ALT 2007 Learning Technologist of the Year Award
The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) is delighted to be organising and presenting the inaugural Learning Technologist of the Year award. The award's purpose is to celebrate and reward excellent practice and outstanding achievement in the learning technology field.
Applications will be judged (from the application, and, if short-listed, at interview) on the
basis of evidence in the following 4 areas:
- A clear description of the actions and roles taken to develop and support the
achievement. Individual applications should indicate any substantial involvement of others in the achievement. Team applications should indicate who actually did what.
- Clear, credible, statement of individual or team approach to the technological, and/or
methodological, and/or managerial, and/or pedagogic choices made by the applicant (individual or team), during the period covered by the application.
- Major and beneficial impact on practices within the applicant's or team's organisation, or
community, or sphere of influence.
- Outstanding overall contribution in managing, researching, supporting or enabling
learning with the use of learning technology.
Application for Team award
5. Your summary as to why you or your team should win the award (200 words maximum).
In March 2007 Schome Park, an island in the virtual reality environment of Teen Second Life, opened as a learning space for a group of 13- to 17-year-old students across the UK. Developed by a team of Open University staff, the island was home to a pilot which explored the affordances and pitfalls of Second Life as both a formal and an informal learning medium. The student participants - 'SParkers' - brought the island to life, engaged with the environment and tutors from UK universities, and appropriated the space in a number of unexpected ways.
Three months later, the students have developed sufficient knowledge-age skills to take responsibility for re-modelling and governing the island. They are currently working together in the project’s wiki and forums to design new buildings as well as to develop induction programmes and a variety of activities for the hundreds of new participants due to be introduced to the island this year. Young scientists are investigating the physical properties of the environment, psychologists are developing artificial intelligence programs and language students are working to adapt undergraduate materials from the university’s Open Learn website. Students are also producing their own publicity material http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/Trix%27s_Comics and videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAihLsBiT-0
6. Your evidence. Please summarise your evidence against each of the 4 areas listed below (400 words maximum per area, including any URLs – a URL will count as one word).
- What about the NAGTY report? Is that too many words? Mars
- Way too many, I'm afraid. Fox
6A. A clear description of the actions and roles taken to develop and support the achievement. Team applications should indicate who actually did what.
- Peter Twining, Kieron Sheehy – Directors
- Dan Seamans – In-world development manager
- Olly Butters, Vlad Tanasescu – Technical developers
- Jacquie Bennett, Gill Clough, Anna Peachey – In-world support
- Rebecca Ferguson, Mark Gaved – Forum and wiki management
- Julia Gillen, Jonty Rix, Kieron Sheehy – Research team
- Associated staff – http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/SNP_staff
- SParkers – http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/Schome_Park_Government_Who%27s_Who
6B. Clear, credible, statement of individual or team approach to the technological, and/or methodological, and/or managerial, and/or pedagogic choices made by the applicant (individual or team), during the period covered by the application.
Decisions relating to the development of Schome Park are made jointly and publicly via the project's wiki and forum. Controversial issues are discussed in detail, and voting often takes place. Major decisions are detailed here http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/The_Schome_Park_bliki
Recent major decisions we have taken together include: the complete redevelopment of the island, how the island is governed, which subjects will be taught/discussed/investigated on the island and how research will be carried out on the island.
6C. Major and beneficial impact on practices within the applicant's or team's organisation, or community, or sphere of influence.
What the participants say:
- You can be the real you without the judgement that is considered normal in the real world and can pursue your interests with the help and support of other ‘like minded individuals’.
- I've learnt so much that I didn't know before, it's amazing what a really close community can do.
- Schome is already breaking down many of the barriers that exist between 'teachers' and 'learners' and I believe that we can go further than that.
- I think that what Schome is doing through breaking down the barriers between 'teachers' and 'students', making it hard to see where one stops and the other begins, is fantastic, because when everyone is on a learning curve together, it brings about less of a feeling of segregation and a greater feeling of equality, and this leads to people trusting more.
For a more detailed view of the benefits of the project, explore the schome wiki http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/Schome_Park
6D. Outstanding overall contribution in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.
This is an innovative project that it involves exploring both the potential of new media (Second Life integrated with a wiki and forum) and new models for supporting learners, which foreground learner responsibility and control. There is very little empirical evidence about the potential and pitfalls of Second Life as a medium for supporting learning, so this project is helping to fill a critical gap in our understandings. See http://kn.open.ac.uk/public/document.cfm?docid=9851 for the final report of the schome-NAGTY Teen Second Life Pilot.