‘Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave’ is the title & theme for the 2014 ALT Conference – my first ALT conference.
With the conference themes being weaved thoughout the three days (education, innovate, communicate) the opportunities are here for all delegates to take what they need, give back (through questions, discussions, informal tweet ups, etc), and enhance not only their own ideas and practices but those around them.
I don’t want to say I’m surprised by the level of engagement, as that implies I might think that we (learning technology-type people) have such a low level of engagement or closed-door mentality at these events (which we don’t), but I am enthused and proud when I look around the room at the discussions and engagements that are taking place. From lunchtime to coffee breaks, to break-out activities to keynote speakers, this first day has been energetic and had a buzz around ‘being together’ I’ve not experienced since my first FOTE conference in 2009. There is clear symmetry in what we are all feeling as part of the Learning Technology fraternity these days; from MOOCs to student engagement, academic buy-in, digital literacy, experiences, virtual vs. real worlds, etc. as there are so many overlaps between session presentations.
The 2014 ALT Conference is just around the corner (in more than just time – it’s being held at the University of Warwick, which is where I now work!), and I’m getting ready for it.
The theme for this year (and my first ALTC) is ‘Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave’ , and the wave I’m trying to crest at the moment is planning the sessions and presentations I want to attend. It’s not helped by the fact so many of them are interesting, and that so many of them occur at the same time as each other.
Tom Khulmann, on the Rapid E-Learning Blog, regularly writes on techniques and tips for eLearning success. Recently he wrote about a discussion thread happening on the Articulate community site about pet peeves of eLearning professionals. In his reply he outlined not only some of the more recognisable pet peeves from the community (e.g. “the words ‘can you just’…?”) but his own personal favourite: locked course navigation.
Mine … well, the list is long and there isn’t one single thing that stands out from the rest, but if I had to name one pet peeve over all the others I’d say it was apathy. With the rate of change and advancements in technology there really is no excuse for the apathy that exudes from academic circles on the use or implementation of a ‘modern’ (read ‘up to date’) use of technology to enhance learning experiences. Continue reading
Peter Reed (@reedyreedles) has made some important and thought provoking posts recently. This is a kind of reply / addition / reflection / enhancement of those posts from my own perspective. Let the games begin … but first it’d help if you had read Pete’s posts:
That’s the short answer. I’m not sure there is even a question there, but I like what Pete has said, I agree with him on both posts. Learning Technologists (LTs) do need to be a Jack (or Jill) of all trades, a master of none (or nearly none). Continue reading
This week I had a great chat with @nancyrubin and @CliveBuckley after I re-tweeted Nancy:
My thoughts on courses and training, as I mentioned above, as just this: courses tend to fit the organisational structure of the issuing body and don’t always fit the ‘need’ of the learner. You join (example) a specific school or faculty to start and complete your degree in Business Management or Economics or Sociology. But what if the specific subjects you really want to study are only loosely based around the course structure that the institution wants to teach? Continue reading
Infographics are great, when they have something worthwhile to say, and show the data in a worthwhile way. This is one of the better ones - The Education of Tomorrow.
Here are some of the headline details from the infographic:
- 90% of college students and high school seniors (yes, another US centric dataset) see tablets as valuable educational tools.
- 63% of college students and high school seniors believe tablets will transform the way college students learn in the future.
- 60% of college students prefer digital formats when reading books inside or outside of class.
- Continue reading
From the Sh!ft eLearning website – 10 Ways to Keep ELearning Interesting. Creating the learning resources and delivering the content is one thing, but creating and delivering content that is both engaging and thought provoking (and ‘sticky’) is something else. This infographic (below) is a nice handy chart on the kinds of things you could consider adding to keep the learner interested.
“Even more than other types of education, eLearning must struggle to attract learners’ attention: the Internet is full of distractions, and adult learners are both busier and more free to indulge in distractions. Helping students to pay attention is a primary concern of training professionals, so here are some optimal methods to win the attention game in eLearning.”
It’s been a while since my last book review, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been keeping up to date with my reading list – if anything the list is getting longer (and the days shorter).
My latest addition to the list is from Brian Chen – “Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future – and Locked Us In“.
It is clear to see all around us just what impact smartphones have had on society and, in my area of interest, learning. It has enabled truly mobile learning to take place – in the sense of mobile materials as well as mobile individuals – as well as interactions when we, the learner, wants it, not just when the course director wants it. Apple has taken something, developed it, marketed it, and let it loose on the world. You could argue about Apple and Steve Jobs’ intent and whether they knew what they had when it was first released, but it is the inclusion of the App Store and the developments the global community made that have helped steer and mould the direction the iPhone and subsequent smartphones took. Continue reading
Last week I was involved in the second iteration / cohort / running of the BYOD4L short course. Along with a number of colleagues we ran a series of tweet-chats each evening along the course themes – timed between 8-9pm the tweet-chats involved facilitators posing questions and ‘facilitating’ the responses and direction the chat took.
Taking is back to the beginning … what is a tweet-chat?
“A TweetChat is a virtual meeting or gathering on Twitter to discuss a common topic. The chat usually lasts one hour and will include some questions to stimulate discussion.” – BYOD4L Tweet-chat
“A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests.” Social Media Examiner
I thought I’d write up my experiences of running three tweet-chats now: two for BYOD4L, and one for the Leicester Forensic Science FutureLearn MOOC. Each uses a different approach, but both very valid and engaging for the students / participants as well as the course team(s).
“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”
The article ‘Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it‘ is as much about the social impact of the always-on connections we have through our mobile devices as it is about how we manage them.
“For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write.”