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VLEs, Identity & Engaging Staff

Themes from the short history of the M25 Learning Technology Group

M25 motorway at night - blue skyThis month the informal London network of learning technologists became an ALT Regional Special Interest Group. Big deal? Perhaps not huge, but of interest to me as both an ALT Trustee and regular M25 attendee & contributor.

As M25 LTG approaches its 11th birthday I have put together an M25 Learning Technology Group timeline. It’s not quite complete and any corrections or additions would be most welcome. I wasn’t there in the very early days so to produce the timeline I have trawled through the M25 JISCMail archive & called on the memories of other London folk.

Here we go again

There are three topics that have been returned to regularly over the years:

  1. VLEs – no suprise there. In the first meeting one participant asked: “If we invest in a VLE will it still be useful/current in three years time?”  No comment.
  2. Learning Technologists’ role & identity In 2001 accreditation was discussed and the meeting notes reveal “there was a suggestion that accreditation by our professional body might be preferable. However, no-one thought the ALT was (or was about to) fulfil the role of professional body”. Note: the first CMALTs were awarded only 3-years later. At London Met in 2006: “Being mistaken for Computer Services is a common experience… There was some concern about how the Learning Technologist career can develop…”. The future of the learning technologist was debated and discussed at Goldsmiths in 2008 and again at City University in 2011.
  3. Engaging staff – in 2001 somone asked “How do we persuade reluctant staff?”. At Kingston earlier this month the meeting ended with a discussion on ‘Engaging Reluctant Academics”… Sigh

Another constant over the years has been discussion around the group membership; should the group include academics (?!), FE, private sector, those beyond the M25.  As numbers attending meetings have grown – regularly over 40 now – the ‘rules’ have become stricter.  Definitely no academic types ;)

The group has been extremely valuable as my edtech career has developed on my travels around London (coincidently over a very similar time period to M25LTG’s lifespan).  In particular the networking & relationship building aspect. In the global digital age of Twitter & Skype, our termly local get-togethers remain as important as ever.

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