Friday, 22 May 2009

ALT-09 Manchester - why I will be there

The thing about conferences is that you get out of them what you put in. ALT-C 2009 is in Manchester this year, and I will be attending. We have an proposal for an exciting workshop on semantic technologies in the last stages of submission (details further down this post). I don't attend every year but I do think that ALT-C is a really interesting conference which reflects the whole range of activities fostered by the learning technologies communities across the UK. I found the Fringe events last year particularly rewarding, never mind the rest of the programme.

It's useful in many different ways. The various permutations of 'this what I did in my teaching' presentations serve to remind us of the breadth and wealth of different educational activities which are undertaken in classrooms across the world. Respect too the fact that many delegates are in relatively junior roles, without any significant budget, and the only way they are going to get a place at a conference is if the are actually presenting either a paper or poster. The best way to understand a tradition, I think, is to engage in a debate which discusses that tradition. Newcomers need to be welcomed and helped understand the existing discourse.

Admittedly ALT-C is UK centric, but it does attract a growing list of international delegates many of whom go on to be regulars. Plus there is no shame in it UK focus, since it soon becomes clear that there is much happening here which is world leading. The combined impact of educational drivers and supportive funding from bodies including the JISC, the Funding Councils, and the HEA mean that much work at the leading edge is taking place right here in our backyard - UK HE plc. Never mind additional input from a host of different institutional innovation grants, and even the odd bit of funding from the likes of the ESRC and EPSRC.

Now sufficiently established to have generated its own fringe F-ALT, the event in Manchester this year it titled "In dreams begins responsibility" - choice, evidence, and change" and promises to be the usual interesting and eclectic mix. You will find me at the fringe, catchup up with old chums, and (hopefully) running this rather interesting workshop of semantic technolgies in education. If this revision is accepted you can expect us to be putting out a call for participation, we are looking for expert discussants, and workshop attendees who feel they want to join in this important new development, so if semantic technolgies for education is in your sights, read on....

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