The ALT Annual Conference comes to Scotland – collaboration, criticality and Celtic connections! by Keith Smyth @smythkrs
In our first guest post from the Conference Co-chairs, Melissa Highton shared our excitement at the ALT Conference returning to the beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh for the first time since 2001.
As Twitter begins to buzz with news of the rich range of proposals for presentations, workshops and other sessions that have now been accepted, anticipation for our gathering in Edinburgh across the 3rd to 5th of September is building within and beyond wider ALT community. This includes not least amongst ALT’s friends, members and supporters here in a currently bright and sunny Scotland, as I write this post looking out across a sun-kissed Inverness on a balmy day in May.
Within the Scottish education sector, ALT is long established as a vital association for supporting the development, sharing and recognition of what is possible when we think creatively and critically about learning technology, and has been a hugely important influencer of national policy and practice. In recent years this has been evident through ALT collaborating with organisations including SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association) and SHED (Scottish Higher Education Developers) to raise the profile of the academic development opportunities, including CMALT, that are available to colleagues in Scotland. It has also included ALT’s response to the consultation on the development of a Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland in 2015, in addition to the establishment of the ALT Scotland Special Interest Group in 2012.
The ALT Scotland SIG has a remit that includes furthering the aims of ALT in Scotland, and promoting the technology agenda in all sectors of Scottish education. It is a thriving group within the wider ALT community, and colleagues who are free on Thursday 19th June 2019 can gain an insight into the work of the ALT Scotland SIG at the ALT Scotland: Annual Catch-Up 2019 in Glasgow.
Given the broader context of ALT in Scotland, it is no surprise that the return of the ALT Annual Conference to Alba’s capital ‘Auld Reekie’ has generated so much enthusiasm and anticipation within the Scottish sector. This has seen representation from fifteen of Scotland’s universities, colleges and learned societies on the Conference Committee and an emerging conference programme that looks set to feature a number of presentations, workshops and posters from colleagues who work across schools, further, higher and community education in Scotland.
While it is timely that the ALT Annual Conference is returning to Scotland, the conference is an international one and the co-chairs and organisers are looking forward to welcoming colleagues from near and far to Edinburgh in September. Our title for the conference is Data, Dialogue, Doing, and 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 our themes. We hope that you will join us in this spirit, in Scotland, come September.
Professor of Pedagogy
University of the Highlands and Islands
ALT Conference Co-Chair