ALT Annual Conference 2017 - Beyond islands of innovation – how Learning Technology became the new norm(al)

Picture by Chris Bull,, 6/9/16, ALT Conference day one

There is no question that digital technology plays an increasingly important role in every aspect of life, including education. When it comes to learning, teaching and assessment the potential of technology is huge, but as our use of it increases the challenges of using it intelligently and the responsibility that comes with it also grow.

The 24th Annual Conference of the Association for Learning Technology, taking place 5 – 7 September 2017 at the University of Liverpool, UK, reflects this with the theme ‘Beyond islands of innovation – how Learning Technology became the new norm(al)’.

Dr Maren Deepwell, chief executive of the Association, says, ‘It’s professionals, not technology, we need to focus on. Starting with using technology effectively for which you need basic digital skills and literacy, to design and implementation which require more expansive capabilities and on to procurement, governance and leadership for which more critical faculties are required, professionals who know how to harness the potential of technology are more and more critical to success in education and training. Our conference brings together that expertise on a national scale, enabling us to increase the impact of Learning Technology for the public good through knowledge sharing, collaboration and research.’

The conference brings together over 450 participants, who are practitioners, researchers and policy makers from across sectors. In over 200 sessions, participants will chart the development of Learning Technology from isolated islands of ‘innovation’ to becoming the new norm – and the challenges this entails for staff and learners alike.

The conference themes are:

  • Empowerment in Learning Technology: supporting students through staff/student partnerships, students as influencers, developing skills and supporting staff at all levels

  • Learning Spaces: impact of Learning Technology on the physical and the virtual, strategies for enabling innovation, effectively managing change

  • Moving from the practical to the ‘publishable’: reporting from the forefront of innovation and research, policy and strategy fit (or not) for what’s ahead, sharing practice and scaling up Learning Technology through large scale institutional projects

  • At the forefront of innovation: ethical implications of ‘data’ for learning and teaching, making use of data in assessment, the hype around AI, machine learning and learning analytics and what’s beyond

  • Wildcard: innovation from across research, practice or policy in Learning Technology.

The conference is co-chaired by Pete Alston, Director for Learning Solutions at University of Liverpool, and Helen O’Sullivan, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Online Learning at University of Liverpool. Welcoming delegates, Helen and Pete said:

‘We believe the theme this year reflects the challenges that many of us are facing in our roles today; how can we move from outstanding individual innovation to institutional integration at scale? This is a challenge we have certainly seen first-hand at University of Liverpool, with lots of fantastic projects going on in individual departments, particularly with regards to staff/student partnerships and the rethinking of learning spaces, but we need to think more about how we can scale these so that everyone reaps the benefits. We hope that the next three days will provide the opportunity and space for you to think about how you can take back to your own institution the fantastic ideas and projects on display, and how they can work for you.’

You can find out more about the keynotes speakers and their talks and access the live streams by following these links:

The Learning Technologist of the Year Award will be given during the gala evening on Wednesday, 6 September. The Awards celebrate the achievements of Learning Technologist in this country and further afield. The public voting for the Community Choice Awards is open until 12noon on 6 September. Find out more about all the finalists.

If you would like a press pass to attend the conference, please contact Maren Deepwell,

Notes for Editors

  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. As the UK’s leading membership organisation in the Learning Technology field, we work to improve practice, promote research, and influence policy.

  2. You can explore what we do via our strategy slides, download the full text in PDF or Google docs. Visual content is available on Flickr.

  3. We have 2,500 Members across education sectors in the UK and internationally.

  4. If you are writing about, blogging or sharing images and videos about the Annual Conference using tools that support tagging, please use the tag #altc.

  5. For information about the Learning Technologist of the Year Awards go to and use #altc on social media.

  6. Our Sponsors are listed at

  7. More information about the conference:

  8. Association for Learning Technology, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP Tel: +44 (0)1865 484 125 URL:

  9. ALT is a Registered Charity in the UK, number: 1160039