Association for Learning Technology – Conference

Hallo from the East Midlands Conference centre at Nottingham University where I have been for the first day of the ALT-C conference.

Kontrovertial Keynote
A certain Donald Clark (no relation) founder of Epic set a provocative start to the day by delivering a powerful and animated lecture on how dreadful lectures are!

This was not only deeply ironic and rather unconvincing but actually neatly poised to set discussions going all day. He did suggest that if we must give lectures they should always be recorded and available by attendees to review or for others to see (so lectures can not be all that bad after all!) . He did also say that research had shown that retention of lecture content is higher where listeners have greatest respect for the speaker. On that basis and discussions in the dinner queue – none of what Donald said will be remembered!
He did warn us of the danger of cognitive overload – and in fairness to Donald this was not a sin he committed.

Check his blog at


Rebecca Fergusson talked of blogging an a post grad project at the OU over 5 years. She basically said that at a review point the group decided to divide postings between different tools:

Community Posts went on Google Docs
Environmental and emotional posts on Twitter
Memos (not quite sure what these were) Facebook.

Interesting idea – but I did not get to discover if the fragmentation of online community led to lower participation rates.

Connected Field Trips
S Davies took us through her connected field trip plan where 4 geology students set off to the field but stayed in touch in real-time with 4 based back at the uni. They had sophisticated servers on laptop they took with them which synchronised through 3G with similar server back at base.

Digital Literacies
Rhona and Helen took us through their Digital Literacies
Check out the Teaching and Learning Research Programme – Technology enhanced learning at

Jane Searle
Jane Searle provided a presentation challenging the way that digital inclusion initiatives have lurched between short-term funding initiatives and have not adopted a holistic approach to empowerment. Rock on jane – too right! Hope to stay in touch in this dialogue.

Pearson took us through their products including MyLabs Play and the repository Equella which can now integrate into Moodle.

Google as Employer
Sudhir Giri from Google took us through the work he has led on making Google a learning organisation . Especially looking at skills sharing with three tools:

An internal search tool for learning resources
g2g where googlers (employees) share their own resources eg videos on how tos.
gWhiz described as ‘crowd sourcing your CV’ effectively you tag yourself for skills but colleagues do as well.

Interesting use of tools to develop a learning and skills sharing culture.

Not avaialble to public though.

Also learned that Google Wave is now closed and placed – open source – basically it did not catch on!

Enough 0f all thsi reporting back…………………………………..

and Jane Searle from Plymouth


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