The Association of Learning Technology (ALT) organise an annual conference to celebrate and share practice in how technology enhances learning. In 2019, the conference was held at the University of Edinburgh. A range of poster presentations, workshops and keynotes were delivered. You can see a summary here from our Digital Learning Manager Marieke Guy. One of the unique modes of presentations was the GASTA presentation chaired by Tom Farrelly, a Social Science Lecturer at the Institute of Technology in Tralee. I co-presented a GASTA talk to launch the ALT Mentions and TEL TALE audio drama podcasts. A GASTA talk is a short 5 minute talk with a countdown in Irish. Tom was interviewed on the podcast and talked about GASTA on episode 8. Find out more about Tom on Twitter – @TomFarrelly. Originally, the conference for 2020 was due to take place at the Imperial College in London. However, due to the pandemic, the conference made the pivot to an online summer summit using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra platform. The theme was Learning Technology in a time of crisis, care and complexity which many learning technologists can relate to. There were some relevant topics from trauma-informed pedagogy to feminist approaches. Keynotes were delivered by Bonnie Stewart, Assistant Professor in Educational Studies at University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) (@bonstewart) Dave Cormier, University of Windsor in Ontario (@davecormier) and Charlotte Webb from University of the Arts London (UAL) (@otheragent) , in addition to the journalist, author and broadcaster Angela Saini. The summit included a range of online events for example a virtual café for conference attendees here – https://altc.alt.ac.uk/summit2020/cafe/, and a series of asynchronous events.
As part of the social programme for the summit, a number of pre-summit activities took place. Music has been a crucial way for people to connect during the lockdown. We saw people in Italy singing from their balconies (BBC, 2020). It was about finding alternative ways to express and connect. Music also played an important role in the summit. For example, there was a KareOERke session where conference participants could sing a song in Zoom with engaging virtual backgrounds and costumes in both an induvial and group capacity. OER stands for Open educational resources (OER). Music has been argued to play an important role in helping people during lockdown (Loughborough University, 2020).
Radio stations have been argued to have played a fundamental role during a crisis (Radiocentre, 2020). One of the most exciting events was the ALT Summer Summit Radio Show on the 25th August 2020 as a pre-summit session and an after show party on the 27th August hosted by The Thursday Night Show and ALT Members. Dominic Pates, a Senior Educational Technologist (Relationship Lead) London City University organised by the ALT members who hosted a 30-minute show each. Having been involved with podcasting and a pop-up radio station experiment called Pivot FM before, online see previous blog post, moving to presenting live was a new challenge.
The Thursday Night Show is an internet radio Collective with weekly internet radio show with a range of DJs playing a mix of music genres. The is a mobile phone application for IOS here.
Live chat takes place alongside the live show with a community. We organised changeovers, gave feedback and checked microphone levels live in the chat:
The Thursday Night Show has recently been on the BBC News here. There is also a Zoom room alongside the live show so you can dance along to your favourite tunes. We carried out a technical setup involving connecting to the Icecast server and tested the connection supporting each other using an ALT Radio Folks WhatsApp group. Mixxx, Adobe Audition and royalty free sound effects DJ were used.
First up was Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Provost at Athabasca University in Canada (@ammienoot). I was second up. Dominik Lukes Dominik has a account Digital Learning Technologist at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (@techczech), and Thomas Buckley, Digital Learning Manager at University of the West of Bristol (UWE) (@bigbadbuckley) and additional sets by regular DJs on The Thursday Night Show and a London themed set by Dominic Pates.
My idea was to use the opportunity for a radio show to ask learning technologists to request a song that got them through lockdown and to provide a short explanation of how the song links to learning technology – ‘Quarantunes’. Marieke Guy, the Digital Learning Manager at RAU selected ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ by Daft Punk and said:
“At times we Learning Technologists have felt like robots on overdrive. We’ve been creating, supporting, listening, guiding, fixing and generally making things work. At times it has felt like being part of an assembly line but we have created some great things and are keeping students learning. This Daft Punk song makes me smile. The lyrics feel like an instruction from up above: “work it harder, make it better, do it faster, make us stronger”. It also ends with the warning “our work is never done” – things can always be improved and perfected (through technology). But despite this it is still upbeat and I love electronic music!”
Husna Ahmed, a Learning Technologist at the RAU requested ‘With a Little Help from my Friend’s, the classic song by the Beatles. She said:
“The song sums up how we work in our learning technology bubble, as we learn form one another and support each other all the time”.
Music became an important part of the lockdown experience. It has been argued that listening to music during lockdown while working from home can have a positive impact (Flach, 2020). My ‘quarantune’ which was ‘In My House’ by The Cornshed Sisters (@Cornsheds). As I said during the show, the song is a lockdown classic! The experience of both being in a house and working from home during lockdown was a reality for many learning technologists and particularly for my role at RAU operating in a remote capacity. We also sang this song in the Pop Choir led by members of The Cornshed Sisters which took place online on the Zoom meeting platform throughout lockdown. Radio has its own language and literacy. For example, I also created some audio ‘stings’ or “short musical phrases” to be used to personalise the content and put an ALT stamp on the radio show (Audionetwork, 2020).
Ultimately, the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) online summer summit proved that it is still possible to engage people in an online capacity. I asked myself how the experience of DJ-ing live helped me to become a better Learning Technologist. Being a live DJ involved preparing music, reflecting on how to create an engaging show, learning how to use new software and tools, working as part of a team, communicating effectively, learning from others, solving problems quickly and making mistakes and learning from them. These are all activities that effective Learning Technologists do on a daily basis. Pedagogically, using audio in learning and teaching can improve the digital student experience in a variety of ways. Students could create their own radio stations and podcasts. A lot of the DJ software is free which helps to make wokring with audio more accessible. My radio journey has just begun. When I lived and wokred in London, I visited Abbey Road Studios in May 2018 and hoped that I could get back into the studio again.
Ultimately, the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) online summer summit proved that it is still possible to engage people in an online capacity. I asked myself how the experience of DJ-ing live helped me to become a better Learning Technologist. Being a live DJ involved preparing music, reflecting on how to create an engaging show, learning how to use new software and tools, working as part of a team, communicating effectively, learning from others, solving problems quickly, making mistakes and learning from them. These are all activities that effective Learning Technologists do on a daily basis.
Pedagogically, using audio in learning and teaching can improve the digital student experience in a variety of ways. Students could create their own radio stations and podcasts. A lot of the DJ software is free which really helps to make working with audio more accessible. My radio journey has just begun. When I lived and worked in London, I visited Abbey Road Studios in May 2018 and hoped that I could get back into the studio again.
Taking part in an online radio project enabled me to create music and content from a home studio. In future, I hope to create further shows and support other educators to work effectively with audio in their pedagogical contexts. What types of stories can we tell with music and radio? The pandemic has been an opportunity to explore different ways of engaging and connecting with people. Radio is a creative way to do this. If necessity is the mother of invention, then radio was the Learning Technologist of innovation.
You can listen to the show here.
Listen to The Thursday Night Show here.
A big thank you to Dominic Pates for his support and to the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) for the opportunity to contribute to the online summer summit.
This blog post is featured on the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) Summer Summit resources here. Check out some of the recordings of the sessions. An innovative session was Have I Got TEL for You by Dr. Julie Voce (@julievoce).
Listen to show below.
Wheeler, P [@Pennyjw]. (2021, 2 March) ONE OF MY PROBLEMS WITH THE PROLIFERATION OF INSTITUTIONS “RE-IMAGINING” THINGS IS THAT I’M NOT CONVINCED ANY IMAGINATION WENT INTO THE FIRST VERSION [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/pennyjw/status/1366864197611524103
- Abbey Road Training Ltd Institute (2020) Abbey Road Institute (Online) Available at: https://abbeyroadinstitute.co.uk/ [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) (2020) ALT Online Summer Summit Resources (Online) Available at: https://altc.alt.ac.uk/summit2020/summit-resources/ [Accessed: 3rd October 2020]
- Deepwell, M (2020) ALT Summer Summit 2020 Wakelet Collection (Online) Available at: https://wakelet.co/wake/wtCrqsk0ca5XisLrAeqvs [Accessed: 8th September 2020]
- Deepwell, M [@MarenDeepwell] (2020, 25 August) WOW! THE WINDOWS SONG #ALTC [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/MarenDeepwell/status/1298332119723368455
- Deepwell, M [@MarenDeepwell] (2020, 25 August) AWESOME WAY TO KICK OFF THE #ALTC #ALTC SUMMIT WITH AN #EDTECH ONLINE RADIO SPECIAL – WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/MarenDeepwell/status/1298330098832232449
- Beentjes, D (2020) Free Music Software to Stay Inspired. abbeyroadinstitute.de. Music blog. [blog] April 6th [Accessed: 27th August 2020] Available at: https://abbeyroadinstitute.de/en/blog/free-music-software-to-stay-inspired/?mc_cid=7bad9db426&mc_eid=054ac8578b [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Audionetwork (2020) Stings (Online) Available at: https://www.audionetwork.com/browse/m/musical-styles/stings [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Flach, C (2020) Why Listening to Music While Working from Home Can Boost Your Mood During Lockdown, TTG.com. Travel Blog, [blog] 26th May. Available at: https://www.ttgmedia.com/features/features/why-listening-to-music-while-working-from-home-can-boost-your-mood-during-lockdown-22915 [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Freesound (2020) Freesound (Online) Available at: https://freesound.org/ Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Loughborough University (2020) How music is helping people in lockdown. blog.lboro.ac.uk Health & Wellbeing blog [blog] 19th June. Available at: https://blog.lboro.ac.uk/wellbeing/2020/06/19/how-music-is-helping-people-in-lockdown/ [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Moog Music Inc. Minimoog Model D Synthesizer. Mobile app. Version 1.2.19 https://apps.apple.com/us/app/minimoog-model-d-synthesizer/id1339418001 [Accessed: 27th August 2020]Pip’
- Pip’s Association of Learning Technologists Online Summer Summit Radio Show (2020) The Thursday Night Show, 25 August. (Online) Available at: https://www.thethursdaynightshow.com/ [Accessed: 10th January 2021]
- Radiocentre, (2020) Representing Radio During COVID-19 (Online) Available at: https://www.radiocentre.org/representing-radio-during-covid-19/ [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- The Thursday Night Show (2020) (Online) Available at: https://www.thethursdaynightshow.com/ [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- The Thursday Night Show (2020) TTNS SDDP On BBC NEWS! Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhAsjcBjtsg&feature=youtu.be [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Thorpe, V (2020) Balcony singing in solidarity spreads across Italy during lockdown. The Guardian, [online] (Last updated 18:14 AM on 1st April 2020. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/14/solidarity-balcony-singing-spreads-across-italy-during-lockdown [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
- Voce, J (2020) Have I Got TEL for You. Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) Online Summer Summit. 26-27 August 2020. Online.
- We Make Culture (no date) Pop Choir Project (Online) Available at: https://www.wemakeculture.co.uk/popchoirproject [Accessed: 27th August 2020]
Freesound Download List
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