A very special Scottish welcome

A very special Scottish welcome from the ALT Annual Conference 2019 Co-Chairs – Melissa Highton, Louise Jones, and Keith Smyth

Welcome and thank you for being a part of the 26th Annual Conference of the Association for Learning Technology. This is the largest event that we as a Membership body organise each year. It brings together both new and familiar faces, participants from all parts of the UK and internationally to share practice, research and policy in Learning Technology.

Over 100 Members of ALT have worked together to make this year’s conference a reality, and over half of the conference participants are actively contributing to the sessions in our peer-reviewed programme. Together we hope to create an inspiring, enjoyable and thought-provoking event here in Edinburgh and online.

As Conference Co-Chairs we are very excited about our keynote speakers this year:

Sue Beckingham, National Teaching Fellow and Principal Lecturer in Business Information Systems and Technology at Sheffield Hallam University. Sue’s research interests include social media for learning and digital identity, and the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching. Sue co-founded #LTHEchat and the cross-institutional open online course ‘Bring Your Own Device for Learning’. With a wealth of experience of working with students and educators to harness social media within institutional and open educational contexts, Sue’s keynote is sure to explore a broad spectrum of practice and possibilities.

Ollie Bray, Director, LEGO Foundation leads on the Foundations global work dedicated to education improvement through the use of technology and play. A Scottish Centre for Educational Leadership (SCEL) Fellow Ollie is currently researching ‘Digital Technology In Scottish secondary schools: how school leaders can harness its potential to drive both school and system wide improvement’. Ollie brings a refreshing look at the importance and value of playfulness in learning technology. His keynote will be hands-on, be prepared to play!

Jesse Stommel, Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at University of Mary Washington. Jesse experiments relentlessly with learning interfaces, both digital and analog, and his research focuses on higher education pedagogy, critical digital pedagogy, and assessment. Jesse is also Co- founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and the open-access journal Hybrid Pedagogy, and recently co-authored (with Sean Michael Morris) the book ‘An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy’. Expect Jesse’s to lead us through a rich exploration of the critical and creative then!

We are also excited about our themes for this year’s conference.

Under the conference title of Data, Dialogue, Doing, our chosen themes are Student Data and Learning Analytics; Creativity across the Curriculum; Critical Frames of Reference; and Learning Technology for Wider Impact. We are seeking to use the conference to confront and challenge established assumptions, approaches and accepted truths in relation to each of our themes, and we are excited to offer you a rich conference programme of presentations, workshops, discussion panels and posters that individually and collectively address our themes through a number of topics, perspectives and approaches.

As well as participating through the excellent keynotes, presentations and discussions within the programme, we also hope you will join in with the additional ways we are celebrating excellence in our community through our awards and prizes. This includes the 2019 Learning Technologist of the Year Awards (in individual, team, and research project categories) and our celebration of colleagues who have recently achieved CMALT.

Our community is one that continues to grow in membership numbers and in influence. #altc actively invites diversity of thought, critical reflection and new theoretical perspectives as well as practical know-how and case studies to shape our dialogue about current and future practice. As an organisation and a wider community, ALT is also committed to the values and practice of equality, inclusivity and participation. To these ends, many of the conference sessions including our keynotes are being streamed online. We are also very pleased to be able to welcome twelve Doug Gowan Fellows to this year’s conference, and who are being supported through the Doug Gowan Memorial fund (in memory of Doug Gowan, former President of ALT) to travel to and attend this year’s conference.

As with our previous annual conferences, the 26th Annual Conference of the Association for Learning Technology has been brought together through the significant combined efforts of the ALT team, our volunteer submission reviewers and session chairs, this year’s sponsors and exhibitors and, of course, the many colleagues who took time to submit proposals for the conference and who are coming to share their work, knowledge and expertise. We extend our grateful thanks to all, including most importantly those of you who are attending the conference from both near and far as delegates. Collectively we are ensuring that this year’s conference is providing an international stage for exploring and increasing the impact of Learning Technology, representing our Members and wider community, and enhancing the professional recognition for the work we, and all our members, do.

We hope you find the conference purposeful, engaging, interesting, challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile. Thank you for joining us in Edinburgh this year.


Melissa Highton, Louise Jones and Keith Smyth

Conference 2019 Co-Chairs

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