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): http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-l-n/2842011541/
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.
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…