The ALT-C (Association for Learning Technology Conference) starts for me tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it – I wasn’t very well in Manchester last year, so couldn’t do as much networking as I would have wanted to.
Already this year I’ve had a chance to meet some people whose work and writing I admire – at the Curverider conference at the University of Edinburgh today.
My ALT-C presentation is tomorrow afternoon. It’s called “Next Generation Learners: do they speak the language? Non-traditional students and their engagement with e-portfolios”, and it was written with my colleagues Hamish Macleod and John Davis, with some very valuable advice from Steve Farrier at the University of Northumbria. I’ll be arguing a few things: that non-traditional, part-time, mature students constitute an important next generation of learners in Higher Education; that the notion of ‘digital immigrants’ often applied to these learners can obscure both a range of attitudes to technology and legitimate dissent and criticism of our ICT implementations; and that embracing the level of flexibilty that the diversity of this group of students requires may force us into taking more radical positions than our institutions can easily accommodate.
I hope I’ll be able to make my case adequately in the short time available, but in any case a longer paper is due to be written, so I’m going to try to be reasonably relaxed and just enjoy the experience.