Fun in Madchester
What can I say about Madchester? We are all having fun and we are all staying up late and tiring ourselves out as we squeeze the juice out of the conference. I'm at the 16th annual conference of the 16th Annual Conference of the Association for Learning Technology, and we have around 800 delegates here on the excellent inner city campus. It's just as well organised as previous events I have been to in Leeds, Nottingham, Edinburgh etc, and this year we are on the main University of Manchester campus (the last time we held ALT-C in Manchester we were located on the old UMIST site). It rained down buckets yesterday afternoon/evening, but the weather didn't dampen the spirits of this passionate and friendly crowd of individuals. Everyone I met, old friends and new (and I had too many conversations yesterday to shake a stick at) was positive and energetic and willing to learn new things about their chosen field of expertise - e-learning.
Mike Wesch's opening keynote set the scene for the event, played out to a packed hall. We started 10 minutes late due to huge queues outside in the registration hall. Wesch gave a talk on how technology changes relationships and dwelt very much on previous talks I have seen him give on the 'whatever' disengaged youth culture, and concluded by remarking that we need to change the don't care attitude of 'whatever' into the 'we will do whatever is necessary' to engage young people in meaningful formal learning.
The delegate list at ALT-C is eclectic as ever. There are people here from just about every university in the UK and some from a lot farther afield. Meeting a number of people face to face for the first time, whom I already 'knew' online, was an interesting experience. Stu Johnson, Alan Cann, Martin Weller, Theo Keuchel, Oleg Liber, Brian Kelly, Jo Badge, Alex Mosely ... I have been in touch with all of them prior to this conference, but now I can put faces to names.
There were some interesting and captivating debates on Day 1, including of course, the epic VLE is Dead debate (see the video above) which was attended by approximately 150 people, all squeezed into a room fit for 80 so that many had to sit on the floor or stand at the back. I also chaired a late evening Edublogger face-off between Graham Attwell and Josie Fraser about whether or not Twitter is killing off blogging. Nobody won the vote as most people abstained, but it was very enjoyable none the less.
Day 2 beckons, and the skies have cleared over Madchester, but the arguments and debates will continue as usual. Such as who has the largest delegation at ALT-C... Leicester or Plymouth....?
Reports of the demise of the VLE are exaggerated (Niall Sclater)
The VLE is Dead: The Movie (James Clay)
The VLE is Dead... or is it? (Graham Attwell)
Hot debate on VLEs at ALT-C (Ask Auntie Web)
Yarn and Glue (Guy Pursey)
Kinda Learning Stuff (Sarah Horrigan)
The VLE is dead (Live blogging from Martin Weller)
VLE is (not) dead (Nick Sharratt)
The VLE is dead debate (Mira Vogel)
Is the VLE dead? This bus doesn't think so (Shelly Gibb)
The VLE/PLE debate and medical education (Natalie Lafferty)
The VLE is dead - or is it? (Sarah Bartlett, TALIS)
The VLE is dead (Joe Wilson)
If the VLE is dead... (Sally Ballard)
VLE is not dead yet (Bath Spa)