2011 winners of the Adobe Systems sponsored Learning Technologist of the Year

Embargoed till 00.01 8 September 2011

From ground-breaking use of blogs and Google Docs as a learning aid for primary pupils to the creation of an innovative games-based learning website, invention and creativity are at the heart of the Learning Technologist of the Year Award 2011 presented at the Association for Learning Technology annual conference in Leeds.

The awards, which this year have been sponsored by Adobe Systems, will be announced on September 7 at the 18th annual conference of the ALT, Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate, which runs from September 6-9 at the University of Leeds.

Seb Schmoller, ALT Chief Executive, said: “This year’s entries showed the breadth of excellent practice in technology enhanced learning in the UK and more widely, and the real difference that learning technologists are making to learners across all sectors of education. ALT’s origins are in the HE and FE sectors, but the spectrum of winning and commended entries shows that practitioners are now looking outside of their normal silos. That is a very welcome development.”


Joint winners of the individual award were:

Oliver Quinlan from Robin Hood Primary School, South Birmingham, UK (but now Lecturer in Education at Plymouth University), for effective work using collaboration technologies including class blogs and Google docs as a central part of the learning environment.

John Rutherford from Marlborough School Science College, St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, for extraordinary achievement in creating the What2Learn games-based learning website, on which teachers from around the world have created over 70,000 learning games, and which receives up to 50,000 page views per day.

Winners of the team award were:

The In-Folio Implementation Team based on JISC Techdis, The Rix Centre, The National College for Young People with Epilepsy, Portland College and National Star College, UK for its success in developing an e-portfolio system that enables learners, particularly those with disabilities or learning difficulties, to record and present their achievements and abilities through a simple interface that allows them to store, arrange and organise multimedia content in simple online pages..

Runners up

Individual award runner up:

Neil Morris from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, UK, his outstanding, evidence-based approach to using learning technology to improve teaching and learning for undergraduate students in the faculty of Biological Sciences.

Highly commended:

Michael Thrussell from Henshaws College, Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK.

Team award joint second prize:

Learning Teaching and Technology Centre (LTTC) Team from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Ireland.

The Open Nottingham Team from the University of Nottingham, UK.

Members of the judging panel:

  • Carol Higgison – President of ALT.
  • Dave White, representing 2010’s team winner – the TALL team from the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford.
  • Kevin McLaughlin, one of the 2010 individual winners – St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Whetstone, Leicestershire.
  • Jane Hart – Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies.
  • Peter Twining – Director of Vital, and Senior Lecturer in Education at the Open University.
  • Christine Lewis – UK&EU Justice ICT Advisor, Ministry of Justice.

Judges praised the consistently high standards of entries, particularly the “focus on sharing good practice with other teachers in the UK and internationally” in the work of Oliver Quinlan and the emphasis in John Rutherford’s entry on “using games-based learning to increase student engagement and academic performance”. The judges praised the In-Folio Implementation Team “exemplary way in which the distributed team, involving a university, a JISC service, and four independent specialist colleges, approached the project”.

A full summary of the awards is available, and photos of the winners can be provided by ALT on request.

Notes to Editors

About ALT

  1. ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) is a professional and scholarly association which brings together those with an interest in the use of learning technology.
  2. Well over 700 individuals belong to ALT, as do over 200 universities, colleges, other learning providers, Government Agencies, and businesses.Association for Learning Technology, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP Tel: +44 (0)1865 484 125 Fax: +44 (0)1865 484 165 Email: admin@alt.ac.uk.ALT is a Registered Charity in the UK, number: 1063519
  3. For media information on ALT, or for images of the winners please contact seb.schmoller@alt.ac.uk

For further information contact

Ian Nash

Nash&Jones Partnership

Journalism and Media Consultancy


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