From education to employment

How are you meeting the FELTAG challenge?

Maren Deepwell is chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology

In recent months there has been much talk of the implications of FELTAG, the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group. Much of this has been focused on understanding what constitutes online delivery and what the implications of having to achieve a certain percentage of online delivery are.

One clear implication is that more teachers, technicians, managers and support staff will be using technology for learning, teaching and assessment. This means that more of us will need to know how to use Learning Technology effectively and engage in continued professional development in order to build a sustainable, cost-effective approach to using Learning Technology within our colleges and other learning providers.

Relying on external advice or provision might provide a short term solution, but in my view the key to success in this context lies in supporting and developing everyone involved in design, delivery, assessment and support to better understand and make use of Learning Technology.

Because technology and the way we use it for work, in education and in our personal lives develops quickly, the needs of our learners do likewise. What meets learners requirements this year will likely seem insufficient in a few years time. That doesn’t mean that we do not make progress – far from it. But it does make sense, I think, to share, collaborate and learn from each other in order to meet our common challenge of ensuring that use of Learning Technology meets learners needs during and beyond their time with one particular college or provider.

Amongst members of ALT there are many who actively engage in professional development in such a way and this December we are bringing together some examples of current practice and development as well as showcasing examples of new technologies being used for our first annual winter conference: CPD Rebooted: Creative Professional Development in Learning Technology

Confirmed speakers for the event are:

  • James Kieft, Reading College
  • Nicola Whitton, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • James Clay, Group Director of Learning Technologies at Activate Learning
  • Melissa Highton, University of Edinburgh
  • Gian Marco Campagnolo, University of Edinburgh
  • David Hopkins, University of Warwick Business School
  • Clive Young and Steve Rowett, The Digital Department, UCL
  • Joel Mills, iLearning UK and Hullcraft
  • Alison Nimmo, Glasgow Caledonian University

Many of the sessions are hands-on sessions with time for participants to ask questions and discuss in informal groups. The aim of this is to share examples of individual and institutional approaches to professional development in Learning Technology including CMALT, the peer-based professional accreditation scheme run by ALT.

While like many colleagues I am pleased that FELTAG has brought Learning Technology across Further Education to the forefront of current thinking, a focus on people, not just products, is needed to meet common challenges.

CPD Rebooted: Creative Professional Development in Learning Technology. Tuesday 2 December, University of Edinburgh. Free to attend for ALT Members and open to all. Register at http://goo.gl/YrZVld

Maren Deepwell is chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), an independent membership charity whose mission is to ensure that use of learning technology is effective and efficient, informed by research and practice, and grounded in an understanding of the underlying technologies and their capabilities, and the situations into which they are placed


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