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Keynote speakers, invited speakers, and sponsors' sessions

ProgrammeKeynote and invited speakers | Academic | Social | Pre & Post | Timetable

Keynote speakers

Martin Bean

Vice-Chancellor Designate of the Open University

Picture of Martin Bean

Martin Bean has taken on the role of the Open University's fifth Vice-Chancellor from October 2009. Currently General Manager responsible for product management, marketing and business development for the Worldwide Education Products Group at Microsoft, Bean has held senior executive positions in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, and brings to the role more than 20 years experience in global business training and education. He has held executive management roles in leading organisations, including Novell Inc., Sylvan Learning, Thomson Learning, and New Horizons Computer Learning Centres, Inc. Martin Bean is a member of the National Board of Directors of Jobs for Americas Graduates and was a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Computing Technology Industry Association, chairing its Public Policy Committee, 2002 - 2004.

Abstract. Innovation in ICT continues to enable new and effective ways to open learning to all who seek it. The challenge for The Open University from the beginning was to deliver mass higher education on an individual basis. That challenge remains the same today. The Open University asks for no entry qualifications and delivers to over 200,000 students and users of their course materials each year. In this presentation Martin will reflect upon The Open University's pioneering use of technology for large-scale delivery of educational opportunities over the last 40 years and contrast that with where The Open University sees the greatest opportunity for the application of ICT and innovation over the coming years.

ALT-C 2009 - Keynote Speech on 9 September 2009 by Martin Bean
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Martin Bean's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 53 mins).

Michael Wesch

Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, USA

Picture of Michael Wesch

Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the impact of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the impact of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over ten languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

Mediated Culture/Mediated Education. It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press and a few hundred again before the telegraph. Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges. New types of conversation, argumentation, and collaboration are realized. Using examples from anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, YouTube, classrooms, and "the future," this presentation will demonstrate the profound yet often unnoticed ways in which media "mediate" our conversations, classrooms, and institutions. We will then apply these insights to an exploration of the implications for how we may need to rethink how we teach, what we teach, and who we think we are teaching.

ALT - C 2009 - Keynote Speech on 8 September 2009 by Michael Wesch
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Michael Wesch's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running 65 mins).

Terry Anderson

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University, Canada - Canada's Open University

Picture of Terry Anderson

Terry Anderson has published widely in the area of distance education and educational technology and has co-authored or edited six books and numerous papers. Terry teaches educational technology courses in Athabasca's Masters and Doctorate of Distance Education programs. His research interests focus on the evolution of communications technologies and pedagogies applied in distance education contexts. Terry is also the director of CIDER - the Canadian Institute for Distance Education Research ( and the editor of the open access, International Review of Research on Distance and Open Learning (IRRODL The complete text of his most recent edited book The Theory and Practice of Online Learning (2008) is available as an open access resource.

Abstract. Learning is rapidly evolving from an activity that is designed, packaged and delivered by formal learning organizations, to one co-designed by individuals and networks of life-long learners. In this presentation Terry talks about the evolution of online learning from delivery models designed around monolithic virtual learning environments, to ones in which a variety of tools are used to connect learners with teachers, resources and collaborators. Effective learning now continuously morphs among individual, group, network and collective activities. Each requires learning designs and tools that adapt to and exploit the unique learning affordances of that context.

Social software and web 2.0 applications create opportunity to move formal education from a content transmission to a knowledge creation models. However, such systemic change creates disruption in current practices, attitudes and required skill sets of faculty and education administrators. Adoption and effective use does not come easily for institutions especially for this with successful histories with older models of teaching and learning. This talk is designed to explore, expose and challenge educational leaders and to equip them as effective agents of change in their learning contexts. The presentation overviews a conceptual model that differentiates the functions of groups, networks and collectives in supporting formal education and informal learning. The effective use of these new technologies requires new pedagogical models of learning and teaching. The session overviews new pedagogies that have evolved within a network intensive context. These include connectivism - 'a pedagogy for the networked era' and traces its development from constructivist and chaos theory. Finally the session looks at how learning ecologies are developed and sustained throughout and beyond formal education.

ALT-C 2009 - Keynote Speech on 10 September 2009 by Terry Anderson
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Terry Anderson's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 66 mins).

Invited speakers

Jonathan Drori, CBE

Director, Changing Media

Picture of Jonathan DroriJonathan Drori has dedicated his career to media and learning. As the Head of Commissioning for BBC Online, he led the effort to create, the online face of the BBC (an effort he recalls fondly). He came to the web from the TV side of the BBC, where as an editor and producer he headed up dozens of television series on science, education and the arts. After almost two decades at the BBC, he's now a director at Changing Media Ltd., a media and education consultancy, and is a visiting professor at University of Bristol, where he studies educational media and misperceptions in science. He continues to executive produce the occasional TV series, including 2004's award-winning "The DNA Story" and 2009's "Great Sperm Race." He is on the boards of the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Woodland Trust.

Being mighty: how mortals can make learning technology projects that cause real impact. Too much effort and too much money are spent on educational trials and technology-based services which are just so-so and horribly unscalable. If only there was an easily understood 10-point checklist for anyone commissioning, procuring or producing innovative pilots and services, that would make them more likely to create fabulous things. Here is an aide-memoire to flourish in moments of confusion. It's based on lessons and experience from broadcast media and advertising and the launch of many new services. Use it and your budget will go further, your projects will build better brains and all will be right in the world.

Heather Fry

Head of Learning and Teaching, HEFCE

Picture of Heather FryHeather Fry has used learning technology in teaching and played a strategic part in its introduction into an HEI; she now heads Learning and Teaching Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Enhancing learning and teaching through technology: a policy view. In this session Heather addresses a range of policy issues at the level of the institution and sector. She draws on HEFCE's guidance about using and embedding learning technology that was published earlier this year to supplement its strategy. She will also mention the HEFCE Task Force on on-line learning and the HEFCE funded Open Educational Resources initiative. Institutions use a range of terms to describe their use of learning technology, but whatever the terminology, stage of evolution, or goal, there is still much to decide and determine about how to maximise learning benefits in this rapidly changing field.

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 9 September by Heather Fry
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Heather Fry's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 24 mins).

Diana Laurillard

Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education

Picture of Diana LaurillardDiana Laurillard is Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, leading externally-funded research projects on developing a learning design support environment for teachers, and on developing software interventions for learners with low numeracy and dyscalculia. She was previously Head of the e-Learning Strategy Unit at the Department for Education and Skills, and served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for learning technologies and teaching at The Open University. Her book Rethinking university teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies is one of the most widely cited in the field.

Evaluating learning designs through the formal representation of learning patterns. Open design is an intriguing concept for education, because the development of pedagogy has never operated in this way before. With the opportunity now to share ideas and designs through digital representations several projects have set out to capture pedagogy through representation in the form of 'learning patterns', modelled mostly on architectural patterns, as 'solutions' to a 'problem' in a 'context'. The paper will report on initial attempts to use learning patterns to evaluate the pedagogy embedded in a learning design sequence. To what extent can they be described in terms of formal computational metrics for the quality of a learning design, so that a learning design system could provide feedback to users?

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 9 September by Diana Laurillard
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Diana Laurillards's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 35 mins).

Matthew McFall

Learning Sciences Research Institute and School of Education, University of Nottingham

Picture of Matthew McFallDr Matthew McFall is currently half way through a second doctorate at the Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Nottingham. His interests include designing technologies/ artefacts/games/ resources/ experiences which generate interest, wonder, curiosity, learning and joy. Amongst other things!

Boxes of Learning Delight and Cabinets of Curiosity: Working with Wonder for Wonderful Learning. Matthew presents a whistle-stop tour of realms of wonder - histories, conceptions, and manifestations, past, present, and future. Drawing on his experience as a conjurer, trickster, and wonderer, he will be offering up a selection of devices and designs (artefacts, instruments, and games) that could facilitate and afford wonderful learning experiences in formal and informal educational settings.

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 10 September by Matthew McFall
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Matthew McFall's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 30 mins).

David Kennedy

Director and Associate Professor, Teaching and Learning Centre, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Picture of David KennedyAssociate Professor David M. Kennedy has over 30 years of teaching experience in education including the last seven years in Hong Kong. He has published widely in teaching and learning involving technology, pedagogical frameworks for the use of ICTs, problem-based learning environments, visual and information literacies, and evaluation of curriculum innovations in a diverse number of academic domains. He is currently the Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He has undertaken consultations, professional development and seminars related to eLearning, curriculum design, information literacy, using free and open source software, outcomes-based approaches to teaching and learning, and mLearning in the UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Russia, Finland, Canada and Malaysia. He is also a member of the Editorial Boards of the 'Journal of Multimedia and Hypermedia', the 'International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (IJTLHE)', and the Journal 'Education as Change'.

Creating learning environments that are both teacher and student centred, simultaneously: opportunities and issues. Some have argued that Web 1.0 environments are passe: Web 2.0 is where the action is! However, what may be more useful is to think of Web 1.0 and 2.0 applications as offering a raft of potential affordances and opportunities. Learning designs that incorporate an LMS/VLE to provide support for scaffolding, grouping and organising learning can be combined with Web 2.0 applications (e.g. for students to share, and collaborate) and ePortfolios. The synergy of these tools offers increased flexibility, manageability and more student-centred learning. The presentation will examine an outcomes-based approach to learning design and how this may be supported by the synergy of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 applications.

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 10 September by David Kennedy
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of David Kennedy's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 31 mins).

Richard Noss

Co-director of the London Knowledge Lab

Picture of Richard NossRichard Noss is co-director of the London Knowledge Lab, an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Institute of Education, and Birkbeck, University of London. He is Professor of Mathematics Education at the IOE, and holds a Masters degree in pure mathematics and a PhD in mathematical education. He was co-founder and deputy scientific manager of the Kaleidoscope EU network of excellence, and is currently the director of the Technology Enhanced Learning phase of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, funded jointly by the ESRC and EPSRC.

Mapping the Grand Challenges for Research in Technology-Enhanced Learning.

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 8 September by Richard Noss
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Richard Noss's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 29 mins).

Vanessa Pittard

Director of Evidence and Evaluation, Becta

Picture of Vanessa PittardVanessa is Director of e-Strategy at Becta, leading Becta's work in the areas of strategic co-ordination, evaluation and research, and innovation and futures. Originally appointed as Director of Evidence and Evaluation, Vanessa has led Becta's research and evaluation since 2004. Prior to working at Becta Vanessa led the ICT Research and Evaluation team at DfES, developing and managing a programme of research to inform the development of technology policy and strategy. Before 2002, Vanessa had a long career in the University sector, leading the Department of Communication Studies at Sheffield Hallam University before moving into government research.

Becta Research: Young People, Schools and Technology-Supported Learning. This session focuses on key evidence from Becta's current research programme, addressing a core theme: What is the role of schools in technology-supported learning? It draws together findings from studies of school 'e-maturity', learner digital literacy, parental engagement, curriculum and pedagogy, and technology's impact on learning, discussing what we know about the value of technology-supported learning in a school setting and what the evidence says about how schools can support learning effectively using technology.

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 8 September by Vanessa Pittard
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Vanessa Pittard's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 33 mins).

Aaron Porter

Vice President (Higher Education) of the National Union of Students (NUS)

Picture of Aaron PorterAaron Porter is Vice-President (Higher Education) for the National Union of Students, responsible for leading representation and campaigns for students in UK higher education. In his first year at NUS, he has sought to ensure NUS is more representative of the student population in HE.

A student perspective on institutions use of technology to enhance teaching & learning in the 21st century. Student expectations and perceptions as to the use of the technology in higher education is rapidly changing. This session will seek to assess the current picture, and identify the extent to which UK is meeting the expectations of our student body. I will draw out some examples of good practice, and also identify some areas of weakness and development. I will also examine research conducted by NUS which looks into how technology can play a role in the provision of teaching, pastoral support, assessment and feedback, provision of IAG and the facilitation of peer-to-peer learning.

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 8 September by Aaron Porter
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of Aaron Porter's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 29 mins).

David Price

Co-founder of Debategraph

Picture of David PriceDavid Price co-founded of Debategraph with the former Australian Minister for Higher Education Peter Baldwin. Debategraph is a creative commons social venture that combines argument visualization with collaborative wiki editing to make the best arguments on all sides of complex public debates freely available to all and continuously open to challenge and improvement by all. Debategraph was piloted with the UK Prime Minister's Office and is currently being used by The Independent newspaper and the European Commission, as well as a collaborative learning tool in various universities and schools. David has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in organisational learning and environmental policy and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Thinking deeply together. David describes the ideas underpinning Debategraph, demonstrate its use in practice, and discuss how Debategraph is being deployed to map the issues around climate change policy in the build up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (in collaboration with, amongst others, the Open University and MIT).

ALT-C 2009 - Invited speaker session on 9 September by David Price
Click on the thumbnail above to start a video of David Price's speech and presentation which will run in your browser (running time 28 mins).

Sponsors' sessions


Collaboration Suite 6.0: collaborative solutions for the challenges you face

Wimba is a leading provider of collaborative learning technologies - more than 60 UK universities already enhance their provision with Wimba. Wimba offers applications that join-up the whole university experience, including a virtual classroom for learning, teaching and research; voice tools for podcasting and audio feedback; and Pronto for virtual office hours, online helpdesks, institution-wide alerts and social networking too.

Session description. This session explored what sets the Wimba Collaboration SuiteT apart as a cost-effective solution to the challenges many universities face. Perhaps your university or college wants to repersonalise the student experience, or to develop vibrant, international research networks and communities? Are you looking for a means to ensure continuity or to deliver your programmes during the swine flu pandemic or for other contingencies? Maybe you want to reduce the time staff spend travelling between campuses and to reduce your institution's carbon footprint? Or are you looking to reach out more effectively to employers and to other stakeholders in your region? Wimba is unique in offering a joined-up approach to these challenges, and this sets us apart from other providers. In this session you learned about the Wimba Collaboration Suite 6.0 of products and how you can add the power of collaboration to your provision, taking learning beyond the physical classroom and the virtual learning environment too. The Wimba Collaboration Suite, which was voted Best Education Solution 2009, SIIA CODiE Award supports active and collaborative learning communities and can significantly enhance the quality of the student experience, wherever it occurs, helping to avoid isolation for on-campus students as well as those studying at a distance. By combining interactive technologies students and teachers are empowered with a unique collaborative environment that can enhance learning, improve outcomes, and increase student retention.


Generator: how to maximise your investment in technology

Generator is the technology improvement leadership tool for FE and skills and this session highlighted how Generator identifies areas for improvement that can have a real impact on maximising your investment in technology.

This interactive workshop offered delegates the opportunity to trial Generator and find out more about its application to their technology planning process.

Delegates were able to create a review, analyse the results and compare their data to other results and benchmark their work to national data.

Higher Education Academy

Enhancing Learning through Technology (ELT) Programme: supporting institutions in using technology to enhance core activities

The 'Enhancement of Learning through Technology (ELT)' is a new Academy programme building on our work in e-learning. The aim of ELT is to support institutions to use technology for the enhancement of core activities, e.g. Assessment. This session will highlight key ELT activities, including our work with the JISC and will provide an opportunity for questions. Our approach is to leverage the expertise in the sector through a combination of intensive/highly focused activities, a discipline focus through our 24 Subject Centres, supporting communities, SIGs etc, and the integration of technology across Academy core programmes and functions.


Why is e-learning more than the sum of the parts?

A look at the inside of learndirect, which runs on the world's largest e-learning platform, along with some results from practical research on the assurance of learner, and insights into why we believe that it is the magic of people, process and technology that can transform the educational landscape.

The session covered amongst other things:

  • identity management systems in support of e-learning including on-line validation and on-line verification;
  • a five year view about why the future can not be other than "thin client";
  • a working example of high-stakes assessment system delivered via the web;
  • a first look at Google wave as a potential learning platform.


Student-centred learning - learning how to learn

"Learning today is not about acquiring knowledge as much as it is about building networks of distributed learning." - George Siemens

With the proliferation of e-learning, there has been a slow migration to student centred learning, where the control of learning is shifted to the learner. This model has a number of benefits including that it:

  • engages, and increases responsibility and accountability;
  • promotes active, just-in-time learning;
  • addresses multiple learning styles;
  • provides an arena for the demonstration of knowledge and skills.

This session explored the creation of the personalised learning experience, how students are leading the charge, and how institutions must keep up with changing times. Also discussed from a vendor point of view, how we build technologies to support both student centred learning and institutional control. We will use e-portfolios as an example.


The Snazzy Maths project - delivering CPD through the Virtual Classroom

The aims of the Snazzy Maths Project were to develop the subject knowledge and confidence of teaching and support staff whilst improving their practice in the teaching of mathematics through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and Live Virtual Classroom (LVC) provision. This session shared sound and video examples of virtual classroom lessons and direct user feedback demonstrating how the virtual classroom was used to achieve the desired learning and teaching goals.

Participants gained an appreciation of the successful and positive outcomes of using a live virtual classroom within CPD. They also understood how they could use this innovative technology for themselves.


Bring campus life to students on the go with Blackboard MobilEdu

Institutions are looking for new and innovative ways to bring campus activities to their students on the go. With students connecting with each other and with their schools through mobile devices, you can now give them constant access to campus life through Blackboard MobilEdu.

Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise learning software applications and related services, enabling educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology and now connecting on the go through MobilEdu. The platform helps engage your students, alumni, community and prospective students with innovative mobile applications.

With a growing client base, including Stanford and Duke Universities, MobilEdu is reaching thousands of students every day. These institutions have customized the platform to meet the needs of their students and are delivering easy mobile access to campus life activities. Key benefits of the MobilEdu platform include:

  • the ability to deliver a rich set of campus life services and content to mobile devices;
  • reaching on-the-go millennial students and keeping alumni in the know;
  • branding and customizing the mobile platform for your institution;
  • providing quick access to the platform with a short implementation and set-up schedule.


Web 2.0 in education

Huddle is a UK-based Web 2.0 online collaboration company. Recently named as one of the top 50 start-ups to watch by Business Week magazine, Huddle is increasingly used by educational institutions globally to enable collaboration for staff and students.

Are you interested in how Web 2.0 applications are being used by educators? Come and learn how Web 2.0 technologies are enhancing the teaching and learning experience, and how you can engage students in learning by encouraging social networking and collaboration with their peers and tutors.


Power in your pocket

Portable educational technology exists in different guises: from the almost ubiquitous mobile phone, to portable media players like the iPod, and even handheld gaming devices like the Nintendo DS. However, one portable technology often overlooked is the humble USB flash drive. Portable and affordable to all, USB sticks have gone from simple mediums for transferring data, to devices which can be used as 'application carriers' and even entire bootable operating systems!

Tapping into this potential, the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North and East have developed EduApps, a suite of portable open source and freeware applications. The software included ranges from everyday office-related tools to applications designed to support writing, reading and planning as well as sensory, cognitive and physical difficulties. Running directly from a USB stick (thus removing the need to have admin privileges to install software), learners and tutors can access the software they need anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

The session consisted of an introductory presentation, followed by a review of thought-provoking case studies which show how EduApps has made opportunities available to learners and tutors - opportunities that typically have been beyond reach.