I gave (with the considerable help of the other participants in the room) a 20 minute presentation at ALTC 2017, in the Empowerment in Learning Technology Theme, here is the abstract and here is an autoplay version of the slides
There are some speaker notes here that indicate what was said along with the slides.
The presentation was in Elizabeth Gidney 1, 10.45-12.00 slot, Thursday 7 September.
I have really enjoyed writing the abstract and preparing the presentation for this ALTC conference, my first attendance since 2011, where I participated in a critical and enjoyable symposium with Cristina da Costa, Josie Fraser, Richard Hall and Helen Keegan. As I recall, there was lively debate, and that was my hope for the presentation. It was pretty clear to the audience what are my hopes and fears for learning technology practice. I acknowledge that many learning technologists will disagree with me and I hoped that those there will feel free to express their views. I want to hear them.
My current perspective on learning technology is focussed on informal learning from a largely extra-institutional perspective but via Chris Gilliard @hypervisible, I found a video about institutional adoption of technology that I hoped would provoke some interesting and diverse responses. Kate Bowles offers valuable reflections on the view of students implicit in this institutional case study.
I haven’t been able to find out whether or not Curtin University regards this application of HDS technologies as research or if informed consent has been obtained from staff and students. To me this seems like human research and deserving of the regulation demanded of academic researchers at Curtin and elsewhere.
Fortunately, my hopes were realised and the audience seemed very engaged with the video. A common reaction was that it was quite scary. Someone shared that they were involved in a similar project with secondary school students. Rather than using cameras and facial recognition, students carried badges thus enabling at least the possibility of them opting out.
Another participant pointed out when an institution has made a massive financial investment in technology and system, that can inhibit the expression of critical reflection.
Several participants felt that students seemed to lack choice.
Another participant told us that he was involved in a similar project using facial analysis but the difference was that since he works in veterinary science, the subjects were animals. This links back to my earlier comments on human research.
The final comment identified the dilemma for learning technologists in that their roles as technology advocates may clash with critical reflection.
My one-line message from my presentation is my hope that resistance is included in, or at least not excluded from, digital literacies. This doesn’t mean banning certain platforms or technologies but ensuring that the conversations happen about how they are used.