Rewiring Inclusion: Strategies, tools and techniques to promote barrier-free learning
A national one day conference in Nottingham at the National College on Tuesday 9 February 2010, with an optional evening session on 8 February. Organised jointly by the Association for Learning Technology and JISC TechDis.
With an outstanding range of workshop sessions, and plenary contributions from:
· Google’s Julian Harty – “Wave, Chrome OS, Online Docs, and Android.
What impact will they have on the environment for learning?”;
· Jane Seale from the University of Southampton;
· Yahoo! Europe’s Artur Ortega – “The Yahoo! approach to accessibility”;
· Dónal Fitzpatrick from the School of Computing at Dublin City University – “The contribution that computer science is making on inclusion”;
· Peter Hartley from Bradford University;
· Alison Mills from The Manchester College – “How a large urban college has taken inclusion to the heart of its operations”;
The conference will focus in particular on browser technologies, Web2.0, e-learning, and mobile learning, and on the benefits these can offer to
all users, including those with disabilities or learning difficulties.
All sectors were represented in the workshop proposals and we are delighted that Independent Specialist Colleges were successful in being
selected to present alongside Universities, FE colleges, Project Consultants, and JISC Regional Support Centres.
Costs to attend:
£120 members of ALT
£160 non members of ALT
£100 dinner, bed and breakfast at the National College
The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) is pleased to announce that with the support of Becta we will be running a good practice workshop for schools, colleges, universities, work-based learning, and community education about the Successful deployment of networked handheld devices for learning and teaching.
The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Gilly Salmon, head of Leicester University’s Beyond Distance Research Alliance, and it will take place between 16.30 on Thursday 12 November to 15.30 on Friday 13 November at the National College for Leadership for Schools and Children’s Services in Nottingham.
I really enjoyed ALT-C last week and not just because I won an award. It was an excellent conference and I found it a very rewarding experince from both a delegate’s perspective and as a presenter. This is part two of my reflections on the conference, you can find part one here.
So on the Tuesday night I rendered and uploaded the video recording I had made of the VLE is Dead debate and put it on my blog. It has proved quite popular.
There have been 600 odd views of the video and I have served 40GB of video in just a week! I am impressed it has been that popular.
So back to ALT-C, where my Hood 2.1 Workshop was due to start at 9.00am (another early start). I hadn’t realised when I put my flyer for the event together that MLT was the acronym for the Main Lecture Theatre.
It’s quite big and not that suitable for a workshop, but we worked at it. I covered a fair bit and I have made a video recording which needs a fair bit of editing before I can post it online. In the meantime here is a list of the services we looked at.
One of the problems with ALT-C is the sheer quality of many of the sessions and as a result you will miss them. I video my sessions, so though no reflection of the experience of being there, if you have missed me at least you will be able to get a flavour of what happened.
I really enjoyed Martin Bean’s Keynote which he delivered with passion. Some great slides too, take note and learn.
With lunch I was on poster duty, showing off my Glossy Poster on our MoLeNET project.
I enjoyed the Xerte and SL demonstrations I attended, but the tightness of time meant that a good (and probably heated) discussion on a distributed repository model and the IPR implications wasn’t had. Time to write a blog post on that methinks.
Final session of the day was the Epigeum Award for Most Effective Use of Video Presentations. I was one of the judges so was at this session presenting the videos.
In the evening was the ALT Gala Conference Dinner which was very well cooked by the students from Manchester College and Sheffield College and where I was presented with an award…
Thursday morning saw another 9.00am start and the Distribute This workshop which went really well and was very well attended. Lots of discussion and debate on digital identity.
After that it was the final keynote from Terry Anderson which saw a huge flurry of Twitter activity which alas was not presented to the rest of the auditorium who merely saw the Elluminate chat in which no one was chatting!
After that it was time to go home.
Reflecting on the conference, I know that Seb and the rest of the ALT team put a huge amount of work into the conference and I appreciate all that they do. I do not envy the work they put in and end result is fantastic.
For me the online element of the conference is very important, allowing conversation, chat and to meet new people. This year it felt that finally ALT-C was also online. Crowdvine which worked so well last year, worked ever better this year, Cloudworks, which I was initially hesitant about, has proved itself as a great online place for links, comments and resources. Of course Twitter really came into its own. At ALT-C 2007 no one was using Twitter (well I was) but everyone was using blogs – I remember that’s when I first met Steve Wheeler. Last year at ALT-C 2008 there was only about fifty or forty of us using Twitter, this year according to the stats in Brian Kelly’s blog post, 633 people used the #altc2009 tag, now not all of these were at the conference, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were hundreds of people at the conference using Twitter.
What I found interesting in the discussion was that @jamesclay was a trending term. I believe that this was less used as a descriptor in Twitter postings, but more more in reply to what I was saying, in other words I was stimulating the discussion on Twitter. Difficult to show that, but it’s not as though I was a keynote speaker or anything. Twitter added an extra layer to the conference and despite the spam was a really useful tool.
So what would have I added to the conference?
Well though there was a great social programme, for me there wasn’t enough social spaces, a decent coffee shop type place, somewhere to meet those people you had promised to meet in Crowdvine and so on.
Just going back to the coffee and a note to all conference organisers, please provide an alternative to conference coffee and I would be willing to pay for decent coffee. Also have coffee available throughout the day and not just at coffee breaks. Well I would say that wouldn’t I.
A social cafe area for people to meet and discuss during the conference would be a real advantage, you could see the potential by how people used the exhibition area.
I also wonder if it is time that an unconference strand was added to the conference? A series of rooms available for open discussions and demonstrations. With Crowdvine and Twitter it would make it much easier to advertise these sessions and for people to join in with them. F-ALT has shown there is a demand for venues that allow for discussions and debates which don’t quite fit into the abstract submission process. It would also allow for debates on issues which arise out of formal presentations and keynotes that we don’t have time for in the main strands. An unconference format doesn’t mean disorganised or unstructured, but it does require an element of trust that something happens.
Overall I did enjoy the conference and it was certainly one of my highlights of this year. I would recommend that you do go to Nottingham in 2010. I know the timing is awful for those in schools and FE, for many it is the first week of term. However my view is that surely your institution can run smoothly if you’re not there and you can always check your e-mail and make phone calls. If you can, do go.
I really enjoyed ALT-C last week and not just because I won an award. It was an excellent conference and I found it a very rewarding experince from both a delegate’s perspective and as a presenter.
It was really nice to meet up with a lot of different people, some I knew, some I knew only from the web, some I had never met and those that knew me though I didn’t know them.
There was some great presentations, workshops, keynotes and debates and I felt I learnt a lot and was given a lot to think about.
I had a reasonable journey up to Manchester (no connectivity on the train) and having arrived, caught a taxi to the venue. I was relieved to see that my Glossy Poster had safely arrived though for some unknown reason at that time my flyers for my workshops and that symposium had failed to arrive.
I bumped into a few people I knew and then someone came up to me and said hello. I recognised him, but couldn’t name the face… I hate it when that happens, and after turning over their name badge (why do they always flip the wrong way at the wrong moments) I saw it was Richard Elliot from New Zealand. I am doing the keynote at ASCILITE 2009 conference so it was good to meet one of the organisers to chat and discuss the conference.
After the pre-conference buffet and chatting I headed up to the F-ALT event on post digital and managed to catch the last bit and added a little to the discussion.
These fringe events add a lot to the conference, they’re not competing with the conference, but adding a social, informal side to the conference that allows delegates to add a social learning element to the conference. It also allows delegates to discuss and present issues on stuff and technologies which at the time of the abstract submission deadline maybe wasn’t available or didn’t even exist.
Tuesday morning, saw a bright and early start with the conference kicking off proper at 9.00am. After the conference introductions we moved onto the conference keynote from Michael Wesch.
It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press and a few hundred again before the telegraph. Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges. New types of conversation, argumentation, and collaboration are realized. Using examples from anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, YouTube, classrooms, and “the future,” this presentation will demonstrate the profound yet often unnoticed ways in which media “mediate” our conversations, classrooms, and institutions. We will then apply these insights to an exploration of the implications for how we may need to rethink how we teach, what we teach, and who we think we are teaching.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed his presentation and presentational approach, however I do wonder and still wonder if all our learners are like his students? Are all our learners using Facebook and other Web 2.0 tools and services on a regular basis and importantly are they using them for learning?
I don’t see a Google Generation or Digital Natives in the learners I work with. Some are using Facebook and other tools, many are not. Those that are, not all are using these tools for learning.
I enjoyed the short papers on staff skills, some of the work that Alan Cann is doing at Leicester is very illuminating and interesting.
Then lunch and I won’t dwell on the conference catering, all I will say how much I enjoyed the coffee from the Museum Cafe across the road from the conference venue.
After sustenance we had the big debate, you know, the one about how the VLE is Dead! The debate was a lot of fun and it would appear that the delegates who attended enjoyed the debate. In a room with space for eighty, we had nearly a hundred and fifty people, many sitting and standing. We also had about two hundred people online following the live stream.
The debate was based on the following proposition.
The future success of e-learning depends on appropriate selection of tools and services. This symposium will propose that the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as an institutional tool is dead, no more, defunct, expired.
I know that most people realised that the debate (and especially the title) was provocative and that the aim was for a fun debate as well as looking at the issues. You are not going to be able to give serious academic consideration to the issues in an eighty minute debate.
I was pleased with the interest shown, not just at the conference, but also online on Twitter and on various blogs. Cloudworks has a list of the blogs that have discussed the issue. The “marketing” for the debate worked well (probably better than expected) with the trailer, the flyer and the numerous blog posts by me, Steve and many others…
As expected, I didn’t get to the next session, but did make Steve Wheeler’s Twitter session. A very popular session with lots of different people attending, some like me who are immersed in Twitter to people who had never used it.
After all that I missed the new ALT Members Reception, and as Gloucestershire College joined ALT this year I should have been attending. Ah well.
In the evening I went to a nice Tapas bar with Ron, Lilian and David.
This award not only recognises the work I have undertaken at Gloucestershire College in enabling, embedding and promoting the use of learning technologies; it is also an award for all the staff and management at the college who use learning technologies effectively to enhance and enrich the learning experience.
I was presented with the award by Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor Designate of the Open University at the ALT-C 2009 Gala Dinner in Manchester.
What was also nice was that the LSN MoLeNET team (of whom I am part of) was highly commended in the Team award.
Newsgator allows you to aggregate newsfeeds from a variety of sites, combined with NetNewsWire on the iPhone it makes it very simple to keep up with a number of blogs or dip into the stream now and then.
Recorded during the height of the snow at the beginning of February 2009 the panel discuss the role that learning technologies and communication tools can have in supporting colleges and schools that get closed because of the snow.
This is the twelfth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, It’s Snow Joke.
John Whalley’s final comment, as I didn’t give him much notice on the podcast recording.
Thought on one thing to do if it snows – have a series of general podcasts prepared on a ‘non-mainstream’ area for your subject, distributed early in the course. Ask learners to review if can’t get in to college.
Apologies for the poor sound quality at time on the recording, which we are putting down to the poor weather!
The 5th February sees the launch of the LSIS eCPD event in London. Not sure how many people will turn up due to the snow. I am thought about not going, though it was aright when I left, it has got heavier back home and even now it looks quite thick out of the train window as I write this.
I am running a workshop at the event which is looking at mobile learning. Unlike the MoD event, this time I have forty-five minutes which is longer, but is still not really enough time!
In the session I hope to get the delegates to discuss and talk about how mobile technologies can be used to support, enhance and enrich the learning experience of learners. I am also hoping (as I have done at previous workshops) the delegates use the same mobile technologies to post their reflections and views online.