This year I was lucky enough to attend the key annual conference for my profession run by the Association of Learning Technologists.
Alongside the conference was a blog considering the nature of our often misunderstood role. Keynotes reflected on this from many angles including: the risks and benefits of professional use of social media; consideration of who owns our work in this new age of social media and cloud computing; and the importance of play in professional learning, especially through Lego.
"Technology is not going to make education easier, it is going to make it different" said @olliebray and this is central to what we do. Supporting staff to change things, takes risks and support and assess learning in ways that are more flexible, effective and even more fun!
Key considerations on how we do this are inclusivity, especially in light of the new EU directive on how we promote #digitalaccessibility, and evaluation, with an ever growing interest in using the data we collect to understand more about how people learn and how we can support them (learning analytics as it is now fashionably known).
Alongside this was a chance to update on research in more established areas such as lecture capture and VLE design (where the research supported our use of Canvas templates).
The speed of change in new technologies (and our profession) was nicely captured in the daily Gasta session - a lightning 5 minute presentations from those who had posters accepted, with an audience-participation countdown. This provided a brilliant chance for an overview of a wide variety of research from the use of holograms for virtual teaching to institutional change strategies to drive technology adoption.
All of this, alongside the chance to appreciate traditional Scottish delights of haggis and whiskey led to a fulfilling few days and the feeling that I am working in an area that can really make a difference to the student experience
It you would like to know more about any of these topics and the difference we are trying to make, contact the Digital Learning team on TeachingExcellenceAcademy@hull.ac.uk