Glass orb with reflection of the landscape in it
My desk - with Mac and external monitor, and iPad and a 2nd laptop.
Too much tech?

I’ve not been to ALT for a few years now, and had hoped to go (hopefully en-route to Australia) this year in London. 2020 has been the weirdest year ever, so I’m neither in London, nor heading to Australia. It’s an online conference. Unlike some other online conferences that I’ve tried to join, this is one that we had to pay for (not much, but enough to make me try to focus on it, and not get too distracted by other work stuff. 

My email has its out of office on & teams has only a few key people set to be able to send notifications. I was still distracted, but I was able to attend a number of sessions. I should have less devices on, so I’m less distracted! The intention was the laptop for the session & notes, the iPad for twitter & the Windows laptop for teams. Perhaps I’ll just use one device tomorrow. Easier to hide things 😉  

An online conference is different; social chit chat has to be engineered; it’s easier to fall back to quick comments with the colleague (Natalie) who was also attending, than the asides you’d pass to strangers in a queue for coffee. Lack of queues, and unpredictable lunches is, however,  a distinct bonus! (I had a lovely sandwich brought to me by my wife from Bearpig)

Highlights today were the introductory session, hearing from Melissa, Osama, Simon & Dave, on their institutions adjustments to the online pivot earlier in the year. A range of approaches, but in all cases, the key thing was the importance they placed on people, both staff and students. Staff and students were upskilled, personal situations recognised, and the key role that Ed techs have were all highlighted. I’m sure I, and others, saw things in their responses that we (hoped) we’d done, and things we wished we’d thought of in that chaos. 

Another session I particularly enjoyed was Lorna, outlining Edinburgh’s OER projects. I’ve looked at their work before, but I’d not realised how small the team is! They’ve got superb material, I’ll be investigating it more. 

This evening’s Quiz was a definite learning point for me. I’d decided to participate in the quiz, while eating supper. So, I just took down my iPad to the kitchen. It was in Collaborate, but then  Kahoot for selecting the answers.  The questions were read out in Collaborate – where the kahoot screen, showing the question, answers & the colour / shape to select for the answer. On a single screen it was … challenging. Kahoot opened to full screen, hiding the collaborate tab, so for the first 20 or so questions, I was relying on the quiz maestro reading out all the answers, hoping I’d got the order correct, so I could work out which one to click. I finally managed to find the collaborate tab, without having to close Kahoot – so pointed out the difficulty of single screen.


Kahoot answer screens ... colours and shapes, but no clue as to the answer they represent

I’d managed to get into the lead at one stage (a few obscure Geography questions) … but that was temporary.

It really highlighted the issue that students would have if they only had one screen, particularly when it came to picture questions. The timing of a Kahoot question meant it was almost impossible to read out the answers, and describe the picture! A really good illustration of the importance of having a good description of an item, without telling you what it is – the challenge of alt text generally in quizzes. 

It’s been a good day, and looking forward to tomorrow. 

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