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How to… enter the ALT Awards and gain professional recognition

Over the past year I have started to enter awards, and I realised that it can be a helpful process to get a new perspective on one’s progress and gain some much needed professional recognition along the way.

This post is all about ALT’s Awards, which I can’t enter, but I hope that you will. The Awards celebrate achievement in the field of Learning Technology and are peer-reviewed by a panel of ALT Members from across sectors, chaired by the President of ALT.

Now, if you are someone who is ready to put your name forward, move right along and complete the entry form.

There are five categories to choose from, so hopefully you’ll find one that fits:

  • ALT Award for Individuals
  • ALT Award for Institutions and Teams
  • ALT Award for Leadership in Digital Education
  • ALT Award for Digital Transformation in partnership with Jisc
  • ALT Award for Case Studies of Ethical EdTech 

The awards are open to all and free to enter and you don’t have to be a Member of ALT to be eligible. The Awards Ceremony is free to attend for all Finalists.

The Awards page has the full particulars of the criteria for each award, and the judging criteria are informed by the CMALT principles: A commitment to exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning; a commitment to keep up to date with new technologies; a commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice and empathy with and willingness to learn from colleagues from different backgrounds and specialism. All entries should demonstrate alignment with the Framework for Ethical Learning Technology (FELT) and specifically FELT four core principles: Awareness, Professionalism, Care & Community and Values. 

The entry form requires you to complete one main field:

Describe your entry, including why you should win this year, the impact of your work within or beyond your institution, how it was developed and what others could learn from your work.

and there is an option to include links to supporting evidence, resources or similar.

Why not enter?

Plenty of people I meet wouldn’t consider putting themselves, their project or their team forward for an Award. My question to you is: Why not?

If you don’t win or get short-listed, no-one will know. You will still have a useful summary that highlights what you have achieved that you can use for appraisals or dissemination, and you might have an opportunity to see your own achievements in a new light.

What you do is probably more worth sharing than you think. Plus, after two years of fire fighting and crisis support, I bet there is a LOT you will have achieved for your learners, your academics, your colleagues, your institutions, the wider community and the sector you work in.

And… there is always the option of nominating someone else. An unsung hero or a overlooked innovator.

Tips for entering

I have previously shared tips for entering, and these are some of the most popular ones:

What I/we do isn’t special…

Quite a few winners of the Awards over the years have either been nominated by someone else or started their opening sentence along these lines. Most of the time individuals or teams who do exceptional things don’t take the time to reflect or celebrate. They move on to the next thing quickly and modestly. This is one of the things the Awards are useful for – to reflect and acknowledge your achievements and those of others. If you aren’t sure whether what you do is ‘special’ enough to enter ask a colleague for their views. And if you know someone who should be recognised – nominate them.

Show what impact you’ve made

Quite often entries don’t include a lot of detail of what difference the work has made – how you have changed things. If you find it hard to find good ways of showing that maybe ask colleagues, learners or peers for comments or feedback. You could also include metrics of social media or open online interactions, such as how many readers a blog has.

What are the judges looking for?

Each year the judging panel includes at least two previous winners of the Awards. That means entries will be reviewed by at least individuals who have been in your position before. Other members of the panel come from across sectors including HE, FE, work-based learning and industry. So no matter where you work or what you do, there should always be someone on the panel who understands your perspective.

Interviews make me nervous…

Part of the selection process is that all short-listed entries are invited to a virtual interview. This is a friendly and collegiate day. If you are invited for an interview, you will be able to prepare in advance and the interview itself usually quite informal and about half an hour long.

So give it a thought and before 4 July 2022, complete the entry form.

Good luck!

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