(Especially for the new friends I made at ALT-C this week, a blog post in English.)
For me, last week was all about ALT-C. I got to present on Tuesday, so Monday night and Tuesday morning I dealt with stage fright. Luckily, seeing the campus and attending some short papers calmed me down and by the time I got to do my talk I was actually quite allright. The turnout wasn’t too big, but those who were there seemed very interested, asked good questions and wanted to share their take on things. All in all, I was very happy with the way things went.
The afternoon was rounded up with drinks and then dinner. That turned out to be good fun: I met a Polish lecturer working in the UK, a Danish learning technologist and a British guy who was also presenting. We had a nice conversation over dinner and continued in the pub afterwards.
Wednesday was a good conference day, packed with presentations, pecha kucha’s, workshops and key notes. Polish lady, Danish bloke and I teamed up for most of the talks, and it was great to have such nice company and to be to able discuss the content of the presentations with them afterwards.
Over drinks, we decided on the most important learning points. For me, that would probably be the fact that OER, Open Educational Resources, are quite a buzz right now. The feeling seems to be that more material should be shared, open, but on the other hand, universities struggle with questions like: how can you be sure of the quality of OER, to what extent, if any, can you control what happens with your material and how is copyright arranged? These questions are related to my recommendations on eTextbooks, so it was good to get a broader perspective on the topic.
Another thing that, once again, became apparent, was the fact that there’s more to eLearning than the E. In the end, learning and teaching are about people connecting. This came up in different sessions, for example on video lecturing, but it was also something we experienced for ourselves during the conference. Yes, you could easily collect most talks on a website, do some social media thingy to connect people that are interested in the same topics and have an online conference, but it wouldn’t work. You need real people, to connect with, to be inspired by and to have fun with. First, you need a ‘real life’ connection, once that’s there you can continue online, with learning, teaching or collaboration. This is something I knew, but realised once again and is food for thought, especially with my internationalisation interest in mind.
Although we were a bit tired, Thursday morning was filled with more presentations and the finishing key note. After that, the conference was closed and I had to say goodbye to my new friends.
What I take home from this conference, except for the fact that it is great to make new friends, and apart from a lot of smaller practical learning technology solutions, is the fact that I would love to do more with the subject of learning technology. And then, who knows, maybe visit ALT-C again in 2012.
p.s. Here’s a link to the Prezi I used for my talk. If you want to read the text that goes with it, please let me know.