Digital Event

Being interviewed by @jamesclay at #ALTC2011

Watch live video from jamesclay on

Note that I’d just got soaked walking between the buildings… talking about talks, about Twitter, about the conference…

Digital Event

#ALTC2011 Comes to a Close

Final Keynote: John Naughton

Many of the most important technological developments in computing and networking have come as surprises – pleasant and/or unpleasant – to professional communities and commercial organisations, including those which are supposed to know what the future holds. How does this happen? Why are we so bad at anticipating the technological future? And what would we need to do to improve?


John Naughton #altc2011 (mp3)

Naughton read from a script, with no slides… which divided the Twitterstream (I hope someone’s going to blog on this) into those who thought that this demonstrated that the lecture was not dead, and those that felt that this demonstrated much that was wrong with conventional lectures… Can someone remind me what his three main points were (There was something about CDs, and I remember the final one was Wikipedia, and that in schools “the only technology guaranteed not to break down is the school bus”… which brought out many analogies about late/broken down buses!)

John Naughton: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet: From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg

Naughton: What you really need to know about the internet

Our society has gone through a weird, unremarked transition: we’ve gone from regarding the Net as something exotic to something that we take for granted as a utilitarian necessity, like mains electricity or running water. In the process we’ve been remarkably incurious about its meaning, significance or cultural implications. Most people have no idea how the network works, nor any conception of its architecture; and few can explain why it has been – and continues to be – so uniquely disruptive in social, economic and cultural contexts. In other words, our society has become dependent on a utility that it doesn’t really understand. John Naughton has distilled the noisy chatter surrounding the internet’s relentless evolution into nine clear-sighted and accessible areas of understanding. In doing so he affords everyone the requisite knowledge to make better use of the technologies and networks around us, and see lucidly into their future implications. Along the way, From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet covers areas as diverse as the science of complexity, the economics of abundance, the appeal of disruption and the problematic nature of intellectual property. From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet gives you all the basic, conceptual equipment you need to understand the Internet phenomenon.

About the Author

John Naughton is Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University and a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He is also the Observer’s ‘Networker’ columnist and a prominent blogger at His last book was A Brief History of the Future: The Origins of the Internet (1999).
Buy the book!


ALT-C 2012 will take place between 11 and 13 September 2012 at the University of Manchester, and will focus on ‘a confrontation with reality’, seeking to take a pragmatic approach to using technology in education, rather than innovation for innovation’s sake.. it’s being introduced here by the Co-Chairs for next year:

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All Digital Fingerprint blog entries related to #ALTC2011 are now updated and viewable to read, and see the archive of Tweets on Twapperkeeper.

Academic Digital Event

From Challenge to Change #altc2011

As a final workshop session, where I wanted to engage with the JISC team (I will be a ‘superdelegate’ at the JISC online conference later this year), I went to ‘From Challenge to Change’. I’d already been to the full day workshops in the past, but it’s good to re-engage with the exercises and think how these could be effectively into use in my own institutional context(s). After 3 intense days of thinking/listening/engaging, it was also good to allow the brain to work at a different level.

Challenge Statements

An exercise to consider how far agree/disagree with teaching and learning statements related to assessment, the full kit is here.

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Getting the Clickers Going

I have a love/hate relationship with Clickers… I love the idea of what they can do, I find it difficult to make ours work, therefore not inspiring confidence in others to use them. These were all set up, were tiny, and worked v. easily – worth a look maybe! From recollection, those institutions that have made good use of Clickers  have issued one to each student, and therefore they can be used throughout all classes.

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A look at ‘Effective Assessment in a Digital Age’

A PDF of the report.

Effective assessment in a Digital Age #altc2011 (Ros) (mp3)

Discussion Results

A number of questions got the discussion going – here we see that out of the 23 people in the room, the largest number found the most difficulty in providing timely (and quality) feedback to students, although the project was demonstrating that too much emphasis had been placed on this by institutions, and that more focus needs to be on how students ENGAGE with feedback.

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Case Study Discussion

We had a final chat through a case study, and focused upon audio feedback. We discussed a few potential (tech) solutions, such as, and Brian Whalley suggested that they’ve been trialling audio feedback combined with vice recognition software, gives a print-out (as the students don’t appear to accept audio-only as official feedback).  Winchester has also been trialing screencasting audio feedback. In all these there’s at least a transition period in which the audio feedback takes longer than the written feedback, so long-term worthwhile-ness and speed games are up for consideration, as well as whether the students actually appreciate it.

All resources in the design studio, and we’re encouraged to use these in staff development exercises.

Digital Event

#ALTC2011 Dinner

The dinner was held in the Refectory (where The Who (and lots of other bands) have played in the past. ‘Bubbles’ provided by Google first, followed by dinner…

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The starter

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Get me, beat @jamesclay to posting my pic… just

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Main course

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Me, just before I deserted dessert and went to sleep!


As the puddings were arriving, the speeches and the awards, this is what I was seeing:

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Digital Event

Discussion & Collaboration #altc2011

Yvonne Bain, Uni of Aberdeen

Working on a project, not with her own learners.
In 1989 were talking about the possibilities of computer mediated learning. Notion that is woven in – do people really engage with the thinking of others and come up with something different?

Tensions in literature – were students really using the benefits of e.g. Asynchronous discussions. Not looking to compare online/offline, but really what were people experiencing in the online environment.

Not convinced by Laurillard – but agree that not enough agreement on what online learning is so how can use.

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What approaches students use when asked to engaged with online.
What are their perceptions of online discussion impacting on own learning/learning of others – did they find it collaborative?

History of Art & Theology – courses already running, not new
Grounded approach – not going in with a set of theories.


  • Encouraged students to think of things they just hadn’t considered (prompt)
  • Everyone involved, not just tutor (but peers) telling you it was wrong.. Tend to be directed to another source to consider
  • More freedom to be ‘off the wall’.


  • Frustration if they put a message on but others didn’t – nothing to interact with, or putting own answers and forgetting the discussion aspect of this.
  • Not unique to theology – but more noticeable

Mismatch between what was the perception and what was actually happening. One student said ‘allows more discussion’ but delayed responded so no ‘discussion’, just responses.

Benefits – evidence of reflection (time to think before responding), making thinking known to others, evidence of learning of others/understanding topic of discussion.

Emerging framework of reflection, articulation and engagement with others.
See thread of discussion starting to build up.
Covert & overt processes – not just self-directed, work with others.

Get learners involved in this process – responsibility for their own learning, rather than a disassociated task. Student saw self as ‘getting it wrong’ if staff responded with further suggestions.

Highlights that lurking restricts individual & group opportunities.
Goal – action-feedback cycle.

Unconnected actions may have informed thinking elsewhere. Can we articulate that? Conversations brings that out…
Assessment didn’t force all to engage… More evidence but still not all.

The accompanying proceedings paper.

Danny Arati, Intel (corporate affairs, non profit)

Sustainability = main focus of this project…
10 million teachers trained in 10 years – vision for student centred classroom, in over 60 countries – looking for problem solving, critical thinking & collaboration skills (not about ICT – that is a tool, not about selling – looks at ALL tools).

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Have programme success indicators – unable to do less project based learning – not supported through national curriculum so no impetus (2015 – collaboration will appear in (a report) as a measurable.

Uptake low in UK, but high/passionate in Germany.
2004 – blended learning was quite revolutionary at the time

Moodle based: ‘the learning path’. Pedagogy driven – eg project based learning/field trip – then look at tools to solve the problems. Using open-ended problematised questions in a collaborative setting. For Ministers of Evidence = proof of education.

Trained peer to peer, allowing around 40 hours training (what was seen as worth accreditation, tho thinking is now that shorter courses are more welcome). In Europe many schools finish at 1pm so teachers have time for marking/planning/training.

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Leadership & innovation academy (find URL)
Specifically in the UK allows peer to peer and self-assess progress.

France – pairformance – originally confidential as private-public partnerships were frowned upon, 4 years later Minister for Education publicly announcing how pleased with this partnership – feelings have changed.

Germany – they like to have a mentor on the course

Measurable positive aspects on teachers & students. Cultural differences in outputs & what incentivised.

Collaboration across countries constrained because standards vary. Community building – New interface coming on

Information provided – must be free =non profit.

The accompanying proceedings paper.

This blog entry was written live in session, with photos/headings added afterwards.