Themes from the short history of the M25 Learning Technology Group
This 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tell them you’re a Learning Technologist.
A couple of weeks ago I was in the audience of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? Afterwards, once I’d finished admiring Theresa May’s boots, I was chatting, as you do, to a real-life Secretary of State. We started off on safe ground talking about his dad. Once that was covered, I was asked, ‘what do you do?’; Learning Technologist I say, after which an explanation was not unsurprisingly required. Now, it may well be the way I tell ’em but the Secretary of State was struck dumb and an awkward silence ensued. I kid you not.
Yesterday I attended another M25 meeting where we discussed the varying structures and strategies that our institutions have adopted for developing the use of learning technologies. Speakers from Imperial (or Imperial), City, UEL, LondonMet & LSE showed just how varied the structures, strategies, approaches and levels of funding are. Read more…
It’s hard to fathom but I don’t appear on the 100+ (E-)Learning Professionals to follow on Twitter created by Jane Hart. And actually 100+ = 180. Perhaps I’m a) not professional enough b) talk too much about lunch… I can take comfort in the fact that I do at least follow a decent handful of the top 100 and have heard of a fair few more so perhaps the answer is b) not a).
I discovered this poor quality list via @psychemedia (Tony Hirst) who has produced a Yahoo Pipe which produces a feed of all the tweets of the chosen few (OK more than a few), more details on Tony’s Blog.
Back from blustery, wet, humid Ireland. That’s not fair. It’s true but makes it sound like I had no fun which I did. It was very beneficial for work too! I’ve made a couple of posts over on my work blog – one on my presentation to a careers conference and one on a meeting about the National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR). I had a further meeting on Friday with Sharon Flynn who works for NUI Galway CELT and heads up the Learning Technology side of things.
Our conversation reminded me yet again of how many shared problems learning technology units have. Not much of a surprise there but I find I tend to forget that between such meetings. It got me to thinking about more ways of making this happen. We have an M25 Learning Technology jiscmail & Moodle course with occasional get togethers but I got to thinking that isn’t this something that ALT should be enabling more of.
The HE careers services equivalemt (AGCAS) runs regular courses for its members. For example there is one called “Challenges” where participants look at national, institutional and personal issues in the context of their service with a focus on contrasting there own experiences and learning from each other. Perhaps i should drop an email to ALT…
Image: Galway http://flickr.com/photos/phalinn/348920424/
At last week’s M25 Learning Technologists‘ meeting we discussed exactly what we do and what we might be doing in the future. We know how to have fun. Seriously, many thanks to Peter Wren & Julie Voce at Imperial for facilitating this session; it’ll be very interesting to see what comes out of the data collected. Inspired by the session I have produced this pretty picture which you can click on to see it proper. I’m new to FreeMind and haven’t quite figured out how to use it so here is my key:
- Green means I do it – and the dark green is stuff I particularly enjoy
- Grey means I don’t do it and in all cases have no strong desire to either
- Internal-External refers to my institution rather than my immediate team
One thing that my mind map doesn’t do is make a reference to technology vs pedagogy which came into last week’s exercise. I recently blogged on the Pedagogy before Technology mantra and when I tried to incorporate them into my mindmap I realised it was unnecessary as nearly all the stuff I do involves both to some extent.
Build your own?