Posts Tagged ‘altc2008’

Social Media at ALT-Cs

September 9, 2013 1 comment

A look back at social media use at the ALT-C conference over the years. Very much personal recollections, certainly not a definitive history. Later today I’ll be heading to Nottingham for the ALT-C conference #altc2013 It’s ALT’s 20th conference which makes me feel like a relative newbie to the field of learning technology. My first ALT-C was in Sunderland in 2002, about which I remember very little – David Puttnam and the Stadium of Light. My first Social Media ALT-C My first social media fueled ALT-C was 2008 in Leeds and I think that’s the conference where social media first featured heavily. There was stuff going on before that (e.g. see #altc2006 photos on Flickr, #altc2007 RSS Yahoo Pipe) but a minority sport I think (I didn’t attend between 2003 & 2008, so can’t be sure). By 2008 I’d been messing quite a lot with blogs, wikis, Facebook, RSS and the like – I’d run my first social media workshop in 2006 “Social Software: Blog it, Digg it, Poke it!”.

Edubloggers at Work

Photo by samscam (CC BY-NC)

At the time of #altc2008 one of my tools of choice was Netvibes. Ahead of the conference I created this ALT-C 2008 Netvibes page and compiled an OPML file (collection of RSS) from it for others to subscribe to. I also created a conference wiki with Kris Roger (an LSE colleague) & Athina Chatzigavriil (UCL & future LSE colleague) to collate comments from delegates to help us write the 2008 Conference Review for the ALT Newsletter. The conference also featured Crowdvine which continued to be used as the conference site until last year. Crowdvine made a a lot of use of RSS and enabled delegates to add their various social media channels to their profiles e.g. my 2008 profile. The 2008 conference also saw the development of a conference Fringe with the introduction of F-ALT. I particularly remember the Edubloggers meet-up where I first met many people who have since featured heavily in my social media network. Talking of which, Twitter also arrived on the ALT-C scene at the 2008 conference with 310 hash-tagged tweets. See Twitter at ALT-C below. While ALT’s Youtube channel now features recordings from 2008, they weren’t actually added until 2011. I helped Seb Schmoller set-up the ALT YouTube channel in 2009 and the first uploaded video was Making Group-Work Work from the 2009 conference. Working as a WPC at ALT-C For the 2010 & 2011 ALT-Cs I was one of the four Web Participation Co-ordinators. This was a new role on the conference programme committee tasked with helping make the most of the online aspects of the conference including social media, crowdvine and the live streaming. I didn’t attend the 2010 conference in Nottingham in person but was very active from afar and did a lot of tweeting from the official @A_L_T Twitter account which I’d helped get off the ground in 2009. Twitter Usage at ALT-C Although Twitter featured earlier, as the chart shows it was 2009 that it really took off as the backchannel tool of choice.

Tweets at ALT-C

Tweets at ALT-C

These numbers have been taken from and for each year I’ve counted the number of tweets tagged within the same calendar year that included #altc20xx, altc20xx, or #altcxx. Despite a slight dip last year there has already been much more pre-conference tweeting in 2013. At the time of writing – lunchtime, the day before the conference, there are 1186 tweets for ALT-C 2013. I suspect the number of tweets will increase again this year despite the growth of other networks such as Google+. Top of the Tweeters

  • 2007 – @mmetcalfe (1 tweet)
  • 2008 – @andypowe11 (51)
  • 2009 – @jamesclay (252)
  • 2010 – @dajbconf (333)
  • 2011 – @digitalfprint (423)
  • 2012 – @digitalfprint (403)


Updated 08/10/2014 with the following tweet from @mhawksey:

Hashtags & Backchannels

October 30, 2008 5 comments

One of my favourite things about using twitter is the hashtag as highlighted by this tweet of the two-days-ago.

Tweet of the other Day

Tweet of the other Day

Adding a hashtag to a tweet links tweets together.  So, earlier this week at the University of Leicester there was a face-to-face seminar to discuss a facebook study carried out there.  The hashtag #ormfb was used by those attending or following the event resulting in pages of tweets.  Many of the  tweets are ‘trivial’  but does that matter?  Some aren’t and what’s important as well are the new connections that are being made.   I’m not at Leicester, knew nothing of the report but happened to spot #ormfb in a tweet by @AJCann so I asked what it was, and was told by @stujohnson and I then found @jennifermjones who I’d never come across before but now follow!

Hashtags are great for conferences and featured heavily at ALT-C 2008.  #altc2008 on twitter: 300+ tweets before, during and after the event.  And of course it’s not just twitter and hashtags.  The altc2008 tag was used on flickr, blog posts, delicious and no doubt elsewhere.  See my conference page for examples.

Another great conference example from @joedale:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Digital Continuum

September 10, 2008 1 comment
Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling at ALT-C 2008

ALT-C 2008 kicked off in style yesterday with a keynote by Hans Rosling that delivered on many levels.  The buzz for the rest of the day was about the balancing act (right) and the great animations (see the gapminder website or the video below) but there was more to it than that.

The conference theme is rethinking the digital divide and one of Hans’ key points for me was to de-bunk the “myth” of divides and gaps. He put forward a digital continuum rather than digital divide.  It seems like common sense as I write that now, as there ‘s always a lot happening between two poles and phrases like digital divide can easily mislead.

In another excellent session yesterday the presenters staged a debate along the lines of Web 2.0 vs institutional VLE.  The positions put forward were purposely polarised to encourage debate, which they did.  I left thinking about where on the institutional-individual continuum an institution might want to be because in the real world it doesn’t have to be a case of one or the other.

Back to Hans before I sign off and another interesting comment he made.  He told us that the videos on the gapminder website were much more popular than the interactive presentations where you can do stuff.  Could this be a case of a preference for broadcast over doing? Or a need for more guidance on using the interactive stuff or something else entirely? Either way, Hans urged us to take advantage of this interest in short videos.

The following video is a shorter (!) 2006 version of Hans’ talk.  The software has improved since then, the jokes are the same 😉 Worth a look:

Photo (above):


Wikis (at) Work

September 7, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve started work on an ALT-C 2008 Review wiki which we’ll be using to collect comments and reflections from the ALT conference delegates to help write a Review of ALT-C article for the ALT Newsletter.  Will it work?  Who knows… but worth a try.

My use of wikis has increased a lot over the last six months or so, although I’ve had minimal success with collaborative ventures!  I’ve been using a private wiki as my notepad and the main place for drafting stuff I’m writing, such as plans for workshops & notes for meetings.  I’ve also created a few wikis with multiple authors again for planning workshops & writing reports but these have worked less well as others haven’t really joined in!

The team I work in have a shared wiki and we do make a lot of use of it, for example: for team meetings, brainstorming, documenting stuff & planning staff development sessions.  It works well.  Fingers crossed that the ALT-C review wiki will be a success…  I’ve added a feed of wiki updates to my ALT-C 2008 start page.

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ALT-C 2008 Preview

September 3, 2008 1 comment
University of Leeds Graveyard

University of Leeds Graveyard!

ALT-C is the annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).  ALT-C 2008: Rethinking the Digital Divide is being held at the University of Leeds, 9th-11th September.

My last ALT-C was 2003 (Sheffield) and the learning technology landscape has changed a bit since then, or has it…

The most obvious change on the technology-side has been the emergence of ‘social technologies’.  At the time of ALT-C 2003, Google had only recently bought Blogger and the likes of Facebook & Flickr didn’t exist (both born 2004).  My first web 2.0 presentation was summer 2006 and although we now regularly offer courses such as Blogging for Beginners, Social Bookmarking and Teaching with web2.0, interest and take-up remains low here at the LSE and, I suspect, elsewhere in HE. Read more…