Riding Giants

Riding Giants

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Hello, and welcome to this FE Week supplement covering the 21st annual Association of Learning Technology (ALT) conference. Since last year’s conference the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (Feltag) report has been published, detailing a series of recommendations to improve the use of technology in FE.

The report, and the prolonged consultations with FE and technology experts which produced it, has put learning technology, if not centre stage, then closer to the limelight than it’s ever been.

It’s no surprise then that technologists gathered at the ALT conference were asking: what’s next? How do we maintain the momentum Feltag and its cross-sector successor, the Education Technology Action Group (Etag), has created? And how do we try to stay ahead of the curve when we don’t know what technologies the future holds?

With this in mind, the conference itself was entitled Riding Giants — innovating and educating ahead of the wave, and on page three ALT chief executive Maren Deepwell introduces the conference and gives us some of her highlights.

For those who are looking to innovate but wondering how to finance it, FE Week takes a look at some of the funding programmes available on page four.

However, Feltag was part of a process, not an end in itself, and an ALT survey found there was a long way to go, as ALT president Diana Laurillard explains on page 5.

On page six, Matt Dean, the Association of College’s technology policy manager, says government must support the sector in implementing Feltag. And you can read about the government’s response to Feltag just before his piece on the same page, where Jade Kesall, Manchester University’s e-learning technologist, also explains how colleges can work with technologists to produce relevant learning material.

On page seven there is a flavour of some of the sessions and conversations that were happening at the conference.

Bryan Mathers, learning technology consultant for City & Guilds, describes what institutional qualities are need to support innovation on page 10, where Rachel Challen, e-learning manager at Loughborough College, explains what they’re doing to comply with Feltag.

On page 11 you can meet the FE stars of this year’s Learning Technologist of the Year Awards and on pages 12 and 13 there is coverage of the conference debate on Feltag implementation, along with a piece from Martin Hamilton, Jisc futurologist, wondering what Feltag can do for young people not in employment, education or training.

Finally, we find out what conference delegates thought with some vox pops from the floor, and online on Twitter.

Don’t forget you can also join in the digital conversation by following @FEWeek.