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How you can get involved #altc beyond ocTEL

June 26, 2014 in CMALT, Commentary, Course Information

With much of the activity across the course winding down following the official last day of the course last Friday, here are some ideas to help you continue your active involvedment in our community post-ocTEL:

On Twitter and other social media, we, @A_L_T, use #altc as our main hashtag, so instead of following #ocTEL look out for tweets #altc to keep up to date with news, research and other developments. As well as continuing the conversation on social media, why not join ALT as a member, see for details.

While ocTEL is winding down, preparations fo our annual conference, #altc, from 1-3 September at the University of Warwick, UK, are well underway. Early Bird registration is now open .

ocTEL is only one way in which we work to support professional development in Learning Technology. If you or a group of you want to gain professional recognition in Learning Technology, build on what you have done in ocTEL with our accreditation scheme, CMALT. See for further information and how to register.

You can also read and contribute to our newsletter or watch or listen to ocTEL sessions or other videos on our YouTube channel .

Leadership in Learning Technology – personal reflection on building a CMALT portfolio

June 11, 2014 in CMALT, Course Information

As someone who has a small role in tutoring on the course and with a CMALT portfolio in the drafting stages, this blog post is about sharing my personal reflections on how one might use experience of leadership and management to help gain CMALT.

If you want to find out more, visit the CMALT ocTEL group or refer to the CMALT pages on ALT’s website. Answers to most frequently asked questions will probably be covered in the Guidelines for CMALT Candidates and Assessors.

In previous blog posts in this series, we have covered all sections of the portfolio, including Operational Issues, Learning, teaching and assessment, the wider context and Communication. So this week, I want to reflect on how having experience of leadership in different forms can provide a useful starting point for defining a specialist area, at least one of which every portfolio needs to include.

Leading people

One way to think about this is to concentrate on people. The way in which human beings and technology interact, particularly in learning, teaching and assessment, is complex. Our relationships with people are similarly often mediated by technology and using tools effectively to create productive working or teaching relationships is always a challenge. If I was going to write about leading people, this is where I would start. I would ask, what do I use technology for in this context? How can I give examples of this? Does is work? How could I improve? What are the limitations? Audio snapshots of “Hello, can anyone hear me?” would certainly feature in this section for me.

Leading projects

As Julie and Brian, the lead tutors for this week’s topic, mentioned in their introduction, projects involving Learning Technology can easily get off track, become expensive or otherwise change direction. My experience is that the more distributed a project team, the more technology plays a part in making things work – the harder it can be to get things done (let alone on budget and on time). While I realise there are accomplished ambassadors of intelligent project management software I am not one of them. So if project management or leadership in delivering or steering projects would be my focus I would personally write about how getting people motivated, tools to work and deadlines not to slide… with a lot of reflection on the kinds of tools I found work in different contexts.

Leading innovation

A final example, leading innovation, for me is all about the concept of getting decision makers involved and understanding how innovation using Learning Technology works and why teachers, learners or technologist want to do something. I have had so many experiences of change happening, a technology or gadget getting adopted because someone tried it out first hand – got a personal experience of the potential of a new technology. These moments, when you see someone discovering for themselves how exciting [insert a more appropriate term as needed] something is or could be – these moments can shape the way of things to come. Taking risks, and innovation always involves risk, is much easier when those who manage the risk can understand why they are doing so – what the potential they are supporting or promoting is.

Whatever your specialist area, whatever your experience the key point is that the process of drafting your CMALT portfolio will encourage you to reflect on what you do as a leader and on your own learning.

I hope that for the remainder of this week #ocTEL across the forums, your own platforms and at this week’s webinar on Thursday at 12.30 (BST) you will find your inspiration for adding to your own CMALT portfolio in the making.

CMALT ocTEL webinar: Becoming certified drop-in session Wednesday, 28th May, at 12.30 BST

May 27, 2014 in CMALT, Course Information

As part of ocTEL we’ve been highlighting the linkages better the course and ALT’s Certified Membership of ALT (CMALT) in a series of blog posts. If you are interested in gaining accreditation as part of ocTEL, we have also set up a CMALT ocTEL group, an informal support network for everyone interested in CMALT. To find out more about CMALT we are running an informal drop in session on Wednesday, 28th May, at 12.30 BST. The session will be held in Blackboard Collaborate and you can join visiting (this session will NOT be recorded or streamed to YouTube).

The session will be led by members of the CMALT ocTEL group which includes assessors and CMALT holders.

ocTEL Week 3: Materials and platforms for learning technology – How can this help me with my CMALT Portfolio?

May 22, 2014 in CMALT, Course Information

In this blog post I’ll share my perspective on how this week’s topics might be used for your CMALT Portfolio, and my top tips on writing a successful portfolio. If you have experience of creating learning resources and using various technology platforms then you’ll have examples of practice you can use already.  And if you’re new to this area, then this week is an excellent starting point from which to expand and enhance your practice.

So how can ocTEL week 3 help me with my CMALT Portfolio?

This week we’ve been exploring digital learning resources and how these fit with our learners needs.  Examples of this sort of practice are perfect for including in CMALT area 2 b) An understanding of your target learners. Read the rest of this entry →

Reflections on #ocTEL week on Concepts and strategies for Learning Technology and their relationship to CMALT

May 12, 2014 in CMALT, Course Information

This is a post from the CMALT ocTEL group

There has been much interesting discussion again this week, and a lot of issues raised and thoughtful, reflective comments posted by so many people that it has been a joy to participate, and occasionally to respond.  The focus of most of the comments and postings that I have read has been strongly focused on the pedagogy.  I think that the opening question about how one’s own practice relates to the quadrant:

dimensions that affect teaching and learning

dimensions that affect teaching and learning

set a good tone, and some people even posted some of their practice and published quadrants, one that I looked at by Maha Bali (‏@Bali_Maha) lists some of her practice

There are two areas of CMALT that the work that people have done relate to

1a) An understanding of the constraints and benefits of different technologies

2a) An understanding of teaching, learning and/or assessment processes

Clearly there is some overlap between these sections anyhow, but also, the way in which people have approached this week’s work has had different emphases, some people taking a more technological starting point and others a more pedagogic one.  Note, that neither of these are better, they reflect different ways of thinking, different interests and different starting points.

There has been discussion of strategies for learning and teaching (or was that teaching and learning) and that has covered both institutional and personal strategies, and the relationship between them, and sometimes the dissonance that can be created when personal belief systems and institutional structures are at odds.

There has also been discussion of learning theories and how practice relates to (preferred) learning theories.

All this has been excellent, and the spirit in which it has been undertaken has been that of mutual support and cooperation, which supports the principles as well.  In case you have forgotten the principles are:

  1. A commitment to exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning.
  2. A commitment to keep up to date with new technologies.
  3. An empathy with and willingness to learn from colleagues from different backgrounds and specialisms.
  4. A commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice.

I would say that all those participating in the MOOC (at least all that I have seen) are amply demonstrating all four of the principles, and I think that is what has made participation in the MOOC such a pleasure.

What has been shown is people’s deep engagement and enthusiasm for thinking about teaching and learning and the processes involved.  All of this would come across very well in CMALT portfolios as it shows:

  • Knowledge (experiential knowledge from people’s practice, engagement with the theory and how it supports their practice).
  • A willingness to learn and to share experience, good practice and ideas.
  • A keen ability to reflect on practice, and to think about how that reflection will impact on future practice.

This is exactly what we are looking for when we are assessing CMALT portfolios.

The one thing that has sometimes been missing (because this is not CMALT portfolios, but a public discussion) is the supporting evidence.  I would not expect to find it here.  Often this material is sensitive, and ocTEL is not about proving what you have done, but learning from what you, and your colleagues, have done and are doing.

Tom Franklin
CMALT Lead Assessor
from the CMALT ocTEL Group

Interested in CMALT? Join the CMALT ocTEL group

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