F-Alt – a quick (if belated) reflection

September 22nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

So much seems to have been written about F-Alt – the fringe conference organised at ALT-C this year – that it almost pointless to say more (see links on the F-Alt wiki and on the #FAlt08 Twemes page). But I would like to add some words about the learning processes.

First of all the organisation. F-Alt did not have any formal organising body in the normal sense. But it did have organsiation and leadership in the sense that individuals took responsibility for doing things. This relied on a high degree of community and of trust and possibly refects the emergence of a community of practice aorund the use of ICT for learning which has perhaps been lacking before. Maintaining community openess and willingness to remain emergent are challenges for the future.

Th technologies worked pretty well. The Wet Paint wiki offers a quick way to develop a collaborative organising platform. Twitter was pretty useful for getting the word out although it would have been better if Twemes had been restored earlier and we had been able to publicise our tag.

The big success fo me was the format. Running short, sharp and issue focused sessions – no speakers were allowed more than three minutes – allowed both a focus n those topics particpants wanted to discuss and also, critically, highly participative events. None of us knew the venue in advance and we expropriated public spaces. Whilst this did pose problems in terms of people knowing where events would be and in somewhat distractive background noise levels (30 of us discussed e-Portolfios around a poolt table in the corner of a pub!) it also kept us focused on the wider conference and communiy environment in which we are working. Perhps there is a learning lesson for organsers of ‘official’ confernces. There are plenty of formats other than the stand and tell – or stand and powerpoint – followed by three or four questions. Lets try and innovate. I would also like to see experiments with ‘blended conferences’ where presentations can take place online and face to face sessions used to discuss, debate and challenge around the issues and possibly produce new resources and outcomes.

I am sure that others will replicate the sucess of F-Alt and we will see more such fringe happenings in the future. This raises the question of the relationship between conference organisers and the fringe. In many ways F-Alt was all the better for being not associated officially with Alt-C. But, I believe F-Alt provided added value to the conference and thus such events should be encouraged by confernce organisers. But raher than endorsing or officially supporting such Fringe activities, better could be to provide open spaces where such activities might take place. In other words, to accept that unconferencing is what is says and is not part of the conference, but a useful, complimentary and parallel activity. As such it could be good if conference organisers were to provide times and spaces where such activities could take place – not just for F-Alt bu for anyone with a burning issue to discuss.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    Social Media

    News Bites

    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories