ALT

Call for Expressions of Interest to Chair the 2020 ALT Annual Conference

ALT News - 12/06/19

We are seeking experienced Co-Chairs for the 2020 ALT Annual Conference Committee. The Co-Chairs will play a major role in planning and delivery of the conference in 2020. For information about previous ALT Annual Conferences please visit https://www.alt.ac.uk/altc

Categories: ALT, News

Registration open for ALT Annual Conference 2019 – Data, Dialogue, Doing

ALT News - 11/06/19

Registration is open for the 2019 ALT Annual Conference, 3-5 September in Edinburgh. Register now to take advantage of the significant early bird savings. ALT Members also receive an additional 20% discount.

ALT’s Annual Conference 2019 is seeking to confront and challenge established assumptions, approaches and accepted truths in relation to key dimensions of digital education, focusing on the following conference themes:

Categories: ALT, News

Registration open for ALT Annual Conference 2019 – Data, Dialogue, Doing

ALT Announce - 11/06/19
Dear ALT Members,

Registration is open for the 2019 ALT Annual Conference, 3-5 September in
Edinburgh. Register now <https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/registration/> to take
advantage of the significant early bird savings. ALT Members also receive
an additional 20% discount. If you would like to help promote registration
then there is some text below which is also published on the registration
announcement page
<https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/news/registration-open-for-alt-annual-conference-2019-data-dialogue-doing/>
and/or
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Categories: ALT, Announcement

Guest Post: Getting To and Getting Around Edinburgh by Lizzie Seymour

#altc 2019 - 10/06/19
  Edinburgh is a wonderfully welcoming city, and is really accessible for getting around. The conference itself will be hosted at the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall and Appleton Tower which are within easy walking distance from the city centre, but I’ve tried to put together a small transport guide for the rest of the […]

Chief Executive Officer s Report June 2019

#ALTC Blog - 05/06/19

Dear Members

Now in my seventh year as chief executive of ALT, I’m writing these important updates for you, the Members of ALT, with a clear sense that the community I serve is not only growing in numbers, but also in diversity in all senses of the word.

What it means to be working in Learning Technology, what our different role descriptions and job titles mean, how they influence career progression, strategy and the way we articulate our professional practice is an ongoing and important conversation: one that many Members on the Members’ mailing list, the altc blog, at Assembly meetings and on blogs, social media and at events engage with.

To me, the discussions articulate and remind me of how important it is that we continue to examine and question our relationship with technology, how it is used for learning, teaching and assessment and what impact it has in the broadest sense, from individuals, to classrooms, institutions and on a global scale. ALT’s own definition of Learning Technology remains at the heart of that endeavour.

As a professional body for a diverse community of professionals, we welcome everyone who has become a Member of ALT in the past few months and also thank all who have renewed their membership this year. Thank you.

ALT’s importance as the leading independent professional body for Learning Technology in the UK continues to grow as our membership expands, bringing together more insight, expertise and contrasting perspectives in our network that benefits all involved as well as the wider public.

Coming up in the next three months, here are some key dates for your diary:

  • ALT’s Members Assembly is now firmly established and meets monthly online;
  • Call for Nominations for Trustees and the AGM Calling notice for this year’s AGM has been published, deadline 10 June and the AGM this year is on 4 September;  
  • Early bird registration for the 2019 Annual Conference is now open until 9 July offering a discounted rate in addition to the 20% Members save;
  • Senior and Associate CMALT will open for registration ahead of the Annual Conference, where we will formally launch the new accreditation pathways following a successful pilot scheme. Look out for more information via the weekly news digest in the run up to the conference.

There have been many other developments in recent months that have resulted in resources for Members and also the wider community, including a new report with a focus on gender equality in Learning Technology based on data from ALT’s Annual Survey, a record 18 research articles have been published in the journal already this year, covering topics such as smart learning environments, motivating teachers in further education and learner engagement – and featuring new article level metrics of article downloads as well as a new integration with Publons.

I want to close my report by reflecting on an important strategic milestone that we reached in recent months: the establishment of the final Members Group in the East of England. This means that we now have active Members Groups in all parts of the UK and you can view the map and find out more on the Members Groups and Special Interest Groups page.

At their recent meeting the Board of Trustees warmly welcomed this important marker of achieving what our strategy set out three years ago, and took inspiration from progress overall as we look ahead to setting out the next strategy for 2020 onwards.

One thing is for certain, there are exciting times ahead for us as an Association powered by our Members and I am really looking forward to what the next months have in store for us.

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Closing date coming up for 2019 Trustee elections

ALT News - 05/06/19

We invite nominations for 2 Trustees to serve an initial three year term to be elected by Members.

We are also seeking expressions of interest for the role of  Vice-Chair of the Association to serve an initial three year term to be appointed by the Board of Trustees (formally called the Central Executive Committee).

Categories: ALT, News

Reflections on the White Rose Learning Technologists Forum 17th April 2019

#ALTC Blog - 31/05/19
Alistair McNaught on web accessibility.

A post by Louise Stringer, York University, Louise.Stringer@york.ac.uk

The Forum met at the University of York recently to consider issues surrounding accessibility and inclusivity. There were three very different sessions, considering legislation and content creation.

Of course a pressing issue at the moment is the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018. Alistair McNaught from JISC kicked off proceedings with an overview of the implications of this legislation for learning technologists and other HE staff, including a rather snazzy graphic to summarise the timeline for compliance. I think everyone appreciated this, as the timeline is pretty complex! I won’t go into details of the regulations and deadlines here, but if you’re not yet familiar with them, I recommend this report on Accessible VLEs (particularly Chapter 2), or UK Government guidelines.

From my perspective as a ‘technology-enhanced teacher’, Alistair’s key point was that this legislation isn’t really new accessibility requirements, but more a shift in the burden of responsibility. Instead of students having to request adaptations to overcome barriers, it’s now the institution’s responsibility to provide natively accessible websites and documents. So essentially, the new legislation demands an inclusive design approach to materials design.

Next up was a hands-on workshop on “Everyday inclusion in everyday teaching” by Kirsten Thompson from the University of Leeds, focusing on content creation. This was a really enjoyable session, with two key takeaways. Firstly, to build an inclusive learning environment we have to consider the needs of all our students, especially in light of internationalisation and widening participation efforts. So although the new legislation focuses on removing barriers arising from disability, to be fully inclusive we need to go further and also think about how to remove barriers due to diversity in linguistic, cultural and religious backgrounds, being a mature, part-time or distance student, having caring responsibilities or a low income etc.

My second takeaway from Kirsten’s workshop was that a key strategy to develop accessible materials is to allow students to adapt a document’s format or how they interact with it. For example, instead of giving module information on a static PDF, using a cloud-based document like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs lets students change features such as the text size, background colour and line spacing to suit their needs. Kirsten also demonstrated the Microsoft Immersive Reader tool, which visually enhances text and can also read the text aloud. This seems a really useful tool to support a diverse range of students – it gives students a lot of control, and it’s based on familiar technology so doesn’t need specialist skills to use. Check out the University of Leeds Inclusive Teaching site for more tips.

The final session was an introduction to the Blackboard Ally tool, from Nicholaas Matthijs, Gillian Fielding and Peter Hirst from Blackboard. The main function of Ally is an automatic accessibility checker for pages and documents on a VLE or website. After checking, an icon reflecting the accessibility score is shown next to each document (staff-facing only). A tutor can then click this to see what the issue is, learn why it’s problematic and also get instructions on how to fix the issue. A lot of my colleagues have reported that they don’t really know where to begin with creating accessible materials, so I think this could be a really useful nudge to raise instructor awareness and empower them to create more accessible VLE sites and documents. The second key function of Ally is that it can create alternative formats of documents for students, such as a braille or audio version, or an ePub file for use with an e-book reader. Giving students this control lets them select the most appropriate format, removes the need for specialist tools and doesn’t add extra burden to instructors. Winning all round!

Thanks all for a thought-provoking and productive afternoon, and especially to the speakers and organiser Graham McElearney and Lilian Soon.

Louise Stringer, York University, Louise.Stringer@york.ac.uk @Lou_Stringer on Twitter

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Guest Blog: An outsider perspective on ALTC by Steven Verjans

#altc 2019 - 31/05/19
  This guest post contains a brief reflection on the ALT community from the perspective of a non-UK participant. This year I celebrate 10 years of involvement with the Association for Learning Technology, which seems a good time to look back and reflect. In 2010, I participated in my first annual ALT Conference in Nottingham. […]

Guest Post Discovering the Data Dialogue and Doing By Louise Jones scotlandlouise

#altc 2019 - 28/05/19
The countdown is on! The summer is nearly upon us and conference preparation is in full swing. The planning team here behind the scenes of the 2019 ALT Conference are especially proud of our annual conference graphic. Have you had a wee look at it? Have another closer look! It’s teeming with Scottish culture and embodies the essentially of the 2019 conference.

Vevox announced as Sponsor of ALT Annual Conference 2019

#altc 2019 - 23/05/19
We are delighted to announce Vevox (formerly known as Meetoo) as a sponsor of the ALT Annual Conference 2019. We have enjoyed their support in previous years and are excited about working with them again this year.   Vevox Twitter @VevoxApp Vevox is the award-winning live polling and Q&A app designed to increase student engagement […]

Guest Blog: Exploring Edinburgh by Chris Sheridan

#altc 2019 - 21/05/19
Image Credit: Katie Chan licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Image Description: Panoramic view from Calton Hill, Edinburgh near the base of the Nelson Monument southwest towards Edinburgh Castle. Top of the Political Martyrs’ Monument is visible in the foreground. The clock tower of the Balmoral Hotel and Princes Street lies in the […]

[Guest post] Sarah Sherman reflects on being a Trustee of ALT

ALT News - 20/05/19
Subheading: 

Back in 2011, on a bit of a whim, I thought it would be fun to propose myself and my good friend Julie Voce (now at City, University of London) as the co-chairs of ALT-C. Both Julie and I had long been supporters of the Association and thought it would be a great chance to be really involved in shaping the most relevant and influential conference of our sector.

Categories: ALT, News

Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Palestinian HEIs: An e-Learning Initiative that Bridges Educational and Socio-Political Gaps TEFL-ePAL

#ALTC Blog - 20/05/19
#wlvmlearn tweeted by @mattsmithwlv

Aida Bakeer , Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education/ Curriculum and teaching methods, Al-Quds Open University.

This event was part of an Erasmus Plus research project and was designed to showcase digital language teaching in the UK to a visiting delegation of Palestinian university language teachers. It sought to emphasise the importance of pedagogical knowledge as the bedrock for purposeful technology use. The research is an EU-funded collaboration, focused on helping Palestinian academic and technical staff to acquire the knowledge and expertise and maximize their benefits from the high level of European expertise available.


The twitter footprint of the day illustrates the many activities and topics covered during a very interactive and extensive exchange between language practitioners. This account was in part written by one of the Palestinian participants, Aida Bakeer , Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education/ Curriculum and teaching methods, Al-Quds Open University.

The first presentation was The Use of Mobile Social Media Applications for EFL in Saudi Arabia’s Higher Education. Abdul Alshabeb’s presentation was centered on the utilization of Social Media Applications and Mobility ifor language teaching in the Saudi Arabian context. Abdul stated that Saudi Arabia has the highest percentage of active Twitter/Instagram/WhatsApp users among its population in the Middle East. In addition, he mentioned that education in the Saudi context is segregated by gender and that teaching is still didactic. Furthermore, culture in Saudi Arabic is crucial in the sense that educators and researchers have to take it into consideration when teaching. The aim of his research is to determine whether mobile social media applications enable or inhibit English language learning and how teachers can provide more opportunities for learners to take part in collaborative, motivated, cultural and contextual experiences. Last but not the least, he differentiated between Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and introduced the new concept of Social Media-Assisted Language Learning (SMALL).

This was followed by Chris Martin (PhD student at Wolverhampton) presenting on Motivating the Foreign Language Learner. Martin opened his presentation by distinguishing between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, highlighting the underlying practices that lead to student demotivation. Some of those factors included:

  • complex tasks
  • teachers’ poor subject knowledge
  • overloaded whiteboards and presentations
  • teachers’ lack of awareness of students’ abilities, and
  • the heavy emphasis on high-stakes examinations.

Additionally, Martin introduced us to several motivational teaching techniques such as: (1) Learner-Initiated Feedback Technique (L.I.F.T.) where students annotate their work with questions or doubts.

Judith Hamilton (Senior Lecturer at Wolverhampton) presented on Using YouTube as a Pedagogical Tool for Reception. She demonstrated three activities for language learners using YouTube videos:

  • Name the Object: Turbo Diner. The students are required to name as many objects as possible within the allocated time.
  • Jigsaw Viewing: Departure of Love. In this video, students should work in pairs. The first student is to describe the video to his partner who should write the story without watching the film and then they exchange roles.
  • Write a Quiz: A short video clip is shared to the group who use it to formulate three questions with which they will challenge the observation skills of others in the class.

Collaborative Learning with Trello: Using the Language of Instruction by Karl Royle divided the audience into 5 groups and distributed handouts with different processes/steps. He requested that each group elect a leader to discuss and exchange the processes. Finally, the group leaders had to report back to their group members, arrange the steps in logical order, create a “how to” video, and upload it on YouTube.

The Use of Edmodo with Teenage ESOL Students in the U.K. was explained by Diana Tremayne who shared the following characteristics of the virtual learning environment provided by Edmodo :

  • Easy and free to set up
  • Students do not need an email to sign up
  • You have overall control of posts
  • Wide variety of tools you can access easily
  • Students like the Emodo interface
  • Mobile application is available
  • It is similar to Facebook, in terms of layout with the properties of Google Classroom
  • Edmodo polls allow for instant feedback
  • Quizzes are easy to set up with group/individual results
  • Other links can be integrated as well (i.e. Padlet )
  • Teachers can reward students with badges for their progress
  • Edmodo library features
  • “pinned” posts
  • Gives teachers the opportunity to find/share ideas and resources with each other
  • Compatible with Google/Office 365 accounts

Tremayne also shifted our focus on things to consider—building a sense of
community takes time, access to computers/devices may vary, students and teachers need time to familiarize themselves with technological tools, and it is easy to let Edmodo or any other virtual learning atmosphere become a repository.

From Computer Mediated Communication to Virtual Exchange was presented by Teresa Mackinnon, Associate professor at the University of Warwick. She began her presentation by defining Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), a field that evolved from CALL. Additionally, she informed us about EUROCALL and WorldCALL, international networks for Computer-Assisted Language Learning. She also mentioned Open Education – a movement which supports open access to learning opportunities for all through the use of digital technologies. Open Educational Practice helps practitioners to connect and share what they do, offering opportunities to improve and collaborate on resource creation. The way we work and interact has been transformed by the technological affordances of the internet such as hyperlink, social media and synchronous communication tools.

MacKinnon posed a question regarding where and how we obtain our professional networks and suggested a take-away task where we had to think of 3 things that we will do differently in our classes as a result of the day’s discussion. She wrote about the event in her blog post here. Last but not least, she closed her presentation and commented on the extent to which we can trust technology; stating that there is no clear cut answer, but we have to use technology with care at all times.

The final lecture for the day was given by Professor Michael Thomas, UCLAN. He asserted that technology is an endless cycle that keeps evolving and as a result, we are put in a situation where we are desperately trying to catch up with it and make it stable. He added that technology has been promising to revolutionize education for a long time via (1) educational radios, (2) talking movies, (3) language labs, (4) microcomputers, (5) video tapes, (6) Web 2.0, (7) interactive whiteboards, and etc. The highlight of Prof. Thomas’ presentation was the distinction between the roles of a teacher—(1) facilitator and (2) difficultator (neologism).

Furthermore, Prof. Thomas elaborated on the concepts of resilience, innovation, value-based learning, and the marketisation of education while using technology and stated that teachers need to familiarize themselves with the changes of technologies and adjust accordingly to the context at which they are situated. He stated that teachers should work towards enhancing the 3 C’s—(1) Communication, (2) Collaboration, and (3) Creativity—of their students. Lastly, Thomas told us to think critically about the integration of technology in our classroom and ask ourselves the following question: Who does it really benefit?

In conclusion, freedom and participation in the academic world are crucial factors that motivated Al Quds Open University to participate in the research. Integrating these tools in education can enhance learning activities in ways that can support more student integration and active involvement in the learning process, change traditional ways of teaching, foster language acquisition, and require tutors to be more creative in adapting and customising their own teaching materials and strategies.

Project logo

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

The ALT Annual Conference comes to Scotland collaboration criticality and Celtic connections by Keith Smyth smythkrs

#altc 2019 - 17/05/19
In our first guest post from the Conference Co-chairs, Melissa Highton shared our excitement at the ALT Conference returning to the beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh for the first time since 2001. As Twitter begins to buzz with news of the rich range of proposals for presentations, workshops and other sessions that have now […]

Registration open for ALT Annual Conference 2019 – Data, Dialogue, Doing

ALT Announce - 16/05/19
Registration is open for the 2019 ALT Annual Conference, 3-5 September in
Edinburgh. Register now <https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/registration/> to take
advantage of the significant early bird savings. ALT Members also receive
an additional 20% discount.

ALT’s Annual Conference 2019 is seeking to confront and challenge
established assumptions, approaches and accepted truths in relation to key
dimensions of digital education, focusing on the following conference themes
<https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/themes/>: [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

Registration open for ALT Annual Conference 2019 Data Dialogue Doing

#altc 2019 - 16/05/19
Register Now Registration is open for the 2019 ALT Annual Conference, 3-5 September in Edinburgh. Register now to take advantage of the significant early bird savings. ALT Members also receive an additional 20% discount. ALT’s Annual Conference 2019 is seeking to confront and challenge established assumptions, approaches and accepted truths in relation to key dimensions […]

Use of the game-based learning platform KAHOOT! to facilitate learner engagement in Animal Science students

RLT Journal - 15/05/19

Gamification of instructional activities is a useful approach that educators can use to promote more effective learning environments by increasing problem-solving, critical thinking and competence in the classroom. ‘KAHOOT!’ is an online multi-player real-time quiz game that allows students to measure learning in an engaging, immediate and entertaining manner. Lecturers can measure how well students absorb information and tailor their teaching to the next step or re-teach a concept after poor uptake by students. Seventy-two students participated in a 20-question survey about their experiences with ‘KAHOOT!’. Engagement scores were correlated with assessment grades to measure if ‘KAHOOT!’ affected student learning and achievement. The survey was deemed statistically sound in reliability and validity testing, and a principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that the attributes were strongly linked. There was no relationship between engagement score and assessment grade, indicating that ‘KAHOOT’!’ did not directly increase achievement. However, assessment of individual responses identified that students found it to be a positive social learning technology as it provided a fun, competitive and immersive end to a class. The benefits of fostering engagement, enjoyment and immersion within adult learning are especially important for maintaining a level of achievement within education to ensure that students are better equipped to deal with challenges and can turn a potential failure into an opportunity to improve their scholarship. The challenge provided by this study is to identify now how to measure the value of ‘fun’ activities in the tertiary classroom as a reinforcer for engagement, participation and learning.

Categories: ALT, Publication

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