The recent ALTC conference (altc2008) had an overarching aim to explore the digital divide. The many thought provoking papers, seminars and workshops, explored the myriad of ways in which access or otherwise to information is arbitrated by digital efficacy (digital native to digital immigrants). The conference brought into focus some thinking that I’ve been doing lately about putting together some workshops to explore the potential uses of social media and communication tools in HE.
The ALT-C itself provided an excellent lens through which to to explore the digital divide in action. The conference elicited a large amount of back channel and online activity. This activity included:
- Numerous blog posts (see bloglines, technorati) and micro-blogging posts (see Twitter search, Twemes) (searches on these site were for “altc2008”)
- F-ALT, a series of more informal fringe activities (see F-AlT wiki, blog posts for F-ALT at Bloglines & Technorati, micro-blog posts at Twemes & Twitter search – search criteria “falt08”)
- Some in-session activities such as the ‘Digital Divide Slam‘ and a live radio broadcast broadcast from JISC’s Emerge community
- An official ALT social networking space using Crowdvine.
- Plus the live interactive broadcasts from the key note speakers.
Those who follow these online and back channel activities have access to a rich soup of information, opinions and artifacts that afford opportunities for further reflection and engagement with the themes and participants (forgive the food metaphor but I’m writing this on the coach and I skipped breakfast). The overriding theme with these activities is that they involved social/ communication technologies in their organisation, dissemination and/or delivery.
This hive of activity greatly enriched my own experience of the conference; and aside from the conference I use a growing number of social and communication tools to stay in touch with developments in learning technologies, web development and social media.
There are many social media and tech savvy academics and researchers out there who use social technologies as part of their academic work including blogs(Intute, Science blogs), social networks and more. However there are likely many more who don’t.
As a learning technologist I’m interested in disseminating interesting ways that people use technology in their Academic/ Research lives (and outside these too) in a way that exposes researchers to these uses and allows them to make more informed decisions about the technologies that they engage with