I’ve just cleared the decks after returning from an interesting week at ALT-C. Well, when I say ‘cleared the decks’, I mean that I’ve caught up on as many emails as I can and have phoned as many people as I’d promised or needed to. And, when I say ‘an interesting week’ – I mean it’s been an all-absorbing, full-on, learning, networking and interesting three days, not quite a week.
The last time I attended an ALT conference was back in 2006, in Edinburgh and I blogged throughout that conference: http://dsugden.googlepages.com/alt-c. This time I haven’t, I just didn’t seem to have the energy to blog. Instead – I Twittered (Twitted?) http://twitter.com/dsugden #altc2009 and learned about Twitterfall. I’d left the Edinburgh conference disillusioned and dispirited and purposely avoided the next two in Nottingham and Leeds (although I now wish I’d managed Leeds if only for the conference dinner which was apparently a great success by Thomas Danby College students). It costs me a lot of money to attend and I can’t afford to come away feeling like that. This year though, Lilian Soon [www.xlearn.co.uk] and I had been accepted for our delivery of a workshop called: Active Learning with mobile and Web 2.0 Technologies: http://altc2009.alt.ac.uk/talks/show/6854.
Since my return, it has been interesting to review my comments from last time and to match them against this year’s reflections (both Twittered and not). I’m not sure that Twitter was around in 2006, it might just have been, but this year has seen an explosion of comment on the #altc2009 Twitterfall. Similarities?
- People are still talking about blogs – one speaker promoting them to her learners said ” I wouldn’t blog in a thousand years”!!
- Talk of using the Social Networking giants (Facebook wasn’t around in 2006 either – much) as disappeared
- There is still a lot of angst about how ‘it’ will affect the institution (and copyright and IPP and – so on) ‘it’ being anything new, unresearched or disruptive (i.e. everything I like)
- PowerPoints are still badly made. The final keynote – Terry Anderson (whilst interesting) had very wordy slides – no change there then, since 2006. Another guy in a workshop I attended had red text on a black background – poo-er! Teacher Trainers seemed to have the worst PPT slides. Some of the best were just images (2nd keynote Martin Bean – VC OU elect – was a good example of an entertaining, informative talk with imagery and very few words on screen)
- There is still a poor F.E. showing (% wise not quality wise)
On the first night (for me and Lilian) we went with James Clay and Ron Mitchell (their second night) to el Rincon de Rafa Tapas bar just off Deansgate in Manchester. We had a great time in this comfortable and very Spanish restaurant. I really can’t remember everything we had to eat but whatever it was plentiful and very tasty. I do like the beer here.
The second night was gala dinner night and this was presented in the magnificent Town Hall (Manchester) by a joint team of students from Sheffield and Manchester Colleges. Once again I can’t remember exactly what we had for every course (James saved me a menu, but I forgot to get it from him) but it was delightful; spoiled only by the awards having to be interspersed with the courses – instead of at the end. The petit fours were a bit extravagant!
Once again it was great to re-meet so many friends and colleagues from up and down the country and to reaffirm friendships and relationships. AND – it was great to go up on stage with Ron, James and Lils to pick up a ‘highly commended’ award from ALT on behalf of the MoLeNET team. Well done Elaine, Mick, John and Di.