on YouTube.

I think this is something that needs to be considered by all looking at the use of data and analytics, and will certainly inform my work at Jisc on the Intelligent Campus.

I also did a sketch note in the session, Kevin Costner is a liar: Field of Dreams and other EdTech fallacies, led by Kerry Pinny, Marcus Elliott and Rosie Hare. This was another forty minute session and I also was “forced” to participate, so it was a challenge to do and complete the sketch note in that short time. This is the reason why I didn’t do sketch notes for shorter 20 minute sessions I attended.

Kevin Costner is a liar: Field of Dreams and other EdTech fallacies

I had originally intended to “paste” an image of Kevin Costner into my sketch note, but I don’t think that this is a feature available in Paper 53.

The session was really interesting and I don’t think my sketch note really amplifies the content of the session.

Kevin Costner has a lot to answer for and so do we. In ‘Field of Dreams’ he was told that “if you build it, they will come”. This parallels the approach to innovation in educational technology, “if we install it, they will use it”. Given ‘At the forefront of innovation’ is one of this year’s themes it is the right time to ask whether limited innovation, impact and staff engagement is our fault?

The main focus for me was about “who is to blame” for the lack of use of learning technologies, something I might come back and explore in a future blog post.

I was looking forward to Peter Goodyear’s keynote on learning spaces, entitled Shaping Spaces.

Shaping Spaces

This talk is about new learning spaces in universities and the scope for learning technologists to help shape better learning spaces. I will focus on design knowledge: knowledge that is useful in (educational) design work. Two ideas are core to my argument. The first is that the analysis and design of complex learning spaces – and learning situations more generally – must pay close attention to students’ activity: what it is they are actually doing. The second is that we need a shared set of actionable concepts that can connect human activity to the physical world (material/digital/hybrid), recognising that activity can be influenced, but is rarely determined, by features of its setting.

I found this quite a challenging keynote to sketch, often when sketching, key ideas and concepts make the whole process just work. With Peter’s keynote I struggled to create a coherent sketch note and capture the keynote.

Overall I was pleased with my sketch notes, I think they were much better than last year’s efforts. So did you do any sketching at this year’s conference?

2 thoughts on “Drawing at #altc”

  1. Had I made it to ALT-C I would definitely have gone to the VLE PLE session. I don’t suppose it was streamed. Thanks for your take on it.

    P.s you can import an image into Paper but only as a background I think (could be wrong there)

    1. No the session wasn’t streamed.

      Yes you can start with an image in Paper, but not add it to an image you are already working on, but I might be wrong there.

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