ALT-C 2008 – but where’s your evidence?

September 10, 2008 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

ALT-C 2008 is a huge 3-day conference run by the Association for Learning Technology. Due to  too little signage mixed with Leeds Universities ‘incredible’ campus led to Kafka-esq hopelessness when getting from place to place. The conference is though a treasure trove of opinion, application, theory and discussion of all things technical as applied to teaching in FE/HE. The only thing it sometimes it struggles to deliver (and the same goes for all similar endevours) measurable evidence of success in improving the student learning experience.  WE all know it helps and the students like it – but like everybody else learning technologists need to be able to prove it.

Here’s the problem: Any method of teaching has to prove deep meaningful learning has taken place. This is not better grades or exam results, happy students or more students or anything similar. Most practioners will settle for this list and i have plenty of sympathy for that view. – it is in one sense what we’re all here for.

Anyway here is some of the things i encountered:

  • Sought out some presenters  covering audio related subjects to tout our wares too.
  • Second Life? Of course! Medical scenarios very good – an accident paramedic where to park the ambulance assessing the patient they get medical feedback and make choices etc.
  • same with fire incidents diff scenarios where a fire has taken place info via machinima decisions have to be made
  • Students liked it needed time to adjust there look etc. before work started felt unsure about the extent of the scenarios thought it was a game rather than a scenario so looked for a solution like a game . Chat was slow voice was better felt paramedics wearing the clothes helped to ground the experience and make it more real
  • sawe a pres by an austrailian learning tech. – OZ academics have a lot of autonomy when creating coursework and want subject-specific L&T advice not generic. I heard this said several times at the conf.
  • Keynote about the one laptop for all project – highly laudable and successful didnt get a chanc3e to ask “What can we do to help though”
  • talked to a user of podcasts to give students feedback about marked work I said: “Why use audio to give feedback why not see all the students face-to-face?” “Impractical purely in terms of numbers of students, this method reaches more students and is a record they can reflect on again rather than trying to remember a conversation” Good point.
  • – evidence Disc. forums are good but have issues with stressing students out (being a public fo rum) so use must be prop managed by lecturers (Yvonne Bain)
  • Learning communities supported with web technology to be successful must be comfortable with the tech, moderators must be flexible group should meet face to face first. Then again a shared experience [using the tech] was a bonding exp.
  • more than 30 people moderators must control the use of microphones – texting is pref. This paper also had some nice graphs showing the social/cognative profile over the course of an online discussion session)
  • Saw another demo of the bluecasting project running at the  University of Nottingham and got to meet the main protagonists Nick Mount and Claire Chambers which was great.
  • Finally went to a discussion about web2.0 in teaching and learning vs. NOT using web2.0 – it was like a typical day at work ;) Some big academics argued against the social web others for including it in supporting students. I reckon Web2.0 won the day actually

Entry filed under: Education, Learning technology, Virtual worlds, web.

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