I want to start this report by recognising the extraordinary contribution Learning Technology professionals have made to the current crisis. Across every sector and in all parts of the UK and beyond, our Members have played a key role in supporting learners, colleagues and their institutions in unprecedented circumstances. From finding solutions to the challenges of the crisis to devising effective strategies for the next term, the work of Learning Technologists at all levels has never been needed more.
To each and ever one of you – congratulations and thank you. You have worked miracles.
When I look at this community portrait from last year’s Annual Conference I am reminded forcefully that this crisis affects all of us and that no one has any certainty about what’s ahead.
As the leading professional body for Learning Technology in the UK, ALT has long advocated for effective collaboration as a key strategy in successfully using technology for learning, teaching and assessment, and I am heartened to see how actively our Members have worked together, sharing expertise and supporting each other by sharing resources, running expert webinars, coming to weekly drop-ins and providing professional services.
I also wish to acknowledge sector bodies and fellow professional societies who have reached out to work in partnership with ALT, share best practice around conferences and governance as well as leadership and strategy. I am proud that our Association can share its know-how of online conferences, governance and events with our Members and policy makers.
As a virtually distributed staff team, we have been able to keep all core services for Members running without interruption, but that isn’t to say that we haven’t had to have a complete re-think about the year ahead, with the Board of Trustees leading reviewing our new strategic plan and setting out a revised vision for what we will do this year, to serve our Members and secure ALT’s continued success.
What’s ahead at a glance
Here is a summary of the key developments to be aware of:
- Informing policy: ALT is working closely with policy makers to inform the UK’s response to the crisis and our long term strategy across sectors. Currently, we are seeking your input for UUK’s consultation on supporting international students with Learning Technology;
- Effective governance: ALT’s Annual General Meeting is open to all Members and visitors and will now take place online on 24 June 2020, and give Members an opportunity to meet ALT’s incoming Chair, Professor Helen O’Sullivan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Keele University;
- Learning Technology Summer Summit 2020: this year’s first fully virtual Summer Summit will take place instead of our Annual Conference, 26-27 August 2020. With a packed programme over 2 days we will explore the themes of crisis, care and complexity. The Summit has an international line up of featured speakers, practical sessions and panel discussions on topics ranging from assessment to student well being.
- Extended deadlines for Members: across all of ALT’s activities we have extended deadlines for Members, including this year’s Learning Technologist of the Year Awards and CMALT accreditation submissions. Please get in touch if there is anything further we can support you with.
In the coming months, we anticipate more institutions and individual professionals will seek support and advice Learning Technology and we have already welcomed more new Members this year, many of whom make use of their institution’s membership of ALT to join for free as Associate Members.
I never knew what a Learning Technology emergency might look like. Now that I know, I find the reality is more heart-breaking than I could have imagined.
This crisis may be unprecedented, but we do have robust research, case studies and decades of professional practice to draw on to inform our next steps. There is no magic button to press, but there is a quickly growing number of professionals with the expertise to lead and make new strategies happen. I am proud to serve this community and lead its professional body through whatever the next months may bring.
Dr Maren Deepwell