It’s nearly September and since 2008 that’s meant that – at least in my world – it’s time to get ready for ALT’s Annual Conference. It’s an exciting time of busy preparations, 101 things to remember and, importantly, shoes to line up to pack for the week ahead (those of you who know about #shoetweets will understand).
As ALT’s chief executive my role in the conference run up is all about strategy, income generation, academic review procedures… in short, there are A LOT of spreadsheets involved and reports to write. It’s rewarding work and very important to ALT as a membership organisation. But there comes a time, and that’s today, when my thoughts turn more to what attending the conference would be like if I were a delegate… which sessions I would like to go to, whom I’d like to see speak or catch up with.
So here is my personal #altc preview, if I was attending as a delegate, either virtually or in Edinburgh:
In some ways I attend the conference virtually every year, because so much time is devoted to the conversation on the #altc hashtag. I really enjoyed reading what’s in store on social media and online this year in this post by Lorna Campbell. I particularly liked this bit:
The ALT Conference has always had a really lively and engaging social media presence, which draws in participants from all over the world. I’m delighted to help facilitate this as part of ALT’s social media team, along with partners in crime Rich Goodman (@bulgenen), from the University of Loughborough, and photographer Chris Bull (@chrisbull1980). My role is to livetweet the conference keynotes from ALT’s official twitter account @A_L_T, while Rich will be tweeting Chris’ photographs, which really capture the buzz and energy of the conference. You can see Chris’ pictures from last year’s ALT Conference on ALT’s flickr channel, and in keeping with ALT’s strategic commitment to openness, they’re all Creative Commons licensed.
That sent me down a rabbit hole of looking at photos from previous years and reminded me how much sessions like the Assembly Meeting, the Annual General Meeting and the CMALT Ceremony as well as the Learning Technologist of the Year Awards help make the conference the wonderful experience it often is. So these sessions are definitely in my calendar:
- Meeting of the ALT Members’ Assembly – including all Members Groups and SIGs on Tuesday afternoon
- #altc Annual General Meeting and CMALT Awards Ceremony 2019 on Wednesday afternoon
- Learning Technologist of the Year 2019 on Wednesday evening
My other plan for engaging with the conference, and other events I attend, is to try and find sessions about which I know very little and go to those in order to discover something new. In that spirit, the following session also get included on my #altc calendar:
- Forum theatre and digital education dilemmas: let’s improvise! [A-080]
- Interrogating the Holographic Academic: A Speculative Design Workshop for Telepresent Future Learning [A-159]
- Work. Live. Play. Learn: Social media, complexity and learning – using digital storytelling to embed the student voice in pedagogical change [A-024]
- From a thousand learners to a thousand markers: Scaling peer feedback with Adaptive Comparative Judgement [A-099]
- Fostering Effective Usage of Lecture Capture: A Longitudinal Study of Video Consumption Habits [A-051]
- Supporting complex marking workflows online [A-119]
- Getting Creative with Assessments for Distance Learners [A-053]
- Multicultural teamwork in a Middle Eastern paramedic simulation lab: An activity theory based approach to understanding technological influences to team communication. [A-071]
- Raising ABLE: why a design system is essential for scaling effective use of learning technologies [A-158]
Last, I am planning to take some time to spend in the exhibition at the ALT Stand meeting Members. In my first year, when I didn’t know anyone, I was greatly relieved to be seeing some friendly faces, to be made to feel welcome and to have people to talk to who shared what their day to day work was like. A few years on and I still find sitting at the stand and listening the best use of my time for much of the conference. I might also have some #femedtech stickers and badges on me… 😉
I’m also going to try and join into some of the remote activities like VConnecting and look out in particular for blog posts starting to flood in now that the guest posts written in the run up have concluded in a lovely welcome from the Co-Chairs.
So, Edinburgh or virtually, here we come. This may be the calm before the storm, but I feel there is a fair (conference) wind blowing and that is something to be celebrated given the times we live in. For whatever joy, inspiration and enthusiasm next week holds in store, I think we are going to need every ounce of it in the year ahead. And maybe we will raise a ‘wee dram’ to that #altc.