Expanding on the ALT-C #LTHEChat
On Wednesday 30th August there was an #LTHEChat hosted by the ALT-C 2023 co-chairs, Santanu Vasant and Lawrie Phipps.
LTHEchat will host a summer special chat led by #altc23 Conference Chairs Santanu Vasant and Lawrie Phipps. Dual hashtags will be used #altc23 and #LTHEchat. This special summer special takes a look back at 30 years of educational technology as the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) celebrates 30 years, as do Jisc, and the Staff and Educational Developers Association (SEDA). Educational or Learning Technologies have shaped higher education, especially in recent years during the pandemic, but the history of educational technology goes way back. In this LTHEchat, we ask you to remember your first experiences of learning technology in a work setting, what learning technology might be, if we had unlimited financial resources, what new ‘next big things’ didn’t take off and what do you remember from previous ALT Conferences?
I had initially planned to participate, but in the end, I went to the cinema instead.
So the following morning I did some responses to the prompts from the chat. I thought though I would expand on some of my answers to the different questions in a blog post to go beyond the character limit on the Twitter.
As a result I have written six different blog posts.
Q1 What was your first experience of learning technology in a work setting?
This was a bit of a challenge to answer as I have been working in this field for over twenty years, and before that I was an academic using learning technology, and before that I was working in schools supporting teachers.
I wrote this on the Twitter.
How do you define learning technology? I used a laptop in 1992 to create learning materials using Aldus PageMaker. Does that count? I also remember the solitary 286 PC and dot matrix printer we had for the whole department in 1994.
I had been working in a school creating resources and I borrowed the headteacher’s laptop to create content. Eventually I was given my own laptop. In the main I used WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, but also did content using Aldus Pagemaker.
I remember how powerful WordPerfect 5.1 was, of course being a DOS based piece of software, it wasn’t WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and I remember pressing the keystrokes for the print preview quite a bit to check the page was looking as I needed it.
There were plenty of keyboard shortcuts that you had to use (no mouse or button bars here).
I also used WordPerfect at (what was then) Brunel College. I was in the Faculty of Business, Food and Hairdressing and initially we had a single 286 PC that we all had to share. It did’t really help that the only printer we had was a dot matrix printer that didn’t really do the job.
So, like many academics of the time, I used my home PC and also bought a budget laser printer to print things off.
I did add another post to the Twitter thread.
Later that decade we had a luggable projector and screen, which I remember heaving to my classroom and connecting my home PC tower, so I could show video using a Rainbow Runner video card embedded into a presentation.
I would on a regular basis bring my home PC into work to show off presentations.
I was reminded writing this blog post that I did this back in 2021, my edtech journey.
One of the most influential pieces of software I used back in the 1990s was PagePlus, a budget DTP software for Windows.
I was using technology to support learning, was this a learning technology? Is using standard business hardware and software something different to hardware and software for learning?
If this was technology that was specific to education was probably the FirstClass LMS in the late 1990s. That was my first introduction to a virtual learning environment.