How technological change is shaped by people

Karl Luke
Business Change Officer, University IT
Cardiff University

ALTC 2018 conference reflections

Thanks to the UCISA 2018 bursary scheme, I recently attended the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Conference 2018 in Manchester.
This post shares some themes and highlights from the conference, together with emerging ideas I am keen to take forward at Cardiff University.

Technological change is… inevitable

A common topic throughout the three day conference concerned technological transformation and how change is managed by organisations, divisions and individuals. In the keynote address on Day Two, Amber Thomas (Head of Academic Technology, University of Warwick) fascinatingly reflected on her personal and professional experiences of using educational technologies over the past two decades. You can read a summary on her blog: Fragments of Amber.
Amber highlighted that throughout history there have been many examples of disruptive technologies and offered parallels to some initiatives involving education (use of virtual learning environments, lecture capture). However, as Amber stressed, change takes time and is not about the technology, but the people. This chimes with my experiences as Business Change Officer at Cardiff University and reinforces the importance that Learning Technologists, and others involved in implementing learning technologies, need to carefully prepare and manage the “people side of change”.
Related to the topic of change management, Jessica Gramp and Tim Neumann offered a captivating insight into how UCL developed, implemented and reinforced an e-learning strategy. Their presentation is available here and highlights some key areas that need to be considered for successful adoption of a change. In supporting a change, the presentation stresses the importance of communities of practice. Intriguingly, UCL have established a Teaching Administrator (TA) Network, whose membership include staff who make a significant contribution to the student experience. The presentation highlighted many helpful change management strategies and I have obtained lots of ideas which I am keen to explore at Cardiff University.

Lecture recording is a popular topic

During the conference I presented on my experiences of working in partnership with students to research how lecture recordings are used by learners.  I have previously written about this subject here and my ALT-C presentation can be viewed here.

The area of lecture capture appears to be a current institutional priority for many UK HE institutions. During the conference I also attended five separate sessions devoted to the subject of lecture recording and capturing educational activities. These included:
Many of the themes arising from the sessions have been documented in Martin Weller’s excellent blog post here. However, any discussions around lecture recording cannot escape the obvious questioning around pedagogical value and possible negative effects on physical attendance. It is therefore essential that those involved in the implementation of technologies, such as lecture capture, maintain critical engagement with emergent case studies and original research. There were plenty of rich case studies presented in the ALT-C sessions and some compelling research which advances discussions. For example, Stuart Phillipson presented data from Manchester University which demonstrates no correlation between the introduction of lecture capture provision and actual occupancy of teaching rooms (using data on room occupancy between 2007 and 2016). You can watch Stuart’s talk here and read more here.
However, lecture recording is a contested area. As Tressie MacMillan Cottom’s keynote from Day One proclaimed, “context matters”. The arena of educational technologies is messy, and Tressie reminded us technological tools are non-neutral; they are socially shaped and negotiated by a range of actors and interests “both in their construction and procurement and in their realization and use in practice” (Selwyn & Facer 2013 p.10). As such, technologies should also be considered in a social, political and commercial light. Moreover, both the domains of “education” and “technology” are intrinsically linked with the social, cultural, economic and political aspects of society.
In the case of lecture recording, context does indeed “matter”. Melissa Highton discussed how recent employment and political issues have manifested itself within the implementation and adoption of widespread lecture recording. Learning technologies do not exist in a vacuum and we have a responsibility to critically unpack the assumptions embodied in technologies and their use.

Reflections on the role of a Learning Technologist

The event was full of insightful sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and the opportunities to network with professionals involved in using technologies to enhance teaching and learning. There are emerging opportunities for collaborations with other institutions on the subject of lecture recordings, arising from my involvement at the conference. In particular, it was great to connect with fellow UCISA bursary recipient, Marieke Guy. Marieke has written a great reflection of the conference here.
I also have left reflecting on my professional role as both a Change Officer and Learning Technologist. Technology should be viewed in terms of the “process and practices” that unpin the availability and affordances of devices, systems, software etc. Technologies can be the impetus for transformative change; helping human endeavour, agency and progress human activity. Technology should be used to enable us to explore otherwise impossible tasks, or do them more efficiently, however this is not always the case in practice. As mentioned, it is important those involved in implementing or supporting the adoption of learning technologies consider the human side of change.
Moreover, we occupy a unique position within institutions whereby we are not easily pigeon-holed. I could easily relate to Amber Thomas’ reflections that Learning Technologists suffer from imposter syndrome and we operate across many overlapping divisions. However, as Amber argues, we are increasingly occupying roles where we have to balance priorities between embedding technological practices which not only offer pedagogical value, but also offer scalability, sustainability, institutional benefits, and align to strategies and polices.

Amber Thomas ALT-C presentation available at: https://youtu.be/XOPkC311rvY
Finally, there was also personal celebration as I was awarded my CMALT certificate during the conference. If you want to know more about CMALT please read this post.

For further insights into the content of the conference search of #altc on Twitter
Reference
Selwyn, N., & Facer, K. (Eds.) (2013) The politics of education and technology: Conflicts, controversies, and connections Palgrave Macmillan
This blog first appeared in the Cardiff University Learning Technology blog
This blog is also available in Welsh: Myfyrdodau ynghylch Cynhadledd ALTc 2018

Myfyrdodau ynghylch Cynhadledd ALTc 2018

gan Karl Luke
Diolch i gynllun bwrsariaeth UCISA 2018, yn ddiweddar, fe fûm i Gynhadledd y Gymdeithas Technoleg Dysgu 2018 ym Manceinion.
Mae’r darn hwn yn rhannu rhai o’r themâu ac uchafbwyntiau’r gynhadledd, yn ogystal â rhai o’r syniadau sy’n dod i’r amlwg yr wyf yn awyddus i’w datblygu ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd.

Mae newid technolegol yn… anochel

Roedd pwnc cyffredin drwy gyfrwng y gynhadledd 3 diwrnod yn ymwneud â thrawsnewid technolegol a sut mae sefydliadau, adrannau ac unigolion yn rheoli newid. Yn y prif anerchiad ar ddiwrnod dau, cafwyd myfyrdod cyfareddol gan Amber Thomas (Pennaeth Technoleg Academaidd, Prifysgol Warwick) ar ei phrofiadau personol a phroffesiynol o ddefnyddio technolegau addysgol dros y ddau ddegawd diwethaf. Mae crynodeb ar ei blog: Fragments of Amber.
Amlygodd Amber fel y bu, drwy gydol hanes, sawl enghraifft o dechnolegau aflonyddol a chynnig cyffelybiaeth â rhai mentrau sy’n ymwneud ag addysg (y defnydd o amgylcheddau dysgu rhithwir, recordio darlithoedd). Fodd bynnag, fel y pwysleisiodd Amber, mae newid yn cymryd amser ac mae’n ymwneud â’r bobl, yn hytrach na’r dechnoleg. Mae hynny’n cyd-fynd â’m profiadau fel Swyddog Newid Busnes ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd, ac yn atgyfnerthu pa mor bwysig yw hi i Dechnolegwyr Dysgu, ac eraill sy’n ymwneud â rhoi technolegau dysgu ar waith, baratoi’n ofalus a rheoli’r “elfen o newid sy’n ymwneud â phobl”.
Mewn perthynas â phwnc rheoli newid, cafwyd cipolwg craff gan Jessica Gramp a Tim Neumann ar sut y gwnaeth UCL ddatblygu strategaeth e-ddysgu, ei rhoi ar waith a’i hatgyfnerthu. Mae eu cyflwyniad ar gael yma ac yn amlygu rhai meysydd allweddol sydd angen eu hystyried ar gyfer mabwysiadu newid yn llwyddiannus. Wrth gefnogi newid, mae’r cyflwyniad yn amlygu pwysigrwydd cymunedau ymarfer. Mae’n ddiddorol nodi bod UCL wedi sefydlu Rhwydwaith Gweinyddwr Addysgu, ac mae ei aelodau’n cynnwys mae staff sy’n cyfrannu’n sylweddol at brofiad y myfyrwyr. Amlygodd y cyflwyniad nifer o strategaethau rheoli newid defnyddiol, a chefais lawer o syniadau rwy’n awyddus i’w harchwilio ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd.

Mae recordio darlithoedd yn bwnc poblogaidd

Yn ystod y gynhadledd, rhoddais gyflwyniad am fy mhrofiadau o gydweithio â myfyrwyr i ymchwilio i’r modd y mae dysgwyr yn defnyddio recordiadau o ddarlithoedd. Rwyf eisoes wedi ysgrifennu am y pwnc hwn yma a gallwch fwrw golwg ar fy nghyflwyniad ALT-C yma.

Yn ôl Mae’n ymddangos bod maes recordio darlithoedd yn flaenoriaeth i lawer o sefydliadau addysg uwch y DU ar hyn o bryd. Yn ystod y gynhadledd, bûm hefyd i 5 sesiwn unigol oedd wedi’u neilltuo ar gyfer pwnc recordio darlithoedd a recordio gweithgareddau addysgol. Roedd y rhain yn cynnwys:
Newid y drafodaeth ynghylch recordio darlithoedd gan James Youdale (Prifysgol Efrog)
Recordio Darlithoedd ar Raddfa Ddiwydiannol fel Cymorth o ran Hygyrchedd gan Stuart Phillipson (Prifysgol Manceinion)
Marathon, nid sbrint – symud tuag at broses recordio darlith ‘optio allan’ (Prifysgol Loughborough)
Rhoi’r dychymyg ar gof: Pwysigrwydd ystyried defnydd amgen o dechnolegau recordio (darlithoedd) gan Gemma Witton a Paul Towers (Prifysgol Wolverhampton)
Defnyddio fideo i hwyluso cydweithio a dysgu i fyfyrwyr gan Melanie Lindley, Rebecca Peake, a Ross Mallett (Prifysgol Sheffield Hallam).
Mae llawer o’r themâu sy’n codi yn sgîl y sesiynau wedi’u dogfennu ym mlog ardderchog Martin Weller yma. Fodd bynnag, ni ellir cynnal trafodaeth ynghylch recordio darlithoedd heb osgoi’r cwestiynu amlwg ynghylch gwerth addysgegol a’r effeithiau negyddol posibl o ran mynd mewn person i ddarlith. Mae’n hanfodol, felly, bod y rheini sy’n ymwneud â gosod technolegau, megis recordio darlithoedd, yn cadw i’r funud o ran astudiaethau achos sy’n dod i’r amlwg, ac ymchwil gwreiddiol. Cafodd digonedd o astudiaethau achos gwerthfawr eu cyflwyno yn y sesiynau ALT-C, ac ymchwil cyfareddol sy’n dwyn trafodaethau yn eu blaen. Er enghraifft, cyflwynodd Stuart Phillipson ddata o Brifysgol Manceinion sy’n dangos nad oes unrhyw gyfatebiaeth rhwng cyflwyno darpariaeth recordio darlith, a’r niferoedd sy’n mynd i ystafelloedd addysgu (ar sail data am y niferoedd mewn ystafelloedd rhwng 2007 a 2016). Gallwch wylio sgwrs Stuart yma a darllen mwy yma.
Fodd bynnag, mae recordio darlithoedd yn bwnc llosg. Fel y dywedodd Tressie MacMillan Cottom yn ei phrif anerchiad ar y diwrnod cyntaf, “mae cyd-destun yn bwysig”. Digon blêr yw arena technolegau addysgol, a chawsom ein hatgoffa gan Tressie nad yw teclynnau technolegol yn niwtral; maent wedi’u ffurfio’n gymdeithasol a’u trafod gan ystod o weithredwyr a diddordebau “o ran eu strwythuro a’u caffael, eu gwireddu a’u defnydd ymarferol” (Selwyn & Facer 2013 p.10). O ganlyniad, dylid ystyried technolegau hefyd mewn cyd-destun cymdeithasol gwleidyddol a masnachol. Yn fwyfwy, mae parthau “addysg” a “thechnoleg” wedi’u cysylltu’n hanfodol ag agweddau cymdeithasol, diwylliannol, economaidd a gwleidyddol mewn cymdeithas.
Yn achos recordio darlithoedd, mae cyd-destun yn golygu “mater” mewn gwirionedd. Bu Melissa Highton yn trafod y modd y mae materion cyflogaeth a gwleidyddol diweddar wedi amlygu eu hunain o ran rhoi’r broses o recordio darlithoedd ar waith yn eang, a mabwysiadu’r broses honno. Mae’n rhaid i dechnolegau dysgu ddeillio o rywle, ac mae gennym gyfrifoldeb wrth ddadansoddi’r rhagdybiaethau sy’n gysylltiedig â thechnolegau, a’r defnydd ohonynt.

Myfyrdod ar rôl Technolegydd Dysgu

Roedd y digwyddiad yn llawn sesiynau diddorol Mwynheais y gynhadledd yn fawr, ynghyd â’r cyfleoedd i rwydweithio â gweithwyr proffesiynol sydd ynghlwm wrth ddefnyddio technolegau i wella dysgu ac addysgu. Mae cyfleoedd yn dod i’r amlwg ar gyfer cydweithio â sefydliadau eraill ym maes recordio darlithoedd, ac fe gododd y rheini wrth i mi gymryd rhan yn y gynhadledd. Roedd yn arbennig o wych ymgysylltu â chyd-dderbynnydd bwrsariaeth UCISA, Marieke Guy. Mae Marieke wedi ysgrifennu myfyrdod grêt ar y gynhadledd yma.
Yn ogystal, gadewais yn myfyrio ar fy rôl broffesiynol fel Swyddog Newid yn ogystal â Thechnolegydd Dysgu. Dylid ystyried technoleg yn nhermau “prosesau ac ymarfer” sy’n sail i argaeledd dyfeisiau, systemau, meddalwedd ac ati, a’r hyn y gallant ymdopi ag ef. Gall technolegau fod yn hwb ar gyfer newid trawsnewidiol, gan helpu ymdrechion a gweithrediadau dynol, a chynyddu gweithgarwch dynol. Dylid defnyddio technoleg i’n galluogi i archwilio tasgau sydd, fel arall, yn amhosibl, neu eu gwneud mewn modd mwy effeithlon, fodd bynnag, nid yw hynny’n ymarferol bosibl bob tro. Fel ag y soniwyd, mae’n bwysig fod y rheini sy’n ymwneud â rhoi technolegau dysgu ar waith, a’r broses o’u mabwysiadau, yn ystyried yr elfen ddynol o newid.
Yn fwyfwy, rydym mewn sefyllfa unigryw o fewn sefydliadau lle na chawn ein neilltuo’n rhwydd. Gallwn uniaethu’n hawdd â myfyrdod Amber Thomas bod Technolegwyr Dysgu’n goddef o syndrom ffugiwr, ac rydym yn gweithredu ar draws nifer o haenau sy’n gorgyffwrdd. Fodd bynnag, fel yn ôl dadl Amber, rydym yn gynyddol mewn rolau lle mae’n rhaid i ni gydbwyso’r blaenoriaethau rhwng ymgorffori ymarferion technolegol sydd nid yn unig yn cynnig gwerth addysgegol ond hefyd yn cynnig modd o’u mesur yn ôl graddfa, cynaliadwyedd, buddiannau sefydliadol, ac yn alinio â strategaethau a pholisïau.

Mae cyflwyniad ALT-C Amber Thomas ar gael yn: https://youtu.be/XOPkC311rvY
Yn olaf, roedd yna reswm personol dros ddathlu am y dyfarnwyd fy nhystysgrif CMALT gyntaf i mi yn ystod y gynhadledd. Os ydych am ddod i wybod mwy am CMALT, darllenwch y darn hwn.

I ddod i wybod rhagor am gynnwys y gynhadledd, chwiliwch am #altc ar Twitter
Cyfeiriad
Selwyn, N., & Facer, K. (Eds.) (2013) The politics of education and technology: Conflicts, controversies, and connections Palgrave Macmillan

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